Child Safety Policy

1. Purpose

This Child Safety Policy (the Policy) sets out the commitment to child safety of committee members, officials and volunteers of the Fitzroy Junior Football Club (the Club). This Policy provides an outline of the policies and practices the Club has developed to keep children involved with the Club safe.

2. Policy Statement

Commitment to Child Safety

All people involved in the Club (coaches, officials, committee members, volunteers, parents and carers) have a shared responsibility to promote child safety. All children who are a part of the Club have a right to feel and be safe. Any child safety concerns will be our first priority and will always have a higher priority than football concerns.

The Club strives to create a child safe and child friendly environment where children feel safe, are safe, have fun and where everyone listens to and empowers children. The Club also promotes the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from culturally diverse backgrounds and children living with a disability.

The Club is committed to reducing the risk of child abuse in all of its forms.

3. Implementation

Application of the Policy

This Policy was developed by the Club Committee with reference to Victorian Government Child Safe Standards, Amendments to the Working with Children Act 2005, Vic Sport Guidelines and AFL Community policies. The Policy reflects the Club’s well-established values of respect, inclusive participation and a safety-first mindset.

This Policy applies to all individuals involved in our Club (unpaid and paid) including, but not limited to:

  • Parents/Carers
  • Coaches
  • Players
  • Volunteers
  • Staff
  • Officials
  • Committee Members
  • Spectators

This Policy is communicated via email and through our website.

Valuing Diversity

The Club values diversity and upholds the rights of children to feel safe. We want children to feel welcome and included in our Club and community, free from discrimination.

To achieve this we:

  • Promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families;
  • Promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families;
  • Welcome children with a disability and their families and act to promote their participation;
  • Promote our Club to a wide range of schools and youth support organisations within our local community; and
  • Do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of age, gender, disability, class, ethnicity, race, culture, faith, sexuality or any other aspect of a child’s identity.

Club Cultural Framework and Code of Conduct

All players and parents/carers are required to read and sign the Club Cultural Framework/Code of Conduct at the commencement of each season. The Club encourages Coaches and/or Team Managers to discuss this Cultural Framework/Code of Conduct with players to make it meaningful.

Coaches sign a Coaches Code of Conduct at the start of each season.

Both documents (the Club Cultural Framework/Code of Conduct and the Coaches Code of Conduct) are available on the Club website.

Coaches, Team Managers and Ground Managers monitor and manage behaviour of players, parents, spectators and volunteers. Serious breaches of the Cultural Framework/Code of Conduct are reported to the Club President, Vice-president and/or Child Safety Officer who will respond in accordance with Club requirements, Yarra Junior Football League requirements and the law.

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse can take a broad range of forms including physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, and neglect. People to whom this policy applies need to be aware that child abuse can occur whenever there is actual or potential harm to a child, and these are circumstances that the Club is committed to reducing the risk of.

Child abuse can take a broad range of forms including:

  • physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse
  • neglect

Reporting a Child Safety Concern or Complaint

The FJFC Child Safety Officer will respond to any concerns raised by staff, volunteers, parents, carers or children regarding known or suspected physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse or neglect of a child connected with the Club. The Child Safety Officer can be contacted via email [email protected], or the phone number on the Club website.

Reporting Child Abuse

  • Any adult that forms a reasonable belief that another adult has sexually offended against a child (under 16 years of age) must by law report this to the Police.
  • If someone forms a reasonable belief that a child is in need of protection, the Club strongly encourages that person to make a report to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing or to the Police (in urgent cases).
  • If a person is uncertain if they should report an incident, they should contact the Club’s Child Safety Officer.
  • A record of Child safety reports will be retained by the Club’s Child Safety Officer.

Responding to Child Safety Concerns Raised by Children

  • The Club encourages children to express any concerns about their safety to a parent, carer, Team Manager, Coach and/or the Club Child Safety Officer. The Club website provides contact details for the Child Safety Officer.
  • We listen to and act on any concerns raised with us by children or their parents/carers. Matters will be managed sensitively while respecting the privacy and regulatory obligations of all parties concerned.

How we Promote Child Safety and Manage Child Safety Risk

We promote child safety by:

  • Striving for a child safe culture within the Club.
  • Making this Policy available on the Club website.
  • Providing parents and players with the Club Cultural Framework/Code of Conduct annually, at the start of each season.
  • Requesting that Coaches annually sign a Coaches Code of Conduct that contains a commitment of understanding of the Club’s expectation on Child Safety.
  • Discussing Child Safety as a standing agenda item at the Club’s committee meetings.
  • Enforcing the Club’s Extreme Weather Policy and concussion management guidelines.
  • Ensuring that all Club players wear a mouthguard during training and matches.
  • Regularly reviewing this Child Safety Policy.

Management of Child Safety Risk

In addition to general health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks to our children. To reduce the risk of child abuse occurring, adults to whom this Policy applies should avoid one-on-one unsupervised situations with children, except in an emergency. This should be a consideration when, for example:

  • using change room facilities
  • travelling to/from training, games, or other Club events
  • having verbal or physical contact with children
  • communicating directly with children via text, messaging apps, social media, email, written correspondence, or telephone (parents and/or other adult team officials should receive copies of all written communications sent to children).

Working with Children Check

A Working with Children Check (WWCC) is mandatory for any person over the age of 18 who is a Coach, Assistant Coach, Team Manager, Runner, Trainer, Club President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer or Committee Member. Each person is required to enter their current WWCC details into the Ratify database. If you require assistance with this, please contact [email protected].

4. Evaluation & Review

This policy was last reviewed April 2023. The Club Committee will regularly review this Policy and child safety practices to keep them up-to-date and incorporate potential improvements. This Policy will be reviewed annually, prior to the commencement of each season, or as required.

5. References

FJFC Cultural Framework & Code of Conduct for Players and Parents
FJFC Coaches Code of Conduct
VicSport Child Safe Standards
Commission for Children and Young People
AFL Community – Policies & Guidelines
Victoria State Government – Dept. of Justice, Working With Children Office
Yarra Junior Football League – Child Safe Standards
Working with Children Check
Ratify (if you need assistance with your Ratify Registration, please contact [email protected])

6. Related Policies