Child Safety

Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited (DOSCEL) holds the care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of Catholic education. This commitment is drawn from and inherent to the teaching and mission of Jesus Christ, with love, justice and the sanctity of each human person at the heart of the Gospel.

DOSCEL commits to promoting inclusive and safe schools in the Diocese of Sale through:

  • upholding the primacy of the safety and wellbeing of children and young people

  • empowering families, children, young people and staff to have a voice and raise concerns

  • implementing rigorous risk-management and employment practices.

The DOSCEL Secretariat, in partnership with DOSCEL schools, will systematically and continually identify and assess risks to child safety and will eliminate (where possible) or reduce all potential sources of harm. Risk management practices will be embedded in effective, transparent and well-understood policies, procedures and practices that are regularly reviewed and updated as required. When child safety concerns are raised, identified and/or reported, they will be investigated and responded to promptly and thoroughly.

DOSCEL schools will endeavour to ensure that their students are engaged and active participants in decision-making processes, particularly those that have an impact on their safety. Particular attention will be paid to the inclusion and safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, international students, students with disabilities, those unable to live at home, children and young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning and/or asexual (LGBTIQA+) and other students experiencing risk or vulnerability. Inappropriate or harmful behaviour targeting children and young people based on these or other characteristics, such as racism or homophobia, are not tolerated and will be addressed with appropriate consequences.

DOSCEL will continue to employ highly competent and professional Secretariat staff who are formed and challenged to maintain the safety of all children and young people in DOSCEL schools. The high quality of staff appointments will continue to be upheld through rigorous employment and staff review processes and practices.

DOSCEL Secretariat staff and DOSCEL schools will stay abreast of current legislation and will meet their legislative duties to protect the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in their care, inclusive of legislation pertaining to the Victorian Child Safe Standards (Ministerial Order No. 1359), mandatory reporting, relevant Information Sharing Schemes, anti-grooming, failure to disclose and failure to protect requirements.

Victorian Child Safe Standards

In July 2021, the Victorian Government announced that new Child Safe Standards would be implemented to further strengthen child safe environments and protect children from abuse.

On 1 July 2022, 11 new Child Safe Standards came into effect, replacing Victoria’s seven standards and principles (including Ministerial Order No. 870 – Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools).

Although very similar to Victoria’s previous Child Safe Standards, key changes to the new Child Safe Standards include new requirements to keep children and young people safe, including:

  • involving families and communities in efforts to keep children and young people safe

  • a greater focus on safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people

  • managing the risk of child abuse in online environments

  • greater clarity on the governance, systems and processes to keep children and young people safe.

The new Child Safe Standards are underpinned by Ministerial Order No. 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the Risk of Child Abuse in Schools and School Boarding Premises which defines the actions schools and school boarding premises must take to meet the requirements of the new Child Safe Standards.

The 11 Child Safe Standards are listed below:

  • Child Safe Standard 1 – Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued

  • Child Safe Standard 2 – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture

  • Child Safe Standard 3 – Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously

  • Child Safe Standard 4 – Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing

  • Child Safe Standard 5 – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice

  • Child Safe Standard 6 – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice

  • Child Safe Standard 7 – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused

  • Child Safe Standard 8 – Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training

  • Child Safe Standard 9 – Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed

  • Child Safe Standard 10 – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved

  • Child Safe Standard 11 – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people

Child Safety Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

DOSCEL, as the governing authority of primary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Sale, is responsible for compliance with the Child Safe Standards and must ensure that DOSCEL schools review, update, develop and implement policies, procedures and practices to create and maintain a child-safe culture and environment required by Ministerial Order No.1359.

As such, a review of DOSCEL and DOSCEL school policies, procedures and supporting documents has been undertaken to reflect the introduction of new Victorian Child Safe Standards.

DOSCEL and DOSCEL schools must continue to comply with legal obligations related to mandatory reporting and managing the risk of child abuse and ensure that policies and procedures are continually reviewed and updated to reflect Victorian legislative and Child Safety requirements.

Child Protection

Protection of children and young people is based upon the belief that each person is made in the image and likeness of God, and that the inherent dignity of all should be recognised and fostered.

DOSCEL is committed to child protection strategies and procedures to ensure the care, safety and protection of all children and young people in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sale and safeguarding children and young people against sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse and/or neglect.

Prevention and Response

Preventing and responding to child abuse requires a whole of community response to bring about broad cultural change. To this end, the Victorian Child Safe Standards apply to a broad range of organisations that provide services for children and young people, including schools, churches, sporting clubs and youth services.

Ensuring we have child safe communities goes to the heart of our faith and core purpose. Therefore, we are dedicated to upholding the values and practices that create and maintain safe only and physical learning environments for all students.

Reporting and Contacts

There are a number of supports available when responding to incidents, disclosures or suspicions of child abuse.

Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited

Industrial Relations / Human Resources

Child Protection Officer

24 Hour Services

Victoria Police: 000

Department of Families Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Child Protection: 131 278

Other Services

Australian Childhood Foundation: 1800 176 453

BeyondBlue: 1300 224 636

Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA): 1800 806 292

Child Wise: 1300 CHILDWISE

Commission for Children and Young People: 1300 782 978

eHeadspace: 1800 650 890

Kids First: (03) 9450 0900

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

Lifeline: 13 11 14

MensLine Australia: 1300 787 978

Office of the eSafety Commissioner: 1800 880 176

Safe Steps: 1800 015 188

Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (SOCIT)

  • Southern Metropolitan - Dandenong: (03) 8769 2200

  • Eastern Victoria - Bairnsdale: (03) 5150 2677

  • Eastern Victoria - Morwell: (03) 5120 0351

  • Eastern Victoria - Wonthaggi: (03) 5671 4100

  • Eastern Victoria - Sale: (03) 5142 2200

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA): (03) 9287 8800

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation: (03) 9411 9411

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Other Resources

  • PROTECT - Identifying and Responding to Student Sexual Offending

  • PROTECT - Identifying and Responding to All Forms of Abuse in Victorian Schools

  • FOUR CRITICAL ACTIONS FOR SCHOOLS Responding to Incidents, Disclosures and Suspicions of Child Abuse