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Statement of Commitment to Child Safety

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If you believe a child is at immediate risk, phone Child Protection at the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). 

The DFFH was previously known as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Child Protection business hours are 8.45am - 5.00pm (Monday - Friday). During business hours, ring the number covering the local government area (LGA) where the child lives.

  • North Division Intake - 1300 664 977

North Division has one child protection intake located at DHHS Preston covering the following areas and LGAs:

Banyule, Buloke, Darebin, Campaspe, Central Goldfield, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Hume, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mildura, Moreland, Mount Alexander, Nillumbik, Swan Hill, Whittlesea, Yarra.

International callers can ring North Division Intake on 61394790101

  • South Division Intake - 1300 655 795

South Division has one child protection intake located at DHHS Dandenong, and covers the following areas and LGAs:

Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, East Gippsland, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston, Latrobe, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip, South Gippsland, Stonnington, Wellington.

International callers can ring South Division Intake on 61387655444

  • East Division Intake - 1300 360 391

East Division has one child protection intake located at DHHS Box Hill covering the following areas and LGAs:

Alpine, Benalla, Boroondara, Greater Shepparton, Indigo, Knox, Manningham, Mansfield, Maroondah, Mitchell, Moira, Monash, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Whitehorse, Wodonga, Yarra Ranges.

International callers can ring East Division Intake on 61398436000

  • West Division Intake - Rural and regional only - 1800 075 599

West Division has one child protection intake located at DHHS Geelong covering the following rural and regional areas and LGAs:

Ararat, Ballarat, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Geelong, Hepburn, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Moorabool, Moyne, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Warrnambool West Wimmera, Yarriambiack.

  • West Division Intake - metropolitan only - 1300 664 977

West Division Metro area reports are managed by North Division Intake located at DHHS Preston for the following areas and LGAs:

Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley, Wyndham.

International callers can ring West Division Intake on 61352264540

If you need to call Child Protection after hours, ring the After Hours Child Protection Emergency Service on 13 12 78 (5.00pm - 9.00am Monday - Friday, 24 hours on weekends and public holidays).

The after hours emergency service is a state-wide service that receives new reports, as well as concerns for existing child protection clients who are considered to be at immediate risk and require urgent after hours service.

1. Audience

This Statement of Commitment to Child Safety has been developed for individuals who are in contact with VACCA, including:

  • Children
  • Families
  • Job seekers
  • Other individuals using our websites

The VACCA Board and staff should refer to internal VACCA policies and procedures for their obligations and commitment to child safety.

2. Terminology

Our websites are at the domains vacca.org, awards.vacca.org, deadlystory.com and linkupvictoria.org.au. This Statement should be read in conjunction with the related Terms and Conditions for those websites, which can be found on each website.

  • Children means all children and young people under the age of 18 years.
  • VACCA staff, including employees, fixed term employees, students, volunteers and agency staff.
  • VACCA suppliers includes tradespeople and consultancies.

3. Our Children

This Statement is intended to empower children as vital and active participants at VACCA. We involve children when making decisions, especially about matters that directly affect them. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.

We promote diversity and acceptance at VACCA, and people from all walks of life all cultural backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities and spiritual beliefs are welcome. In particular, we:

  • promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of all children.
  • when required, we provide language services to children and families to ensure everyone can access VACCA programs and services.

4. Our Commitment to Child Safety

VACCA is committed to child safety. We want children to be safe, happy, able to participate and empowered and we support and respect all children.

Our commitment is to provide a safe environment for all children.  Our risk management strategy includes the management of risks in the physical environment as well as online risks to children.

We have zero tolerance of child abuse.  All allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our internal policies and procedures.

We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are concerned about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

5. Cultural Therapeutic Ways - Our Approach to Healing

Many of the children VACCA work with have experienced significant levels of trauma as a result of abuse.

Cultural safety for Aboriginal children is essential to building resilience and healing.

The Yinga approach to healing is used at VACCA and is part of the program of Cultural Therapeutic Ways.

The three key practice elements of Cultural Therapeutic Ways are culture, self-determination and a trauma informed approach which supports child safety for Aboriginal children.

6. Recruitment

VACCA is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.

VACCA has robust human resources and recruitment practices to reduce the risk of child abuse by VACCA staff. All staff, including agency staff, who are required to hold a Working with Children Check under legislation, are required to provide evidence of this check.

7. Our Training, Awareness and Knowledge

VACCA provides a range of training, awareness and knowledge of child safety to staff.

Information is also provided to staff on their legislated reporting requirements and obligations.

Our organisational culture aims for all children, families and staff to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns.

Our risk management procedures enable us to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.

We also support our staff through ongoing supervision to develop skills to protect children from abuse and promote the cultural safety of all children.

8. Suppliers

All suppliers to VACCA, are required to agree to our internal Supplier Policy which includes child safe policies.

9. Reporting

Any behaviour which places children at risk of abuse or behaviour defined as abuse, will be reported through relevant channels, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.

If allegations of child abuse are made against VACCA staff, the head of our organisation must be made aware of the allegations. We are also legally required to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of the allegation.

10. Privacy

All personal information considered or recorded will be collected respecting the privacy of the individuals involved, whether staff, families or children, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. Please read our Privacy Policy for further information.

Where there is a risk to the safety of a child or VACCA staff, VACCA provides information under the Child Information Sharing Scheme and/or the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.

11. Allegations, Concerns and Complaints

VACCA takes all allegations seriously and has practices in place to investigate thoroughly and quickly. Our staff are trained to deal with allegations.

We all have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if we have a reasonable belief that an incident took place. If an adult has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may include:

  • a child states they or someone they know has been abused (noting that sometimes the child may in fact be referring to themselves)
  • behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed
  • someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it
  • observing suspicious behaviour.

12. Changes to this Statement

VACCA reserves the right to review, amend and/or update this Statement of Commitment to Child Safety from time to time.

13. Further information

At VACCA further information can be provided by emailing incidentreports@vacca.org or phoning 9287 8800 and asking to speak with a CQI Investigator.

Kids Helpline is a 24-hour, seven day a week counselling service for Australian young people aged between 5 and 25 years.  The helpline can be contacted by calling 1800 551 800.

Further information about the Child Safe Standards can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) website.

Information and resources are also available on the Child Safety page on the Commission for Children and Young People’s website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.