Child Safe Standards – Statement Of Commitment

McHarry’s Buslines is committed to the Child Safe Standards and compliance with the Child Safety and Wellbeing Act (2005). A child safe organisation takes deliberate steps to protect children from physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and cultural abuse, and neglect.

Following is our statement of commitment to the Child Safe Standards.

Creating a Child Safe Organisation for our Bus Operations Statement of Commitment From McHarry’s Buslines

The following outlines how we apply the Seven Child Safe Standards within our organisation.

Child safe standard 1. Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements:

McHarry’s Buslines is committed to Child Safe principles following the guidelines from the Commission for Children and Young People. A child safe organisation takes deliberate steps to protect children from physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and cultural abuse, and neglect.

McHarry’s Buslines has undertaken a Child Safety Review using a checklist adapted from the Commission’s guidelines to identify child safety measures in place and areas for improvement. As a result of this review, the business has adopted the policies and procedures set out in this statement under the leadership of Ashley McHarry, Executive Director.

Child safe standard 2. Statement of Commitment to Child Safety:

McHarry’s Buslines has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination or child abuse and is committed to children’s best interests and keeping them safe.

We promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and the safety of children with a disability in any interactions between staff and children through discussion with our staff.

Child safe standard 3. Code of Conduct:

All interactions between staff and children will comply with expected professional ethical behaviour and be visible and transparent as much as possible.

Staff will act in a way to protect children from harm and abuse. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional and psychological, racial, cultural, religious, or from neglect.

Staff will respect the privacy of children and their families, and only disclose information or concerns to Management, School Principal (or their delegates), or police.

All staff are made aware of what ‘Grooming’ is, and that Grooming for sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16 years is a criminal offence.

Any concerns about or complaints of breaches of this code should be made to David Doig, General Manager for prompt investigation.

All current staff and any new staff are informed of this Code and the requirement to comply with it.

Child safe standard 4. Screening, supervision, training and other human resource practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel:

McHarry’s Buslines ensures that all bus drivers have Driver Accreditation, and that all staff including school bus drivers with direct and unsupervised contact with children have and maintain a current Working with Children Check card (WWCC) to confirm their suitability to convey children. All staff require WWCC confirmation prior to employment, and WWCC card validity is reconfirmed at least annually.

Child abuse information from the Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation 2015 and the mandatory legislative reporting requirements is maintained in our Management Information System, provided to all staff, and reviewed at least annually as part of our internal audit process.

Child safe standard 5. Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse:

If a member of staff suspects child abuse, the person will record the reason and report the information promptly and confidentially to Management, who will notify the relevant person (for example, the School Principal (or their delegates)). Should a staff member believe that a matter requires police attention they will advise Management (and if a school service, the School Principal (or their delegates)) and report the matter to the police. Similarly, any children’s disclosures of abuse must be recorded using the child’s words and be reported to the police.

All staff are made aware that:-

Any adult who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child under 16 years of age has an obligation to report that information to police. Failing to disclose is a criminal offence.

People of authority within this organisation who know of a risk of child sexual abuse by someone in the organisation and who have the authority to reduce or remove the risk, must act to protect the child. To fail to do so is a criminal offence.

Child safe standard 6. Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse:

Risks involving child safety and the steps taken to minimise these risks have been incorporated into McHarry’s Buslines Safety Risk Register.

For example, one risk area includes the employment of staff involved in the transport of child passengers. As mentioned earlier in this document, to minimise this risk, all staff are required to hold a current Working With Children card.

These risks and treatments have been documented in McHarry’s Safety Risk Register which is reviewed at least annually and on an ad hoc basis in response to any changes.

Child safe standard 7. Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children:

McHarry’s Buslines is advised that children using certain government school bus services i.e. school country bus services, and Dept. Of Education Special School services, are informed by the school about safe and respectful bus travel at the start of their term of travel each year.

Children who travel on a McHarry’s Buslines’ contracted school bus may also be provided with Bus Association Victoria’s ‘Safe Bus Travel’ literature to take home and discuss with a parent or guardian.

Children are encouraged to tell their teacher, their School Principal (or their delegates), or their driver about any concerns they have about safety or behaviour on the bus.

As resources permit, Bus Association Victoria presents School Bus Safety sessions in primary schools around Victoria to inform and encourage discussion by children about safe and respectful bus travel. All such sessions are conducted under the direct supervision of the children’s school teachers to ensure that children’s questions and thoughts are welcomed, heard and discussed.