Safeguarding officers for schools 2 minute read

Every child has a right to have an education, to be heard and to be kept safe from harm. 

CPSU recently met with Liz Jack regarding the Safeguarding Officer Project. We welcome the initiative of Safeguarding Officers, however, it is imperative Schools are adequately resourced for this work. 

The Office of Safeguarding Children was established in August 2021 to ensure recommendations from the DoE Inquiry and the Royal Commission are implemented across the Department. 

As part of that work, the Office of Safeguarding Children has been undertaking the early planning needed to embed Safeguarding Officers in schools by the end of Term 4, 2022.  

Safeguarding Officers will be employed as part of a Support and Wellbeing Team to plan and implement risk-management strategies for every government school to protect students from sexual abuse.

More information can be found below from the Department of Education Q&A.

Safeguarding Officers will also be responsible for coordinating a range of actions in each school, including assisting the Principal to meet their school’s safeguarding responsibilities under the National Child Safe Standards (here).

As you can see from the table below, the proposal for staffing allocation for schools is based purely on enrolment numbers. CPSU have concerns about this resourcing methodology. 

Research and data from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse demonstrates that Children with a disability as a group have a significantly higher risk of sexual violence than children who do not have a disability. 

Following our meeting with Liz Jack, CPSU have written to the Department of Education with a strong recommendation for additional Safeguarding Officer FTE for support schools to manage heightened risk of vulnerability for children with disability. 

Do you have any questions about these proposed roles?  Please contact your Organiser Jess Greene on J.Greene@tas.cpsu.com.au, if you have any issues you would like us to raise during this consultation process.  

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