Aktive is committed to helping people and communities across Auckland to achieve sporting habits for life. As both Sport NZ and Auckland Council’s strategic partner in Auckland, this means investing in organisations and projects that will get more people recreating and playing sport, as well as creating more opportunities for coaches.
This policy applies to all Aktive staff, including volunteers and part-time or temporary roles and contractors. It is intended to protect all children that staff may encounter, including siblings, the children of adults accessing services and any other children encountered by staff as they provide their services. For the purposes of this policy and associated procedures, a child is recognised as someone up to the age of 18.
Aktive is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of children by identifying and responding to vulnerability, child abuse and neglect in an effective and efficient manner.
We recognise the responsibility to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm and to ensure that staff are trained and skilled to know the signs of abuse, apply our policies and procedures and act appropriately and effectively in response to a concern or incident.
Staff and volunteers will work together to demonstrate a strong organisational child protection culture to ensure that the rights of children are respected.
This policy is based on the following principles:
- The welfare of children is the primary concern and the welfare of the child will be our paramount consideration in all our decision making
- All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, socioeconomic status, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from all forms of harm;
- Child protection is everyone's responsibility; and
- Our organisation will work in partnership with children and parents/whanau/caregivers to promote the welfare, health and development of children
- Children have the right to express views on all matters which affect them, should they wish to do so;
The aim of this policy is to promote good practice through:
- Promoting and implementing appropriate procedures to safeguard the well-being of children and protect them from harm. Procedures will be outlined in response to:
- Suspected vulnerability, abuse or neglect
- Disclosure of abuse or neglect
- Allegations of child abuse made against a staff member
- Recruiting, training, supporting and supervising staff, members and volunteers to adopt best practice to identify and respond to suspected vulnerability, abuse or neglect, to protect children from harm and to reduce the risk of allegations or complaints against themselves;
- Promoting the health and welfare of children by providing opportunities for them to take part in sport and physical activity safely;
- Respecting and promoting the rights, wishes and feelings of children;
- Requiring children, staff, members and volunteers to adopt and abide by this Child Protection Policy and these procedures;
- Responding to any suspicion, disclosure or allegations of misconduct or harm to children in line with this policy and these procedures, as well as implementing, where appropriate, the relevant investigative, disciplinary and appeals procedures;
- Regularly monitoring and evaluating the implementation of this policy and procedures.
Roles and Responsibilities
Appointing a Child Protection Officer:
Aktive will nominate two Child Protection Officers who will be responsible for:
- Being available for, and acting as a source of support, advice and guidance to, all staff or volunteers, in any situation where there is a concern or a disclosure of vulnerability, abuse and neglect of a child;
- Ensuring that Aktive’s child protection policy and procedures are consistently applied in all situations where there is concern for a child;
- Maintaining confidential records of reported cases and action taken;
- Developing a child protection training plan and ensuring all staff have access to necessary resources, understand the child protection policy and procedures and undertake any training deemed appropriate to their role;
- Carrying out the child protection induction process for new staff;
- Reviewing the child protection policy and procedures to ensure they remain current and in line with legislation;
- Promoting the importance of safeguarding in sport and the role of a Child Protection Officer across key partners;
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with other child protection support services in the community and maintaining an update list of contact details for those agencies;
- Ensuring documentation tools are in place and accessible to staff for the recording of care and protection concerns;
- Ensuring audit and evaluation tools are in place to assess child protection policy, processes and practice.
Board/Senior Leadership Team will ensure:
- There are organisation-wide policies and procedures for the appropriate response to, and management of, suspicions, disclosures or allegations against staff, of vulnerability, child abuse and neglect.
- That the child protection policy and procedures comply with legislative requirements.
- That the child protection policy is reviewed in accordance with section ‘Policy Review’ & upon change in legislation or following a child protection incident.
All employees must:
- Be conversant with our child protection policy and related procedures.
- Attend any training as deemed appropriate in their area of work.
- Follow Aktive’s child protection policy and procedures when child vulnerability, abuse or neglect is suspected or disclosed, or an allegation is made against a member of staff.
- Ensure that upon commencement of any new programmes or working groups, all individuals are signposted to our child protection policy and procedures and have read and understood them (staff, volunteers, contractors, third parties).
Aktive is committed to ensuring that all staff are familiar with our organisations’ culture of child protection. This is important to enable staff and volunteers to:
- Identify and respond appropriately to suspected, disclosed or alleged child abuse and neglect.
- Recognise when children are at risk, the different types of abuse and indicators of abuse.
- Understand their responsibilities in relation to keeping children safe both in terms of prevention and management of cases that may arise.
Consideration will be given to the level of proficiency required by each employee.
- As part of the induction process, all new staff will be taken through the child protection procedures, shown where the child protection and other related policies are stored online and be asked to ensure that they read and understand the content of these documents.
- All staff will be informed of any changes to the child protection policy and procedures.
- Annual training and personal development opportunities will be available, particularly to individuals who are working directly with children and as designated persons for child protection matters.
This policy should be considered in line with other Aktive policies and safer working practice guidelines including:
- Safer Recruitment Policy
- Aktive Code of Conduct
- Health and Safety Policy
- Taking Images and Social Media Policy
Aktive will review this Policy and these Procedures on a rotation basis along with other policies in the Aktive policy suite and in addition:
- In accordance with changes in relevant legislation for the protection of children
- Following any issues or concerns raised about these policy’s or procedures
- Upon any significant child protection event
Once this Policy has been adopted by the Aktive Board, this review will be undertaken by the Child Protection Officer and ratified by the Aktive Audit and Risk Committee (AARC).
Definitions and Indicators of Child Abuse
What is Child Abuse?
“… the harming (whether physically, emotionally, sexually) ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation of any child or young person”. (The Oranga Tamariki Act 1989)
The following definitions and indicators are provided for guidance but should not be seen as an exhaustive list and are further expanded upon in Appendix B.
Whether abuse or neglect is suspected or disclosed, or allegations are made against a staff member, the welfare and interests of the child or young person are the first and paramount considerations.
Staff must not investigate matters or make any decisions alone. The procedures outlined must be followed, however, any staff member may contact Oranga Tamariki (OT) or the Police for advice at any time if they feel that the procedures are not effective or there remain concerns for a child.
Where abuse or neglect is disclosed or suspected
Where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff
The immediate risk to the child must be ascertained. If the child is not considered to be in immediate danger contact the Child Protection Officer (CPO) in the first instance.
The CPO will be responsible for activating the child protection procedures as outlined on page 6 and the CPO will escalate any matters involving allegations against staff to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) who will activate the relevant employment procedures in relation to the employee.
Confidentiality and Information Sharing
We are committed to sharing information as appropriate, if there is a concern about a child and will seek advice from Oranga Tamariki (OT) and/or the Police before identifying information about an allegation is shared with anyone, other than the child protection officer or designated senior manager.
In addition to seeking advice from OT and the Police, we will refer to the privacy commission guidelines on sharing information about vulnerable children, to guide decisions on when to share information and talk to parents/whanau/caregivers, please visit here.
The child protection officer will be responsible for ensuring that any information relating to a child protection matter is stored securely online, within a restricted access area. The child protection officer will also be responsible for the secure and confidential sharing of relevant information when required.
Under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Children and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989, staff may disclose information when there is a good reason to do so. Under sections 15 and 16 of the Children and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989, any person who has a concern that a child has been or is likely to be harmed may report the matter to Oranga Tamariki or the Police and provided the report is made in good faith, no civil, criminal or disciplinary procedures will be brought against them.
When collecting personal information about individuals, it is important to be aware of the requirements of the privacy principles – i.e. the need to collect the information directly from the individual concerned and when doing so to be transparent about: the purposes for collecting the information and how it will be used; who can see the information; where it is held; what is compulsory/voluntary information; and that people have a right to request access to and correction of their information.
Aktive - Auckland Sport & Recreation would like to acknowledge and reference the following documentation for having contributed to the development of the Child Protection Policy:
- Ministry of Children - Oranga Tamariki (OT)
- Safeguarding Children
- Child Matters
- Children’s Action Plan: Safer Organisations Safer Children
- Sport New Zealand – Safe Sport for Children
Appendix A: Child Safety Incident Report Form
Please click here to download the Word document template.
Appendix B: Definitions and Indicators of abuse
A vulnerable child is one who is unable to keep themselves safe from harm or who is at risk of not reaching their full potential and achieving their outcomes without services or additional support. Vulnerable children are at risk of significant harm to their well-being now and into the future as a consequence of the environment in which they are being raised, and in some cases, due to their own complex needs
A non-accidental act on a child/young person that results in physical harm. Maybe inflicted intentionally or by the inadvertent result of physical punishment, or the aggressive treatment of a child. May involve (but is not limited to) shoving, slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, beating, shaking, throwing, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating, biting, poisoning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child/young person.
Physical abuse may also involve fabricating the symptoms of illness or deliberately inducing illness in a child/young person.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment, though it may occur alone. Sometimes referred to as psychological abuse, Emotional abuse is often persistent and a pattern of behaviour where the child/young person is often rejected and/or threatened, as to cause severe and adverse effects on their emotional wellbeing and/or physical and/or intellectual development.
It may involve:
- Verbally abusing and conveying to a child they are worthless, unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person e.g.name-calling, putdowns, constantly degraded, criticised or negatively compared to others.
- The child being rejected, ignored, isolated, humiliated, terrorised, corrupted and belittled.
- Not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say and how they communicate.
- Age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on a child, including interactions beyond their developmental capabilities or overprotection and limitations, preventing the child from participating in normal social interactions.Serious bullying (including cyber-bullying), causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger.
- Witnessing or hearing the ill-treatment of another e.g.Family Violence.
Any act where a child/young person is coerced, forced or enticed to take part in sexual activities (not necessarily involving a high level of violence), whether or not the child/young person is aware of what is happening, and may be consensual or not. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males; women and other children/young people (peer-peer) can also commit acts of sexual abuse. It is where a person with power or authority over a child uses the child for sexual gratification.
Most sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the child and can happen within or outside of the child’s family. It often begins with some form of grooming, which is when the person prepares the child for sexual activity by lowering their inhibitions and gaining their trust. Sexual abuse spans a range of contact and non-contact behaviours. It may also involve children in and/or exposing them to pornographic material/sites, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or sexual conversations.
A term used to describe what happens when an abuser builds up a relationship with a child with a view to abusing them at some stage. There is no set pattern for the grooming of children. For some abusers there will be a lengthy period of time before the abuse begins. The child may be given special attention and, what starts as an apparently normal display of affection, such as cuddling, can develop into sexual touching or masturbation and then into more serious sexual behaviour. Other abusers may draw a child in and abuse them relatively quickly.
Some abusers don’t groom children but abuse them without forming a relationship at all. Grooming can take place in any setting where a relationship is formed, such as leisure, music, sports and religious activities. It may also take place in virtual settings e.g. via the internet (social media, etc.); interactive electronic devices e.g. games, phones, etc.
Grooming covers 6 stages:
1. Targeting the victim
2. Gaining the victims' trust
3. Filling a need
4. Isolating the child/young person
5. Sexualising relationship
6. Maintaining control.
Child Sexual Exploitation
The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 is a type of sexual abuse. It involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. accommodation, drugs/alcohol, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.
The abusive relationship between victim and perpetrator(s) involves an imbalance of power, limiting the victim’s options. A form of abuse often misunderstood by victims and outsiders as consensual; children/young people often trust their abuser(s) and don’t understand they are being abused. They may be tricked and/or groomed into believing they are in a loving consensual relationship.
Sexual exploitation doesn't always involve physical contact and can happen online and/or to young people in gangs. E.g. young people persuaded or forced into:
- Sending or posting sexually explicit images of themselves
- Taking part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
- Having sexual conversations by text or online.
Within gangs sexual exploitation may be used to:
- Exert power and control over members.
- Initiate young people into the gang.
- Exchange sexual activity for status or protection.
- Entrap rival gang members and/or inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict.
The persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, causing long term serious harm to the child's heath or development. It may also include neglect of a child's basic or emotional needs. Neglect is a lack: of action, emotion or basic needs.
It is any act or omission resulting in impaired physical functioning, injury, health and/or development of a child/young person. Neglect may also occur in pregnancy e.g. via parental substance misuse, family violence.
Neglect can consist of:
- Physical Neglect: not providing the necessities of life like a food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from the home or abandonment).
- Neglectful Supervision: leaving children home alone, or without someone safe looking after them during the day or night (including inadequate care-givers).
- Emotional Neglect: not giving children the comfort, attention and love they need through play, talk and everyday affection or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
- Medical Neglect: the failure to take care of their health needs (including dentistry).
- Educational Neglect: allowing chronic truancy, failure to enrol children in school, or inattention to special educational needs.
- A refusal to assume parental responsibility.
Intimate Partner Violence or Family Violence
It may be a single act of violence, or a number of acts that form a pattern of abuse. In addition to physical violence, most commonly Family Violence relates to specific forms of emotional abuse enabling power and control over victims. Exposure to and/or witnessing Family Violence is also recognised as a form of emotional abuse.
Family violence can be carried out by anyone in a domestic or close relationship. This includes a partner or ex-partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, carer, parent, older child, sibling, friend, flatmate or family member. They don't have to be living with the person(s) being affected.
Domestic violence can involve:
- Financial abuse
- Allowing a child to witness abuse
- Physical violence or abuse
- Emotional/Psychological abuse (including threats, intimidation, harassment, and damage to property)
- Sexual violence or abuse
Whilst anyone may be a victim of and/or perpetrate Family Violence, research shows women and children as being the most likely victims. Children are always affected, even if they are not being physically harmed themselves, they will be emotionally harmed.
Bullying relates to inappropriate use of a real or perceived power by one or more persons over another person or a group regarded as less powerful. Acts of bullying are generally repeated or have the potential to be repeated, over time.
Bullying relates to hurting someone else (physically and/or emotionally) and may take many forms that are often interrelated and include:
- Verbal: Name-calling, Gossiping, Put-downs, Threats
- Physical: Hitting, Pushing, Punching, Kicking, Scratching, Tripping, Spitting, Hiding or damaging possessions
- Social: Ignoring, Isolating, Excluding, Ostracising, Alienating someone
- Emotional: Spreading rumours, Threatening/ Intimidating/ undermining/ or humiliating someone, Stalking, Constant criticism, Controlling or manipulating someone.
Concerns relating to bullying encompass both those perpetrating these acts and those suffering as a result.
Bullying that happens online, using social networks, games and mobile phones, is often called cyberbullying. A child can feel like there’s no escape because it can happen wherever they are, at any time of day or night.
This is usually perpetrated using social media networks, games and mobile phones. This can include spreading rumours, posting nasty or embarrassing messages, images and/or videos. Those suffering from Cyberbullying may know who is bullying them or they may be targeted by someone using a fake or anonymous account, with anonymity often increasing the likelihood of others engaging in bullying behaviour. Often due to being challenging to stop, remove and by being constant (wherever they are, any time of day or night) children/young people can feel like there’s no escape.
The effects of patterns of circumstances and events in a child’s life, which diminish a child’s sense of safety, stability and wellbeing. Cumulative harm is the existence of compounded experiences of multiple episodes of abuse or ‘layers’ of neglect. The unremitting daily impact on the child can be profound and exponential, covering multiple dimensions of the child’s life.
Further information on how to identify child abuse and neglect can be found by reading the book ‘How can I tell – Recognising child abuse’ published by Child Matters. See www.childmatters.org.nz