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CHILD PROTECTION

EFFECTIVE: 8 APRIL 2009


VERSION: 2.7 FINAL
Last update date: 26 November 2013

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

CONTENTS
1

POLICY STATEMENT ..........................................................................................................4

BACKGROUND ....................................................................................................................4

SCOPE .................................................................................................................................4

PROCEDURES ....................................................................................................................4
4.1
REPORTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.....................................................................4
4.1.1 RESPONSIBILITIES OF TEACHING STAFF................................................4
4.1.2 RESPONSIBILITIES OF NON-TEACHING STAFF.......................................6
4.1.3 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PRINCIPALS: MANDATORY REPORTS ..............6
4.1.4 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PRINCIPALS: REPORTS MADE BY NONMANDATORY REPORTERS ........................................................................7
4.2
REPORTING OF PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE OR
NEGLECT .................................................................................................................8
4.2.1 RESPONSIBILITIES OF ALL STAFF ............................................................8
4.2.2 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PRINCIPAL............................................................8
4.3
REPORTING ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE PERPETRATED BY STAFF ..................9
4.3.1 REPORTING PROCEDURE FOR ALL STAFF ...........................................10
4.3.2 REPORTING PROCEDURE FOR PRINCIPAL...........................................10
4.4
REPORTING ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE PERPETRATED BY A CHILD
................................................................................................................................11
4.4.1 SEXUAL ABUSE PERPETRATED DURING SUPERVISED SCHOOL
ACTIVITIES .................................................................................................11
4.4.2 CONSENSUAL SEX BETWEEN CHILDREN..............................................12
4.5
REPORTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT..................................................................12
4.5.1 SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY A STUDENT .................................................12
4.5.2 SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY STAFF ..........................................................12
4.6
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION AND IMAGES .................................................13
4.6.1 STAFF CONDUCT AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION .....................13
4.6.2 CHILD ABUSE PERPETRATED VIA ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION ..13
4.7
REPORTING BY NON-DEPARTMENT PROVIDERS ............................................13
4.8
RESPONDING TO DISCLOSURES OF CHILD ABUSE ........................................14
4.8.1 ACTING ON A SUSPICION WHEN THERE IS NO DISCLOSURE ............14
4.8.2 REPORTING FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE..................................15
4.8.3 SUPPORTING CHILDREN AFFECTED BY ABUSE...................................15
4.9
INFORMING PARENTS WHEN A CHILD ABUSE REPORT HAS BEEN MADE ...15
4.10 INFORMING PARENTS WHEN A CHILD ABUSE REPORT HAS NOT BEEN
MADE ......................................................................................................................16
4.11 RECORD KEEPING AND DOCUMENTATION ......................................................16
4.12 COLLABORATION AND CASE MANAGEMENT....................................................17
4.13 CONFIDENTIALITY ................................................................................................17
4.14 PROTECTION AND SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYEES WHO REPORT CHILD
ABUSE ....................................................................................................................18
4.15 PHYSICAL CONTACT FOR THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF STUDENTS .....19
4.16 CHILDREN IN THE CARE OF THE CEO OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR CHILD
PROTECTION.........................................................................................................19
4.17 CHILD PROTECTION PROFESSIONAL LEARNING (CPPL)................................20

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed


4.18
4.19

Effective: 8 April 2009

WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECK....................................................................20


PREVENTION PROGRAMS ...................................................................................20

RELEVANT LEGISLATION OR AUTHORITY ....................................................................20


5.1
RELATED DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION POLICIES ........................................21
5.2
OTHER GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS.................................................................21

DEFINITIONS .....................................................................................................................22

CONTACT INFORMATION ................................................................................................25

APPENDIX A

A GUIDE WHEN CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBLE CHILD ABUSE...............26

APPENDIX B

SCHOOL RECORDING FORM FOR DISCLOSURES, OBSERVATIONS OF


CHILD ABUSE AND ACTIONS .........................................................................27

APPENDIX C

SCHOOL REPORTING FORM FOR CHILD ABUSE ........................................28

APPENDIX D

REPORTING PROCESSES FOR ALL STAFF..................................................30

APPENDIX E SCHOOL SUPPORTS.......................................................................................32


E.1
DISTRICT EDUCATION OFFICE STAFF ...............................................................32
E.2
STANDARDS AND INTEGRITY DIRECTORATE (SID) .........................................32
E.3
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICE .................................32
APPENDIX F AGENCIES ........................................................................................................33
F.1
DEPARTMENT FOR CHILD PROTECTION...........................................................33
F.2
DCP LEGISLATIVE POWERS................................................................................33
F.3
GENERAL PRINCIPLES.........................................................................................33
F.4
INTERVIEWING THE CHILD ..................................................................................34
F.5
REMOVAL OF CHILDREN FROM THE SCHOOL .................................................34
F.6
MEDICAL EXAMINATION.......................................................................................34
F.7
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE SERVICE (WA POLICE) ................................34
APPENDIX G

SCHOOL SUPPORT PLAN FOR REPORTED ABUSE ....................................35

APPENDIX H

GUIDELINES FOR APPROPRIATE STAFF-STUDENT BEHAVIOUR .............36

APPENDIX I

COMPLETING DOCUMENTATION ..................................................................37

APPENDIX J

HISTORY OF CHANGES ..................................................................................38

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

POLICY STATEMENT
All staff employed by the Director General are responsible for the care, safety and
protection of children. This responsibility extends to the identification and timely
response to concerns regarding the possible sexual, physical, psychological and
emotional abuse or neglect of a child.

BACKGROUND
The Department of Education (the Department) is committed to the care, safety and
protection of all children attending public schools.
This document explains the actions to be taken by staff to protect children in
circumstances where abuse is suspected or when allegations of child abuse are
made against staff, children or other people in the community. Procedures for
reporting sexual abuse are made in accordance with the Children and Community
Services Act 2004.
All staff have an important role in the identification and reporting of child abuse and
the provision of support and assistance to children who have been abused.
Child protection and the prevention of child abuse is an across government initiative
and a shared community responsibility. This policy recognises that the best interests
of children will be met by collaborating with or engaging the expertise of other
government departments or non-government agencies in accordance with existing
protocols.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all Department staff including those who:

work in public schools;


provide educational programs off school sites; or
work in support roles in district education offices or Central Office where they
may have contact with children.

PROCEDURES

4.1

REPORTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

4.1.1

RESPONSIBILITIES OF TEACHING STAFF


Teachers must report a belief formed on reasonable grounds of child sexual abuse
that occurred on or after 1 January 2009 to the Mandatory Reporting Service (MRS)
of DCP in accordance with the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
Sexual abuse that occurred before 1 January 2009 is not a mandatory report but
must be reported to the principal.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

Guidelines
Mandatory reporters who fail to report sexual abuse can be fined up to $6,000. A person can
be prosecuted within three years after failing to make a report. Failing to report sexual abuse
may also be considered a breach of the Departments Discipline policy.
A belief formed on reasonable grounds that a child has been abused or neglected may be
based on but is not limited to:

reports of abuse by a third party; and/or


a disclosure of information provided by a child or parent/carer; or
observed evidence of physical and/or behavioural indicators.

The belief may be based on a number of child protection concerns that form the reasonable
grounds that have been documented over time using the School Recording Form for
Disclosures and Observations of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendices A and B).

If a decision to report has not been made, teachers must document all observations
and consultations on the School Recording Form for Disclosures and Observations
of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendix B) and provide to the principal for storage.
If an immediate decision to report has been made on the basis of a disclosure,
observation of indicators or information received, teachers must:

report a belief formed on reasonable grounds of sexual abuse where the belief
is formed during the course of paid or unpaid work as a teacher;
make the written report using the School Reporting Form for Child Abuse
(Appendix C);
lodge the report with MRS;
inform the principal that a report will be or has been made;
if the principal is absent from the school, inform the person in charge that a
report has been made; and
report to the Director Schools if the principal is the alleged perpetrator or may
be biased towards the person alleged to be responsible for the abuse.

Teachers must follow one of the following reporting processes to the MRS:

make a written report only; or


make a verbal report which must be followed up with a written report.

Teachers must lodge reports with the MRS by one of the following pathways:

provide a written report to the school principal who is authorised to receive it on


behalf of the MRS;
make a written report direct to the MRS and inform the principal that a report
has been made;
make a verbal report to the MRS and provide a written report to the school
principal; or
make a verbal report followed by a written report to the MRS and inform the
principal that a report has been made.

When making a report teachers must:

if a verbal report is made, submit a written report as soon as practicable;


note the receipt number provided by the MRS as proof that a verbal or written
report has been made;
inform the principal of the receipt number; and
inform the principal of the advice contained in the feedback letter received from
the MRS following the report.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

Guidelines

4.1.2

See Appendix D for a summary of reporting procedures.

If a teacher believes that a report of sexual abuse which provides identical information
has been lodged by another member of staff, it is not necessary to make their own
report.

It is recommended that a verbal report be made to MRS before lodging a written report.

The Departments School Reporting Form for Child Abuse (Appendix C) can be used
to make a written report to MRS.

A mandatory reporter may report direct to MRS via the DCP website
www.mandatoryreporting.dcp.wa.gov.au and complete the Mandatory Report (Sexual
Abuse) form. (Note that this form is slightly different to the Departments form.)

Prior to lodging a report of sexual abuse, a teacher may consult with the local DCP or
MRS duty officer, principal, colleagues, student services staff and district education
office staff.

A teacher may consult with the Standards and Integrity Directorate (SID) if the alleged
sexual abuse concerns a staff member.

The teacher can add information to the mandatory report by quoting the receipt
number or childs name to MRS.

Multiple reports can be made for the same child.

The reporter is not required to store their own copy of the report. DCP will store the
report.

See Appendices E and F for more information on school supports and agencies.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF NON-TEACHING STAFF


Non-teaching staff must advise the principal of child protection concerns regarding
possible sexual abuse. This advice must be either verbal or in writing using the
School Recording Form for Disclosures, Observations of Child Abuse and Actions
(Appendix B).
Staff who are not school-based must report child protection concerns to their line
manager and the school principal (for example, participation coordinators and
attendance officers).
Guidelines
Non-teaching staff are not mandatory reporters but are required by this policy to report child
sexual abuse to the principal or manager.
A non-teaching member of staff may make a report by completing the School Reporting Form
for Child Abuse (Appendix C) and providing it to the principal. In this case, if the principal
forms a belief on reasonable grounds, the principal will write their own report to the MRS.

4.1.3

RESPONSIBILITIES OF PRINCIPALS: MANDATORY REPORTS


Sexual abuse that occurred before 1 January 2009 is not a mandatory report but
must be reported to the principal. The principal will follow the procedures set out in
section 4.2.2.
Principals must:

if requested, support the teacher to make a verbal report to the MRS;


forward the written report received to the MRS;

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

provide information to DCP or WA Police as requested;


arrange support for the child as required and document using the School
Support Plan for Reported Abuse (Appendix G);
arrange support for a staff member who has made a mandatory report when
there is concern for their safety;
complete an Online Incident Report, quote receipt number provided to reporter,
print a copy and store securely; and
provide secure storage for documentation (excluding mandatory reports) in a
confidential file, separate from the childs school records.

Principals must not:

make verbal or written mandatory reports on the teachers behalf;


alter the written report in any way;
keep a copy of the mandatory report;
identify the mandatory reporter when making an Online Incident Report;
authorise or request the collection of photographic evidence by staff; or
delegate mandatory reporting of sexual abuse to a deputy or other staff.

Guidelines
Supporting a teacher to make a verbal report may include providing teacher relief or a private
room to make a phone call.
School nurses are mandatory reporters and will follow reporting procedures in accordance
with Department of Health guidelines.
The principal is not required to make their own mandatory report if a report has already been
made.
Chaplains should be informed of the need to advise the principal of child protection concerns.
When there is concern for the safety of a staff member who has made a report, the principal
may contact the relevant district education office to develop a support plan (for example,
Manager, District Operations).
See Appendix D for summary of reporting procedures.
The Online Incident Report is made through the Online Incident Notification System which
can be found on the Departments Intranet.

4.1.4

RESPONSIBILITIES OF PRINCIPALS: REPORTS MADE BY NON-MANDATORY


REPORTERS
Principals must:

make a mandatory report when information is received from a non-mandatory


reporter that leads to a belief on reasonable grounds of child sexual abuse;
where a mandatory report is not made, instruct the non-mandatory reporter to
document concerns using the School Recording Form for Disclosures,
Observations of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendix B) and to update this
information as necessary.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

4.2

REPORTING OF PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE OR


NEGLECT

4.2.1

RESPONSIBILITIES OF ALL STAFF

All child protection concerns relating to physical, psychological, emotional


abuse or neglect that arise during a school activity must be reported.
Concerns must be documented using the School Recording Form for
Disclosures, Observations of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendix B).
All consultations prior to reporting must be conducted in a confidential manner
and documented.
Staff who form a belief on reasonable grounds that child abuse has occurred
must complete the School Reporting Form for Child Abuse (Appendix C).

Guidelines
Where an immediate decision to report occurs after a disclosure or observation of indicators,
it is not necessary to document concerns on the School Recording Form for Disclosures,
Observations of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendix B).
The principal may complete documentation on behalf of the staff member.
Concerns may involve children enrolled at another school who are involved in the school
activity.
School activities may take place either on or away from school premises, and either during or
outside of school hours.

4.2.2

RESPONSIBILITIES OF PRINCIPAL
Principals must:

forward all child protection reports to the local DCP office and request
acknowledgment that the report has been received;
report child protection concerns that may involve criminal behaviour to
WA Police;
seek advice from DCP or WA Police as appropriate prior to informing the
parent;
complete an Online Incident Report, print and store securely; and
store all documentation securely and separately from the childs school
records.

Principals must not:

delegate reporting to staff other than the deputy principal;


authorise or request the collection of photographic evidence by staff; and
interview the child or investigate the report.

Guidelines
Reporting physical, psychological/emotional abuse and neglect to DCP may be delegated to
a deputy principal who needs to keep the principal informed of all actions taken.
In small schools where there is no deputy principal, the principal may delegate reporting of
abuse other than sexual, to the next person in charge.
Criminal behaviour to be reported to WA Police includes:
assault, for example, unwanted physical contact;
female genital mutilation or female circumcision.
Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

Effective: 8 April 2009

Prior to making a report the principal may seek advice from the local or regional DCP duty
officer, or district education office student services, including the social worker or school
psychologist, school nurse or Manager District Operations.

4.3

REPORTING ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE PERPETRATED BY STAFF


Allegations of abuse that involve a staff member must be reported consistent with
sections 4.1 and 4.2. In addition, the allegation must immediately be reported to the
principal. The principal must contact SID as soon as the allegation is received.
Allegations made by students, employees or non-employees regarding staff conduct
must be acted on by the principal as soon as practicable.
All staff must behave with integrity and carry out their professional responsibilities in
accordance with the Western Australian Public Sector Code of Ethics, and public
sector standards as set out in the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and all
Department policies.
It is child sexual abuse and a criminal offence for a Department employee to have a
sexual relationship with a child less than 18 years of age. Under no circumstances
can a child consent to a sexual relationship with an employee. It is also considered a
breach of discipline to have a sexual relationship with a student over 18 years of
age.
Guidelines
The assessment of alleged sexual, physical, emotional or psychological abuse of a child,
perpetrated by an employee, is the responsibility of SID and may result in disciplinary action.
(Refer to the Departments Discipline policy for further information.)
Students of appropriate age should be made aware of the process to report staff behaviour of
concern. This may be implemented as part of the protective behaviours curriculum.
A child, or student over 18 years of age, can never consent to a sexual relationship with an
employee by virtue of the fact that the employee is in a position of authority.
Examples of sexual behaviour that constitute misconduct include but are not limited to:
watching children undress, for example, in change rooms where supervision is not
required or justified; undressing in front of a child; sharing a room, inviting or allowing a
child into the staff members room during residential activities;
making references to a teachers or childs sex life; sexual compliments; sexualised
comments about a childs physical appearance; inappropriate use of sexualised
language; sexually suggestive comments; and
electronic communication (via internet, e-mail, screensavers or text messages etc.) of
obscene pictures, posters or cartoons, messages or jokes.
Examples of sexual behaviour that may constitute criminal behaviour include but are not
limited to:
propositions, invitations or requests for sex;
comments that express a desire to act in a sexual manner;
accessing and communication of pornographic or sexually explicit material;
using electronic means to procure or expose a child to indecent material.
See Appendix H for Guidelines for Appropriate Staff-Student Behaviour.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

4.3.1

10

Effective: 8 April 2009

REPORTING PROCEDURE FOR ALL STAFF


All staff must:

report allegations or concerns involving an employees behaviour towards a


child to the principal;
make a mandatory report to MRS if a belief is formed on reasonable grounds
that sexual abuse has occurred following the procedure in section 4.1; and
report allegations regarding the conduct of the principal to the Director Schools
who assumes the actions and responsibilities of a principal as described in
these procedures.

Guidelines

4.3.2

Even if the student is 18 years or older, the employees behaviour is reportable.

An allegation may concern behaviour of a staff member towards a child who is enrolled at
the reporters school or another school.

The allegation may concern the behaviour of a staff member towards a child during or
outside of school hours.

An employee may consult with their line manager, Manager of District Operations or SID.

If dissatisfied with the response of the authority who received the allegation, the staff
member can report to the next level such as the Director Schools or SID.

Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 an employee may also report allegations of
misconduct direct to the Departments Public Interest Disclosure Officer, WA Police or
Corruption and Crime Commission via its website www.ccc.wa.gov.au. SID can also
provide advice on reporting under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003.

REPORTING PROCEDURE FOR PRINCIPAL


Principals must:

report to the Director Schools who informs the Director General of all actions
taken;
report to the DCP local office and WA Police Child Abuse Squad if physical
assault is involved;
follow the reporting procedure in section 4.1 if sexual behaviour is alleged;
report to the parent/carer only on the advice of DCP or WA Police;
contact SID as soon as practicable to seek instructions in relation to
management of the allegation; and
lodge an Online Incident Report, print and store securely.

Principals must not:

interview the child;


investigate the allegation; or
inform the alleged offender that an allegation has been made.

Guidelines
Under the Disputes and Complaints policy, some incidents can be managed at the local level.
Advice should be taken from SID when deciding to respond to a report. For further
information see the Disputes and Complaints policy.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

4.4

11

Effective: 8 April 2009

REPORTING ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE PERPETRATED BY A CHILD


Forced sexual activity involving a child constitutes sexual abuse and must be
managed as a mandatory report regardless of whether the behaviour occurred
during school supervised activities or outside of school time.
All allegations must be reported to MRS who will then inform WA Police.
If the allegation concerns behaviour during a school activity, and is substantiated, it
must also be managed as a serious breach of school discipline, a critical incident
and in some cases a criminal matter.

4.4.1

SEXUAL ABUSE PERPETRATED DURING SUPERVISED SCHOOL ACTIVITIES


All staff must inform the principal immediately of an allegation of sexual abuse
perpetrated during school activities.
Principals must:

arrange for the safety and supervision of the alleged victim and the person
alleged to have committed the abuse;
establish that a mandatory report will be made;
notify WA Police (when appropriate);
seek advice from the MRS on informing the alleged victims parent;
contact the alleged victims parent to inform of the event and action taken;
if medical attention is required, obtain the parents agreement prior to
contacting emergency services;
arrange support for others affected by the incident;
lodge an Online Incident Report, quote receipt number of the mandatory report;
and
develop a School Support Plan for Reported Abuse (Appendix G).

Principals must not:

interview the children involved;


disclose the identity of the person alleged to have committed the abuse to the
alleged victims parent; or
disclose the identity of the staff member who may have made a mandatory
report of sexual abuse to the parents of the children involved.

Guidelines
The MRS will inform the Child Abuse Squad who in turn will advise the parent of the person
alleged to have committed the abuse.
If the principal receives a report from a non-mandatory reporter, then they become the
mandatory reporter and immediately lodges a report with the MRS.
In rural and remote areas, it is adviseable to also make a report to the local police service.
If the principal is absent, an incident of forced sexual contact must be reported to the MRS by
the next person in charge.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

4.4.2

12

Effective: 8 April 2009

CONSENSUAL SEX BETWEEN CHILDREN


Guidelines
Consensual sexual activity involving children under 16 years of age does not constitute
sexual abuse and is not required to be reported by teachers.
Generally, if the age difference is greater than 3 years, consult with the MRS who may report
to the police.
Even if the behaviour is consensual, a report may be made to MRS if there is a belief on
reasonable grounds that child sexual abuse has occurred.

4.5

REPORTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT


All allegations of sexual harassment must be reported to the principal.

4.5.1

SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY A STUDENT


Sexual harassment of a student by another student must be:

reported to MRS where the behaviour leads to the belief formed on reasonable
grounds that sexual abuse has occurred; and
managed as a breach of school discipline according to each schools
Behaviour Management Plan, as required by the Behaviour Management in
Schools policy.

Guidelines
To lodge a complaint of sexual harassment against another student, both students must be
aged from 16 years under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). Complaints can be made to
the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The legal age of responsibility under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 is 18 years of age.
Where a student is old enough to anticipate that their actions would cause distress to a
person, an intention 'not to harm' is no defence.
When a criminal offence has been committed, depending on the alleged persons age and
mental capabilities, victims have a right to make a police report.
Implementing behaviour management strategies does not preclude a report being made to
DCP where the behaviour is considered to be an indicator of child abuse.

4.5.2

SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY STAFF


The principal will immediately notify SID of any incidents or allegations of sexual
harassment of students by staff.
Guidelines
Any sexual harassment behaviour by staff is serious misconduct and may also constitute
sexual abuse under the Criminal Code (see Discipline policy).
Where the allegations leads to the belief formed on reasonable grounds that child abuse has
occurred, this is to be reported in accordance with section 4.1 of this policy.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

13

Effective: 8 April 2009

In addition to Department processes, students, or their parent/guardian can also lodge an


external complaint with either of the Commissions listed below, or Police, as appropriate.
Students [and potential students] are entitled to learning environments free of sexual
harassment from employees:

under section 25 of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, Complaints can be made to the
Equal Opportunity Commission; and

under section 28F of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), Complaints can be made
to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

4.6

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION AND IMAGES

4.6.1

STAFF CONDUCT AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION


Staff must conform to the professional boundaries of staff-student relationships at all
times in social interactions via electronic devices.
Staff must not engage in social interaction with students through social networking
sites unless there is an educationally valid context and with the prior written approval
of the line manager.
Guidelines
Social networking sites include but are not limited to Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and
Twitter.
The intent of these procedures is to clarify the professional boundaries to protect staff and
students from potential misinterpretation or abuse of the staff-student relationship.
These procedures apply to all social interaction between staff and students occurring during
and outside of working hours where a staff-student relationship exists

4.6.2

CHILD ABUSE PERPETRATED VIA ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION


The use of electronic devices for the purposes of the distribution of sexually explicit
material, solicitation and harassment constitutes child abuse and/or criminal
behaviour that must be reported to the principal.
Guidelines
The protection of children from sexual and emotional abuse perpetrated through the use of
electronic means is managed through security software, computer access and mobile phone
policies, and school education programs.

4.7

REPORTING BY NON-DEPARTMENT PROVIDERS


Non-department providers will be informed by appropriate staff about the need to
report any concerns of child abuse to the principal of the school in which the child is
enrolled.
Guidelines
The Department recognises that all education institutions such as TAFEWA colleges,
community based programs or services and community based courses, and work experience
providers may share responsibility with schools to care for and protect children.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

4.8

14

Effective: 8 April 2009

RESPONDING TO DISCLOSURES OF CHILD ABUSE


All staff must be aware of the immediate needs of children making disclosures and
respond accordingly.
Guidelines
When responding to a disclosure, staff are advised to:

reassure the child that telling was the right thing to do;

allow the child to tell the story in their own words;

use protective interrupting if their disclosure is in an inappropriate situation;

find a quiet place to talk;

let the child know what will happen next;

assess the childs immediate safety; and

complete documentation as soon as possible.


Staff are advised to not:

dismiss or ignore the disclosure;

put words in the childs mouth, push for details or conduct an investigation as this could
jeopardise the interviewing process of DCP and WA Police;

make the child repeat the disclosure to a third party;

stop the child from talking once there are reasonable grounds for forming a belief that
abuse occurred;

promise not to tell when there are clear limits on confidentiality;

confront the person believed to be the abuser; or

engage in general staffroom discussion about the disclosure.


Protective interrupting is a strategy to prevent a child disclosing in front of other children and
providing them with the opportunity to disclose in a safe and confidential manner using the
following steps:

acknowledge that the child has been heard and stop further disclosure;
be supportive and gently indicate that they can talk in a more private situation;
quietly arrange to see them as soon as possible; and
listen attentively in a private location within the school.

Staff should be aware that a disclosure can arouse personal feelings of shock, anger and
helplessness. It is important to conceal these feelings; they can be worked through after the
disclosure. Support is available to employees of the Department through student services or
counselling may be arranged through the the Prime Employee Assistance Program
(08 9492 8900 Freecall 1800 674 188). Metropolitan and country regions are serviced.

4.8.1

ACTING ON A SUSPICION WHEN THERE IS NO DISCLOSURE


All physical and behavioural indicators of child abuse must be documented on the
School Recording Form for Disclosures, Observations of Child Abuse and Actions
(Appendix B). This includes confidential discussion with colleagues.
Guidelines

A child who is being subjected to abuse and has not disclosed, may be experiencing
emotional and psychological distress which could affect their behaviour and learning.

If there is a concern about a child but the staff/child relationship is not favourable to
offering support, advise the principal or student services team.

Continue to observe the child and document using the School Reporting Form for
Disclosures, Observations of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendix B).

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

4.8.2

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The principal may contact DCP to seek advice.

REPORTING FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE


Witnessing family and domestic violence is associated with child abuse and must be
reported to DCP.
Guidelines
Other forms of child abuse are more likely to occur when family and domestic violence exists.
Children who are involved in or witness this violence may show physical, behavioural,
emotional or psychological indicators consistent with child abuse.

4.8.3

SUPPORTING CHILDREN AFFECTED BY ABUSE


The principal must take steps to support children affected by abuse, including
children who may be alleged perpetrators.
When a case has been reported to DCP, the principal must develop a support plan
that includes details of actions planned and agreed responsibilities of all relevant
staff and document this using the School Support Plan for Reported Abuse
(Appendix G).
Guidelines

4.9

In cases where the alleged victim and person alleged to have committed the abuse
remain on the school grounds, where practicable the alleged offender should be
removed from contact with the alleged victim.

Management of support may be delegated but remains the principals responsibility.

Where possible, external agencies involved in providing support should be involved in


developing the plan.

Support will be determined by the needs of the child and the capacity of student
services or other agencies to provide services.

Staff involved in a supportive role should take into account culture, religion, disability
and maturity of the child.

Where appropriate, the child should be involved in decisions that directly affect them
and provided with information about what will happen.

In cases where criminal conduct has been reported, the support of district office staff
and student services managers should be accessed by the principal.

INFORMING PARENTS WHEN A CHILD ABUSE REPORT HAS BEEN MADE


Parents must not be informed of reports made to DCP or WA Police unless the
agencies have instructed the principal to do so.
When DCP or WA Police have directed a principal to inform parents, the principal
must:

conduct the interview in private and document the discussion;


tell the parents why the interview is taking place;
inform parents that the interview is confidential;
be direct, honest and professional;
advise of reports that have been made to other agencies;
explain the action to be taken by the Department if an allegation has been
made against a staff member; and

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

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inform the parents of the support available to them and their child.

The principal must not:

disclose the identity or personal information relating to the person alleged to


have committed the abuse;
disclose the identity of the person who made the report;
offer personal opinions;
question the family about matters that are unrelated to the situation; or
place blame on the parties involved.

Guidelines
For further information see the Departments Child Protection website at
www.det.wa.edu.au/childprotection.

4.10

INFORMING PARENTS WHEN A CHILD ABUSE REPORT HAS NOT BEEN MADE
Parents must not be informed:

that physical or behavioural indicators have been observed in their child which
have led to a concern of possible child abuse;
of a suspicion of family and domestic violence; or
of an intention to make a report concerning their child to DCP, WA Police or
SID.

Guidelines
A parent may be the perpetrator of abuse. To inform the parent of a concern of possible child
abuse may alert them and pose a further risk to the child.
Observations can be discussed with parents in order to seek further information without
alerting them to suspicions of child abuse.

4.11

RECORD KEEPING AND DOCUMENTATION

Staff must document observations, consultations and actions involving child


abuse.
Staff must record all information and observations relating to child abuse using
the School Recording Form for Disclosures, Observations of Child Abuse and
Actions (Appendix B) and provide this to the principal for storage.
Reports to DCP must be made using the School Reporting Form for Child
Abuse (Appendix C)
All records must provide factual information, observable indicators and not
opinion or conclusions. Records must include the dates and approximate
times of observations or disclosures with exact wording of statements made by
the child (see Appendix I).
If the school recording form or school support plan or case management
documents contain information relating to child sexual abuse, the identity of the
reporter must not be recorded.
The receipt number for a mandatory report must be recorded by the reporter as
proof that a report has been made.

Principals must:

keep written records of all communication with DCP, WA Police or SID and
subsequent actions using the School Support Plan for Reported Abuse
(Appendix H);

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

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complete an Online Incident Report and store securely; and


securely store all confidential information separately from the childs school
records.

Principals must not:

store copies of mandatory reports;


record or disclose information that may identify the mandatory reporter other
than to agencies involved in the investigation; or
send original copies of child protection documents to a school where the child
has subsequently enrolled.

Guidelines
When an immediate decision to make a report is made on the basis of a disclosure or
observation, it is not necessary to complete the School Recording Form for Disclosures,
Observations of Child Abuse and Actions.
It is not necessary for the teacher to keep the report. The receipt number issued by the MRS
is proof that a report has been made. However, the teacher may choose to keep their own
copy of the mandatory report off school premises for future reference.
In cases of alleged sexual abuse, only the School Recording Form for Disclosures,
Observations of Child Abuse and Actions (Appendix B) and the School Support Plan
(Appendix G) can be stored securely by the principal, separately to the students file.
On request, photocopies of child protection documents may be sent to a childs next school,
provided they are sent direct to the principal and marked confidential.
Documentation kept by staff may be required by DCP, WA Police and SID in their
investigations (see the Court Appearances and Production of Documents policy)..

4.12

COLLABORATION AND CASE MANAGEMENT


The principal must develop a plan of support for children affected by child abuse.
This responsibility can be delegated to a deputy principal or where there is no deputy
principal position, to the next person in charge. Actions must be documented using
the School Support Plan for Reported Abuse Form (Appendix G) and the principal
must be kept informed.
DCP must be invited to attend school planning for a child taken into care.
Guidelines
Making a report of child abuse to DCP, WA Police or SID does not prevent the need for the
ongoing support and care of the child/children concerned.
The parent, child, student services, education assistants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander education officers, DCP, Department of Health, WA Police and Department of
Corrective Services may be involved in planning support actions.

4.13

CONFIDENTIALITY
When a disclosure of child abuse is made, confidentiality must not be promised and
whenever possible the child must be informed about who will be involved and the
actions that may be taken.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

18

Effective: 8 April 2009

Where there is suspected or alleged abuse or misconduct, staff must not disclose or
make use of the information in a manner that breaches confidentiality under Sections
23 and 129 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 and s242 of the
School Education Act 1999.
All information held by the school must be provided to DCP, WA Police and SID
upon request and doing so does not breach confidentiality under Sections 23 and
129 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 or s242 of the School
Education Act 1999.
Guidelines
Professional confidentiality is protected when staff provide information in the best interests of
the child regarding possible child abuse to Department staff or agencies who are directly
involved in responding, investigating or supporting the child.
Staff may consult with other Department staff, provided this is carried out in a confidential
manner.
If reports are made in good faith and with the best interests of the child in mind, staff are
protected from a breach of professional confidentiality by qualified privilege. However,
qualified privilege does not extend to general discussion or disclosure of information in the
staffroom, or with other parents or members of the general community.
The Children and Community Services Act 2004 overrides other legislation that governs the
exchange of information between agencies in the best interests of a child.

4.14

PROTECTION AND SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYEES WHO REPORT CHILD ABUSE


Guidelines
All staff are protected from civil, criminal and disciplinary liability by providing information to
DCP, WA Police or SID for the purpose of investigating child abuse.
If acting in good faith, staff are deemed not to have breached a duty of confidentiality,
professional ethics or standards; or to have engaged in unprofessional conduct by providing
information under s129 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
Under Sections 124F and 240 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, the identity
of the person making a report to DCP is protected and can only be released with the
permission of the reporter or the court, for investigative purposes or by an application under
the Freedom of Information Act 1992.
Staff may be anxious when reporting allegations of misconduct or child abuse and/or neglect
because of the impact this may have on relationships with colleagues, the family or the child.
This anxiety may be discussed confidentially with the principal, line manager, student
services staff or DCP duty officer and support requested.
When there is concern for the safety of the reporter, it is important that the school has a risk
management plan in place and the principal should contact the local district education office
for support.
Student services managers may provide additional support as requested by the principal.
Managers District Operations can provide advice to staff who may be called as a witness in
court.
Staff who report child abuse are entitled to counselling through the Prime Employee
Assistance Service (08 9492 8900). Metropolitan and country regions are to be serviced.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

19

Effective: 8 April 2009

An employee who attempts to threaten, intimidate, coerce or take reprisal against an


employee who has disclosed or intends to disclose unethical or unlawful behaviour may face
disciplinary action (see Staff Conduct policy).

4.15

PHYSICAL CONTACT FOR THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF STUDENTS


Documented plans must be developed in collaboration with parents to provide staff
caring for children with disabilities with guidelines for appropriate and reasonable
physical contact to carry out tasks such as toileting and dressing. When there is a
known history of the need for physical restraint, documented plans must include a
range of strategies that may be employed when restraining a child in order to
prevent them from harming themselves or others.
Guidelines
Documented plans may prevent the actions of the staff member from being misinterpreted as
possible child abuse.

4.16

CHILDREN IN THE CARE OF THE CEO OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR CHILD


PROTECTION
Principals must:

verify that a Documented Plan is developed as soon as practicable upon


identification by DCP that a child is in the care of the CEO of DCP; and
provide a copy of the completed Documented Plan to the DCP case manager
and other key stakeholders.

Guidelines
Children in the care of the CEO of DCP are often vulnerable and at greater risk of poor
educational achievements and outcomes than their peers. Poorer educational achievements
can have negative implications for childrens social and emotional wellbeing and their
employment and economic options in later life. DCP and the Department recognise their
shared responsibility to increase the educational opportunities and outcomes for all children
in the CEOs care. Each of these students are identified as being at educational risk and
have a Documented Plan that is developed in collaboration with DCP in accordance with the
Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and DCP.
The school community is a key resource for children at risk of poor social and educational
outcomes and important in assisting children to establish positive relationships with
significant adults, mentors and peers. Continuous same school attendance can provide
children in care with stability and consistency, and support their social and emotional
development.
A child in care is a child who is in the care of the CEO of DCP. Under Section 30 of the
Children and Community Services Act 2004, a child is defined as being in the CEOs care if
the child is:

in provisional protection and care;

the subject of a protection order (time-limited) or protection order (until 18);

the subject of a negotiated placement agreement; or

provided with placement services under Section 32(1)(a).


A key stakeholder may include but is not limited to one or more of the following people:

the child in care;

DOE staff Principal, Deputy Principal, Teacher, Education Assistant, School Nurse,
School Chaplain, Aboriginal Islander Education Officer, School Psychologist;
Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

4.17

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DCP staff Case Manager, Clinical Psychologist, Education Officer, Child Protection
Worker Placement Services, Aboriginal Practice Leader, Senior Practice
Development Officer, Team Leader, District Director and Assistant District Director;
carers and significant others carer, the childs parents or extended family and
community representatives.

CHILD PROTECTION PROFESSIONAL LEARNING (CPPL)


The principal must manage and facilitate the completion of the CPPL program.
All teaching and non-teaching staff who have contact with children must complete
the CPPL program.
The Department will continue to report compliance with training to the Corruption and
Crime Commission.
Guidelines
All staff provided with an E number will be automatically enrolled in training and on
satisfactory completion issued with a certificate of completion.
Non-teaching staff not identified in the School Education Act 1999 and who have contact with
children should be encouraged to undertake training. For example, the school nurse,
chaplain or school based liaison officers.

4.18

WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECK


Principals and managers must confirm that all Department employees, volunteers,
visitors and external providers in child-related work have applied for or hold a valid
Working with Children Check in accordance with the Departments Working with
Children Checks policy available from the Our Policies website at
http://policies.det.wa.edu.au.

4.19

PREVENTION PROGRAMS
The principal must implement preventive curriculum for all students.
Guidelines
In response to the Gordon Inquiry (2002), the Department is required to report on compliance
with the requirement to introduce protective behaviours into the school curriculum.
Preventive programs can be part of the health and wellbeing curriculum, and are fundamental
to achieving the best outcomes for all children and empowering children who have
experienced or are at risk of experiencing harm resulting from abuse and/or neglect (see
www.det.wa.edu.au/childprotection).
The principal may collaborate direct with the Curriculum Directorate, DET Child Protection
Coordination Team, DCP, Family and Domestic Violence Unit (DCP), WA Police, Department
of Health, Department of Corrective Services and non-government agencies in the selection
and implementation of prevention programs.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION OR AUTHORITY


Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)
Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003 (WA)

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

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Criminal Code (Acts Amendment: Sexual Offences Act 1992) (WA)


Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
Disability Discrimination Act: Standards for Education 2004 (Cth)
Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA)
Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA)
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (WA)
Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA)
School Education Act 1999 (WA)
School Education Regulations 2000 (WA)
Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)
State Records Act 2000 (WA)
Working With Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)
Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Regulations 2005 (WA)
Western Australian College of Teaching Act 2004 (WA)

5.1

RELATED DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION POLICIES


Behaviour Management in Schools
Court Appearances and Production of Documents
Discipline
Disputes and Complaints
Duty of Care for Students
Duty of Care VET for School Students (VSS) Attending TAFEWA Colleges
Emergency and Critical Incident Management
Enrolment
Excursions: Off School Site Activities
Public Interest Disclosure
Records Management
Sexual Harassment Resolution for Employees and Students
Staff Conduct
Visitors and Intruders on School Premises
Workplace Learning
Working With Children Checks

5.2

OTHER GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS


Child Protection Policy 2006, Department for Child Protection
Guidelines for responding to child abuse, neglect and the impact of family and
domestic violence 2004, Department of Health
Interagency Collaborative Framework for Protecting Children, October 2003,
Interagency Child Protection Coordination Committee
Reciprocal Child Protection Procedures 2002

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

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DEFINITIONS
CHILD
A person who has not reached the age of 18.
CHILD ABUSE
Occurs when a child has been subjected to physical, sexual, emotional or
psychological abuse and/or neglect which has resulted or is likely to result in harm to
the childs wellbeing. It may involve ongoing, repeated or persistent abuse, or arise
from a single incident.
CHILD PROTECTION CONCERN
A concern about the welfare of a child based on the observation of indicators or
information that may lead to a belief formed on reasonable grounds that a child has
been the subject of abuse.
CONFIDENTIALITY
The protection of personal, private and sensitive information. Professional codes of
conduct and the Departments Staff Conduct policy reinforce the importance of
protecting an individuals privacy.
DOCUMENTED PLAN
A support document for schools and teachers as they plan, monitor, assess and
evaluate teaching and learning programs that are personalised for students.
DUTY OF CARE
A duty imposed by the law to take care to minimise the risk of harm to another.
EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
The sustained, repetitive and ongoing maltreatment by a parent/carer or person in
authority to a child through behaviours including threatening, belittling, teasing,
humiliating, bullying, neglecting, ignoring, isolating, misleading and encouragement
to engage in inappropriate behaviour.
MANDATORY REPORTER
All doctors, nurses, midwives, police and teachers who form a belief during the
course of their work, either voluntary or paid are mandatory reporters. For the
purposes of the legislation, teacher is defined as any person registered with the
Western Australian College of Teaching (WACOT) or with provisional registration, or
who has a limited authority to teach (LAT) and is working as a teacher.
TAFE lecturers with WACOT registration or a limited authority to teach who deliver
an educational program on a school site or in a TAFEWA college are mandatory
reporters.
Staff who have WACOT registration but are not working as teachers, are not
mandatory reporters but are required under this policy to report child sexual abuse to
the principal.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

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MANDATORY REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE


Legislation requiring specific people or professions to report concerns of child abuse
to child protection agencies. In Western Australia, the legislation covering
mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse is the Children and Community Services
Act 2004.
Mandatory Reporting only applies when a teacher is working in their role as teacher,
either in a paid or voluntary capacity. If a belief of sexual abuse is formed outside of
working hours, when not working as a teacher, then there is no legal requirement to
report. However, as a concerned citizen, a report can be made voluntarily.
NEGLECT
The intentional failure by parents/carers to provide, arrange, or allow the provision of,
adequate care, or effective medical, therapeutic or remedial treatment. It includes
abandonment, failing to provide adequate food or shelter and/or care, or supervision
to a severe and/or persistent extent.
NON-TEACHING STAFF
Public service officers, other officers or waged staff. Non-teaching staff include but
is not limited to the following positions: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
education officers, registrars, school officers, education assistants, library assistants,
laboratory assistants, home economics assistants, participation coordinators,
attendance officers, youth support officers, social trainers and school based
community liaison officers.
PARENT AND RESPONSIBLE PERSON
In this policy the term parent will be used for brevity and includes responsible
person as defined below.
In the School Education Act 1999, parent in relation to a child means a person who
at law has responsibility:
a)

for the long-term care, welfare and development of the child; or

b)

for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child

except in Sections 9(2), 10(b), 25, 27, 38(1) and Division 2 Part 2 where it only has
the meaning given by paragraph (b).
In s25 of the School Education Act 1999, responsible person in relation to a student
means:
a)

a parent of the student;

b)

in the case of a student who has turned 18 or is a prescribed child, the child; or

c)

a person whose details have been provided under Section 16(1)(b)(ii)(II) which
states any adult person, not being a parent, who is responsible for the child.

PHYSICAL ABUSE

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

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24

Effective: 8 April 2009

Abuse perpetrated through behaviours such as beating, shaking, administration of


alcohol and illicit drugs, attempted suffocation or excessive discipline or physical
punishment. It does not include accidental injury.
QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE
The protection from incurring civil or criminal liability or professional misconduct
when providing confidential information concerning suspected child abuse in good
faith to DCP or WA Police.
SCHOOL ACTIVITY
An activity that is organised or managed by a member of the teaching staff or
non-teaching staff as part of his or her duties.
SEXUAL ABUSE
Any type of sexual behaviour involving a child where the child is the subject of
bribery, coercion, a threat, exploitation or violence; or the child has less power than
another person involved in the behaviour; or there is a significant disparity in the
developmental function or maturity of the child and another person involved in the
behaviour. It includes sexual penetration, encouraging a child to perform indecent
acts such as touching genitals, penis/digital penetration or oral sex, inappropriate
touching, exposure to sexual acts or pornographic materials and using electronic
means to procure or expose a child to indecent material.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Is an unwelcome sexual advance, an unwelcome request for sexual favours or other
unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes:

spoken or written harassment, for example, sexualised jokes or obscene


remarks;
non-verbal harassment (for example, glaring/staring/gesturing in a sexual way),
presence of suggestive or sexual magazines/pictures/posters/etc on display or
contained in a person's belongings; and
electronic harassment, for example, sending sexually suggestive comments,
obscene messages or jokes
electronic harassment, for example, sending sexually suggestive comments,
obscene messages or jokes.

STAFF
All employees of the Director General of the Department, including both teaching
and non-teaching staff.
TEACHING STAFF
Administrators, principals, deputy principals, teachers, heads of schools, heads of
departments, program coordinators, coordinators and heads of learning areas. Other
classes of teaching staff include staff who hold a teaching qualification recognised by
the Department and are employed as teachers.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

25

Effective: 8 April 2009

CONTACT INFORMATION
Child Protection Coordination Team
Department of Education
151 Royal Street
East Perth WA 6004
T:
9264 8994
W:
det.wa.edu.au/childprotection
E:
Child.Protection@det.wa.edu.au

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

26

Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX A A GUIDE WHEN CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBLE CHILD ABUSE


When deciding if you need to report a child protection concern you should have a belief that
results in concern for the physical safety, health, psychological or emotional wellbeing of a child.
This belief should be based on reasonable grounds such as:

the child discloses;


someone else such as a relative or friend of the child provides information;
a child discloses that they know someone who has been abused (often a child is referring
to him or herself);
observation of indicators; and
the childs writing or drawing depicts abuse.

When reporting:

proof is not required;


the injury from physical abuse is considered to be non-accidental; or
the indicators are not typical for the age and gender of the child.

If you are unsure, discuss this confidentially with the:

principal;
line manager;
a member of the student services team;
school nurse;
DCP duty officer,
Mandatory Reporting Service (for cases involving possible sexual abuse); or
Child Protection Coordination Team.

If you remain unsure you must continue to document observations, information and
consultations on the School Recording Form for Disclosures, Observations of Child Abuse and
Actions (Appendix B).
Forming a Child Protection Concern
A child protection concern may occur over a period of time or may be formed immediately due to a
disclosure or presence of clear indicators.
Suspicion

Immediate belief

Suspicion - Observations or information received


causes concern for a childs safety, but is
insufficient to form a belief on reasonable grounds.

Immediate belief of child abuse


Disclosure, third party report or clear
indicator/s observed leads to a belief on
reasonable grounds.

Record - Complete School Recording Form and


provide to principal for storage.
Observe - Continue to observe and document.
Belief - Form a belief of child abuse.
Report

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

27 Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX B SCHOOL RECORDING FORM FOR DISCLOSURES, OBSERVATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AND ACTIONS
Do not print your name on this form. Provide to principal for secure storage.
RECORD FOR (Childs name)
School

DATE/TIME

Principal

DISCLOSURE DETAILS &/or OBSERVATIONS

Consultation with
whom and date

Notification to which agency eg DCP,


Police, SID, DET Child Protection
Coordination Team via the online
incident notification system

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be
observed by all Department of Education employees.

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Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX C SCHOOL REPORTING FORM FOR CHILD ABUSE


A mandatory report of sexual abuse must be completed by the reporter. Reports of all other
forms of abuse may be completed by the reporter or the principal on their behalf.
1. REPORTERS DETAILS

(*fields that must be completed)

*Reporters Name

Profession

*Workplace address
or *Other Address for
response to report
Contact Phone No
Is this a written report
following a telephone
report?

Fax No
No
Yes

Email

If yes
MRS receipt number

Date of report
Time of report

2. DETAILS ABOUT THE CHILD (If more than one child is involved, record their names in section 5.)
*Childs first name (or description
of child if name unknown)
Date of birth
Male
Cultural Identity
Interpreter required

*Childs last name


Female
Aboriginal/Torres
Strait Islander
No

Address
Suburb/Town/Location
Home Phone
Current residence of the
child/young person
School/pre-school attended or
child care service or
arrangement etc (family day
care/nanny etc) (if known)

Or estimated age of child


Disability
Dont Know
CaLD
(cultural and linguistic diversity, if
known)

Yes

Language spoken at home

Postcode
Mobile

3. NAME OF PARENT/CARER/OTHER PROVIDING CARE (if known)


First Name
Last Name
Address (if different from above)
Phone (if different from above)
Relationship to child/young person (if known)
Significant others close to the child and/or family
(e.g. Grandparents/aunts/uncles)

4. PERSON BELIEVED RESPONSIBLE FOR ALLEGED ABUSE OR HARM (if known)


First Name
Address
Phone
Relationship to child/young person (if known)
Do you know if this person is known to Police?
No
Yes

Last Name
Suburb/Town/Location
Mobile
Do you know if this person is known to DCP?
No
Yes

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

29

Effective: 8 April 2009

5. DETAILED REPORT
Provide details of the grounds for your belief that a child has been the subject of physical,
emotional/psychological abuse or neglect.
Under s124C(3)(d) of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, you must provide details
of the grounds for your belief that the above named child has been the subject of sexual abuse
or is the subject of ongoing sexual abuse.
You may also provide information that you think is of concern and has informed your belief that
child abuse is alleged to have occurred or is likely to occur. Attach additional page if required.

6. CONCERN FOR SAFETY OF CHILD


Do you have a concern for the immediate safety of the child concerned?

Yes

No

7. SIGNATURE

______________________
Reporters signature

__________________________
Principals signature (optional)

8. WHERE TO LODGE A REPORT OF ABUSE


Non-mandatory reports

Mandatory reports

The principal must forward all reports of


non-sexual abuse to the local DCP office.

Mandatory reports are lodged with the Mandatory


Reporting Service (MRS) as follows:

Email: mrs@dcp.wa.gov.au
Note: Sexual abuse that occurred before
Fax:
1800 610 614
1 January 2009 is not a mandatory report
Post: Mandatory Reporting Service
but must be reported to the local DCP office.
PO Box 8146
PERTH BC WA 6849
The MRS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a
week.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

APPENDIX D

30 Effective: 8 April 2009

REPORTING PROCESSES FOR ALL STAFF

Staff

Reporting sexual abuse

Teaching
Staff
(Mandatory
reporters)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements


Step 1 Suspicion of sexual abuse
Document observations, information and/or
disclosures on School Recording Form and
provide to principal for storage.
May consult prior to reporting.
Step 2 When a belief is formed on reasonable
grounds:
Make verbal report to Mandatory Reporting
Service (MRS) Ph: 1800 708 704 - note receipt
number as proof of reporting AND
Verbal report must be followed by written report
to MRS as soon as practicable OR
Provide principal with the written report to send
to MRS OR
Make written report direct to MRS by faxing or
posting form in Appendix C (Facsimile:
1800 610 614) OR
Report online
www.mandatoryreporting.dcp.wa.gov.au
Inform principal that a report has been made
and provide receipt number.
Inform principal of MRS feedback letter
advising of DCP action.

NonTeaching
Staff
(Non
Mandatory
reporters)

Document observations, information,


disclosures on School Recording Form and
provide to principal for storage.
May consult before reporting to your
principal/manager.
Principal/manager to follow mandatory

Reporting physical,
psychological, emotional abuse
or neglect
Step 1 Suspicion of abuse
Document observations,
information, disclosures on
School Recording Form and
provide to principal for
storage.
Step 2 When a belief is formed on
reasonable grounds:
may consult prior to reporting;
report to principal/manager.

Reporting allegation of abuse


perpetrated by staff
(non-sexual)
Step 1 Suspicion of abuse
Document observations,
information, disclosures on
School Recording Form and
provide to principal for
storage.
Step 2 When a belief is formed on
reasonable grounds:
May consult with Standards
and Integrity Directorate (SID)
prior to reporting.
T: 9264 4740
1800 791 197 (24 hours)
Report to principal/manager or
SID.
If allegation concerns
principal, report to Director
Schools.
Complete School Reporting
Form for Abuse.

Step 1 Suspicion of sexual abuse


Document observations,
information, disclosures on
School Recording Form and
provide to principal for storage.
Step 2 When a belief is formed on
reasonable grounds:
May consult with Mandatory
Reporting Service (MRS) or
Standards and Integrity
Directorate (SID) prior to
reporting.
Report to MRS.
Report to principal/manager or
SID.
If allegation concerns principal,
report to Director Schools.

Document observations,
information, disclosures on
School Recording Form and
provide to principal for
storage.
May consult prior to reporting.

Document observations,
information, disclosures on
School Recording Form and
provide to principal for
storage.
May consult with SID prior to

Reporting allegation of sexual


abuse perpetrated by staff

Document observations,
information, disclosures on
School Recording Form and
provide to principal for storage.
Report to principal/manager or SID.
If allegation concerns principal,

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be
observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed


reporting procedure.

Principal

Mandatory Reporting Requirements


If requested, support mandatory reporters to
make a verbal report direct to MRS. Do not
make verbal report on reporters behalf.
Ph: 1800 708 704
Forward written reports as soon as practicable
after receiving the report to MRS by facsimile:
1800 610 614.
If allegation involves student to student sexual
contact, seek advice from MRS or WA Police
before informing parent.
Lodge Online Incident Report and quote MRS
receipt number. Print and store securely.

31 Effective: 8 April 2009

Report to principal/manager.
Principal or reporter
completes School Reporting
Form for Child Abuse.

Forward all reports of


physical, psychological or
emotional abuse to DCP.
Report physical abuse to DCP
and WA Police as this may be
a criminal matter.

Seek advice from DCP or


Police before informing the
family.

Lodge Online Incident Report.


Print and store securely.

reporting.
Report to principal/manager or
SID.
If allegation concerns
principal, report to Director
Schools. Principal or reporter
completes School Reporting
Form for Child Abuse.
Report psychological or
emotional abuse to Standards
and Integrity Directorate.
Report physical abuse to:
WA Police;
SID;
Director Schools; and
DCP.
Lodge Online Incident Report.
Print and store securely.

report to Director Schools.


May consult with SID prior to
reporting.

Report to:
WA Police;
SID;
Director Schools; and
MRS.
Lodge Online Incident Report and
quote MRS receipt number. Print
and store securely.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be
observed by all Department of Education employees.

APPENDIX E SCHOOL SUPPORTS


E.1

DISTRICT EDUCATION OFFICE STAFF


District education office staff have a responsibility to assist and support school
principals and staff to implement this policy.
Guidelines
This may involve provision of advice regarding policy as it applies to individual cases,
provision of professional learning programs or training, information about early intervention or
universal prevention programs, or collaboration with non-government agencies and other
departments. District education office staff may negotiate provision of universal prevention
programs for schools.
Student service managers may also negotiate the use of agreed protocols to guide across
agency service delivery, particularly in school communities with high social disadvantage,
and/or where child protection issues need to balance with effective practices within culturally
diverse communities.
School psychologists can consult on child protection concerns, liaise with referral agencies in
the provision of support, inform staff about the impact of abuse on learning and behaviour,
and provide information about universal promotion and prevention programs.

E.2

STANDARDS AND INTEGRITY DIRECTORATE (SID)


SID is responsible for assessment of all alleged breaches of discipline, including
failure to comply with Department policy, complaints and allegations against staff of
criminal behaviour or misconduct towards students. The Prevention and Education
Team of SID are available for consultation or advice regarding issues concerning
misconduct.

E.3

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICE


School nurses can assist school staff with responding to a childs disclosures or
concerns of abuse. They may advise school staff about the mental and physical
health issues associated with abuse and provide information about universal
promotion and prevention programs.
School nurses do not carry out medical examinations for the purpose of investigating
child abuse unless authorised by DCP or WA Police to provide specific information.

Uncontrolled when printed

33

Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX F AGENCIES
F.1

DEPARTMENT FOR CHILD PROTECTION


Protection of children is the legal mandate of the Department for Child Protection
(DCP).
School staff are essential collaborative partners with DCP in supporting the child and
maintaining positive relationships with the childs family. When DCP receives a
school referral, they may respond by either investigating the allegation or offering
family support to enhance parental capacity. Principals are encouraged to request
that DCP officers advise them directly when the referral or report is received in order
to avoid unnecessary worry or anxiety by school staff involved. School principals
and staff should be aware that reporting child abuse to DCP does not necessarily
mean that a child will be removed from the parent/carer, or be placed in the care of
the Chief Executive Office (CEO) of DCP.
Upon request, schools are required to provide appropriate and detailed written
information to support DCP responses (s23 of the Children and Community Services
Act 2004). DCP can support schools to develop and implement prevention and
intervention programs to enhance child safety, health and wellbeing, including
self-protective behaviours. Regional Domestic and Family Violence committees,
established through DCP, can provide children services and schools with ongoing
support and guidance. For further information on agency contacts, refer to
www.det.wa.edu.au/childprotection.

F.2

DCP LEGISLATIVE POWERS


The Children and Community Services Act 2004 replaces outdated legislation Child
Welfare Act 1947; Community Services Act 1972; Welfare and Assistance Act 1961.

F.3

GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The Children and Community Services Act 2004 is based on the following principles:

the best interests of the child are paramount;


parents, families and communities have a primary role in safeguarding and
promoting the wellbeing of children;
child participation ensures the child is provided with adequate and appropriate
information about the significant decisions that affect his/her life and an
opportunity to participate in decision making processes; and
decisions regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children serve to
maintain a connection with family and culture.

DCPs legislative powers include:

An authorised officer who believes there is an unacceptable risk to the


wellbeing of a child may remove a child from his/her parents and take the child
into care.
An authorised DCP officer or police officer, who suspects there is an
immediate and substantial risk to the childs wellbeing, may enter any place
and search for the child for the purpose of taking the child into provisional
protection and care of the CEO without a warrant.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

F.4

DCP officers may remove a child from the school for an interview if they have
the permission of the parent.
If parental permission is not given, DCP officers will apprehend the child.
Principals should check that these conditions have been met before allowing
the removal of a child from school.
Verbal communication is adequate but principals must document the
conversation and details of the DCP officers (see section 4.11).

MEDICAL EXAMINATION

F.7

DCP has the authority under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 to
interview a child at school before contact is made with the parent.
DCP will advise the principal of their intention to interview a child on school
grounds.
The principal should sight the DCP officers identification.
The principal will be informed of the actions planned by DCP.
If DCP interviews a child on the school grounds without the parents
knowledge, the child may be asked if they would like a trusted staff member to
be with them. This person must be over 18 years of age. An Aboriginal child
may prefer a person from his or her community to act as a support. If a staff
member is reluctant to act as a support, an alternative should be arranged.
The support person should be briefed by DCP about their role before the
interview.

REMOVAL OF CHILDREN FROM THE SCHOOL

F.6

Effective: 8 April 2009

INTERVIEWING THE CHILD

F.5

34

The medical examination of a child can only be authorised by DCP or


WA Police and is carried out by the Child Protection Unit at Princess Margaret
Hospital or the Sexual Assault Referral Centre according to the childs age and
type of abuse under investigation.
DCP may require that a medical examination occurs as soon as possible so
that bruising, marking and other symptoms can be recorded.
If parental permission has not been obtained for the medical examination, DCP
will apprehend the child.

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE SERVICE (WA POLICE)


The WA Police Child Abuse Squad investigates physical abuse, sexual abuse and
criminal neglect of children throughout Western Australia. The squad directly
investigates sexual abuse occurring within a family and sexual abuse of children
under 13 years of age by a person outside the family, and will organise medical
examinations if necessary.
In country areas, Child Abuse Squad regional response teams are responsible for
investigating offences against a child. Where an employee of the Department is
suspected of a criminal offence against a child, the Child Abuse Squad liaises with
SID and advises the Corruption and Crime Commission of any investigations being
conducted into a person employed by the Department.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

35

Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX G SCHOOL SUPPORT PLAN FOR REPORTED ABUSE


RECORD FOR (Childs name) __________________________________________________

DATE

ACTION eg consultation, parent,


referral, observation, case
conference, behaviour plan.

BY WHOM

FOLLOW UP

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

36

Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX H GUIDELINES FOR APPROPRIATE STAFF-STUDENT BEHAVIOUR


In order to create a safe and secure environment for students, staff are required to
behave in a manner that conforms to the Staff Conduct policy.
Some considerations and guidelines include the following:

Consider the childs age, developmental level, maturity and level of care
required, for example, touching a child to gain their attention, guiding or
comforting a distressed child.
Work in an open environment; for example, in confidential interviews or a
one-to-one meeting, the door should be open with visual access. Exceptions
apply for professions with strict confidentiality requirements.
Be alert to cues from students about how comfortable they are in your
proximity and respect their need for personal space.
Be sensitive when interacting with students who may misinterpret your actions,
such as those students who may have been traumatised by abuse or
adolescents seeking attention from a member of the opposite sex.
Be aware of cultural norms that may influence the interpretation of your
behaviour towards students.
Be cautious about physical contact in games or practical instruction. If you
need to make physical contact for demonstrations, explain the activity and
what you will do, maintain a safe and appropriate distance.
Physical contact should be made in a way that makes students feel
comfortable, for example, shaking hands, a congratulatory pat on the back or
with young children by gently guiding them or holding their hand for
reassurance. Physical contact such as stroking hair or limbs, or allowing a
student to sit on your lap should be developmentally appropriate and in full
public view. It may be appropriate for a very young child who is distressed but
can never be justified for an older student in any circumstance. Massaging a
student or allowing a student to massage you is inappropriate physical contact.
The use of images of students as screen savers or backgrounds on personal
electronic devices is not appropriate. The collection and storage of
photographs of students must be for educational purposes.
Be aware that the giving and receiving of gifts, giving extra attention, accepting
a different standard of behaviour from a child or having special time with a
child must be appropriate and justified as a strategy to meet teaching and
learning outcomes.
Be aware that talking about sex or making comments of a sexualised nature,
when outside the sexual health curriculum, is unprofessional. This behaviour
may be perceived as sexual harassment, misinterpreted and/or cause distress
to a child.
Obtain parental permission when meeting with students off the school grounds
for outside of school activities.
The provision of your personal contact details should be justified in terms of
educational purposes.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

APPENDIX I

37

Effective: 8 April 2009

COMPLETING DOCUMENTATION

When documenting child protection concerns staff should be aware that records can
be subpoenaed by the court as evidence. If in doubt, you can consult with the
principal, student services or DCP.
The principal may complete documentation on behalf of the staff member who
reports physical, psychological, emotional abuse or neglect.
The principal may complete documentation for a non-teachers concerns regarding
sexual abuse.
The teacher reporting child sexual abuse must complete documentation. The
principal must not do this on their behalf.
When recording information, staff should record observations and factual information
about what they have seen such as:

the identity of the source of information;


statements made by the child or parent, verbatim and in quotation ( ) marks;
and
professional judgments within teaching training and experience.

Do not record irrelevant information such as:

hearsay, information from a third party that is not directly witnessed;


opinions, for example, the parent used excessive discipline;
family history; and
personal conclusions about the type of abuse suspected.

Use simple language:

include clear, direct, precise, non emotive, objective language;


avoid jargon; and
use the first person singular, for example, I saw.

Avoid language that includes:

pronouns, for example, he, she, it, etc. use the names of people; and
probably or possibly only use these terms if there is a reasonable degree of
certainty.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.

Uncontrolled when printed

38

Effective: 8 April 2009

APPENDIX J HISTORY OF CHANGES

Effective
Date

Last Update
Date

8 April 2009

8 April 2009

Policy
version
no

TRIM number

2.7

26 November
2013

2.7

Notes

Corrected erroneous references to


procedures as per D12/0470346.
D13/0636565

Reference to outdated document


removed as per D13/0581606.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education employees.