Safe programs, activities and events

 

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM) recognises that child safety requires a proactive approach that systemically identifies and assesses risk on an ongoing basis to minimise opportunities for harm to occur. Within the broader context of risk management, child safety risk management requires parishes, agencies and entities, to consider risks specifically related to preventing harm to children and young people.

Situational risk prevention focuses on specific behaviours and practices within a parish, agency or entity that permit or promote specific outcomes. In relation to child safety, physical and social environments within an organisation can be designed or altered to minimise the risk of child abuse (Wortley & Smallbone 2010).

  • INFORMATION SHEET: Situational Crime Prevention
    for further information to assist in understanding how the physical environment and the way in which programs, activities and events are structured can impact the safety of children and young people.

A focus on ‘how we do things’ and ‘where we do things’ in a parish, agency or entity is important in promoting the safety of children and young people.

Risk management

Risk management is a formal and structured approach to the identification and management of risk.

CAM is committed to ensuring that:

  • Child safety risk management processes are implemented to better equip parishes, agencies and entities to prevent, detect, reduce and/or remove potential child safety risks.
  • Risk management is undertaken across the parish, agency or entity and specifically in relation to child-related programs, activities and events. 

Risk management levels within CAM parishes, agencies or entities

Child safety risk management enables parishes, agencies and entities to comprehensively identify potential risks to children and young people and to act to reduce the likelihood of harm. Potential risks to children and young people are varied and should be integrated into the parish, agency or entity’s broader risk management plan (e.g. health and safety, financial, operational).

The Safeguarding Committee within parishes, agencies and entities, in consultation with stakeholders, is best placed to identify and assess the risks to children and young people within their context. Parishes, agencies and entities must record identified risks in relation to child safety and specify the action they will take to reduce or remove risks, and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their actions through a risk register. It is an expectation that the Safeguarding Committee will work closely with relevant parish, agency or entity governance bodies e.g. Parish Pastoral Council to integrate child safety within a broader risk management context.

A preventative approach ensures that risk management processes inform decision-making and guide action in relation to programs, activities and events, thereby minimising potential risks to children and young people.

 

Parishes, agencies and entities are required to undertake child safety risk management in relation to:

  • the overall operation of the parish, agency or entity (e.g. selection and recruitment of employees and volunteers, emergency evacuation planning)
  • programs that involve contact and/or are provided specifically for children and young people (e.g. Mass, youth group, sacrament preparation)
  • individual activities that are conducted as part of programs and events (e.g. horse riding, camps)
  • stand-alone events (e.g. fete, movie night, working bee, excursion, fund raising campaign).

 

Child safety risk management processes are to be documented and reviewed periodically by the Safeguarding Committee to ensure that potential risks to children and young people are appropriately managed.

Practice and behavioural guidelines

Practice and Behavioural Guidelines have been developed to guide the planning and delivery of programs, activities and events involving children and young people and situations that may arise in the course of our work with children and young people.

These guidelines seek to address situations (e.g. procedures, physical environments) that place children and young people at risk. Safeguarding Committees within parishes, agencies and entities can use these Child Safety Practice and Behavioural Guidelines in developing and reviewing existing programs, activities and events to promote the safe participation of children and young people and assist in planning future initiatives involving children and young people. See

The guidelines address four broad areas:

  1. conducting programs, activities and events
  2. supporting the wellbeing of children and young people
  3. supervision
  4. child safety offsite.

 

Useful resources: