1800 960 068

Working with Children Policy

NDIS Practice Standard 1: Rights and Responsibilities #

1.0 Purpose #

iSeekSupport recognises the participant’s right to feel safe and to live in an environment that protects from assault, neglect, exploitation or any other form of abuse. This policy specifically looks at the requirements when working with participants under eighteen (18) years.

2.0 Scope #

This policy applies to all staff and stakeholders linked to our organisation.

3.0 Policy #

iSeekSupport will encourage and support any person who has witnessed the abuse of a participant or who suspects that abuse has occurred to make a report and be confident of doing so without fear of retribution.

iSeekSupport, as a mandatory reporting body, is required to report any indicators.

iSeekSupport acknowledges that prevention is the best protection from abuse and neglect and recognises their duty of care obligations to implement prevention strategies.

The legislative requirement is that staff engaged in a risk-assessed role must have the required New South Wales clearance checks. Staff must undergo the NDIS worker screening process before employment. Results are recorded in their personnel file.

Staff should guide children who require assistance to Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for support, as required.

4.0 Procedure #

4.1 When to report an abusive situation #

It is important to always search for the cause of a change in a participant’s behaviour or unexplained physical symptoms. If a participant shows one or more of the possible signs of abuse, it must be reported immediately, even though this does not automatically mean abuse has taken place.

Possible signs of abuse are when:

  • A participant shows a change in behaviour or mood that may indicate they are being abused
  • Someone is seen behaving inappropriately towards a participant
  • A participant tells staff another person is abusing them
  • A person tells staff that they are abusing a participant
  • A participant or visitor advises staff that they have observed abusive acts
  • Someone observes an action or inaction towards the participant that may be considered abusive
  • A person suspects or has reason to believe a participant is being abused.

The manager will then report to child safety services. Failure to report an abusive situation may result in a criminal offence. The New South Wales Government Family and Community Services Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) will be used to determine when a report is required.

4.2 How to report #

If abuse and neglect are involved, please refer to Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Discrimination Policy and Procedure for reporting to NDIS Commission via the portal.

The manager will report a child at risk of harm or neglect to the Department of Family and Community Service via:

Child Protection Helpline

Phone 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)

4.3 Details to provide #

The manager will provide the following information to the Child Protection Helpline:

  • Child’s name, age, date of birth and address
  • Description of injury, abuse or neglect (outline current and previous)
  • Child’s current situation
  • Location of the child, parent or caregiver and alleged perpetrator
  • When and how they found out about the abuse.

4.4 Child identification details and context #

iSeekSupport will need to provide enough detail to identify the child or young person and give context to the report, including:

  • Child’s full name
  • Date of birth or age
  • Current address
  • Contact number
  • School/kindergarten/childcare centre
  • Ethnicity, i.e. cultural background, aboriginal kinship group, non-English speaking
  • Who are the parents; do they all live in the same house; are there siblings in the house?
  • Alleged perpetrator’s name, age, address, relationship to the child and current whereabouts
  • Current whereabouts of the child of concern
  • Details of when the next expected contact with the alleged perpetrator will occur
  • Family court orders, apprehended violence orders and domestic violence orders, if in place.

4.5 Defining child maltreatment, abuse and neglect #

Child abuse and neglect are related to any behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents outside the norms of conduct and entail a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or a young person. Such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional and can include acts of omission (i.e. neglect) and commission (i.e. abuse).

4.5.1 Physical abuse #
  • Signs and symptoms: Bruising, lacerations, welts, rashes, broken or healing bones, burns, weight loss, facial swelling, missing teeth, pain or restricted movements, crying, acting fearful, agitation, drowsiness, hair loss or poor physical wellbeing.
  • Causes: Hitting, slapping, pushing, punching or burning, which involves an incident that is non-accidental, resulting in pain or injury.
4.5.2 Psychological and emotional abuse #
  • Signs and symptoms: Loss of interest in self-care, helplessness, withdrawn, apathy, insomnia, fearfulness, reluctance to communicate openly, choosing not to maintain eye contact, paranoia and confusion.
  • Causes: Intimidation, humiliation, harassment, threatening behaviour, sleep deprivation, withholding affection, not allowing a person to maintain their decision-making powers which lead to a pattern when repeated over time.
4.5.3 Financial abuse #
  • Signs and symptoms: Unpaid accounts, withholding funds, loss of jewellery and personal belongings, removal of cash from wallet/purse, the person becomes agitated when discussing money, not providing money for outings and personal items, or a person takes over the care of someone’s money without their permission.
  • Causes: Misuse of a person’s money, valuables or property, forced changes to legal documents (such as a will), denying access to or control of personal funds, stealing, fraud, forgery, embezzlement, misuse of power of attorney, removing decision-making powers of a person.
4.5.4 Sexual abuse #
  • Signs and symptoms: Unexplained sexual transmitted disease, vaginal/anal bleeding, fear of specific people or places, bruising to genital areas, inner thigh or around breasts, anxiety, torn or bloody underclothes, difficulty walking or sitting, change in sleep patterns, repeating nightmares.
  • Causes: Rape (penetration or oral-genital contact), interest in older person’s bodies, inappropriate comments and sexual references, inappropriate (possibly painful) administration of enemas or genital cleansing, indecent assault, sexual harassment, which is mainly about violence and power over another person rather than sexual pleasure.
4.5.5 Neglect #
  • Signs and symptoms: Poor hygiene or personal care, unkempt appearance, lack of personal items, absence of health aids, weight loss, agitation, inappropriate clothing, lack of food.
  • Cause: Intentional failure to provide basic life necessities.
4.5.6 Social abuse #
  • Signs and symptoms: Sadness and grief due to people not visiting, anxiety after a specific person’s visit, withdrawal, low self-esteem, appearing ashamed, passivity, listlessness.
  • Causes: Prevention of contact with friends or family, preventing access to social activities.

iSeekSupport Policy and Procedure – Published 09.02.2022 #

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