The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation that values and respects the dignity of all persons, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Safeguarding children and young people so that they thrive in their families and communities, whatever they may be, is a fundamental aspect of our work in providing a hand up to those in need.

The Society strives to work with the wider community to prevent all forms of abuse against children and young People and to ensure that the inherent dignity, care and wellbeing of all children and young people is upheld.

The Society commits to being a Child Safe Organisation and to continually assessing and evaluating its Child Safe Strategies to ensure that we are doing all we can to support and protect children.

We will take all possible actions to
• support and nurture all children and young people who come into contact with the Society
• promote their rights, dignity and wellbeing
• enable them to fully participation in the St Vincent de Paul Society and in their local communities
• ensure their safety and protect them from abuse and all forms of harm
• always put the best interests of children and young people first.

Our children and Young people are too important for us to do anything else.

The Society recognises that the Australian community is coming to terms with the implications of failing to protect Children its institutions and has sought external assessment by Child Wise of its Child Safe practices. The results of this assessment as well as the ongoing research from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and other sources will be continually incorporated into the Society’s Child Safe practices.

The elements of Child Safe Institutions highlighted by the Royal Commission provide the basis of our commitment to safeguard children and young people:

CW_child_safe_standards

1. Child safety is embedded in institutional leadership, governance and culture
2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
3. Families and communities are informed and involved
4. Equity is promoted and diversity respected
5. People working with children are suitable and supported
6. Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focused
7. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training.
8. Physical and online environments minimize the opportunity for abuse to occur.
9. Implementation of child safe standards is continuously reviewed and improved.
10. Policies and procedures document how the institution is child safe.

As a child-safe organisation the Society is committed to:
• protecting the children it supports;
• understanding the nature and risks of child abuse;
• having an open and aware culture;
• disseminating the fact that child abuse can be discussed and reported safely;
• developing policies and procedures to protect children and members, volunteers and employees;
• establishing and maintaining a child-safe environment as the main consideration in all of its activities and management practices;
• developing and monitoring the implementation of this Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures;
• putting this policy and set of associated procedures into practice;
• ensuring all service users and participants are aware of this policy and procedures document and the Society’s commitment to child protection;
• ensuring that voicing a concern is not viewed as an accusation; and
• members, volunteers and employees and volunteers having confidence that their concerns will be dealt with professionally and confidentially.

Accordingly, the Society will know that it is doing all that it can to protect children.

Safeguarding Children – Managing Concerns Flow Chart