Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Education Officer
Child abuse occurs when a child has been subjected to physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse and/or neglect which has resulted or is likely to result in harm to the child's wellbeing. It may involve ongoing, repeated or persistent abuse, or arise from a single incident.
A concern about the welfare of a child based on the observation of indicators or information that may lead to a belief formed on reasonable grounds that a child has been the subject of abuse.
Refers to the protection of personal, private and sensitive information. Professional codes of conduct and the Department’s Staff Conduct policy reinforce the importance of protecting an individual’s privacy.
Criminal behaviour to be reported includes:
• assault e.g. an unwanted physical or sexual contact
• indecent assault e.g. touching, fondling or grabbing in a sexual manner
• indecent dealings e.g. encouraging a child to perform indecent acts such as touching genitals, penis/digital penetration or oral sex
• possessing, downloading or distributing child pornography
• using electronic means to procure or expose children to indecent material; and
• female genital mutilation, female circumcision.
A duty imposed by the law to take care to minimise the risk of harm to another.
The sustained, repetitive and ongoing maltreatment by a parent/carer or person in authority of a child through behaviours including threatening, belittling, teasing, humiliating, bullying, neglecting, ignoring, isolating, misleading and encouragement to engage in inappropriate behaviour.
Guidelines contain advice and examples of good practice for implementing policy. Guidelines are not mandatory.
All doctors, nurses, midwives, police and teachers who form a belief based on reasonable grounds of child sexual abuse during the course of their work, either voluntary or paid, are mandatory reporters. For the purposes of the legislation, ‘teacher’ is defined as any person registered with the Western Australian College of Teaching (WACOT) or with provisional registration or who has a limited authority to teach (LAT) and is working as a teacher.
Mandatory reporting legislation requires specific people or professions to report concerns of child abuse to child protection agencies. In Western Australia, the legislation covering mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse is the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
Sexual contact based on unequal power between a victim and alleged person, involving an element of coercion that may result in fear, humiliation or intimidation. Non-consensual sexual contact is a serious breach of school discipline and includes criminal behaviour such as assault, indecent assault, indecent dealings and sexual penetration without consent.
The term 'parent' is used for brevity and includes 'responsible person'. Part 1, Section 4 of the School Education Act 1999 defines 'parent' in relation to a child as a person who at law has responsibility:
In Section 25 of the School Education Act 1999, 'responsible person' in relation to a student means:
Abuse perpetrated through behaviours such as beating, shaking, administration of alcohol and illicit drugs, attempted suffocation or excessive discipline or physical punishment. It does not include accidental injury.
Detailed specification of steps and processes to be observed by employees of the Director General. Contravention of a procedure may constitute a breach of discipline pursuant to section 80 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 or and Section 239(3) of the School Education Act 1999.
A staff member is legally protected from incurring civil or criminal liability or professional misconduct when providing confidential information concerning suspected child abuse in good faith to the Department for Child Protection or the WA Police.
An activity that is organised or managed by a member of the school staff as part of his or her duties.
Any type of sexual behaviour involving a child where the child:
It includes sexual penetration, encouraging a child to perform indecent acts such as touching genitals, penis/digital penetration or oral sex, inappropriate touching, exposure to sexual acts or pornographic materials and using electronic means to procure or expose a child to indecent material.
Any form of sexual attention that is unwelcome, uninvited and unreciprocated, which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Behaviours must be considered within the developmental level of the child. Where a student is old enough to anticipate that their actions would cause distress to another person, an intention ‘not to harm’ is no defence. Sexual harassment includes:
Staff is defined as all persons employed by the Director General of the Department of Education including both teaching and support staff.
Support staff includes public service officers, other officers and waged staff. Support staff include but are not limited to the following positions: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education officers, registrars, school officers, education assistants, library assistants, laboratory assistants, home economics assistants, participation coordinators, attendance officers, youth support officers, social trainers and school based community liaison officers.
A teacher for the purposes of mandatory reporting is defined as:
'... a person who under the Western Australian College of Teaching Act 2004, is registered, provisionally registered or has a limited authority to teach'.
Teaching staff includes but is not limited to administrators, principals, deputy principals, teachers, heads of schools, heads of departments, program coordinators, coordinators, managers, senior lecturers and heads of learning areas. Other classes of teaching staff include staff that hold a teaching qualification recognised by the Department and are employed as teachers.
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