In Australia, the abuse of children is finally getting the light it deserves, with a Royal Commission examining the way institutions allowed, and concealed, the abuse of children within their care. Schools, churches, and government residences have been raked over the coals; their dirty secrets have been exposed, and victims have been given a voice.
A consequence of the Royal Commission is a renewed focus on child safety in community organisations such as churches, sporting clubs, schools, and any other group that works with children. For example, in my home state of Victoria in Australia, all these organisations must comply with child safety standards, in the hope that a culture of protecting children can become the norm.
This is fantastic, but presents a problem for these organisations. How do they put together the documents needed to comply? This can include, for example, a policy, a statement about their commitment to child safety, and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers. And how to they make these documents user-friendly for staff and volunteer? Some policies are so filled with legal language as to be impenetrable to the average person.
At the moment, I am involved in two groups that are working on these policies. My church has just completed the process, and I’m on a school council that is detailing the requirements for parents and other adults who want to help out as volunteers on the school property. It’s a difficult process, but needs to be done.
There are a few of ways to get this done:
- Do It Yourself: you can download a kit from somewhere like Our Community or the Commission for Children and Young People, and then get going on adapting their templates for your organisation.
- Hire a Specialist: you can contract an organisation like ChildSafe to help your organisation with policies, training, and creating a culture of safety.
- Hire Me: if you have already put together policies and codes of conduct, but need to make them readable for the average volunteer, then I can help. I’m an expert in making complex language readable for the average person. And, as a youth worker, church worker, and teacher, I understand community organisations from a personal and professional standpoint. If you want your codes of conduct to actually make sense for your staff and volunteers, then it’s likely they’ll need to be re-written. Get in touch or call 0421 764 699 if you want to talk about your requirements.
Whatever your approach, child safety needs to be a priority for your organisation.