Child Protection and Safety

Xavier College’s fundamental responsibility is the care, safety and well-being of all students whilst in our care. There is a moral and legal responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment for all our students. Xavier College is committed to the protection of all our students from all forms of abuse.

To this end, we have developed a Child Safety Program made up of work systems, practices, policies and procedures designed to maintain a child safe environment and to embed an organisational culture of child safety within the College community.

Further information relating to the Ministerial Order 870 Standards that came into effect on 1 August, 2016 is available on the Victorian State Government - Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority's website. 

Listed below are a number of key policies within the Xavier College Child Protection and Safety Program:

  • Commitment to Safeguarding Children & Young People

    The Society of Jesus, often referred to as ‘the Jesuits’ was founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola more than 450 years ago. It is an international Catholic men’s religious order comprising priests, brothers and those in formation for these roles. The Australian Province of the Society had its beginnings with the arrival of the first Jesuits to Australia in 1848. Jesuits, lay staff and volunteers from the Province now minister throughout Australia and the world.

    Since it began, the Province’s educational, social, spirituality and pastoral ministries have served children and young people under 18 as well as adults.

    Cura personalis or the care for the entire person is a value central to our Ignatian tradition. To that end, all within the Province are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is safe, supportive, caring and nurturing for all children and young people. We commit ourselves to safeguarding children and young people from all abuse and neglect.

    More specifically, we are committed to safeguarding the children and young people in our care from:

    Sexual abuse

    Sexual abuse is any act in which a person with power or authority over a child (female or male) uses a child for sexual gratification. An abuser can be an adult, adolescent or older child.

    Sexual abuse spans a range of contact and non-contact behaviour.

    Non-contact behaviour includes:

    • making sexual comments (in person, in letters, or by telephone, text messages or email)
    • voyeurism – including commenting on physical attractiveness
    • exposing a child to pornography
    • nudity – an abuser exposing parts of their body or the child’s body.

    Contact behaviour includes:

    • fondling or kissing
    • sexual penetration
    • exploiting a child through prostitution. 

    Physical abuse

    Physical abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver subjects a child to non-accidental physically aggressive acts. The abuser may inflict an injury intentionally, or inadvertently as a result of physical punishment or the aggressive treatment of a child. Physically abusive behaviour includes (but is not limited to) shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, biting, burning and kicking.

    Emotional or psychological abuse

    Emotional or psychological abuse occurs when a caregiver or parent repeatedly rejects or threatens a child. Often there is a pattern of emotional or psychological abuse, rather than a single incident. Such abuse may involve humiliating, terrorising, name-calling, belittlement, inappropriate symbolic acts or continual coldness from the caregiver or parent, to an extent that results in significant damage to the child’s physical, intellectual or emotional wellbeing and development.

    Neglect

    Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide a child with the basic necessities of life. Such neglect includes the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical attention or supervision to the extent that the child’s health and development is, or is likely to be, significantly harmed.

    Witnessing family violence

    Witnessing family violence is a specific form of emotional or psychological abuse. Family violence is defined as violence between members of a family or extended family or those fulfilling the role of family in a child or young person’s life. Exposure to family violence places children and young people at increased risk of physical injury and harm and has a significant impact on their wellbeing and development.

     

    We expect all within the Province, regardless of their role or level of responsibility, to act to safeguard children and young people from such harm by:

    • complying with all Australian laws in relation to Child Protection and Child Safe Standards;
    • upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • adopting the practices and behaviour we have set as our standard when carrying out their roles; and
    • reporting any abuse or neglect of which they become aware to our leaders and/or to external authorities responsible for child protection and/or to police, regardless of whether that abuse is being perpetrated by personnel within our organisation, or by those outside our organisation including those from the child’s family, extended family, their family’s extended network or strangers.

    The Province’s commitment to providing a safe environment for the children and young people to whom we minister is endorsed and approved by me as the Provincial and by the leaders of Xavier College.

     

     

    Fr Brian F McCoy SJ                          Fr Chris Middleton SJ
    Provincial                                          Rector

    Mr Frank Peck OAM                          Dr Chris Hayes
    Chair of Council                               Principal

  • Child Protection and Safety Policy

    Xavier College has developed the following Child Protection and Safety Policy. This policy is an overarching document that provides key elements of our approach to protecting children from abuse. 

    The policy forms the foundation of the College’s procedures,practices, decision-making processes and ultimately the College’s culturewith respect to child safety. 

    It is designed to be published on our public website as well as communicated through other mediums such as newsletters, our annual report and in induction and welcome packs for College Council members, staff and Volunteers. 

    A PDF version of Xavier College's Child Protection and Safety Policy is available here.

    The College’s Child Protection and Safety Policy has been approved and endorsed by the Xavier College Council and is regularly reviewed by the College. 

    The following is a Child Protection and Safety Policy that meets the guidelines set out in Standard 2 of the Victorian Child Safe Standards.

    Objectives

    This policy provides the framework for:

    • the development of work systems, practices, policies and procedures that promote child protection within the College;
    • the creation of a positive and robust child protection culture;
    • the promotion and open discussion of child protection issues within the College; and
    • compliance with all laws, regulations and standards relevant to child protection in Victoria.

    Statement of Commitment to Child Safety

    At Xavier College we have a zero tolerance for child abuse and are committed to acting in children’s best interests and keeping them safe from harm. The College regards its child protection responsibilities with the utmost importance and as such, is committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure compliance with all relevant child protection laws and regulations and maintain a child safe culture. 

    Child abuse includes sexual offences, grooming, physical violence, serious emotional or psychological harm, serious neglect and a child’s exposure to family violence. Xavier College is committed to the protection of all children from all forms of child abuse and demonstrates this commitment through the implementation of a comprehensive Child Protection Program designed to keep children safe.

    Child Safe Values & Principles

    The College’s commitment to child safety is based on the following overarching principles that guide the development and regular review of our work systems, practices, policies and procedures to protect children from abuse. 

    1. All children have the right to be safe. 
    2. The welfare and best interests of the child are paramount.
    3. The views of the child and a child’s privacy must be respected.
    4. Clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children are established in our Child Safety Code of Conduct and Staff and Student Professional Boundaries Policy.
    5. The safety of children is dependent upon the existence of a child safe culture.
    6. Child safety awareness is promoted and openly discussed within our College community.
    7. Procedures are in place to screen all staff, Direct Contact Volunteers** Third Party Contractors and External Education Providers who have direct contact with children.
    8. Child safety and protection is everyone's responsibility.
    9. Child protection training is mandatory for all College Council members, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers.
    10. Procedures for responding to alleged or suspected incidents of child abuse are simple and accessible for all members of the College community.
    11. Children from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds have the right to special care and support including those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 
    12. Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support.

    **Direct Contact Volunteers are those volunteers who are involved in providing support, guidance and supervision directly to students and could potentially have direct contact with students during the normal course of providing the volunteer service. 

    The Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic) defines ‘direct contact’ as any contact between a person and a child (aged under 18) that involves:

    • physical contact; or 
    • face to face contact; or 
    • contact by post or other written communication; or
    • contact by telephone or other oral communication; or
    • contact by email or other electronic communication.

    Examples of Direct Contact Volunteer activities may include volunteers involved in College camps and excursions, coaching sporting teams or assisting in learning activities.

    Child Protection Program

    Xavier College is committed to the effective implementation of our Child Protection Program and ensuring that it is appropriately reviewed and updated. We adopt a risk management approach by identifying key risk indicators and assessing child safety risks based on a range of factors including the nature of our College's activities, physical and online environments and the characteristics of the student body. 

    Our Child Protection Program relates to all aspects of protecting children from abuse and establishes work systems, practices, policies and procedures to protect children from abuse. It includes: 

    • clear information as to what constitutes child abuse and associated key risk indicators;
    • clear procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of child abuse;
    • strategies to support, encourage and enable staff, Volunteers, Third Party Contractors, External Education Providers, parents and students to understand, identify, discuss and report child protection matters;
    • procedures for recruiting and screening College Council members, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers;
    • procedures for reporting reportable conduct and/or misconduct;
    • pastoral care strategies designed to empower students and keep them safe;
    • policies with respect to cultural diversity and students with disabilities;
    • a child protection training program; 
    • information regarding the steps to take after a disclosure of abuse to protect, support and assist children; 
    • guidelines with respect to record keeping and confidentiality;
    • policies to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations and standards (including the Victorian Child Safe Standards); and 
    • a system for continuous review and improvement.

    As a part of Xavier College’s induction process, all staff and Direct Contact Volunteers are required to complete a selection of training modules on the content of our Child Protection Program or undergo training through the Australian Childhood Foundation. 

    All staff, Direct Contact Volunteers and College Council members are provided with additional, ongoing child protection training at least annually.

    Staff, Volunteers, Third Party Contractors and External Education Providers are supported and supervised by the College’s Child Protection Officers to ensure that they are compliant with the College’s approach to child protection.

    Responsibilities

    Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. At Xavier College all members of the College Council and staff, as well as Volunteers, have a shared responsibility for contributing to the safety and protection of children. Specific responsibilities include:

    College Council
    Each member of the College Council is required to ensure that appropriate resources are made available to allow the College’s Child Protection and Safety Policy and the Child Protection Program to be effectively implemented within the College and are responsible for holding the Principal and Management / Executive team accountable for effective implementation. 

    The Principal 
    The Principal is responsible, and will be accountable for, taking all practical measures to ensure that this Child Protection and Safety Policy and the College’s Child Protection Program are implemented effectively and that a strong and sustainable child protection culture is maintained within the College. 

    The College's Child Protection Officers
    A number of key staff members are nominated as the College's Child Protection Officers. Our Child Protection Officers receive additional specialised training with respect to child protection issues. They are the first point of contact for raising child protection concerns within the College. They are also responsible for championing child protection within the College and assisting in coordinating responses to child protection incidents. 

    Staff Members
    All staff are required to be familiar with the content of our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program and their legal obligations with respect to the reporting of child abuse. It is each individual’s responsibility to be aware of key risk indicators of child abuse, to be observant, and to raise any concerns they may have relating to child abuse with one of the College’s Child Protection Officers. 

    Direct Contact Volunteers
    All Direct Contact Volunteers, as defined in this policy, are required to be familiar with the content of our Child Protection and Safety Policy, our Child Protection Program and their legal obligations with respect to the reporting of child abuse. 

    It is each individual’s responsibility to be aware of key risk indicators of child abuse, to be observant, and to raise any concerns they may have relating to child abuse with one of the College’s Child Protection Officers. 

    Indirect Contact Volunteers

    Indirect Contact Volunteers (or 'Indirect Volunteers') are those volunteers who are involved in providing support and services whilst not directly assisting a specific group of students.

    All Indirect Volunteers are responsible for contributing to the safety and protection of children in the College environment.

    All Indirect Volunteers are required by the College to be familiar with our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Safety Code of Conduct. 

    Examples of Indirect Contact Volunteer activities may include assisting with College administrative functions.

    Third Party Contractors 

    All Third Party Contractors (service providers) engaged by the College are responsible for contributing to the safety and protection of children in the College environment.

    Third Party Contractors include, for example, maintenance and building personnel, consultants, casual teachers, tutors, sports coaches and college cleaners. 

    This also includes music teachers and other extra-curricular teachers and instructors who are engaged by students and their families directly, rather than the College, but have an agreement with the College to use the College’s facilities

    Direct Contact Contractors

    Direct Contact Contractors are:

    • those who have direct contact** with students during the normal course of their work;
    • those who may be in a position to establish a relationship of trust with a student notwithstanding that unsupervised access to students would be rare (for example full-time maintenance personnel); and 
    • any contractors whom a school is legally required to screen.

    **The Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic) defines ‘direct contact’ as any contact between a person and a child (aged under 18) that involves:

    • physical contact; or
    • face to face contact; or 
    • contact by post or other written communication; or
    • contact by telephone or other oral communication; or
    • contact by email or other electronic communication.

    Indirect Contact Contractors
    Indirect Contact Contractors are those contractors who do not meet the definition of “Direct Contact Contractor”. Refer to Third Party Contractors’ Responsibilities for more information.

    All service providers engaged by the College are required by the College to be familiar with our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program. 

    The College may include this requirement in the written agreement between it and the service provider.

    External Education Providers
    An External Education Provider is any organisation that the College has arranged to deliver a specified course of study that is part of the curriculum, to a student or students enrolled at the College. The delivery of such a course may take place on College premises or elsewhere.

    All External Education Providers engaged by the College are responsible for contributing to the safety and protection of children in the College environment. 

    All External Education Providers engaged by the College are required by the College to be familiar with our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program. 

    Xavier College may include this requirement in the written agreement between it and the External Education Provider. 

    Reporting Child Protection Concerns

    Our Child Protection Program provides detailed guidance for members of the College Council, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers as to how to identify key risk indicators of child abuse and how to report child abuse concerns to one of our College's nominated Child Protection Officers. It also contains detailed procedures with respect to the reporting of child abuse incidents to relevant authorities. 

    Staff, Third Party Contractors, External Education Providers, Volunteers, students, parents/guardians and other community members who have concerns that a child may be subject to abuse or grooming are asked to contact the College's Senior Child Protection Officer, Jeremy Nicholls, by phoning 03 9815 4882 or emailing Jeremy.Nicholls@xavier.vic.edu.au. Communications will be treated confidentially on a “need to know basis”. 

    Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger the Police should be called on 000.

    Related Policies and Procedures

    • Risk Management Program
    • Compliance Program
    • Human Resources Program
    • Student Duty Of Care Program
    • Occupational Health & Safety Program
    • Child Protection Staff Training
    • Recruitment & Selection Procedures
    • Induction Procedures

    Policy & Program Review

    Xavier College is committed to the continuous improvement of our Child Protection Program. The Program is regularly reviewed for overall effectiveness and to ensure compliance with all child protection related laws, regulations and standards.

  • Child Safety Code of Conduct

    A Child Safety Code of Conduct lists behaviours that are acceptable and those that are unacceptable. It provides a high-level statement of professional boundaries, ethical behaviour and acceptable and unacceptable relationships. For more detailed guidance refer to the College's Staff and Student Professional Boundaries policy.

    When individuals are clear about behavioural expectations, they are much more likely to act appropriately with each other and with children. When everyone is educated about the Code of Conduct and the reasons it is so important to uphold, the College environment becomes much more transparent and people are accountable for their behaviour. Above all, a Child Safety Code of Conduct helps to protect children from harm. 

    The Child Protection Code of Conduct applies to:

    • all staff members, including non-teaching staff and temporary or casual staff;
    • Volunteers;
    • students;
    • parents and carers;
    • Third Party Contractors and service providers (including External Education Providers);
    • members of the College Council;
    • teaching students on placement at the College; and
    • visitors.

    The Code is made available to all staff, volunteers, families and students via our public website and staff intranet. A PDF version of our Child Safety Code of Conduct is available here.

    The following is a Child Protection and Safety Policy that meets the guidelines set out in Standard 3 of the Victorian Child Safe Standards.

    Our Child Safety Code of Conduct

    These Guidelines need to be read in conjunction with the Victorian Teaching Profession Code of Conduct. This can be accessed at: http://www.vit.vic.edu.au/professional-responsibilities/conduct-and-ethics

    This Child Safety Code of Conduct outlines appropriate standards of behaviour for all adults towards students. The Code serves to protect students, reduce any opportunities for abuse or harm to occur, and promote child safety in the College environment. It provides guidance on how to best support students and how to avoid or better manage difficult situations. Where a staff member breaches the Code, Xavier College may take disciplinary action, including in the case of serious breaches, summary dismissal. The College revises the Code annually.

    Xavier College has the following expectations of behaviours and boundaries for all adults interacting with students within our College community. This includes all teaching staff, general staff, Council members, volunteers (direct and indirect), third party contractors, external education providers and parents/carers.

    The College Council has endorsed this Child Safety Code of Conduct. 

    DO:

    • Behave as a positive role model to students.
    • Promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students.
    • Be vigilant and proactive with regard to student safety and child protection issues. 
    • Provide age appropriate supervision for students.
    • Comply with guidelines published by the College with respect to child protection.
    • Treat all students with respect.
    • Promote the safety, participation and empowerment of students with a disability.
    • Promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of linguistically and culturally diverse students.
    • Use positive and affirming language towards students.
    • Encourage students to ‘have a say’ and then listen to them with respect. 
    • Respect cultural, religious and political differences.
    • Help provide an open, safe and supportive environment for all students to interact, and socialise.
    • Intervene when students are engaging in inappropriate bullying behaviour towards others or acting in a humiliating or vilifying way.
    • Report any breaches of this Child Safety Code of Conduct.
    • Report concerns about child safety to one of the College’s Child Protection Officers and ensure that your legal obligations to report allegations externally are met.
    • Where an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the student involved is safe.
    • Call the Police on 000 if you have immediate concerns for a student's safety. 
    • Respect the privacy of students and their families and only disclose information to people who have a need to know.​

    DO NOT:

    • Engage in any form of inappropriate behaviour towards students or expose students to such behaviour.
    • Use prejudice, oppressive behaviour or inappropriate language with students.
    • Engage in inappropriate open discussions of an adult nature in the presence of students.
    • Engage in any form of sexual conduct with a student including making sexually suggestive comments and sharing sexually suggestive material.
    • Engage in inappropriate or unnecessary physical conduct or behaviours including doing things of a personal nature that a student can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes.
    • Engage in any form of physical violence towards a student including inappropriately rough physical play.
    • Use physical means or corporal punishment to discipline or control a student.
    • Engage in any form of inappropriate behaviour that has the potential to cause a student serious emotional or psychological harm.
    • Develop ‘special’ relationships with students that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific students).
    • Engage in undisclosed private meetings with a student that is not your own child. 
    • Engage in meetings with a child that is not your own, outside of school hours and without permission from the College and the child’s parent.
    • Engage in inappropriate personal communications with a student through any medium, including any online contact or interactions with a student.
    • Take or publish (including online) photos, movies or recordings of a student without parental/carer consent.
    • Post online any information, without parent / carer consent, about a student that may identify them such as their: full name; age; e-mail address; telephone number; residence; school; or details of a club or group they may attend.
    • Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse.

    Our Child Protection Program includes a Staff and Student Professional Boundaries Policy that provides detailed guidance for all staff and Volunteers on how to maintain professional boundaries between students and adults at Xavier College. 

    Report any concerns

    The Program also includes information for members of the College Council, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers as to how to identify key risk indicators of child abuse and how to report child abuse concerns to one of our College's nominated Child Protection Officers. 

    It also contains detailed procedures with respect to the reporting of child abuse incidents to relevant authorities. 

    Third Party Contractors, External Education Providers, Indirect Contact Volunteers, students, parents or other community members who have concerns that a child may be subject to abuse are asked to contact one of the College's Child Protection Officers.

    Communications will be treated confidentially on a ‘need to know basis’. 

    Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger, the Police should be contacted on 000.

  • Procedures for Responding to and Reporting Allegations of Child Abuse

    Child abuse can take many forms. The abuser may be a parent, carer, staff member, volunteer, another adult or even another child. Unfortunately, the nature of child abuse is complex. The abuse may occur over time and potential risk indicators are often difficult to detect. Even our legal obligations for reporting allegations of child abuse can vary depending on the circumstances of the incident. 

    The College will take appropriate, prompt action in response to all allegations or disclosures of abuse, neglect, inappropriate behaviour or concerns about child safety by reporting all matters to the Victorian Child Protection Service, the Commission for Children and Young People, or the Police, depending on the allegation or disclosure made. 

    Xavier College has established simple and accessible procedures for anyone to report a child abuse concern internally to one of the College's Child Protection Officers.

    Xavier College has developed and implemented procedures for Council members, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers for responding to allegations and disclosures of child abuse, or suspected child abuse, including procedures for support following a disclosure by a student..

    Reporting procedures for Third Party Contractors, External Education Providers, Indirect Contact Volunteers, parents/carers and other community members are also included in our Child Protection and Safety Policy which is available on our public website. 

    Age appropriate reporting procedures for students are developed through our pastoral care program.

    Our work systems, practices, policies and procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of child abuse both internally and externally include:

    • Managing Your Initial Response to a Child Protection Incident
    • Responding to an Emergency
    • Reporting a Child Abuse Concern Internally
    • General Legal Obligation to “Act to Protect” and to Report Child Sexual Abuse
    • Mandatory Reporting 
    • Reportable Conduct of Staff, Volunteers and Others
    • Responding to Other Concerns About the Wellbeing of a Child
    • Conduct that is Reportable to the Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT)
    • Communication with Parents/Carers
    • Support for Students Interviewed at the College 
    • Making Additional Reports
    • Child Protection Complaints Management
    • Confidentiality & Privacy
    • Record Keeping 

    The College’s policies and procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of suspected child abuse are made available to staff, students, parents/carers and the wider College community by request. 

    All of the College’s procedures for reporting and responding to allegation of child abuse are designed and implemented taking into account the diverse characteristics of the College community. 

    A summary of these procedures is made publicly available on the College’s website through our Child Protection and Safety Policy and is accessible to all children, College staff and the wider community. 

    The College will respond to all allegations of child abuse in an appropriate manner including:

    • informing the appropriate authorities and fully cooperating with any resulting investigation;
    • protecting any child connected to the allegation until it is resolved and providing ongoing support to those affected;
    • taking particular measures in response to an allegation that concerns a culturally diverse child or a child with a disability; and 
    • securing and retaining records of the allegation and the College’s response to it.
       

    Documenting Your Observations and Actions 

    It is critical that all teaching staff, non-teaching staff, Council members, Volunteers, Third Party Contractors and External Education Providers keep clear and comprehensive notes relating to incidents, disclosures and allegations of child abuse. This information may be sought at a later date if the matter is the subject of court proceedings. Your notes may also assist you later if you’re required to provide evidence to support your decisions regarding the handling of child protection incidents. 

    For more information about how to record observations, disclosures or allegations refer to the Child Protection Record Keeping section of this Program.
     

    Preserving Evidence

    When an incident of suspected child abuse occurs at the College, consider all of the following:

    • environment: do not clean up the area and preserve the sites where the alleged incident occurred;
    • clothing: take steps to ensure that the person who has allegedly committed the abuse and the child who has allegedly been abused remain in their clothing. If this is not possible, ensure the clothes are not washed, handled as little as possible and stored in a sealed bag;
    • other physical items: ensure that items such as weapons, bedding and condoms are untouched; and
    • potential witnesses: reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent discussion of the incident between those involved in the alleged incident.
  • Child Protection Officers – Make a Report

    Xavier College has appointed the people listed below as the College's Child Protection Officers. Each Child Protection Officer is available to answer any questions that you may have with respect to our Child Protection and Safety Policy and the Child Protection Program.

    Child Protection Officers are selected based on a number of considerations, namely:

    • their personal attitudes, experiences and beliefs, for example, a person who is non­judgmental, calm, resilient and demonstrates a high degree of integrity and respect for confidentiality;
    • their role within the College, for example, a person who has seniority and experience working with complex student and family issues at the College and someone who is readily accessible and available to all members of the College community;
    • and their personal profile within the College, for example, a person who is approachable, who students and staff trust and who is willing and able to respond to issues personally and sensitively.

    The College's Child Protection Officers can be your first point of contact for reporting child protection issues within the College. They receive special training that allows them to deal with child protection concerns both sensitively and effectively.

    ‘Child Abuse’ includes:

    • sexual offences;
    • grooming;
    • physical violence;
    • serious emotional or psychological harm;
    • serious neglect;
    • and family violence, or exposure to family violence.

    If you have any concern that a child may be experiencing any form of abuse, whether or not you have formed a belief on reasonable grounds that the abuse has occurred, you should immediately raise your concerns with one of our Child Protection Officers. Please be aware that consulting with a Child Protection Officer does not change any obligation you have under legislation to report to an external authority. 

    The welfare and best interests of the child are paramount. Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger the Police should be called on 000.

    Name Campus Position Contact Number Email Address
    Jeremy Nicholls Senior Campus Head of Students 03 9815 4882 Jeremy.Nicholls@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Peter Pangiotopoulos    Senior Campus School Counsellor 03 9854 5499
    (Mob: 0402 895 065)   
    Peter.Pangiotopoulos@xavier.vic.edu.au   
    Liz Allan Senior Campus    Head of House 03 9854 5458 Liz.Allan@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Prue Mitchell Senior Campus Nurse 03 9854 5456 Prue.Mitchell@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Maree Girolami Burke Hall Student Wellbeing Coordinator 03 9855 4130
    (Mob: 0418 139 653)
    Maree.Girolami@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Gerard Dowling Burke Hall Year 8 Home Room Teacher 03 9855 4239 Gerard.Dowling@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Elena Serraglio Burke Hall Dean of Early Years 03 9855 4183 Elena.Serraglio@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Greta Caneva Burke Hall Year 5 Learning Leader 03 9855 4116 Greta.Caneva@xavier.vic.edu.au
    David Armstrong Kostka Hall Assistant Middle Years Coordinator    03 9519 0624 David.Armstrong@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Stephen Findley Kostka Hall School Counsellor 03 9519 0628
    (Mob: 0428 487 863)
    Stephen.Findley@xavier.vic.edu.au
    Keith Newman Kostka Hall Dean of Early Years 03 9519 0670 Keith.Newman@xavier.vic.edu.au

    Our Senior Child Protection Officers

    Xavier College has appointed the following staff members as the College's Senior Child Protection Officers. The Senior Child Protection Officer has an important role in the promotion and maintenance of our child protection culture at the College. Each campus of the College has appointed a Senior Child Protection Officer.

    The Senior Child Protection Officer is identified in our publicly available Child Protection and Safety Policy as a contact for the wider community when they have child protection concerns relating to the College.

    The Senior Child Protection Officer at the each campus is contactable by phone or email. Please refer to their contact details above.

    Senior Child Protection Officers on each campus:

    • Senior Campus ­- Jeremy Nicholls
    • Burke Hall ­- Maree Girolami
    • Kostka Hall ­- Stephen Findley
  • Mandatory Reporting

    Source of Obligation

    The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) (CYFA) requires that mandatory reporters must make a report to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Child Protection when they believe that a child (aged under 17) is in need of protection from significant harm from physical injury or sexual abuse.

    If a report is made by mandatory reporters in accordance with CYFA mandatory reporting obligations, an additional report to the Police under s-327 Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) may not be required unless you have further information. 

    This policy must be read in conjunction with the Child Abuse Key Risk Indicators and The Obligation to Report a Sexual Offence.

    Who Must Make a Mandatory Report?

    Mandatory reporters are defined by the CYFA and include:

    • teachers;
    • the Principal;
    • medical practitioners;
    • and nurses.

    For more information, refer to Responding to Other Concerns About the Wellbeing of a Child.
     

    What Happens After a Report/Referral is Made?

    After receiving a report, DHHS Child Protection may seek further information, usually from professionals who may also be involved with the child or family, to determine whether further action is required. In most cases, DHHS Child Protection will inform the reporter of the outcome of the report. 

    After receiving a referral, Child FIRST may consult an experienced community-based Child Protection practitioner in their assessment. The assessment may lead to the involvement of a local family services organisation. 

    In most cases, Child FIRST will inform the referrer of the outcome of the referral.

    Child FIRST must report the matter to DHHS Child Protection if they form the view the child is in need of protection.

    Reports made to the Police will be dealt with in accordance with Police practice.
     

    International Students

    The College must notify the VRQA if the alleged abuse relates to an international student and the College has issued a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter in relation to that student thereby assuming responsibility for approving the student’s accommodation, support and general welfare.
     

    Record Keeping Obligations

    For the College’s record keeping obligations relating to child protection incidents, refer to Child Protection Record Keeping.

    To report concerns about the immediate safety of a child within their family unit, call the 24 hour Child Protection Crisis Line 13 12 78.

    Concerns that require immediate attention should be made to the local or regional Human Services Child Protection office, or the After Hours Child Protection Emergency Services on 13 12 78.
     

    What If I Don't Have a Reasonable Belief?

    If you don't have a reasonable belief about a child, but still have concerns, you can refer the matter to a College Child Protection Officer.

    There is also the option to refer the matter to Child FIRST.

    A referral to Child FIRST should be considered if a staff member forms the view that the concerns have a low-to-moderate impact on the child and the immediate safety of the child is not compromised.

    A referral can be made when the following factors may affect a child:

    significant parenting problems; family conflict; a family member’s physical or mental illness, substance abuse, disability or bereavement; isolated or unsupported families; and significant social or economic disadvantage.

    A report to DHHS Child Protection should be considered if the staff member forms the view the child is in need of protection because:

    the harm or risk of harm has a serious impact on the child’s immediate safety, stability or development; the harm or risk of harm is persistent and entrenched and is likely to have a serious impact on the child’s safety, stability and development; or the child’s parents cannot or will not protect the child from harm.

    What to Report and When

    A report becomes mandatory as soon as is practicable after forming the belief.

    A report must include details of the belief, and the reasonable grounds of that belief. 

    Additional reports must be made on each occasion where you become aware of any further reasonable grounds for the belief. 

    Refer to the Victorian Department of Education’s Guide to Making a Report to Child Protection or Child FIRST (Child and Family Information, Referral and Support Team) for guidance on making a decision on whether to report.
     

    How is a Report/Referral Made?

    Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger the Police should be called on 000.

    'Parent' includes:

    the child's father; the child's mother; the spouse of the mother or father of the child; the domestic partner of the father or mother of the child; a person who has custody of the child; a person who is named as the father on the child's birth certificate; a person who acknowledges that he is the father of the child by an instrument under the Status of Children Act 1974 (Vic); and  a person in respect of whom a court has made a declaration or a finding or order that the person is the father of the child.
     

    Grounds for belief include matters of which a person has become aware and any opinions based on those matters.
     

    Significant    

    'Significant' means that which is sufficiently serious to warrant a response by a statutory authority irrespective of a family's consent. 

    What is 'significant' is not minor or trivial and may reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child's safety, welfare or wellbeing. 

    Significant harm can result from a single act or omission or an accumulation of these.
     

    Physical Injury or Sexual Abuse

    To assist in identifying physical injury or sexual abuse, refer to the College's information relating to Child Abuse - Definitions and Key Risk Indicators.
     

    Parents Have Not Protected, or Are Unlikely to Protect, the Child from harm of That Type

    The meaning of this phrase is not defined by legislation, but some examples may assist.

    A parent who 'has not protected, or is unlikely to protect that child from harm of that type' includes a parent who wants to protect his or her child from harm, but lacks the means to. 

    It also includes a parent who has the means to protect his or her child from harm, but does not want to. 

    A parent may be rendered 'unlikely to protect' that child for many reasons. For example: that parent does not, or refuses to recognise that harm is occurring; that parent or child may be subject to domestic violence; or that parent's partner may be abusive or harmful to the child.

    Reasonable Grounds

    The concept of 'reasonable grounds' requires you to consider whether another person, when faced with similar information, would also draw the same conclusion. It does not mean reporters are required to be certain, but rather reporters should ensure their concerns are well founded and based on information from a reliable source. There may be reasonable grounds for forming such a belief if:

    a child states they have been physically or sexually abused; a child states that they know someone who has been physically or sexually abused; someone who knows the child states that the child has been physically or sexually abused; a child shows signs of being physically or sexually abused; the staff member is aware of persistent family violence or parental substance misuse, psychiatric illness or intellectual disability that is impacting on a child's safety, stability or development; the staff member observes signs of abuse, including non-accidental or unexplained injury, persistent neglect, poor care or lack of appropriate supervision; or a child’s actions or behaviour may place them at risk of significant harm and the child’s parents are unwilling or unable to protect the child.

    It is the responsibility of other staff, Volunteers or members of the College community to check whether they are Mandatory Reporters under child protection legislation.

    Reporting for Non-Mandated Staff

    If you are not a Mandatory Reporter, you still have the option of making a report to DHHS under the CYFA if you believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection.

    The CYFA states that any person who believes on reasonable grounds that a child is at risk of harm should report their concerns to DHHS Child Protection. 

    All College staff who have concerns that a student may be in need of protection or may have been the victim of a sexual offence, should notify a College Child Protection Officer as soon as possible to discuss their concerns. Also refer to The Obligation to Report a Sexual Offence.

    A Mandatory Reporter must make a report even if the Child Protection Officer does not share their belief that a report must be made.

    What Gives Rise to a Mandatory Report?

    A mandatory report must be made when you form a belief on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection where the child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of:

    • physical injury;
    • or sexual abuse;
    • and the child's parents have not protected, or are unlikely to protect, the child from harm of that type.
  • Professional Standards - Australian Jesuit Province

    Protecting children and vulnerable adults

    Xavier College is a school of the Australian Jesuit Province. The Province has policies in place regarding how both religious and lay people engage in their ministry. 

    The principles, protocols and standards of practice governing the work of Jesuits and lay partners are outlined in the Province's Policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

    Principles and procedures relating to how Australian Church ministries engage in ministry are also outlined in the Towards Healing document, as well as the documents Integrity in Service of the Church and Integrity in Ministry

    These documents can be accessed through the Jesuit Province website: 

    http://jesuit.org.au/professional-standards/

    Other relevant policies are available upon request.

    Reporting, remedy and redress

    Issues involving Church-related abuse are dealt with via the National Committee for Professional Standards.

    The Truth, Justice and Healing Council is coordinating the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission with a commitment to cooperation, openness, full disclosure and justice for victims and survivors.
     
    If anyone wishes to bring a complaint of abuse against any member of staff, present or past, of a Jesuit school or other ministry, please refer to the options on our Province website.

    Reporting of Complaints

    Please note that when children are involved, Victoria has mandatory reporting provisions to the police or relevant state authority.  Please contact one of the College’s Child Protection Officers for assistance if you have any issues about making a mandatory report. 

    If anyone wishes to bring a complaint of abuse against any member of staff, present or past, of a Jesuit school or other ministry, they may do so in any of the following ways:
    If you believe a crime has been committed, contact the police – Victorian Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team on 03 9247 5538 or 000. Otherwise: Contact the office of Towards Healing - the Professional Standards Office Victoria on 1800 816 030 or contact the Xavier College Principal.

  • Australian Childhood Foundation

    The Jesuit Province has engaged the Australian Childhood Foundation who have been working to make schools, sporting clubs, welfare groups and child-based organisations safer for the children in their care and have been delivering their Safeguarding Children Program since 2009.  Xavier College is the first Jesuit school to be involved in this program and the Australian Childhood Foundation is providing training for all our staff.

    The Safeguarding Children program is the only program of its kind in Australia.  It provides policies, training and an accreditation scheme that strengthens the capacity of organisations to build an effective child safe culture.

    In its First Interim Report (2014), the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse identified the Safeguarding Children Program as an example of a voluntary accreditation scheme for organisations with a duty of care to children. It is a vital program because it aims to create a lasting community commitment to the safety of children and young people.

    Xavier College has commenced the accreditation process with the Australian Childhood Foundation to ensure we have a comprehensive framework for safeguarding children and providing the best environment for our students.
     

    Safeguarding Children Program

    The Safeguarding Children Program has a number of elements that can support and resource the College to enhance its capacity to prioritise the protection of children. 

    Of particular relevance now, given the compulsory nature of the Government’s legislative changes, the program offers the College the expertise to extend and validate its current approaches with external support, training and independent evaluation. Ultimately, by taking part in the full opportunities offered by the Safeguarding Children Program, the College will have achieved best practice in protecting children and be awarded Safeguarding Children Accreditation.  This can be used as evidence of compliance with the Child Safe Standards in Victoria. The Accreditation Stamp provides a highly visible measure to an organisation’s constituency of its compliance and achievements for children. 

    The Australian Childhood Foundation believes it is important to do more than raise awareness about protecting children and young people. While knowing about protecting children is extremely important, adopting explicitly stated standards gives the College practical and effective steps to protect its children and young people. 

    The seven standards that form the core of the Safeguarding Children Program are based on research, evidence and expert opinion on practical measures that help to protect children and young people while they are in the care of the College. 

    As compliance with the program’s seven standards is independently measured, there can be public confidence that the policies of accredited organisations are being enacted rather than remaining just well-intentioned aims. 

    There is no single action that can protect children and young people from abuse. Each standard forms a critical part of a comprehensive framework for safeguarding children. Each standard incorporates strategies to reduce risk to children and young people by: 

    • raising awareness and knowledge about child abuse and child protection; 
    • increasing vigilance and the ability to respond swiftly to concerns for children’s safety; 
    • developing policy specifically designed to protect children and young people; 
    • creating an organisational culture that incorporates child protection; 
    • ensuring communication and consultation with children, young people and their parents; and, 
    • empowering children, young people and their parents. 

    To gain accreditation under the Safeguarding Children Program, Xavier College is required to meet and demonstrate compliance with the seven standards.

    To learn more about the work of the Australian Childhood Foundation, visit their website: http://www.childhood.org.au/

Other relevant policies are available upon request.