Child Safety Standards
Child Safety Standards
Statement of Commitment to the Child Safe Standards embodied in the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act (2005)
Ventura acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and acknowledges their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging.
Purpose: This Child Safety and Wellbeing Statement of Commitment demonstrates the strong commitment of Ventura management, employees and subcontractors to child safety and wellbeing, and how our organisation keeps children safe from harm, including child abuse.
Compliance with the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act (2005)
Ventura is committed to being a child safe organisation. This means Ventura abides by the Child Safe Standards embodied in the guidelines provided by the Commission for Children and Young People in Victoria.
Ventura has undertaken a Child Safety Review to establish child safety measures and identify areas for improvement. As a result of this review, the business has adopted the policies and procedures set out in this statement under the leadership of Andrew Cornwall, Ventura’s Managing Director.
Statement of Commitment to Child Safety
At Ventura, our commitment to child safety is about more than understanding what is required by compliance with the Act. Ventura appreciates that schools, parents and guardians entrust Ventura with the safety of their children. We cherish this position of trust, which is why we have a zero tolerance for any form of child abuse or discrimination.
Ventura takes deliberate steps to protect children from physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and cultural abuse, and neglect. Our employees understand the need to protect the safety of children and have particular regard to the safety of children from cultural or linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children with a disability.
Ventura’s Management team ensure that children’s safety is prioritised and that action is taken when anyone raises concerns about children’s safety or wellbeing. Management will work to create a positive culture around reporting so that our employees feel comfortable to raise concerns. Everyone involved in the organisation has a role in identifying and managing risks of child abuse and harm. Our management team support employees to take action to manage risks, in accordance with this statement.
Adherence to the Child Safe Standards and processes will be reviewed regularly as part of the annual internal audit
Ventura Child Safe Code of Conduct
All interactions with children will meet the highest ethical behavioural standards, and be visible and transparent at all times:
- Ventura employees will not exchange personal contact details, such as phone numbers, social networking sites or email addresses, with children.
- Ventura employees will not communicate with children online.
- Ventura employees will not develop ‘special’ relationships with specific children.
- Ventura employees will not show favouritism through the provision of gifts or inappropriate attention.
Ventura employees will respect the privacy of children and their families, and will only disclose information or concerns to their Manager, School Principal, or police.
Ventura abides by the Department of Education and Training (DET) guidelines for the transport of school children. Accordingly, children on Public Transport Victoria (PTV) and DET Special school buses are carried under DET Conditions of Travel signed by the student and their parent or guardian. These specify appropriate safe behaviour on school buses, designate responsibility for student behaviour to drivers and bus captains, and give drivers authority to report any misbehaviour including but not limited to bullying, teasing and aggression to the school principal.
Where children are transported by chartered bus (but not on private charter school services) the chartering school or organisation will provide an appropriate number of supervising teachers or staff on each bus to ensure safe student conduct and behaviour.
Ventura takes children to and from school under DET or private school conditions of contract, or in school-supervised charter. There are no unsupervised non-school participatory activities involving children other than transporting them to or from school conducted by Ventura employees.
All current employees and any new employees prior to employment are informed of this code and the requirements to comply with it.
Any concerns about or complaints of breaches of this code should be made to Andrew Cornwall, Managing Director for prompt investigation.
Accreditation, Supervision and Training
Ventura puts child safety and wellbeing at the centre of recruitment and screening processes for employees.
Ventura Bus Drivers are required to have a valid CPVV Drivers Accreditation and Working with Childrens Checks (WWCC) prior to employment.
Ventura School Bus Supervisors and any other employee with direct and unsupervised contact with a child is required to have a valid Working with Childrens Check prior to employment.
Regular checks for licences are completed during the persons employment to ensure they remain valid.
Identification and Elimination
Ventura maintains a record of child safety risks. These risks and appropriate resolutions are documented in Ventura’s Risk Register, which is reviewed annually and on an ad hoc basis in response to any changes.
As outlined in the ‘Accreditation, Supervision and Training’ section of this statement, Ventura checks the validity of employees’ WWCC cards on an annual and random basis. Drivers, regardless of whether they are a school bus driver, must have a WWCC card prior to commencing employment.
Ventura will not carry fare-paying non-school passengers on a school bus without prior approval by the relevant school principal.
Act and Protect
Under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act, Ventura employees must respond to and report suspected child abuse. Ventura employees will act where they have concerns of children’s wellbeing:
- In the first instance, Ventura’s employees will report concerns about children’s wellbeing, including from their interaction with each other, to their Manager. The Ventura employee will record the reason and report the information promptly and confidentially. The Manager will report the concerns to the relevant person. For school services, this is the Principal.
- Incidents that warrant police attention will be reported immediately to the police. The Ventura employee will also advise their Manager (and if a school bus service, the Principal).
- All cases where a child discloses abuse, must be recorded using the child’s words and be reported by the Ventura employee to the police.
We value diversity for all children. To achieve this, we:
- provide training for our management on understanding diversity and how to support inclusion and cultural safety
- have zero tolerance of any forms of discrimination and take action when discrimination is identified
- strive to reflect the diversity of our community through representation in our employees and Management
- have a physical and online environment that actively celebrates diversity
Participation and empowerment
Ventura supports strategies that promote the participation and empowerment of children. And we trust that all schools will continue to encourage children to tell their teacher, their Principal or their bus driver of any concerns about safety or behaviour on the bus.
Ventura relies upon the continued support of schools, parents and guardians to ensure that all children have regard for safety on the bus and respect their fellow bus passengers.
Families and communities
We provide information to families and serviced schools about our child safe policies and practices by:
- providing this Statement of Commitment to Child Safety Standards to our serviced schools
- publishing this Statement of Commitment to Child Safety Standards on our website
Complaints and reporting
All reports of child safety concerns will be treated seriously. All complaints and child safety concerns will be responded to promptly and investigated thoroughly.
If a complaint includes an allegation or incident of child abuse by an employee, the employee may be subject to actions to support child safety including:
- being stood down during an investigation
- terminated following an investigation
Ventura is committed to making and keeping full and accurate records about all child-related safety concerns.
All child safety complaints, concerns, incidents and near misses will be recorded in Ventura’s Information Management Systems.
Records which may assist with the investigation of a complaint or safety concern will be identified and kept as part of the record of an investigation. Records will be kept even if an investigation does not substantiate a complaint.
We will record and keep the outcome of any investigations, and the resolution of any complaints. This includes findings made, reasons for decisions and actions taken.
Ventura’s Statement of Commitment to Child Safety Standards will be reviewed annually in consultation with senior management and include discussions on further potential risks and areas for improvement.
Ventura will review relevant procedures in response to concerns, complaints, a child safety incident or ‘near miss’, and alleged breaches of policies. Findings from reviews will be recorded and reported to Managing Director.
- Child Safe – Concerns and incidents reporting policy
- Child Safe – ‘Failure to disclose’ requirements and exemptions policy
- Letter to employees: Commitment to the Child Safe Standards
- Ventura Code of Conduct
- Ventura Risk Register
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic) (including Child Safe Standards)
- Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) (including reporting to Child Protection)