Child Safe Code of Conduct
Commitment to child safety
State Library Victoria is accessible to everyone and welcoming to all. We are committed to being a child safe organisation with zero tolerance for child abuse, always acting in the child’s best interests.
We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, culturally and linguistically diverse children, and to the safety of children with a disability. We aim to create enriching experiences for young learners and want children to feel safe, happy and empowered.
We provide ongoing training and support for our staff and volunteers to ensure the safety of children.
We will meet our legal and moral obligations to contact authorities if we have concerns for a child’s safety. We will take all necessary steps to:
1. Create an organisational culture of child safety, ensuring all staff understand and abide by our Child Safe code of conduct and know their responsibilities in protecting children from harm.
2. Prevent and protect children from physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and cultural abuse and neglect, in both the physical and online environment.
3. Ensure all suspected abuse is reported and responded to in line with our policies and procedures.
Code of Conduct
In accordance with the Library’s Child Safe policy approved by the Library Board of Victoria, staff including Executive Officers, employees, contractors and volunteers of State Library Victoria are required to demonstrate child safe behaviour and support the safety, participation, wellbeing and empowerment of children by:
- Obtaining and maintaining a valid Working with Children check when working in any capacity that interacts directly with the public.
- Adhering to State Library Victoria’s Child Safe policy and procedures at all times.
- Taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse whilst treating everyone with respect (for example, using tact when approaching someone you reasonably believe is acting inappropriately).
- Listening and responding to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child has been abused or are worried about their safety or the safety of another.
- Promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian children, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (for example, by never questioning a child’s self-identification and having zero tolerance for discrimination).
- Promoting the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability (for example, during personal care activities).
- Reporting any allegations of child abuse to State Library Victoria’s Child Safe Officers.
- Calling the police if a child is in immediate danger or if there is a reasonable belief that a child has been abused. Reporting suspected child abuse is every adult’s responsibility. Failure to protect a child from abuse and failure to disclose suspected abuse is against the law.
- If an allegation of child abuse is made, ensuring as quickly as possible that the child is safe.
- Encouraging children to ‘have a say’ and participate in all relevant organisational activities where possible, especially on issues that are important to them.
Staff and volunteers must not:
- Develop any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific children without the knowledge of the Library's Child Safe Officers).
- Exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as unnecessarily physical (for example, inappropriate sitting on laps).
- Put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors).
- Do things of a personal nature that a child can do for themselves (for example, using the bathroom or changing clothes).
- Engage in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children (for example, discussing personal social activities).
- Use inappropriate language in the presence of children.
- Express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of children.
- Discriminate against any child in any manner including culture, race, ethnicity or disability.
- Have contact with a child or their family outside of the Library without the Child Safe Officers' knowledge and/or consent (for example, no babysitting or other care arrangements).
- Have accidental contact with children (for example, seeing people in the street).
- Have any online contact with a child or their family unless transparent to the organisation and part of an approved program (for example, newsletters or responding to enquiries).
This Code of Conduct will be reviewed upon the cessation of the current State Library Victoria Enterprise Partnership Agreement (2016), in light of any amendments to the relevant legislation, major amendments to Library Policy or in the event of an incident.
For inquiries or more information on State Library Victoria’s Child Safe policy, procedures and code of conduct, please email the People and Culture Team at [email protected].