​​More information about child protection and safeguarding vulnerable clients

Keep Them Safe

Keep Them Safe is the plan that guided, and still shapes, the shared approach to child wellbeing in NSW.

NSW Office of the Children's Guardian (OCG)

Information about Working With Children Checks (Clearances) in NSW. Note that asking for a WWCC is only one way of vetting potential employees and volunteers.

Further screening and monitoring of all workers is recommended by Fair Square.

In April 2017, the OCG released  online learning modules for creating child safe(r) orgnisations.

Fair Square recommend everyone who works with children should register and complete this training.

The NGO Training Centre

This group provides   online training resources  to help you understand child protection and mandatory reporting in NSW. There are also online modules for Out of Home Care legislation and many other topics.

, formerly called DoCS, are responsible for statutory child protection in NSW and the mandatory reporting processes. This department explicitly acknowledge that the care and protection of children and young people is dependent upon shared information. 

The Office of the NSW Ombudsman

The NSW Ombudsman has oversight of certain  employment related allegations:

Reportable Conduct
 - allegations of causing harm to a child, by a person engaged in child-related work in "designated agencies".

Disability Reportable Incidents
 - allegations of causing harm to a person with disability in the context of supported group accomodation.

NEW!!!  Joint Protocol to reduce the contact of people with disability in supported accommodation with the criminal justice system 

The Child Abuse Royal Commission

The terms of reference for the Royal Commission focus on responses to child sexual abuse within institutions. As such, the Royal Commission is not necessarily examining the whole picture in regard to children's safety and wellbeing.  One of the key reports however does decribe the general practices and cultures that should exist in organisations/institutions to best prevent and manage all child safety concerns. In developing the report, a panel of experts were consulted. They agreed on key principles and elements that constitute child-safe organisations.

Fair Square recommend every agency, church, school or organisation providing care or services to children, should at least read the summary report:

Child Wise is a not-for-profit organisation providing training and advice   (and the National Child Abuse Helpline).  

Information from the Royal Commission

The two volumes of the 2014 Interim Report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are available  online .

Findings from the case studies you’ve been hearing of in the media are also available online .

The Royal Commission has been undertaking important policy work - focused on making recommendations to improve the safety of children in institutions into the future.

There have been many research reports published also. The research reports answer various questions across most of the following themes:

Institutional Responses
Government Responses
Ensuring a Positive Impact
Treatment and Support Needs

Fair Square are working to provide practical summaries of the research findings and policy implications. This will assist people who are not keen to read and synthesise several hundred pages of information!

If you were to read one report, the literature review “Risk Profiles for Institutionalised Child Sexual Abuse” is a key document.  The implications from this review are that institutions (and those who work in them) must become familiar with the key literature and evidence base:

In summary the literature shows the best way to reduce the risk of institutional child sexual abuse is to avoid dangerous practice rather than attempt to screen out allegedly dangerous people.

If you want to avoid dangerous practice and better understand what's coming from the Royal Commission, please contact us for assistance.

 Workplace bullying

When investigating complaints of workplace bullying, Safe Work Australia state:

Investigations should always be carried out by an unbiased person who has experience and knowledge in dealing with workplace bullying matters.  If being led internally it is important to ensure all parties have confidence in the neutrality of the investigator and they are suitably qualified to lead the investigation. If this is not possible an external investigator is recommended.

Finding Information

Managers, employees and volunteers all need to be able to recognise bullying behaviours. Below are some great sources of information to help you.

If you are a person who has recently had a bullying allegation made against you, the following sources of information should be quite helpful. If you need detailed advice specific to your situation you should contact a union, an association you belong to, or a lawyer.

Safe Work NSW

On the Safe Work NSW  website you will find a form to raise the issue of alleged workplace bullying with the relevant workplace parties covered by the NSW legislation (Work Health and Safety Act 2011).

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia produce a guide that gives information on how workplaces and businesses can manage the risks of workplace bullying. The guide is aimed at assisting people to meet their duties under work health and safety laws.

Safe Work Australia also produce a guide to help workers determine if workplace bullying is occurring. The guide for workers explains how the matter may be resolved and is useful for workers who believe they may be experiencing or witnessing workplace bullying (as well as those who have had a bullying report made against them).

The Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission publish a comprehensive resource called the Anti-Bullying Benchbook . It describes the process to be followed by certain workplaces when applying for an order to stop bullying in the workplace (ie as per the Fair Work Act 2009 ).  Whilst the processes do not apply in all workplaces, very useful definitions of bullying and descriptions of reasonable management actions are provided.

The Fair Work Ombudsman

The website of the Fair Work Ombudsman contains easy-to-read information about bullying and the laws that apply in different workplaces, states and territories. This site also explains how the law deals with “bullying” slightly differently to discrimination or harassment that is linked to certain personal characteristics and/or protected attributes (eg gender, race, sexual orientation).

For information on what anti-discrimination laws cover, and what you can do about discrimination, look at the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Anti Discrimination Board websites.

Tips and traps when choosing investigators and undertaking misconduct investigations

This guide was developed for the public service (federal government agencies) to assist in selecting and managing external investigators. It is useful for any school, agency or organisation that needs to outsource an employee misconduct investigtion.

The Office of the NSW Omudsman published a
discussion paper in 2016 titled "The use of external investigators by NSW Government agencies ".

Excellent advice from lawyers Andrew Tobin and Adele Garnett- 
Misconduct investigations: Our top tips
email us now admin@fairsquare.com.au or call / text 02 49081199
Fair Square - independent investigations and intelligence gathering.

Expertise in administrative investigations, child protection and crime prevention.

Impartial, robust and procedurally fair.