Child Safety Policy

Child Safety and Wellbeing Statement of Commitment



The purpose of this statement is to demonstrate the commitment of Joanne O’Kelly School of Dance (JOKSOD) to the safety, protection and wellbeing of all children and young people in our care. JOKSOD has zero tolerance for child abuse and is committed to acting in our student’s best interests in keeping them safe. Children have the fundamental right to be safe from any form of abuse or neglect. JOKSOD is committed to ensuring compliance with all relevant child protection laws and regulations and in developing and maintaining a child safe culture.

1.1 Outline Joanne O’Kelly School of Dance (JOKSOD) commitment to child safety to staff, contractors, members, volunteers, families, students and the wider community

1.2 Provide information to staff, contractors, members and volunteers on their legal and ethical responsibilities with regard to child safety and wellbeing

1.3 Outline procedures for reporting child abuse

1.4 State procedures for policy review



This statement and subsequent Code of Conduct applies to and is binding on, all JOKSOD employed workers, teachers, guest teachers and any third party contractors and volunteers at JOKSOD. It applies to any activities at JOKSOD which involve, result in or relate to contact with children.



The Principal at JOKSOD, Joanne O’Kelly, is primarily responsible for the implementation and conduct surrounding child safety and wellbeing and all related procedures, which includes:

  • Recruitment
  • Staff inductions and training
  • Receiving and responding to complaints
  • Risk assessment and management process
  • Reporting, record keeping and information sharing
  • Code of conduct

All other employees and workers will support in the activation of this statement and Code of Conduct and the above procedures.




Any person under the age of 18

Child Abuse

1. Any act committed against a child involving:

a) A sexual offence

b) The offence of grooming

2. The infliction, on a child of:

a) Physical violence

b) Serious emotional or psychological harm

3. Serious neglect of a child

Child Neglect

The failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in the position to do so) with conditions that are culturally acceptable as being essential for the child’s physical and emotional development and wellbeing.

Child Safety

All matters related to protecting children from child abuse, managing the risk of child abuse, providing support to a child at risk of child abuse and responding to incidents or allegations of child abuse.



JOKSOD’s commitment to child safety is based on the following Government mandated standards that guide the organisational culture to protect the children in our care.  

  1. Our Statement of Commitment to child safety details how we comply to the Child Safe Standards and our Code of Conduct provides behavioural standards that all our staff and volunteers must abide by.
  2. Take child participation seriously: JOKSOD empowers children and young people to enable them to communicate if they feel unsafe, express their views and raise concerns. This is implemented through supportive staff and the encouragement of friendships and peer support.
  3. Involving families and communities: Open communication at JOKSOD in relation to child safety is actively promoted within the community to families, ensuring everyone is kept informed and offered the opportunity to raise any views in relation to the wellbeing of their child.
  4. Respecting equity and diversity: All children are treated equally at JOKSOD and any diverse needs are respected. We understand the importance of providing additional support to the needs of children and young people with disability, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those unable to live at home and LGBTQI children and young people.
  5. Ensuring staff are suitably supported: All employees, teachers, guest teachers, contractors and volunteers at JOKSOD have current working with children checks and are provided with an appropriate induction to their responsibilities of keeping children and young people safe.
  6. Child focused complaint system: Any complaints about child safety and wellbeing are handled directly with Joanne O’Kelly, the Principal. All concerns are welcomed to be raised with any of our teachers or office staff, however it will be escalated to Joanne to manage. All complaints will be taken seriously, and responded to promptly and thoroughly ensuring privacy and employment law obligations are met.
  7. Staff knowledge, skills and awareness: All JOKSOD staff and volunteers have the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education, this includes training on how to build culturally safe environments.
  8. Safe online and physical environments: JOKSOD recognises the importance of safety and mitigating risks within online and physical environments without compromising a child’s right to privacy, access to information, social connections and learning opportunities.
  9. Review of child safe policies and practices: At JOKSOD we regularly review, evaluate and improve on all child safe practices and our Code of Conduct.
  10. Establish a culturally safe environment: JOKSOD has established a culturally safe environment in which diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued. We provide an environment where a child has the ability to express their culture and actively support their cultural rights. Racism is not tolerated.
  11. Child safety is embedded in organisational leadership: Child safety and wellbeing is the foundation of the JOKSOD environment, stemming from the leadership and modelled throughout the organisation. JOKSOD provides a Code of Conduct to all staff and volunteers on behavioural standards that aims to prevent, identify and mitigate risk to children and young people.



Joanne O'Kelly School of Dance takes our legal responsibilities seriously, including:

1 Failure to disclose: All adults in Victoria who have a reasonable belief that an adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report that information to police.

2 Mandatory reporting: Any board members, staff or volunteers who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties in this regard.

3 Failure to protect: People of authority in our organisation will commit an offence if they know of a substantial risk of child sexual abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.

4 Reportable conduct: The head of our organisation must be made aware of any allegations of physical and sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, significant emotional or psychological harm or significant neglect by an employee or volunteer towards a child. We are also legally required to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of the allegation.

5 Duty of care: If a child is abused by an individual associated with our organisation, our organisation is presumed to have breached its duty of care unless it can prove that it took ‘reasonable precautions’ to prevent the abuse in question.

6 For more information, please refer to Failure to Protect on the on the Department of Justice and Regulation’s website.



Joanne O'Kelly School of Dance has risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks which include risks posed by physical environments and online environments.

Examples of some of these strategies include:

  • All personnel are required to have WWCCs and abide by JOKSOD Child Safety and Policy
  • Workshops and classes always have at least two JOKSOD personnel present with students
  • Teachers are trained to use verbal imagery and other non-contact practices in their teaching
  • Where there are a large numbers of children, such as at the annual concert, all helpers are encouraged to supervise their own students and parent pick-up is carefully supervised.
  • Change rooms provide private spaces for children to change
  • Personnel are not permitted to communicate directly with children via social media or other electronic platforms.



All JOKSOD personnel who work with children including staff, contractors, volunteers and parents must agree to abide by this Child Safety Policy and Code of Conduct  which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children.

All JOKSOD personnel including staff, members and volunteers, are required to have a current Working with Children Check.

Two professional referee checks are undertaken before engaging new employees. 9

New employees, contractors members and volunteers will be mentored to ensure they understand JOKSOD's commitment to child safety and that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse, as well as checking that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate.

Any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.

Existing personnel are offered professional training on Child Safety at annual refreshers and conferences and via email bulletins. We offer information to develop their skills in protecting children from abuse, promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, supporting vulnerable children such as those with gender diversity, and supporting the wellbeing of children with a disability.



JOKSOD personnel may, in the course of their regular teaching or performance duties, form a reasonable belief that a child is in need of protection from child abuse.

Child abuse may include physical violence

Even if a disclosure has not been made, the child’s behaviours and other indicators may lead you to believe abuse has occurred.

When JOKSOD personnel become aware that a child has suffered abuse or is at risk of abuse, they must report this to Joanne O'Kelly as the main Child Safety Officer as soon as practicable and within 24 hours.

Where possible and practical, record the incident on the Incident Report Form.

The report should use in the words of the person reporting this - preferably the child. 1

Concerns about the conduct of JOKSOD personnel should also be reported to Joanne O'Kelly as the Child Safety Officer within 24 hours of the concern being raised.

The incident report form can also be used to record this.

The Child Safety Officer will report to relevant agencies or the police.



A reasonable belief is formed if a reasonable person believes that:

  • the child is in need of protection o the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of physical or sexual injury
  • the child’s parents are unable or unwilling to protect the child.

To form a reasonable belief, you should consider and objectively assess all the relevant facts, such as the source of the allegation and how it was communicated, the nature of and details of the allegation, and whether there is any other related matters known regarding the alleged perpetrator.

A ‘reasonable belief’ or a ‘belief on reasonable grounds’ is not the same as having proof, but is more than mere rumour or speculation. You will have reasonable grounds to notify if:

  • a child states that they have been physically or sexually abused
  • a child states that they know someone who has been physically or sexually abused (sometimes the child may be talking about themselves)
  • someone who knows a child states that the child has been physically or sexually abused;
  • professional observations of the child’s behaviour or development leads a professional to form a belief that the child has been physically or sexually abused or is likely to be abused 
  • signs of abuse lead to a belief that the child has been physically or sexually abused.



The safety and wellbeing of children is our primary concern. We are also fair and just to personnel. The decisions we make when recruiting, assessing incidents, and undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.

JOKSOD records all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our incident reporting form, including investigation updates. All records are securely stored.

If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, we provide updates to children and families on progress and any actions we as an organisation take.



All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be staff, volunteers, parents or children, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. We have safeguards and practices in place to ensure any personal information is protected. Everyone is entitled to know how this information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.



It is a breach of this policy for any person or organisation to which this policy applies, to have been found to have done anything contrary to this policy. Any person who breaches this policy is subject to disciplinary action form JOKSOD which may be but is not limited to cessation of employment or cancellation of enrolment.



JOKSOD commits to ensuring this Policy (and any updates or changes) is communicated: o on our website

  • in age-accessible formats for children at at all times in studio
  • during staff induction processes



This policy will be reviewed by Joanne O'Kelly School of Dance every 2 years.

JOKSOD undertakes an analysis about what is working well, and what needs improvement. JOKSOD personnel including staff, members, and families can provide feedback on this policy by emailing



Breach of the Code of Conduct

Where an employee, teacher or guest teacher breaches the Code, JOKSOD will take serious action that may lead to disciplinary measures or dismissal.

General commitment to child safety and wellbeing

When working with children and young people, all bound by this code must:

  1. Understand and adhere to the JOKSOD Statement of commitment to child safety and wellbeing
  2. Be familiar with and adhere to all relevant state and federal legislation around child safety and wellbeing
  3. Ensure they do everything they can to protect children from abuse and harm
  4. Promote the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people
  5. Be aware and proactive in terms of all child safety and wellbeing issues
  6. Provide appropriate supervision for children and young people
  7. Treat all children equally and with respect


When working with children and young people, all bound by this code must:

  1. Provide a physically safe environment for children and young people
  2. Provide areas where children can change clothes and use toilet facilities in private
  3. Help provide an open, safe and supportive environment for all children and young people to interact and socialise

General behaviours

When working with children and young people, all bound by this code must:

  1. Not behave in a prejudicial or oppressive manner
  2. Not use inappropriate language with or in the presence of children and young people
  3. Not express personal views on culture, race or sexuality in the presence of children
  4. Not discriminate against any child based on culture, age, gender, vulnerability, sexuality, race, ethnicity or disability
  5. Not engage in any form of sexual conduct with a child, including making sexually suggestive comments or sharing sexually suggestive material
  6. Not engage in any form of physical violence towards a child, including inappropriately rough physical play
  7. Not use physical or corporal punishment to discipline or control a child
  8. Not engage in any form of behaviour that has the potential to cause a student serious emotional or psychological harm, such as isolating, yelling at, harassing or humiliating a child
  9. Not develop ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism

Child interaction

When working with children and young people, all bound by this code must:

  1. Behave as a positive role model to all children and young people.
  2. Impart knowledge and skill of dance in a respectful and encouraging manner
  3. Use positive and affirming language towards children and young people
  4. During teaching ensure physical touch boundaries are established and everyone in the studio is aware of these guidelines
  5. Encourage children and young people to express their ideas and listen to them with respect
  6. Intervene when children are behaving inappropriately towards others

Child privacy and communication

When working with children and young people, all bound by this code must:

  1. Engage in appropriate behaviours with regards to physical contact with children
  2. Not be alone or engage in undisclosed private meetings with children
  3. Not engage in any inappropriate personal communication with a child through any medium, including online contact
  4. Keep all personal information about students and families confidential and never post any identifying information about a child online
  5. Always obtain written consent from parents / carers before taking or publishing photos or videos


When working with children and young people, all bound by this code must:

  1. Treat all children equally, regardless of background, culture, religious beliefs, disability and political differences
  2. Encourage participation from linguistically and culturally diverse children and young people as well as children and young people with any kind of disability and promote their safety
  3. Proactively contact Traditional owner groups or Registered Aboriginal Party in the area to ensure the organisation is welcoming, inclusive and culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their children
  4. Encourage input from parents and families, and use their advice to make your school welcoming and culturally empowering for students of diverse cultural backgrounds, and for students with disabilities

Reporting concerns or allegations

  1. Provide a comfortable environment to give the child or adult full attention so concerns can be expressed without interruption
  2. Remain supportive and reassuring to comfort any distress, ask encouraging questions and let them know they’ve done the right thing
  3. Let them know they will have to act on the information and let other people know
  4. Create a detailed record of the interaction for investigation, including the date, time and location of disclosure, notes on the disclosure in the child’s words and the child’s demeaner
  5. Report the disclosure to Joanne O’Kelly immediately so that action can be taken
  6. If the child is in immediate danger contact 000 or the appropriate external authorities
  7. Respect the privacy of the situation and do not involve any more people than are necessary in the situation