Q & A
We get lots of enquiries and web searches about different aspects of safeguarding which we have tried to answer here for you
Non-sexual grooming refers to behavior or actions that are used by an individual to establish emotional connections or trust with someone, often a child or vulnerable adult, with the intention of exploiting or manipulating them in some way. Non-sexual grooming is typically a prelude to sexual abuse, financial abuse, or other forms of exploitation.
Examples of non-sexual grooming can include flattering the individual, giving gifts, offering special attention or privileges, sharing secrets, or gradually increasing the level of physical contact. These behaviors are often used by abusers to gain the trust of their victims and to create a sense of dependency that can make it difficult for the victim to break away.
It’s important to note that non-sexual grooming is not always a precursor to abuse and that not all grooming behavior is harmful or malicious. However, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of grooming behavior and to take appropriate action if you suspect that someone is being groomed or manipulated in some way. If you have concerns about someone’s behavior or suspect that someone may be a victim of grooming, it is important to seek help and support from a trusted authority or professional.
Learn more about grooming HERE.
The Victorian Minister for Education issued Ministerial Order No. 1359 which outlines the minimum requirements schools and school boarding premises must meet to comply with the Child Safe Standards. Schools and school boarding premises had to comply with Ministerial Order No. 1359 by 1 July 2022.
Read more about Ministerial Order 1359 HERE.
The Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic) (CWSA) is a Victorian law that aims to protect the wellbeing and safety of children in various settings such as schools, child care facilities, residential care facilities, sporting clubs, religious organizations, and others.
The CWSA establishes a framework for child safety, which includes identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect, as well as promoting child wellbeing. The Act places legal responsibilities on organizations that provide services to children to ensure that they have systems and processes in place to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.
Some of the key features of the CWSA include:
- The establishment of the Commission for Children and Young People, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Act and promoting child safety in Victoria.
- The establishment of child safety standards, which set out the minimum requirements for organisations to ensure that children are protected from harm.
- The requirement for organisations to have child safety policies and procedures in place, and to regularly review and update these policies.
- The requirement for organisations to undertake risk assessments and develop strategies to manage risks to children.
- The establishment of a reporting system for child abuse and neglect, which requires professionals who work with children to report any suspected abuse or neglect to child protection authorities.
Overall, the CWSA is an important piece of legislation that aims to protect the rights and wellbeing of children and ensure that organisations providing services to children have a responsibility to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.
Mandatory reporting refers to the legal requirement for certain professionals or individuals to report suspected child abuse or neglect to child protection authorities.
In many countries, including Australia, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, police officers, and other professionals who work with children are mandated by law to report any suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to child protection authorities. In some cases, members of the public may also be mandated reporters.
The purpose of mandatory reporting is to ensure that child abuse and neglect are identified and addressed as early as possible, and to protect children from further harm. When a mandated reporter has concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing, they are legally required to make a report to the relevant authorities, which may include child protection services, the police, or other agencies.
Mandatory reporting laws vary by jurisdiction, but typically require mandated reporters to provide specific information about the child and their circumstances, as well as any evidence or information that led them to suspect abuse or neglect. Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect can result in legal penalties, such as fines or imprisonment.
It is important to note that mandatory reporting is just one aspect of child protection, and that everyone has a responsibility to protect children from harm. If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, even if you are not a mandated reporter, you should report your concerns to the appropriate authorities or seek advice from a trusted professional.
Learn more about mandatory reporting HERE.
Safeguarding generally refers to the measures taken to protect individuals, particularly vulnerable people such as children or adults at risk, from harm or abuse. This can involve creating safe environments, implementing policies and procedures, and providing education and training to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring.
Safeguarding can take various forms, depending on the context. In the case of children, it often includes child protection policies and procedures, background checks for employees and volunteers, and training for staff on how to identify and respond to abuse. For adults at risk, safeguarding may involve measures such as care assessments, risk assessments, and monitoring of care services to ensure they are provided safely and effectively.
Overall, safeguarding aims to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals and prevent harm or abuse from occurring.
Reportable conduct refers to specific types of conduct or behavior that are considered serious and must be reported to the relevant authorities for investigation. The definition of reportable conduct can vary depending on the context and the jurisdiction, but it generally includes conduct that may pose a risk of harm to vulnerable individuals, such as children or adults at risk.
In many countries, including Australia, reportable conduct may include:
- Physical or sexual abuse or misconduct towards a child or adult at risk
- Neglect or mistreatment of a child or adult at risk
- Behaviour that causes psychological harm or emotional distress to a child or adult at risk
- Conduct involving the possession, production, or distribution of child pornography
- Conduct involving the grooming of a child for sexual purposes
- Conduct involving the exploitation of a child for commercial purposes
Organisations that work with children or adults at risk, such as schools, childcare centres, and aged care facilities, have a legal obligation to report any suspected or actual incidents of reportable conduct to the relevant authorities, such as child protection services or the police.
The term “grooming” is often used in the context of child sexual abuse and refers to the process by which an abuser establishes a relationship of trust and emotional connection with a child or young person. The term “grooming” originally came from the behavior of animals, such as primates, who engage in ritualistic cleaning or grooming of one another as a way to build social bonds and establish hierarchies.
In the context of child sexual abuse, grooming is a process that can involve a range of behaviours, such as giving gifts or attention, providing emotional support, or even just spending time with the child. The aim of the grooming process is often to build a relationship of trust and emotional connection with the child or young person, with the ultimate goal of manipulating them into engaging in sexual activity.
The term “grooming” is used to describe this process because it involves similar tactics to those used by animals when they groom each other. Just as an animal may use grooming to establish a social hierarchy or build bonds with others, an abuser may use grooming to establish a power dynamic and manipulate a child or young person into engaging in sexual activity.
While both terms focus on keeping children safe, ‘safeguarding’ is a broader concept that includes prevention, education, and creating safe environments. ‘Child protection’ specifically refers to the actions taken to protect children who are at risk of or experiencing abuse or neglect.