CSIRO is an organisation committed to child safety and to the implementation of Child Safe principles and procedures.

CSIRO is currently drafting a Child Safe Policy that outlines the conduct and behaviour expected of the organisation, CSIRO staff, affiliates and volunteers involved in our programs. This policy outlines CSIRO’s compliance with State and Territory legislation and will reflect recent updates to Commonwealth Government Child Safe legislation – including the Draft National Statement for Child Safe Organisations .

Our draft Child Safe Policy for consultation

Purpose

CSIRO is committed to the safety and well-being of all children and young people involved in CSIRO activities and programs (in person and online), including CSIRO work experience programs. The welfare of the children in our care will always be our first priority. We aim to create a Child Safe and child friendly environment where all children are valued and feel safe.

Context

This policy reflects CSIRO’s commitment, as set out in our Health, Safety and Environment Policy, to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of our people, partners and the communities in which we operate. This policy also reflects CSIRO’s legal obligations in relation to the conduct of CSIRO’s activities involving contact with children in Australia and overseas. 

Scope

This policy applies to all CSIRO employees, affiliates and other individuals engaged by or on behalf of CSIRO to be involved in any activity that involves or may involve contact with children and young people including:

  1. employees (indefinite, specified term or casual)
  2. volunteers
  3. contractors
  4. sub-contractors
  5. work experience supervisors
  6. indirect service providers

(“CSIRO employees, affiliates and volunteers”)

Compliance with this policy is mandatory for all CSIRO employees, under their employment contracts with CSIRO.  Our contracts with affiliates and volunteers will require them to comply with this policy.

Children’s participation

CSIRO encourages and respects the views of all children and young people. CSIRO values diversity and seeks input from children and young people involved in our activities, in Australia and overseas. All children and young people are valued and treated fairly, regardless of ethnicity, culture, sexuality, religion and ability. We listen to and act upon any concerns that children, young people or their families raise with us. We ensure that children involved in CSIRO activities and programs know what they can do if they feel unsafe.

We ensure that children, young people and their families know their rights and how to access the complaints procedures available to them.

Recruitment practices

CSIRO seeks to attract and retain only the most suitable and appropriate people to work with children. We employ a range of screening measures and apply best practice standards in the screening and recruitment of employees and volunteers who work with children. We interview and conduct referee checks on all employees who have, or may have, contact with children and/or young people.

All CSIRO employees, affiliates and volunteers who:

  1. have contact with children; or
  2. have access to sensitive personal information relating to children and young people are required to have a current:
  • National Police Certificate; and
  • Working with Children/Vulnerable People Check in their state or territory.

We ensure that any criminal history information that we receive is dealt with in accordance with applicable laws, including child safety legislation, the Privacy Act and anti-discrimination legislation.

If at any time during their engagement with CSIRO, an employee, affiliate or volunteer having contact with children (including online contact) is deemed by CSIRO to pose a risk to children, that engagement (as it relates to involvement with children) will be terminated.

Code of Conduct

All CSIRO employees, affiliates and volunteers, who have contact with children are made aware of, and must read and abide by, CSIRO’s Code of Conduct.

Support for employees and volunteers

CSIRO provides support and supervision so employees, affiliates and volunteers feel valued, respected and fairly treated. We ensure that our employees, affiliates and volunteers who have contact with children have access to ongoing supervision, support and training so that their capacity is developed and enhanced to promote the establishment and maintenance of a child safe environment whilst engaged in CSIRO activities.

Strategies we have implemented include:

  • All employees and volunteers undergo training in relation to CSIRO’s Child Safe Policy and our Code of Conduct.
  • All employees and volunteers who have contact with children have the opportunity to attend regular information sessions that include a focus on ongoing learning about child protection and other matters that affect children and young people.
  • Ensuring that all employees, affiliates and volunteers who have contact with children have access to relevant information resources.
  • CSIRO’s contracts with affiliates in relation to activities involving contact with children in Australia and overseas will include obligations on our affiliates to comply with CSIRO’s Child Safe Policy, including in relation to training requirements.

Reporting and responding to suspected child abuse and neglect

CSIRO employees, affiliates and volunteers who have contact with children are required by various laws to report child abuse and child exploitation. Where, arising out of any CSIRO activity or program, a CSIRO employee, affiliate or volunteer has a reasonable suspicion or belief that a child has been, or is being, abused or the subject of exploitation by any person, they must notify the CSIRO Director of Education and Outreach (to be confirmed through consultation process). CSIRO will assess the matter according to the applicable legal requirements and report the matter to the relevant child protection service, as required.  CSIRO employees may also be required to notify funding agencies through their reporting processes.

In response to any report arising out of any CSIRO activity or program concerning abuse or neglect of any child, CSIRO may undertake such protective actions as may be required to ensure the safety of children and young people involved in any CSIRO programs.

Any reports of suspected child abuse or child exploitation by any CSIRO employee will also be investigated by CSIRO under CSIRO’s misconduct procedure. Any breaches of CSIRO’s Child Safe Policy will also be a breach of CSIRO’s Code of Conduct and may be dealt with by way of disciplinary action or other actions determined by CSIRO’s delegate. In some cases it will be necessary to report incidents and disclosures through the Public Interest Disclosure and to the Australian Federal Police.

Any reports of suspected child abuse or child exploitation by any CSIRO affiliate or volunteer will also be investigated and any breach of CSIRO’s Child Safe Policy may result in contract termination, contract non-renewal or other action determined by CSIRO.

Supporting children, young people and their families

Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility. CSIRO recognises that even where a report is made, we may still have an ongoing role in supporting the child or young person. This support may include:

  • Referring the child, young person or their family to other appropriate services;
  • Providing services as part of a CSIRO activity;
  • Displaying information about services that can assist children and their families (such as the Kids Helpline and Youth Healthline) in areas accessed by children and their families.

CSIRO will also ensure that support is available for any employee, affiliate or volunteer making a report about any suspected abuse, exploitation or neglect of a child. This is particularly important where CSIRO provides an ongoing service to the child, young person or their family.

Risk assessments

CSIRO undertakes risk assessments for all activities involving contact with children to identify risks and document steps to remove or reduce the risk to children. Risk assessments are reviewed and updated regularly during the life of the activity.

Strategies to minimise risk

All CSIRO employees, affiliates and volunteers who have contact with children must comply with CSIRO’s Code of Conduct, and any other CSIRO policies, procedures or guidelines notified to them by CSIRO from time-to-time, including but not limited in relation to:

  • Transportation arrangements for children
  • Taking images of children
  • Supervision of children
  • Complaints procedures
  • Physical contact with children
  • Social media and online guidelines
  • Process for breaches of policy and procedures
  • Training/cyber safe guidelines
  • Protecting privacy and confidentiality
  • Procedures for dealing with situations where a staff member or volunteer is being investigated for, or is charged with, a serious criminal offence.

As part of CSIRO’s ongoing risk management, these strategies are monitored and adapted as required to ensure risks to children and young people are minimised and controlled.

Harassment/bullying

CSIRO is committed to the prevention of bullying and discrimination in its workplace and in all of CSIRO’s activities involving children (including in online environments). CSIRO takes this issue seriously and encourages anyone involved in any CSIRO activities involving contact with children, including children, who believes that they, or another person, has been harassed, discriminated against or bullied to raise this issue with the senior person running the activity they are engaged in, or with the Director CSIRO Education and Outreach (exact reporting process to be determined during consultation).

CSIRO employees and affiliates are bound by CSIRO’s Preventing Workplace Discrimination and Bullying procedure and any discrimination and bullying complaints in relation to CSIRO employees and affiliates will be managed in accordance with this procedure. CSIRO employees having contact with children are trained on how to manage discrimination and bullying issues involving children. Children involved in CSIRO activities are provided with information about what to do if they are concerned about any discrimination and bullying arising during CSIRO activities and will be supported by CSIRO employees. Complaints in relation to children involved in CSIRO activities will be managed by CSIRO in accordance with the principles outlined in CSIRO’s Discrimination and Bullying procedure.

Communication

CSIRO will ensure that everyone to whom this policy applies is aware of and has had an opportunity to read the policy.

Related policies and procedures

Depending on the risk associated with each activity being undertaken, CSIRO employees, affiliates and volunteers who have contact with children may also be required to have current:
  • Responding to Abuse and Neglect training and certification
  • Basic First Aid qualification

CSIRO’s privacy procedure also applies to protect the personal information of children involved in CSIRO activities – see www.csiro.au/privacy.

Review of Child Safe Policy

CSIRO’s Child Safe Policy and Principles will be reviewed every two years and updated in line with any relevant legislative changes.

Community feedback

CSIRO values community feedback on our Child Safe Policy. Feedback and suggestions can be provided by contacting childsafepolicy@csiro.au.

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