It is important to be aware that in the ChildSafe context 'child' means 'under 18' but that this safety management system is equally valuable for those working with people of all ages, in whatever context.
The rationale behind the original development of ChildSafe was captured in a diagram similar to the one below. The new version picks up on the relevance of this thinking to any age group when tackling the SafeHere issue so for 'Child Abuse' simply read 'Abuse' if that is more relevant for your situation.
What causes harm to anybody when they are in the care of an organisation?
At the immediate level, harm is caused by Abuse, or by a variety of events that might be broadly categorised as Unsafe acts or Unsafe environments. There is a further category here of Misfortune: all those things that will happen no matter how good the organisation's safety and care. We'll leave this category out of our analysis, as these are beyond any efforts on our part to control.
The second circle shows a range of underlying causes for harm. Lack of supervision can be understood at several levels: supervision of participants, supervision of the people working with them, or supervision of those with overall leadership roles. Likewise Lack of forethought or Lack of control/accountability can occur at a number of levels within an organisation.
The majority of the causes of harm relate to issues other than child abuse. Child Protection is of the utmost importance, but it is not the totality of creating a safe organisation.
The issues identified in the second circle might be collectively termed Systemic Safety Shortcomings. They are issues for the organisation as a whole, and require addressing at a number of different levels of responsibility.
We would identify three critical processes for an organisation:
the Appointment process for people working with participants,
the Training required of those people,
and the Control taken by the organisation over its programs with children, young people and adults.
That is why we use the by-line "Safe People / Safe Programs".
Organisations need both.
SafeHere/ChildSafe has been developed according to a set of principles, built upon our ethos regarding children's safety and care and the obvious extension of that to the care of people, regardless of age.
Concern for Children and Young People
We have an obligation to do our utmost to protect and value children and young people within our care. It is a legal and a moral obligation. The system is built on the premise that its users are motivated to provide excellent care to all.
To determine what standards to use within SafeHere/ChildSafe, a number of different principles have been applied. We have sought to pursue 'Sound Practice' in areas such as Child Protection and Risk Management. There is always more that can be done, and always a stricter standard that may be applied. We view a 'Sound Practice' standard as one that is achievable and realistic. There are guidelines and policies within the Risk Management sphere that are impractical and overly burdensome. We have endeavoured to find a balance involving high standards that are reasonable in nature.
Ongoing Learning and Improvement
We understand that standards in safety and care are not static. Legislation changes impact on standards, and community expectations change over time. The system is subject to review, feedback and ongoing improvement.
A key test of a Safety Management system like SafeHere/ChildSafe is that it works in practice, for the people in an organisation who work at the 'grass roots' level, not only for administrators. The system is structured around this principle.
The Right Information for the Right People
People need the information relevant to them, in a form that is digestible and takes account of the level of responsibility they hold.
Policy written in legal language is appropriate in some contexts, but often ends up looking like gobbledygook to the people actually working 'on the ground'. SafeHere is written in a straightforward, readable manner.
Contact us to find out more.