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St Mary's Catholic School is committed to ensuring a safe school environment for all students, with a focus on the critical area of student welfare.
All schools in the Townsville Catholic Diocese have a comprehensive Student Protection program for all staff, including teachers, support staff and office staff.
Townsville Catholic Education Student Protection functions
- Oversight of all mandatory reporting and reporting of student wellbeing/safety concerns.
- Point of contact for schools in managing mandatory reporting requirements.
- Point of contact for schools in managing student safety/wellbeing issues.
- Point of contact for schools in managing crisis, critical incidents or complex matters related to student safety and wellbeing.
- Responsibility for development and implementation of Townsville Catholic Eduction student protection initiatives.
- Responsibility for development and delivery of mandatory student protection compliance training as well as provide schools with a broad range of opportunities to expand their knowledge of issues that impact student safety/wellbeing.
- Chair of the Townsville Catholic Education Student Protection Advisory Committee.
- Advice, investigatory assistance and support for HR matters that impact student safety/wellbeing.
- Management of historical abuse matters related to Townsville Catholic Education and support to Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator for matters related to clergy/religious.
- Advice to schools in relation to blue card matters.
- Development and delivery of annual School Safe Person training.
- Advisor to the Director of Organisational Services and Executive Director of Townsville Catholic Education in relation to all matters relating to student safety/wellbeing.
- Liaison between QPS and Department responsible for Child Safety in matters that relate to student safety/wellbeing.
- Love Bites program coordinators for Townsville Catholic Education. Love Bites is a nationally recognised program which focuses on best practice and evidence based respectful relationships program.
- Support schools to provide education to students in relation to issues that impact their safety and wellbeing.
- Development of policies, procedures and guidelines which focus on the safety of students and ensure that staff understand their obligations and professional boundaries.
School Safe Persons
Safe Persons, also known as Student Protection Contacts, are enshrined in legislation – The Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Regulation 2017 (s16.3) states:
- ‘There must be stated at least 2 staff members to whom a student may report (the conduct)’. NOTE: At least one person must be the School Principal.
- While the legislation is about reporting issues around inappropriate staff behaviour, TCE gives these roles broader scope.
- It is the responsibility of the Principal to ensure that there is at least one other staff member nominated as a Safe Person and that all Safe Persons are aware of their role and responsibilities. The names and identities of the Safe Persons must be made known to staff, students and parents.
- Safe Person’s posters MUST be prominently displayed in areas frequented by staff and students.
- Students must also be made aware of the process for the reporting of inappropriate behaviour by a staff member to a Safe Person. The Principal is responsible for ensuring that this information is made available in a variety of ways – student protection can assist with this also.
- Support students during school interviews. When police and/or Child Safety assess that they need to undertake an interview with a student at school, a Safe Person may assist by providing support to the child during the interview.
- Educate students and staff on the role of the School Safe Person.
- Promote and organise Child Protection initiatives in your school such as Child Protection week, R U OK day, etc.
- Advise colleagues on student protection processes and support them through this process.
- Keep connected with other safe persons and the Student Protection Team to share ideas, activities and events in your school.
Safe Persons may be required to:
- Receive information from students, staff or parents and act on information.
- Make a report about inappropriate conduct of a fellow staff member.
- Assist others in managing student protection matters.
- Assist others in writing/making a Student Protection Report.
- Keep confidential records on Student Protection matters involving students and staff.
Safe Persons should be prepared to:
- Attend training on an annual basis.
- Report any behaviour of concern of a staff member towards that is considered inappropriate and to inform the principal.
- Receive information of harm or risk of harm to a student and complete a report without delay to submit to the Principal.
- Be prepared to assist other staff to complete reports.
- Follow up with staff/students regarding student protection worries, this includes information you may have accidentally come across.