BB Safe | Safeguarding Culture & Compliance

Child safe after school activities

Kids Compliance Safety Australia

Back to school – and after school! 5 things to ask

Across the country, our kids are back to school after the long summer break. Slow days give way to the busy-ness, the schedules, the old routines and the new challenges.

This also means after school and extra curricular activities are starting up again – whether you are a parent or someone involved in running extra curricular activities for children, you should be thinking about the safety of children when they are in contact with adults and other children outside of the home.

Here are 5 things you should be asking if you are a parent to help keep your child safe from abuse and sexual abuse – and 5 things you should be able to answer if you are working with children:

1. Is there any information about child safeguarding on the website/induction material/parent handbook?​ The information should show a commitment to safety and the prioritisation of safety​

2. Do all staff/volunteers have a current working with children check?​​ These are important…BUT!​ are a point in time check only​ and no guarantee of ongoing suitability

3. Do they have a child safeguarding policy?​​ Then think about: Was it to hand or do they have to “track it down”?​ It is up to date? Is it reviewed regularly?​ What does it say about being alone with children, physical contact with children and communication with children, contact with children outside the context of the service being provided? ​What is the vibe…? Is it a living breathing document for the organisation? Look for signs that it is used and understood

4. Are parents/carers welcomed into the space?​​…or is it a closed culture where things are done behind closed doors…is that necessary? Are there rules about taking photographs of children? How are the children being spoken to?

5. Would you or your child know who to talk to if your child didn’t feel safe?​ Think about whether you have seen information about what to do or inviting feedback.​ Is there a poster? Brochure? Website information?

Asking these questions:

– raises the standards/expectations of organisations​
– helps you understand whether these issues are even on the radar for an organisation​
– helps you to decide as a parent what level of involvement/visibility you might need to exercise

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions​ – an organisation that is prioritising safeguarding will be proud to share their answers with you and very pleased you asked! Don’t be afraid to speak to children ​and never be afraid to raise concerns and be your child’s advocate – no matter how awkward it might feel.