How we’re making child safety a priority
Ardoch is committed to protecting children’s and young people’s right to safety and well-being. We know children have a right to be kept safe at all times, so we have a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of child abuse or harm.
We know that some children are more vulnerable than others. That’s why we actively promote the safety and well-being of children and young people who:
- are from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- have a disability
- identify as LGBTIQA+
- children unable to live at home.
Everyone who works with or represents Ardoch is responsible for ensuring that children are safe, feel safe, and are involved in decisions that affect their lives.
What does this mean?
We make child safety a priority by:
- Putting into practice the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and continually monitoring our compliance
- Having child safe policies and procedures in place for all Ardoch staff, volunteers and community partners to follow.
- Making sure everyone has access to the professional development and support they need to keep children safe.
- Proactively seeking feedback, and continually improving the way we work.
- Empowering children by informing them of their rights and responsibilities and support them to speak up about any matters of importance to them.
- Listening to the voice of children and young people and increase their participation in decision making regarding all matters affecting them.
Information for Children
We want you to feel safe.
We want ALL children we work with to feel safe and happy, including if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, are from a different culture, have a disability, unable to live at home or identify as LGTIQA+.
We want you to tell us if you, or another child, don’t feel safe so we can help you.
If you are in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000).
If you are not in immediate danger but want someone to talk to you can also talk to Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
We also want you to tell us or your teacher if you don’t feel safe in an Ardoch program, as well as what you like and don’t like about the activities Ardoch does with you or your class, so that we can make them even better. You can email [email protected] or us on call 1300 Ardoch. Keeping children safe is our highest priority
What are your rights?
Every child has rights which are protected under The Convention on the Rights of the Child. These include the right to:
- Safety and protection
- Having a say in decisions that affect you
- Legal rights
- To be who you are
If you think your rights are being violated, it’s important to speak to a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher.
Information for families
Everything we do at Ardoch is about improving the lives of children. Children who are safe – and feel safe- are more likely to reach their potential in the classroom. Child abuse undermines children’s physical and mental health and reduces their ability to learn.
Feeling safe and secure is an important part of children’s social and emotional development. A child who feels safe will be more able to explore and experience the world around them and learn. A commitment to child safety is central to Ardoch’s mission and values.
Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about how we work to keep children safe.
In an emergency, where there are urgent concerns for a child’s health or life, call the police using the emergency line triple zero (000).
If you think that a child is at risk, it is important that you act, even if you are not entirely sure. Not only do we all have an ethical responsibility to keep children safe, but there are laws across Australia that require the reporting of harm to children in some cases.
For more information on reporting requirements, please see the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/mandatory-reporting-child-abuse-and-neglect
If you suspect a child is sexually abused, you must report it to the police as soon as possible. If you are concerned about other forms of abuse, it is essential to reach out to police or child protection in your state.
What do I do if I believe a child is at risk or has been harmed by an Ardoch representative?
We take your feedback and concerns about child safety seriously. If your concern relates to an activity run by Ardoch or an Ardoch representative, please report the issue as soon as possible.
You can complete a Child Safety Incident Report, email the Child Safety Officer at [email protected], call us on 1300 Ardoch or 03 9537 2414 or write to the Child Safety Officer via Ardoch Level 4, 85 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000.
What happens if a complaint is made?
Any child safety concerns – including reports of abuse and harm sexual exploitation, or harassment – will be taken seriously, responded to immediately, thoroughly investigated, and reported on in accordance with our Child Safety Policy.
Ardoch will ensure that any investigations will be carried out by experienced professionals.
What about if I am volunteering and see or hear something that concerns me?
It is mandatory for anyone connected to Ardoch (staff, volunteers, consultants etc.) to confidentially report all concerns, suspicions of allegations of abuse or harm and any breaches of our Child Safety Policy or Code of Conduct. If you are a volunteer, staff member or representative of Ardoch, you must be familiar with and follow the Child Safety Policy.
Please email the Child Safety Officer at [email protected], call us on 1300 Ardoch or 03 9537 2414 or write to the Child Safety Officer via Ardoch Level 4, 85 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000.