The Nikki Visaj Movement (NVM) Child Safe Policy

The Nikki Visaj Movement (NVM) Child Safe Policy

NVM is a Child Safe organisation. We are committed to providing a safe, empowering, inclusive environment for children and young people.

Scope

This policy applies to any adult person (over the age of 18) engaged by NVM that may work or interact with children at any time including:

· Instructors/sub-contractors;
· Board, employees and administrative staff;
· Any other individual in the organisation that may deal with children.
A child includes children and young people up to the age of 18 (unless otherwise specified).

Commitment to Child Safety

All children involved with NVM programs have a right to feel and be safe, respected, valued and protected from harm. We are committed to the holistic development of children in our care and endeavour to incorporate discussions, workshops, displays and good teaching practice on health and wellbeing. We aim to empower children to have a sense of agency and wellbeing so they may be able to speak up for themselves including the capacity to “tell” another their concerns.

NVM is strongly committed to the safety and well-being of all children that interact with our organisation by creating and maintaining a child safe environment. We are committed to engaging instructors who share organisational values and ensure our policies are communicated. Each instructor has very clear expectations of behaviour in the class which will be communicated directly in the class.

We are strongly committed to diversity including the cultural safety of Indigenous Aboriginal children, those with a disability or are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We are committed to providing an environment where all young people feel valued and can learn in a supportive atmosphere regardless of their skill level.

The welfare of children entrusted under our care is our first priority and we have zero tolerance for child abuse.

NVM will take all necessary steps to prevent and protect children from abuse and neglect including:

· Physical abuse: purposefully injuring or threatening to injure a child;
· Emotional abuse: an attack on a child’s self-esteem e.g. through bullying, threatening, ridiculing, intimidating or isolating the child;
· Sexual abuse: any sexual act or sexual threat imposed upon a child;
· Neglect: harming a child by failing to provide basic physical or emotional necessities.

We are committed to maintaining a bully free zone at The Nikki Visaj Movement. We will always do everything in our power to support the young people in our care and expect that students, staff and teachers will communicate with us directly if they have any concerns. We will always lead by example and treat each other and our staff and instructors with respect and compassion.

Supporting Children’s Participation and Empowerment

NVM supports, enables and promotes the active participation of children by:

· Encouraging expression of and respecting the views of children and parents;
· Encouraging and empowering children and parents to raise any concerns or complaints;
· Listening to and acting upon any concerns raised by children and parents;
· Seeking the input of children when making decisions about matters that concern them;
· Ensuring children understand their rights and the appropriate behaviour expected of both adults and children;
· Teaching children what they can do and who they can turn to if they feel unsafe;
· Ensuring instructors and employees dealing with children are skilful in facilitating their participation;
· Valuing diversity and not tolerating any discriminatory practices.

NVM aims to create an environment where children gain satisfaction from their interaction with our organisation by:

· Supporting children to feel respected and in control of their behaviour;
· Ensuring children enjoy the overall experience of classes, examinations, community events and productions;
· Encouraging children to assist each other and developing a positive sense of pride in their efforts;
· Offering opportunities for children to derive personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement throughout their experience and the relationships they make;
· Encouraging children to develop self-discipline in balancing their commitment to their performance, their education and their social and family activities.

Valuing Diversity

NVM values diversity and we do not tolerate any discriminatory or bullying practices. Our organisation is committed to protecting children engaged with our organisation from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, as well as neglect and contempt, ridicule, hatred, or negativity towards a child because of their race, culture, religion, gender (including transgender status), sexual orientation or disability.

In our activities with children we will:

· Promote the cultural safety of Indigenous Aboriginal children;
· Promote the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds;
· Promote the safety of children with a disability;
· Promote the safety of LGBTI children and young people.

Recruitment Practices

NVM will take all reasonable steps to ensure we engage the most suitable and appropriate people to work with children.

This involves maintaining a rigorous and consistent recruitment, screening and selection process.

It is NVM policy to:

· Interview and conduct thorough interviews referee checks on all instructors and employees;
· Develop a clear Code of Conduct for roles that involve work with children that state clearly our commitment to providing safe environments for children and outline safe boundaries that must be adhered to;
· Only recruit those employees who hold a clean Working with Children Check and keep a record of checks for anyone with direct and unsupervised contact with children.
· Ensure instructors and employees are aware of their obligations to keep children safe and that they have undertaken appropriate training NVM seeks to support instructors and employees by:

· Inducting new instructors and employees to our Child Safe Policy and Code of Conduct;
· Encouraging relevant instructors and employees to attend periodical information sessions as they become available, to remain up-to-date with knowledge of child protection, nature and signs of child abuse, cultural competency, regulation updates and other matters that affect children;
· Appointing a Child Safety Officer to be the first point of contact to provide advice and support on the safety and well-being of children engaged with the organisation;
· Ensuring instructors and employees feel encouraged and empowered to report any complaints, concerns or perceived risks to child safety to the Child Safety Officer, Nicole Bakri.

Child Safe Code of Conduct

NVM has developed a Code of Conduct to provide guidance to our instructors and employees on expected behaviours when in direct contact with or working around children. All instructors or employees must abide by the Code of Conduct. We ask instructors or employees to sign a written statement confirming they have read, understood and will comply with the relevant Code of Conduct. We retain a copy of all signed statements.

All staff and board members of NVM are required to observe child safe principles and expectations for appropriate behaviour towards and in the company of children, as noted below. All personnel of NVM are responsible for supporting the safety, participation, wellbeing and empowerment of children by:

• Upholding NVM’s statement of commitment to child safety at all times
• Taking all reasonable steps to protect children from harm
• Treating everyone with respect
• Listening and responding to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child has been harmed and/or are worried about their safety or the safety of another
• Promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Indigenous Aboriginal children (for example, by never questioning an Indigenous Aboriginal child’s self-identification)
• Promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children with culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (for example, by having a zero tolerance of discrimination)
• Promoting the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability (for example, during personal care activities)
• Reporting any child safety concerns/allegations of child abuse to NVM’s Child Safety Officer, Nicole Bakri or other directors, and ensure any allegation is reported to the police or child protection
• If an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the child(ren) are safe
• Encouraging children to ‘have a say’ and participate in all relevant organisational activities where possible, especially on issues that are important to them.

Instructors and Employees must not:

• Develop any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific children)
• Whilst we believe that discipline is important in the dance training industry, this does not involve yelling in a demeaning manner or isolating, threatening, bullying or victimising students.
• Exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as unnecessarily physical. It is understood that physical contact in the dance environment is important, for example correcting a child’s position of arms or feet however this will be appropriate physical contact with no sexual or abusive intention
• Put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors)
• Do things of a personal nature that a child can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes
• Engage in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children (for example, personal social activities)
• Use inappropriate language in the presence of children
• Express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of children
• Discriminate against any child, including because of culture, race, ethnicity or disability
• Attend work under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or discuss the use of these with any children
• Have contact with a child or their family outside of our organisation without our child safety officer’s knowledge and/or consent (for example, no babysitting). Accidental contact, such as seeing people in the street, is appropriate
• Have any online contact with a child or their family
• Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse.
• Yell at children in a demeaning manner
• Ignore, threaten, isolate, bully or intimidate children

By observing these standards you acknowledge your responsibility to immediately report any breach of this code to NVM’s Child Safety Officer Nicole Bakri.

Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct where a staff member (teaching & non-teaching), contractors, parents or carers are suspected of breaching any obligation, duty or responsibility within this Policy, NVM will take disciplinary action, including in the case of serious breaches, summary dismissal. If you believe a child is at immediate risk phone 000.

Reporting a Concern or Complaint

We are committed to receiving feedback and looking at ways to improve our safety and quality of our programs. Our child safe policy and complaints management policy is linked to our website for schools, parents and students to easily access. Any compliments or complaints can be provided to the instructor, the school or directly to Nikki Visaj, NVM.

Should instructors or employees have a concern about a child or adult conduct they are required to speak immediately with NVM child safe champion Nicole Bakri. Should a champion not be available then instructors or employees must speak with another Director. A direct report must be made either by the instructor or employee alone or together with the child safe champion or other Director to the school/host organisation as well as child protection or police.

Anyone may make a report to Child Protection or the Police if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that a child is in need of protection.

It is a requirement of all staff that suspected criminal child abuse must be reported to the police or child protection as soon as is practicable. Concerns about the safety and wellbeing of children can range from an uncomfortable feeling through to a direct observation or a disclosure by a child. All members of our organisation are encouraged to speak to someone and be proactive rather than wait until it is too late.

Risk Management

NVM takes a preventative and proactive approach to minimising the risk of harm to children. As part of our organisation’s risk management process we periodically conduct reviews to identify potential risks to the safety and well-being of children. We do this by:

· Reviewing our Child Safe Policy bi-annually
· Implementing child safe standards in accordance with the legislation and regulations
· Implementing our Risk Management Policy and Child Safe Policy
· Conducting Child Safety Risk Assessments and mitigating risks by identifying and rectifying risks communicating and co-ordinating with schools/host organisations around risk and safety issues

NVM Youth Code of Conduct

Anti Bullying Policy

All children and young people have the right to go about their daily lives without the fear of being threatened, assaulted or harassed. No one should underestimate the impact that bullying can have on a person’s life. It can cause high levels of distress, affecting young people’s well-being, behaviour, academic and social development right through into adulthood.

At NVM, we are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere free from oppression and abuse. Bullying is an anti-social behaviour and affects everyone. All types of bullying are unacceptable at our school and will not be tolerated. All pupils should feel able to tell, and when bullying behaviour is brought to our attention, prompt and effective action will be taken. We are a TELLING association. This means that anyone who is aware of any type of bullying that is taking place is expected to TELL a member of staff immediately.

What Is Bullying?

“Bullying behaviour abuses an imbalance of power to repeatedly and intentionally cause emotional or physical harm to another person or group of people. Isolated instances of hurtful behaviour, teasing or arguments between individuals would not be seen as bullying" (Torfaen definition 2008)

Bullying generally takes one of four forms:

• Indirect: being unfriendly, spreading rumours, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding bags or books)
• Physical: pushing, kicking, hitting, punching, slapping or any form of violence
• Verbal: name-calling, teasing, threats, sarcasm
• Cyber: All areas of internet misuse, such as nasty and/or threatening emails, misuse of blogs, gaming websites, internet chat rooms and instant messaging, mobile threats by text messaging & calls, misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera and video facilities

Although not an exhaustive list, common examples of bullying include:

• Racial bullying
• Homophobic bullying
• Bullying based on disability, ability, gender, appearance or circumstance

Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?

Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be bullied. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Pupils who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving. NVM has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.

Objectives of this Policy

• All Directors, instructors, teachers pupils and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is
• All Directors and teaching staff should know what the NVM policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported
• All pupils and parents should know what the NVM policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises
• NVM takes bullying seriously. Students and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported
• Bullying will not be tolerated

Implementation

The following steps may be taken when dealing with incidents:

• If bullying is suspected or reported, the incident will be dealt with immediately by the member of staff who has been approached
• A clear and precise account of the incident will be recorded and given to the ‘School Contact’ and the Directors of NVM
• Punitive measures will be used as appropriate and in consultation with all parties concerned
• If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted

Students

Students who have been bullied will be supported by:

• Offering an immediate opportunity to discuss the experience with a teacher or a member of staff of their choice
• Reassuring the student
• Restoring self-esteem and confidence

Students who have bullied will be helped by:

• Discussing what happened
• Establishing the wrong doing and the need to change
• Informing ‘school contact’ and school staff members to help change the attitude and behaviour of the child The following disciplinary steps can be taken:
• Official warnings to cease offending
• Exclusion from classes or events
• Major fixed-term exclusion
• Permanent exclusion

Monitoring, evaluation and review

NVM will review this policy annually and assess its implementation and effectiveness. The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the company.

Prevention

NVM will use some or all of the following to help raise awareness of and prevent bullying. As and when appropriate, these may include:

• Signing a behaviour contract
• Having appropriate discussions about bullying and why it matters if required

Signs and Symptoms for NVM staff to be aware off

Many children and young people do not speak out when being bullied and may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. NVM staff should be aware of these possible signs and should investigate if a child:

• Becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
• Starts stammering
• Attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
• Has unexplained cuts or bruises or shows signs of being in a fight
• becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
• Is bullying other children
• Is frightened to say what's wrong
• Gives unlikely excuses for any of the above

Where to get Help

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Lifeline 13 1114
Victorian Government – Education and Training http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/parentchild.aspx

Implementation and Review Process

Nicole Bakri has been appointed as the Child Safety Officer, responsible for being the first point of contact to provide advice and support to children, parents (including carers or legal guardians) and employees regarding the safety and well-being of children engaged with the organisation. This includes being the first point of contact for dealing with any complaint of abuse or conduct not in keeping with this Policy and the Codes of Conduct.

Our Child Safe Policy will be reviewed every two years and we will undertake to incorporate feedback from children, parents (including carers and legal guardians), employees, schools/host organisations and instructors.

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