Involving parents and guardians in promoting child safety
Effective child safety within parishes, agencies and entities cannot be undertaken without the involvement of parents and guardians. Parents and guardians are critical partners in promoting the safety of children and young people. Specifically, the roles of parents and guardians as protectors and educators are pivotal in protecting children and young people from harm.
As protectors, parents and guardians:
- have a primary responsibility for keeping their child(ren) safe from harm
- are able to maintain a level of vigilance in relation to their child’s participation
- can drive child safety efforts on child safety and hold the parishes, agencies and entities accountable (e.g. ask about what is in place to safeguard their children when they attend camp)
- can advocate for child safety on behalf of or with their children (e.g. in relation to a safety concern)
- are involved in decision-making (e.g. program design, procedures, physical environment)
- attend programs with their child(ren) and demonstrate engagement in community and faith activities
- facilitate their child’s safe participation (e.g. permission forms, picking up on time, providing transport)
- participate as a volunteers
- raise concerns, allegations and complaints.
As educators, parents and guardians:
- are informed about the parish, agency or entity’s approach to child safety and are able to share information with their children to establish expectations of safety (e.g. policy, procedures and practices)
- can support their child(ren)’s understanding of child safety
- teach their children to assess the safety of a situation and how to keep themselves safe from harm (in an age appropriate and developmentally appropriate manner)
- model appropriate and respectful behaviour.
At the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM), we commit to honouring the trust that has been placed in our parishes, agencies and entities and supporting the crucial partnership with parents and guardians that serves to strengthen the safety of children and young people.
We commit to:
- Provide information that is visible to parents and guardians about child safeguarding policies and procedures including reporting procedures (e.g. via website, noticeboard, INFORMATION SHEETs, information sessions, newsletters, registration/permission forms).
- Listen to and engage with the views of parents and guardians about our child-safety practice, policies and procedures and working collaboratively.
- Work in partnership with families and the community to ensure that they are engaged in decision-making processes, particularly those that have an impact on child safety and protection.
- Be transparent in our decision-making about the safety of children or young people.
- Provide age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate information and resources to support parents and guardians to communicate with their children about child safety.
- Take seriously any concerns, allegations or complaints and providing support and information as we deal with these matter and communicating honestly and openly with parents and guardians about the wellbeing and safety of their children and young people.