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Safeguarding children

Statement of Commitment

The Y, including its Board of Directors, has a zero tolerance policy to child abuse and neglect as part of our commitment to the rights of children and young people to feel safe and be safe when participating in our organisation's activities. The Y takes all reasonable steps to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

There is a requirement for all The Y employees, volunteers (including its Board of Directors), student placements, consultants and contractors, affiliated associations, clients, parents, guardians, families and others associated with The Y to understand the important responsibility they have to:

  • Protect children, young people and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse, bullying and exploitation by our people
  • Implementing the Responding to Safeguarding Procedure to be alert to incidents of abuse and neglect occurring outside the scope of our operations and services that may have an impact on the children, young people and vulnerable adults to whom we provide a service
  • Create and maintain a safe culture that is understood, endorsed and put into action by all the individuals who work for, volunteer or access our programs and services

Safeguarding Children

The Y is accredited by the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) under the Safeguarding Children Program. 

This program is a voluntary accreditation scheme designed for organisations who have a duty of care to children and young people whilst delivering a service or activity to them and/or their families. It systematically builds the capacity of organisations to keep children and young people safe from abuse and exploitation by staff, volunteers or other related individuals.

Gaining full accreditation means that the Y successfully meets and complies to the ACF’s seven standards of the accreditation requirements. It recognises that we know how to keep children and young people safe from harm and endorses our efforts to actively pursue the highest level of child safety in our organisation.

The accreditation also highlights our ability to:

  • recognise the factors that increase a child's vulnerability to maltreatment
  • be aware of the vulnerabilities which may indicate a need to assess, monitor or curtail the behaviour of individuals in relation to children and young people within organisations
  • create an environment which limits the opportunity for children to be maltreated
  • develop and maintain a culture that is child-focused, transparent and respectful
  • implement a comprehensive framework that ensures appropriate policies and guidelines for all individuals associated with an organisation

Over the past few years, The Y has worked hard to ensure safeguarding of children and young people is embedded in its culture.

  • We created and implemented the Y Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Framework that demonstrates how safeguarding will be built into all areas of our business and operations.
  • We established a dedicated Risk and Assurance team including a Child Protection Unit. 
  • We introduced new reporting tools for staff to report any behaviour not consistent with child safe practices including the independently-run Whistle-Blower service for clients and third parties who can make anonymous reports of actual or suspected wrongdoing. 
  • We significantly improved recruitment and induction processes, with all new staff now required to pass a Working with Children Check and Police Check and all staff required to complete regular, mandatory child protection and safeguarding training.
  • We regularly distribute child safety resources to our staff and clients.

For more information on the accreditation process, visit the Australian Childhood Foundation online.

Safe Environment

For most children and young people, growing up in Australia is a journey experienced in safe, healthy and positive environments. It is about discovering life with the support of caring and protective families.

At The Y the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults is our highest priority. The right to be able to enjoy a safe environment free from threats, abuse or mistreatment is first and foremost to our service commitment to our clients and communities.

In 2015, to reinforce this commitment, we added “Safety” to our organisational values and supported this within a framework of “acting differently”.

This emphasis on Safety as a value significantly improves its ongoing visibility within the YMCA and our people are encouraged to act differently as the foundation of cultural accountability. This essentially means holding yourself and others accountable, being transparent and learning from your mistakes.

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