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Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy

Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The University of Newcastle (University) is committed to excellence, equity and engagement in the delivery of education and its operations. In serving and benefitting our community the University is entrusted to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who participate in our learning activities or attend our campuses and premises.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy demonstrates and establishes the University's commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, and:

  1. establishes obligations for our leaders, staff and volunteers to act ethically towards children in ensuring their safety and wellbeing; and
  2. connects to the University's framework of policy and procedures that ensure children’s safety and wellbeing.
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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to any University activity that results in or involves engagement with children or young people. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. operations and activities of the University and its controlled entities;
  2. staff of the University and its controlled entities, volunteers and visitors; 
  3. funding partners and third-parties who work with the University, provide services to the University, or deliver education on behalf of the University.
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Section 4 - Definitions

(4) In the context of this document, and in accordance with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations:

  1. abuse in relation to a child is intended to have its broadest meaning and includes:
    1. physical abuse;
    2. sexual abuse or other exploitation of a child, including child grooming;
    3. emotional/psychological and verbal abuse;
    4. neglect of the child;
    5. exposure to violence, including family and domestic violence.
  2. a child or young person is a person under 18 years of age or a person apparently less than 18 years of age if the person’s age cannot be proven.
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Section 5 - Principles

(5) The University will:

  1. uphold its commitment to our Code of Conduct in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people;
  2. regularly (at least annually) and systematically assess all activities of the University and its controlled entities that involve known and potential contact and interactions with children and young people to identify and evaluate risks to child safety, and implement appropriate risk treatment methods to manage or mitigate the identified risks (see Risk Management Framework);
  3. adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles), and in doing so:
    1. ensure, so far as reasonably possible, our physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing for children and young people, and minimise harm;
    2. seek participation from our communities, and families in promoting and protecting child safety and wellbeing; 
    3. provide a supportive and safe environment for staff who wish to escalate suspected abuse or risk of abuse;
    4. provide training to relevant staff and volunteers regarding their obligations for child safety and wellbeing and develop their skills, knowledge and awareness through ongoing education and training;
    5. be rigorous in screening candidates during our talent acquisition and volunteer recruitment practices;
    6. establish requirements of third parties through contractual obligations, for compliance with the National Principles;
    7. provide appropriate mechanisms to inform children and young people about their rights and the decisions that affect them, including provision of child-friendly complaint mechanisms (see Complaint Management Policy);
    8. regularly review and report on our compliance with the National Principles.

(6) The University will publish an annual statement that transparently informs our community of our child safety risk assessment and compliance with the National Principles over the previous year.

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Section 6 - Support

(7) Persons seeking support in relation to child safety and wellbeing on the University's campuses, premises or in relation to our activities should contact one of the following areas:

Person Support Area
Students Counselling Service
Volunteers Human Resource Services
Researchers Research Ethics and Integrity Unit
Staff Human Resource Services
Suppliers Procure to Pay
Third Party Providers (Domestic) Pro Vice-Chancellor Education Innovation
Third Party Providers (Global) Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global
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Section 7 - Responsibilities

(8) The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for facilitating the implementation of the University's compliance with the National Principles.

(9) Divisional leaders are responsible for providing an annual attestation to the Chief Operating Officer confirming compliance with the risk assessment and staff training requirements of this policy.

(10) All staff and volunteers are responsible for participating in activities that will ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

(11) Responsible nominated executives, as defined in the Governance Framework for Controlled Entities, must ensure that controlled entities comply with the requirements of this policy.