Child Safe Organisations Forum 2019. Keynote speaker Craig Foster
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Child Safe Organisations Forum 2019. Keynote speaker Craig Foster

September 14, 2019

– [Megan Mitchell] And
so, without further ado, I’ll move on to our first speaker, who’s going to set the scene for us today. I think we’re very lucky
to have Craig Foster with us today as our headline speaker. Craig, unless you’ve been in a coma, (laughing)
we all know who Craig is. He’s a former Socceroo captain. He’s played 29 times for the country and he’s one of the most
respected broadcasters, commentators, and contributors in the history of the game here. He has a Master’s in
International Sport Management and he’s in the final
year of his law degree, so he’s a bit of an overachiever. And he’s completed
study and legal research and law reform using the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses
into Child Sexual Abuse as a case study in that research. So, Craig, as you have
known, recently spearheaded a campaign to free a young
player from Bangkok prison, Hakeem al-Araibi, and
creating a global movement and leading a coalition of organizations across sport and human rights while working alongside
the Australian government and the diplomatic post in Thailand. And this was, too, a celebrated
and successful resolution. I think we all watched that and really admired Craig’s
fulfilling that space. And he continues to advocate
for vulnerable people, gender equality in sport,
as a driver of change, indigenous rights, and social justice, and he’s always a proponent
and prominent advocate for a beautiful game and its
social impact on Australia. Welcome Craig.
(audience claps) – [Craig Foster] Thank you,
Megan. Thank you, everyone. It’s a delight to be here this morning to talk to you in part about
the importance of sport as an enabler of human rights, as a promoter of human rights, and in particular this morning, of course, children’s rights. We’ve seen a number of
cases in recent years where this has really come to the fore, and Hakeem al-Araibi’s
case was one of those. Many of you may know that
(coughing) movement of the sport in human rights has been underway the
last couple of years. Essentially came out of what was a crisis in global sport, in particular around
major sporting events. The awarding of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to Qatar led to global interest in the treatment of, in particular,
migrant workers in Qatar and allowed the human rights
community to come into sport, and how welcome they were. FIFA and other global sporting bodies now have human rights policies and that policy for FIFA globally, under which Football Federation Australia is also implicated, which
is really interesting. One of the first cases
of sport in human rights within the Australian context. That policy gave us something to measure the response of sport,
in particular officials right around the world, in respecting, upholding, and protecting Hakeem’s rights and was a
really important element towards a successful
resolution, as Megan said. So this movement of human rights coming into sport is long overdue. It’s hugely welcome. And, children, of course,
completely central to that. In fact, putting the child
at the center of sport is something of a novel idea. It’s one that presents a direct challenge to the win-at-all-costs mentality, and, as we’ll find out today, that cost is a very high human one, and often a child’s future. We all watched the Royal Commission with deep horror, revulsion,
and even surprise. How could this be going on in Australia? How have we dropped the
ball, so to speak, so badly? We’d all agree that a country’s
treatment of its children and young people, the innocent, and all in positions of vulnerability, especially those placed
in our institutional care, is an invaluable measure
of its social value. Thankfully, the Australian
Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with the Prime Minister and all state and territory
Premiers, acting Premiers, have taken the discussion forward, in an effort to ensure all of our kids are provided with safe environments in which to prosper and thrive. Well done to Megan, and our
National Children’s Commission for advocating so strongly for new policy, and these principles you see today of safe organizations
are a positive response from the never-forgotten
wreckage of too many lives. Although the UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child was ratified by Australia in 1990, the rights contained within are less well-known than they might be. Children have rights that
must be respected and upheld and here I’d argue that sport can, and must, play a fundamental role in education and awareness. The Convention has 54 Articles, of course, across life, survival, and development. An education that enables the
full development of potential; to be raised by, or have a
relationship with your parents; to express their opinions
and be listened to. Very topical this morning. And in our context today, protection from violence, abuse, and neglect. Let’s now turn to the power
and obligations of sport, and how these rights might be articulated through a field in which children
are so naturally drawn to, and which has such a substantial impact on their development
and social integration. The flowering of potential,
the right to thrive, to recreation and play,
to achieve and excel, are well known, but the right
which proceeds them all, to joy, freedom of personal
expression, and growth, is far less pronounced in Australian sport in the pursuit of medals,
titles, and glory. Nor are we alone. The pursuit of honors
has dangerously trumped the provision of safe
environments across all sport, which are child-centered, enable a life-long love of sport, and that make winning subservient to protection, enjoyment,
and self-fulfillment. All of our sport needs to reconsider our underlying approach in this regard. Let’s begin with the right to play before looking more closely
at the right to excel. If we agree that sport in an enabler of health, mental and physical wellbeing, and a promoter of community, friendship, support networks, and the
advancement of human potential, what right does a child
have to participate in their chosen sport, I ask you? Do they have a right to be included, to be given, what we
call a sporting chance? Article 6 of the Convention
on Rights of the Child states that “children have
a right to a full life. “Governments should ensure that children “survive and develop healthily.” Does a full life include sport, which further is known to dramatically increase overall physical health and psychological wellbeing? Is that a right? Article 23 extends special
protection to children with a disability, who
equally have a right to a fully independent life. Article 15 protects the child’s right to meet with other
children and young people and to join groups and organizations. In our society, one of our
most fundamentally significant social groups, whether a
team or an entire community, is formed through sport. And particularly for today’s purposes, Article 31 dictates that
“All children have the right “to relax, play, and join in wide range “of leisure activities.” My question to our sporting bodies and federal and state
governments and territories, is, what impact does the
escalating cost to play have on these inherent
rights of our children? Have we, in transferring
the responsibility for the provision of sport programs largely to private providers, allowed the profit made to trump the right to participate
such that the cost of play has become prohibitive
for many in society? New arrivals, disadvantaged communities, impecunious families today, not only will find high
financial barriers in their way, but should they demonstrate talent and a desire to achieve in sport, these costs are likely
to drastically escalate. And how greatly are we
restricting the ability of our indigenous children to participate and build a life of great potential, even as we celebrate
those many who demonstrate their extraordinary talents. From a personal perspective, I have the gift of growing up in Lismore, northern New South Wales, where I was able to play
a multitude of sports and do okay at one, at very little cost to my family. Had we needed to pay thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands
of dollars, at every turn, I, too, would have been excluded from being able to achieve
at an international level. Where would my rights
to play have been then? Participation brought so much more, however, and brought families together, broke down barriers between communities, built understanding of others, and facilitated life-long friendships, upon which we can rely in times of need. When did sport become such an industry that to swim, play tennis, football, or any other sport, required a minimum financial status, then became such a high hurdle for tens of thousands of
families in Australia today? The identification of talent and expression of potential is also arise. Each child requires an environment in which they have an
equal opportunity to excel, where the selection
processes are objective, non-discriminatory, freely
available, and transparent. Many potential sporting careers and an opportunity at a
life of immense challenge in the pursuit of excellence, in breaking new human
barriers and thresholds, to represent one’s country
in international competition, are compromised at the earliest stages through talent identification
which is subjective. We should lead the world in changing this. When sport is in pursuit of happiness, of self-fulfillment firstly, then everything else
comes a distant second. And our whole ecosystems of
play, training, and competition should reflect this reality. Australians love to win. But every child must be
given the chance to do so, while having the time of their lives, finding their own way in their own time, and being valued for who they are. What happens then when
the pursuit of success supersedes the rights of the child, or when appropriate
safeguards are not in place? We’ve seen some of our own examples of mistreatment, exploitation,
and abuse of children even in very recent times. In the UK football environment, horrific stories of child sexual abuse in the preying on of these
23 young male players have come to light in England at Chelsea, one of the world’s biggest clubs. In the Olympic context,
the 2016 sexual abuse case of over 265 female US gymnasts, primarily minors at the time, came to light following the courage of those who exposed the exploitation by a team physician over
a period of decades. This case is ongoing and has led to the sports law and sport
governance fraternity questioning its own
adherence to, protection of, and participation in a sports environment in which these crimes could have been suppressed for so long, despite repeated efforts
by the athletes themselves. Just earlier this year,
an investigation in Canada uncovered over 600 convictions
for sexual abuse of minors by at least 222 amateur sport coaches across 36 sports over the past 20 years. No sport or country,
if appears, is immune. Like the Royal Commission,
sport has had to ask, “Why didn’t we listen when
the young people spoke out? “Why did the system shut them down? “How did we allow the voices
of our most vulnerable “to be lost, leading to
more children being harmed?” Everyone in sport needs to reflect on whether we’ve created an environment in which children feel able
to voice their concerns, a critical right, as expressed
in today’s Principle Two: “Children and young people are
informed about their rights “to participate in
decisions affecting them “and are taken seriously.” Principle Six: “Processes
for complaints and concerns “are child-focused.” But while examples of sexual
abuse rock us to the core and make global headlines, there are far more common forms of young athletes which occur every day, particularly in elite
development environments. In my own sport, having coached both mid-to-late teen elite females
and males in recent years, and seen first hand the young players’ experience across the range of sports, school, and talent-development programs, it’s clear that the drive for success can override concerns for over training during years of critical
physical growth and development, a lack of adequate education for coaches in managing players of
all genders and ages, creating a respectful and
productive training environment across the diverse range of cultural, linguistic, religious, and
sexual diversity of society, the potential for body-shaming
and psychological abuse of young female athletes, an overwhelming prevalence of environments in which young players do not feel able to voice any concerns, crucially, in which parents
feel unable to do so without competitive
repercussions for their children. Sport would do well to adopt the process of surveying parents and
young participants regularly to understand their experience. Perhaps even more so in
these elite environments, where the pressure not to
speak up is suffocating, and where those in positions of authority, as we’ve seen across these
broad range of cases, have an enormous power to
make young dreams come true. Sport has a duty to put
every child and young player at the heart of policy,
principles, and practice, and this launch today
is an important message and step in this culture change. The field of sport in human rights has developed quickly in recent years, particularly regarding
human rights impacts of major sports events, as we’ve said, came to light regarding the appalling treatment
of migrant workers, and today we see the relatively new Centre for Sport in Human Rights in Geneva under Chair Mary Robinson,
former president of Ireland, and United Nations High
Commission for Human Rights. The Sports and Rights Alliance, which includes Amnesty International, the International Trade
Union Confederation, and Transparency
International, among others, and major sports implementing
human rights policies, including the largest sport
in the world under FIFA. These positive steps
extend to children’s rights as the world of sport awakens to the need for protections
across the diverse range of the child’s experience from their very first contact with sport. It’s pleasing to see the recent
launch of FIFA Guardians, a new child safety program for all of football’s 211
member federations globally, to promote a safe, inclusive,
enjoyable, and respectful environment for the hundreds of millions of children that play the beautiful game. The program provides for every step from an ordered address to
training policy implementation, monitoring, and reporting. This program is in line with FIFA’s statutory commitments under
the FIFA Human Rights policy to promote and protect all internationally recognized human rights. A movement that’s just come to life, happily, within Australian sport, and which has the potential
both identify adverse impacts, whether on children or otherwise, and to maximize the
policy of social impact of sport here and globally. Further to this movement, athletes themselves have recognized the importance of protecting
the next generation, and providing greater
safeguards than perhaps today’s professional sports
people were provided. World Players United, the global athletes’ representative body with over 85,000 professional athlete members, has its own recent
declaration of child athletes. Six principles of
enable, prevent, protect, design, listen, and uphold. Today’s launch of the ten principles that’ll serve to underpin our recognition, our support for, and
protection of children across every field of Australian life, and which recognize the particular needs of those most vulnerable, including Torres Strait Islander and
indigenous Australian children, and the importance of
understanding and respecting cultural diversity across
our diverse national fabric. So let us be leaders,
then, to move forward in a positive way from a process that shocked us all, and
shocked this nation to its core, to realize that we let
down so many children whose right to the fullest
realization of their potential was severely compromised, Ensure that we look
after those in our care. Provide safe and protective environments for our children to
grow, prosper and excel, whether within sport or without. Finally, sport can play a crucial role in magnifying this discussion. Our children have a need to
better understand their rights, and sport has a huge role to
play in bringing these to life. Our most prominent athletes can and should play an essential role here, in this policy, alongside the Sport in Human Rights movement, is the blossoming of an exciting journey for all in sport. My compliments to Megan and her team, to all agencies and ministers involved, and may children of every age, background, religion,
gender, or sexual orientation have an equal, respectful, and
above all, safe environment, in which to fulfill their
true human potential. Thank you.
(audience claps) – Thank you, Craig. It’s really actually really pleasing to see that this is happening
on the world stage now, that the linking of
human rights and sport, because it is a place
where a lot of kids play, and start their journey and socializing, and having fun and stuff. So that’s really good that
this is a global movement. I think we’ve got time
for a couple of questions. If anybody has any. Yes. Say where you’re from and who you are. – [Fiona May] So I’m Fiona May, I’m from Clayburn, Australia. You mentioned the concept
of FIFA Guardians. Can you tell us a little
more about their role? – Yeah, so FIFA have, in implementing the human rights policy only in 2016, obligated to uphold, protect, and promote all internationally
recognized human rights and, of course, all of those engines across indigenous peoples,
which is very exciting, across Convention on
the Rights of the Child, Universal Declaration, the
international Bill of Rights. So they’re obligated,
they were the first sport to implement what is a
really very strong policy, and they’re just working through now how to bring all of that to life. And what actually happened
during the Hakeem campaign was it came perhaps a little bit early when FIFA were trying to educate all of their member federations and officials around the
world who need to understand, now need education and training to acknowledge they have to protect everyone within and around, it’s actually in and through football, in and through sport. And we’re able to hold
them to those obligations even while some of them
are a bit premature for their understanding of it. Subsequently, over the
last 12 months or so, I understand they’ve worked with the European Human Commission-
Human Rights Commission around this new policy. Of course, there’s
exploitation of young children in terms of transfer market
and all of these things, movement of young children out of different areas of the world into the European football market, which has been a concern
for a very long time. So as the biggest sport in the world, and the most diverse
culturally and globally, we have immense challenges to face, so it’s fantastic to see that they’ve really stepped up here, and they’ve been forced to by the human rights
community, essentially. And this issue now with the
Centre for Sport in Human Rights they’re really focused on the awarding and implementation and impacts, both positive and potentially negative, of major sporting events. That’s one reason why we think that sport’s going to be able to have a huge influence on the proliferation and understanding globally of the International Bill of Rights, and human rights that everyone has. Because through sport we
can use that as a prism. That’s essentially what happened
during Hakeem’s campaign. Sport was able to create
a different discussion. Just on that, I had
the pleasure last night of watching The Australian Dream with Adam in the stand, and everyone in Australia should see it, it was really wonderful, but it’s also a really good example of how sport can do horrible things and certainly some of the worst of society came out through there, but it also is able to now
create a different discussion for Adam to be able to live through that. This is one really wonderful example. So, Football Federation Australia now have a whole entire tool kit, which is not dissimilar to this. It’s online resources,
it’s support mechanisms, and, I understand, FIFA officials and people involved in that environment actually come out and monitor and mentor and work with all these 200 associations around the world to be able
to implement strong policies. So that’s a wonderful step forward. It’s one aspect of the broader human rights movement in sport, and we think- I certainly think
its tremendously exciting. – [Megan Mitchell] I’ve
got a follow up question. When you saw Hakeem in that situation, how did you know what to
do, who to talk to about it? – You know, that’s basically
is the same kind of answer, because what happened was
there has been this whole sport in human rights movement for the last four or five years at least, and the IRC now has a less
stringent policy than FIFA, because the human rights movement, and so Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Sports and Rights Alliance, which has all those people involved, and organizations, NGOs, was
able to get tremendous leverage with FIFA because some
of the adverse impacts of Qatar and Russia in particular, 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and so because of that leverage they were able to bring
a benefit to the table, essentially, and have a
really good discussion about putting in place
a very strong policy. So, FIFA, a little bit inadvertently, leading the way. This movement is very broad, it’s global, and I knew a lot of people. In fact, a lot of them are
really brilliant Australians, one of them is named Brendan Schwab, who runs World Players United, and is a very good friend of mine. World Players United is
the global athletes’ body, so virtually every sport,
including all of ours, so Australian Athletes’ Alliance, which is football, AFL,
cricket, rugby union, basically everyone here
in professional sport, and all of those globally including FIFA’s over 60,000 players, through FIFPro, which is
our global players’ union, I’m the former chair of our
domestic players’ union, Socceroos and (mumbles), so I was very much
connected into that field. I worked with Amnesty
and Human Rights Watch and others already, so as soon as Hakeem got in trouble, I was able to mobilize this immense global network, basically, including our sport,
facilitate that out into broader sport, so it was
important to make sure that it wasn’t just about a footballer, but it was about a refugee, so all of the refugee organizations were really deeply engaged and we broadened it out into all of sport. This was very much about asylum-seeker, refugee rights globally. I mean, the UN were involved. We couldn’t quite get Michelle
Bachelet activated enough, and it became clear through
the UN Commission for Refugees, one of the reasons because Australia is, you know, conduct in this area over a very long period of time, so that’s something that
we’re really working on. The most important thing
was to get Hakeem out. This second most important thing is now to use that to try and
create a different discussion. And this is where my
head’s at at the moment. See what’s happening with Adam is he’s gone through
this awful experience, and it’s very sad that he’s had to do so, but now, what he’s
done- he’s an incredible human being, Adam Goodes. What he’s done, is without any bitterness or without any residual anger around it, he’s now using that platform to talk to Australia about, come
on, let’s come together and walk together. It’s very powerful, incredible what he’s been able to achieve. In the same context, what
we’re trying to say now with what’s planned in the
immediate and medium term future is to use what’s occurred with Hakeem to say, Australia, you’ve all stepped up for this refugee, just
because he’s a sports player. Everyone over here is exactly the same. They just don’t happen to kick a ball. So it’s the objective
and the challenge for me is to try and utilize that now
to continue that discussion. Because somehow,
Australia found our heart. Somehow, Australia demonstrated exactly what we are and
what I believe we are. And we’ve gone down this path, yeah, and sometimes it takes these moments, whether it’s Adam or Hakeem or others, to refocus people’s view
on what’s been happening, and to have them to have a think, and I think that Australians
are wonderful people who are very compassionate, and we showed that the
whole country, more or less, throughout, I think the
campaign trended in 81 countries some 30 million shares on social media and all of these things. It’s an immense, global impact, but particularly Australia. And all of the government ministers and all of these things. So perhaps we can just use it to say, “All right, guys, you know, we’ve gone “and done these things, “you might have been
convinced at that time “that for whatever reason
you might have thought “it was appropriate, but come on, “we all understand now “and we need to move on from that.” So that’s the power that sport has. And it takes people like Adam who are really extraordinary people to be able to articulate that, to be able to leave that experience and then use it for the better, but not to the people in the country. But when you find these people and you find these moments, it demonstrates how
important sport can be, particularly in a country where like ours, where, for better or worse, it’s valued to an extremely high level. So, for me, the future’s really exciting, I’m hoping later this year to be able to bring some change. – [Megan Mitchell] Thank you, Craig, and why don’t we all thank Craig. (crowd clapping) – I like to have all that positivity. I’m a glass-half-full girl (murmurs). Our next speaker is Peter Downs, and both Kate Jenkins
and I are lucky enough to be on the board of an organization that Peter runs called Play by the Rules. If you don’t know about
it, get to know about it. He’s the National Manager
of Play by the Rules and it is a joint collaboration between multiple federal and
state government agencies providing safe, fair, and inclusive sport. So we’re still on sport, at this moment, and we are going to have
(murmurs) talk about the rugby, and I’m really worried about cricket. (laughing)
So, anyway. He is a former manager of the
Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit, and he was in that position for 17 years, and also maintains a really strong commitment to disability in sport. He was a Churchill
Fellow recipient in 2014. So I’ll introduce Peter to tell you all about Play by the Rules
and where it’s heading. Peter – [Peter Downs] Thanks, Megan.
(aucience claps) I’m wired up a bit like, I thought about Michael
Bublé or something, but I like to get a bit up
close and personal with you, so I can see your faces. Thanks very much, Megan, and
everybody for the invitation. What I’d like to do is
give you a little snapshot of what Play by the Rules is. I recognize a few names,
a few faces in the room, but most of you, probably the first time you’ve heard of Play by the Rules. So, we’ll do a little snapshot of that. And then I want to have a look at how Play by the Rules as a
national organization supports community clubs to
create child-safe environments. Now, you may be skeptical- a national body has no influence on a
little community club, but bear with me, and I’ll hopefully be able
to give you some examples of how we’re able to do
that with Play by the Rules. So what is Play by the Rules. Well, Megan sort of stole my
thunder a little bit there in explaining what Play by the Rules is. It’s truly unique in Australian sport, and it’s a collaboration
between 19 different federal and state
government organizations. A cross between sport and recreation and human rights and equal
opportunity agencies. So we’ve got Sport Australia, we’ve got the Australian
Human Rights Commission, all the state and territory departments of sport and recreation
and equal opportunity and human rights agencies, the Office of the Children’s Guardian, here in New South Wales, the Anti-Discrimination Board
of New South Wales as well. There’s a management
committee that I report to, Kate Jenkins is the co-chair
of that management committee, so it makes me a little bit nervous, some of the management
committee are here today, but anyway, we’ll go with it. And there’s a reference group here. But I am the only employee
of Play by the Rules, and you won’t tell people that, but it underestimates it
quite a lot when I say that, because there is a reference group of all the state partners who I work with more on a week to week basis. There’s one MOU, three
broad outcomes around safe, fair, inclusive sport, so all partners sign up to the MOU. It’s been around for about
18 years or so in now in the sports sector in Australia, so pretty-well established as a brand for what it does, as well. So that’s the kind of
structure of Play by the Rules. What I want to focus on though, really, is how do we keep child safety front of mind for community
sport, in particular. I say front of mind in a very particular: this underpins our kind of philosophy, because sport’s busy, you know,
sport does a lot of stuff. It’s manned primarily by volunteers, who are doing this sort of
thing in their spare time, their weekends, and in-between work. It’s a very busy place to be and it’s very easy for child
safety to slip off the agenda. It’s very easy for sports
to, not deliberately, but to, on the business of sports, to really abdicate, so
not have responsibility for child safety on a regular basis. We need to keep it front of mind. And the best way to do that, we’ve found, one of the ways we do that, is to really promote them doing things, understanding what they’re doing, and a system to do that better or value-add to that in the future. And I show you from a national perspective how we attempt to do that. And the sorts of things that clubs in sport and recreation associations are currently doing right now. Okay, set the scene for that. One of the primary ways
in which we educate around child protection and child safety is through an online course
around child protection. That’s mandated by many
sports now in Australia. So in a quiet month, we probably get 1200 completions of that online training, which is a fair commitment,
when you think about it. It’s three or four hours
of an online course that you must commit to. It’s certificated. Since July 2017, we’ve
had 32, 34,000 completions of the online course. What happens from a kind of
technical stance after date, it’s not the end of it
when you do the course. We embark on a campaign to assist them and to find out what they’re doing. What are people doing? It’s okay to have a better
understanding of child protection as a result of doing the course. What does it actually lead to? What do sport and recreations
do as a result of that? And that’s, it’s a
campaign that we start off, one of the first things we do is to look at what they’re doing, ask them, “What is it
you’re actually doing?” Over time, what we do
is build up a picture of the sorts of things, the things of which sport
and recreation are doing, and feed that back to them
with resources to help them. So I’ll give some examples of that. But broadly, the things that’ve emerged from all those responses from that survey about what sports are doing, what people are doing in sport world, I’ve categorized them into
six different categories. So when they come in,
I look at them and say, you’ll see some examples in a second, of what kind of things they’re doing. About 20 percent are doing
sort of what I call compliance. So typically that could mean that they’ve made sure that their
working with children check requirements are in place. Things they have to do
in terms of compliance. I’ll give you some examples. The biggest thing they do, which is nice, but we want to see a bit
more, is have a discussion. That could be formal or informal, so it can be that they,
yes, we’ve had a discussion with our community, we’ve had
a discussion with our coaches, of the club, and we’ve decided this is what we’re going to do next. So some form of discussion, whether they say they’ve
had a talk about it, something they’ve done after the course, and that’s where 42 percent
actually make a discussion. Education. So about 16 percent say they do some form of education. Typically, again, that could be that they referred other people to
Play by the Rules courses. There are nine other courses as well as the Child Protection as
well, so they could be doing Let Kids be Kids, or harassment and discrimination
type courses as well. But actually referring and looking at education as an action. Policy development. That’s pretty common. Around 18 percent look,
or develop, or review their policies and codes
around child protection, or it could be member protection. Could be complaint handling
or code of conduct as well. Around 12 percent, what we call promotion. That could be anything
from sticking the poster up to newsletter alerts and things like that. So they’re promoting the
child safety message. And risk management. This
is the most interesting one. We also ask them while
we’re running the campaign, how do you- these are
the themes that emerged, so we let them know about the themes, and how do you rank them, what do you think is the most important? And risk-management comes
out as the most important. It’s not what everybody’s- the highest in terms of
what people are doing, but it is ranked as
being the most important. And that’s anything from
they recognize that kids are being left alone after
training at night when it’s dark, to toilet facilities,
to all kinds of things, in terms of identifying gaps
in child safety of all types. Okay, so what do we do,
what do we find out, what are the sort of typical things in each of these theme
areas that we see emerging? You see now that the color codes there quite often they’ll come- they’ll be doing more
than one of these themes. So they’ll be doing
compliance or risk management, development of codes
of conduct and sectors, so you’ll see how I’ve
categorized them there. So we’ll have a quick look. Compliance. So in this example, this is just a recent one that came in, “I met with the Commissioner
for Children and Young People. “I’m currently reviewing our
current policy and procedures “to ensure our club is meeting “the seven child safety standards.” Tick, there. So what can we do, as Play by the Rules, what can we do to enhance
and support that as well? There are things we can do. There are things we have done already. For example, we’ve got on the site, we’ve got a section where
each state and territory, keeps their manager reporting and their screening
requirements up to date on a state-by-state basis. So we can refer people to
that kind of information. And it’s the ones that are relevant to sporting organizations. Compliance and risk-management. This is an interesting one. I’ll read it out very quickly. “Hi Pete! All of our
volunteers are screened “through the DCSI and our
club now pays for this.” Whoa. Okay. “Also, we have an area
meet it year ’round. “The coaches boxes and
bunkers of the main oval “which is used is a dry zone at all times. “Not just junior games,
as lots of our teens “have parents or siblings
playing seniors late in the day. “The area means that they
can be close to their family “but not in an area where adults
are likely to have alcohol. “At our club rooms we have fund-raised “and built an outdoor, fenced,
secure kids’ play area. “We have basketball options,
(murmurs) options, et cetera. “Inside is mainly music, meals, music, “and a poker room so now
the kids have somewhere “safe to play together.” So you see with risk management, they’ve identified a
whole bunch of areas there in terms of risk management
as well as compliance. Sort of things we can
do there in the future, we can produce, you know, sometimes the simplest
things are the easiest things and the most effective things to do. So we’ve produced things
like info-graphics and poster templates and printers, printer-ready templates for sports. They’re incredibly popular,
incredibly popular. The sandwich boards that you see around grounds across the country. They’re so easy to produce, yet they’re effective in
terms of getting the message and visibility about child safety messages out in the community. They are doing things which
creates that visibility, which brings child safety front of mind. The simplest things
often work really well. Discussion. I’m conscious I’m going
through this really quickly, because there’s quite
a bit to get through, but we’ll move right on. Discussion. Now there’s- what can we- what we do in there is
promoting discussion around child safety. Well, we can learn from
some of our partners. Human Rights Commission
produce, for example, we have How to Start a Conversation
about Racism resources. We can produce How to
Start a Conversation about Child Safety resources in a similar way. We can produce resources
that promote discussion around child safety in that way. And again, you see some examples here of the sort of things people are doing to discuss and raise
that level of awareness about child safety. Education. Here we go,
here’s an interesting one. That was the one. “I’m working with young students “who are doing online courses, “so it’s been a great help doing all the “Play by the Rules online courses. “I’m able to talk to the students “about the different scenarios
on the online courses.” The case studies that we
have on Play by the Rules are incredibly popular. They have thousands of views, and they are the simple examples
of what sports are doing, what they did, how they did it, and how they know it was a success. Simple resourcing like
that works really well in terms of raising awareness and giving people ideas
about what they can do to tackle child safety. Policy development. This
is a very common one. Again, I think Australia’s really good at developing policies and codes. We put 80 percent of our
effort into doing that rather than education. We have member protection policies, codes of conduct, child safety policies, we have templates for
those on Play by the Rules and elsewhere as well, you can find. So it’s easy to find those
templates for policy development. Policies are a pain in the butt for most sports, local
sports organizations. They tend to, as a generalization, tend to conflict and fill in
the gaps of those templates, so you have kind of careful about the resources and guidelines that go with those sorts of templates as well. To promote the process is more important, often, than the outcome in that way. So policy developments are really good but it’s the process that’s
important to try and promote. Any resource that goes with the template should talk about the process more than the actual document itself. So we can produce those sorts of things and assist sports in this way. Promotion. Now, again,
this is about visibility. It sounds really simple, but it works. I mentioned the sandwich boards. I noticed one at a local
hockey center in Canberra about four years ago. And it said, “Please remember-” it was a big sign out in the front. It said “Please remember this is a game. “The kids are here to have fun. “All the coaches and
officials are volunteers.” I saw that and thought,
that’s so easy to produce. That’s some nice visibility
around child safety. Whipped one up in the afternoon, 30,000 downloads later, we’ve
got multiple copies of those, they’re in sports facilities
that you see everywhere, and they are so simple and
cost effective to produce. It increases the visibility
of those messages, which is so important, so important to do. Yet so simple to do. And finally, risk management. That is possibly the area of work that we need to do-
(interrupted by cough) that we need to do most on.
(audience member coughs) And this can be- again,
really, really simple in terms of identifying risk
management strategies from, for example, leaving the kids
alone at night after training. From, example, looking at
how the different facilities integrate to each other, and who’s using the
facilities, and et cetera. Identifying the little gaps in there. If you can identify what they are, you can start to plug those gaps and raise awareness around
them, around child safety. One at a time. We’re not going to actually
complete that wall, we’re not going to make
everything risk free. But we can plug those gaps
and identify what they are, and this is a way, listening
to what sports are doing. So if people listen to what
they’re doing in terms of, well, basic risks they’ve identified. So what resources can we produce that will help them plug those gaps? Other resources I wanted to touch on. So that’s a way of
listening to our community, and feeding back simple resources to raise awareness and keep
child safety front of mind. That’s a fairly simple way of doing it. Other resources are on Play by the Rules. Okay, well that was at, around, issues around complaint handling, around member protection. Our resources are available
free for download there. Conduct and behavior.
We have a major campaign year before last, now, still
kind of centered around called Let Kids Be Kids. Probably the- well, it is, I know- the most prominent issue
for Play by the Rules over its lifetime will
be poor sideline behavior at junior school from adults. Primarily, not only-
every time I mention that people are going, “Yeah, I know.” We’ve all seen- – [Audience Member] Been there. – Been there, yeah. We’ve
all seen it happen in sport, and yet all the research
and the work with kids says they’d rather have run, they’d
rather be with their mates. For adults, whereas adults generally now come from now winning
and being competitive, rather than participation. They’re all- that’s where problems occur. And I believe it’s actually getting worse. That’s- and maybe I’m most aware of it. But I think over the
last two or three years I’ve been aware of many,
many, many instances- once or twice serious incidences- of poor sideline behavior at junior sport. One of the lessons we learned, which is back to what
I- what we saw earlier, on the principles, from Let Kids Be Kids, is that the kids’ voices themselves are actually the most powerful in getting the message across. We worked with high-profile athletes, we worked with kids who
showcased their voices. And the kids’ voices were the ones that made the largest impact. Very, very significant. If you can get the kids to talk about sideline behavior in that way. Our next campaign will
be called Start the Talk, which is based around child safety, based on the Council of Europe initiative that specifically looks at child abuse in sport and recreation. It’s quite a large initiative in Europe. Ours will be broader than child abuse, but it will include child abuse. The lessons from Let Kids Be Kids incorporated in Start the Talk
(cough from audience) is that the primary motive, the primary voice in that
will be kids and people affected directly by child
safety and through abuse as well. So we’ll use their
voices, use their stories, to construct the Start the Talk campaign, which I hope we will see in the
early part to mid next year. That will take place. There you’ve got our resources
on Play by the Rules. Go and have a look, and there you’ll work it
out yourselves, I’m sure. So I guess the lesson I need- the lesson I want to try and get across in this presentation was that
sometimes the little things can make a really big difference. Getting child safety front
of mind is really important. It’s so easy to forget! It’s so easy go a period of time and child safety is not an issue until something bad happens. And then all sorts of chaos can ensue. Let’s get child safety front of mind, by doing the little things really well, and supporting those people who are already doing these things. Sport are doing things,
they’re doing lots of things. Let’s support them in what
they’re doing, in some way, with practical tools and
resources that can help them. I think if we can do that, we’ll raise awareness of
child safety, generally, which is about- from a
national perspective- about the best we can do. Thank you.
(audience claps) – Thank you, Peter. We don’t really have
time for one question, but what I wanted to say is for one bloke sitting
in front of a computer, you do such an amazing job. So, well that was just a fantastic (murmurs) use them, the fact that you’re
analyzing the feedback, really, really (cough from
audience drowns out speaker). I think the lessons from
sport are lessons for us all. I think that’s what we’re finding is all of those things that challenge sporting clubs challenge all of us. So, it’s a great resource. We’re really lucky to
be part of what you do and we look forward to being part of the Start the Talk, Start to Talk? – Start to Talk. – Start to Talk campaign. And I do also want to say, these also are lessons
for us as human beings. Because we’re part of-
we are, we go to work, but we also live in communities, you know, we are part of families. So, we can take these lessons out into the world as well,
beyond the organization. So, the other thing just speaking about the Let Kids Be Kids thing. A lot of- one of the things we risk by bad sideline behavior
is putting off young people who have put their hands
up to referee and umpire. You know, they’re giving up their time, they’re volunteering, and they’re being abused and yelled at. So that’s child abuse. So we really need to be thinking about how we get the next generation
of people that come through to do refereeing and volunteering
in our sporting codes. All right, that’s a great resource. I really encourage you to go on there. It’s got everything about
how to be a good coach, to- or how not to be a bad coach, I think. (audience laughing obscures speaker) It’s just got lots of tips for any sport that you can think of. So, are there any questions
from people before … yes? – [Audience Member] Hi, Annette, from the Parenting Research Centre. Thank you so much for fantastic work. I was just really struck when
you said sideline behavior. You feel like it’s getting worse. What are your thoughts on
doing something about that, and are there things we can
do to help you with that? – Yeah, it’s a big question, in that way. I think, you know, to carry
on the theme of my talk, I think the little things
do make a difference. That- I don’t think it’s about compliance. I don’t think sanctions
and that is really- it’s a reactive approach
to that kind of behavior. I think the more positive
message we can all give about that, you see, and you should choose to emphasize that message. In New South Wales you have
silence on the sidelines, which is a quiet weekend of sport. Many sports here participate in. So that’s a good message,
to say, calm down. Campaigns like that, Let Kids Be Kids, using those resources, continually reinforcing
that positive behavior, all the signs and the research says to me that where adults, at that stage, they’re kind of reliving
their youth vicariously through their children, you know? And children want to have fun,
and to be with their mates. Two primary themes why
children participate in sport. But that’s not the primary
reasons why adults are there. So we need to understand that scenario, and to look at ways in
which we can address it. And I think all of us in here, if you’re involved in sport
and rec in your local community then you all have the power
to do something around that. Promote those positive messages. Get those sandwich boards out. Do the silence on the
sidelines initiative. Use Let Kids Be Kids. All those kinds of things
that promote that there. There’s big difference, you know. It’ll never be- this is
not anti-competition. This is not anti-winning. I fear it’s portrayed like that. No, it’s just everybody participates. No! It’s not. They can be together. You can have winning and losing, you can have competition. But you can have good behavior, too. So, appropriate behavior
and respect as well. I think all those little
things make a difference. – [Megan Mitchell] And I
think someone like Annette, who’s at Parenting Research Centre, and who provides a lot of resources and interacts with parents
on a regular basis, that Centre
(crowd member blows nose) is in a unique position
to influence parents, to maybe count to 10 and think about the impact of what they’re doing. So, with that, I’d like
to thank Peter again. (audience claps) – We’ll move on to the next speaker, because I need to keep to time. Oh, and I’ve forgotten, so hopefully (audience member coughs) none of you have had a terrible accident, because the toilets are down there. (audience laughs) And I think the boys are on the right and the girls are on the left. So you go out of there and go down there. If you need to (laughs) at any time. So our next speaker, I’m very excited about this next speaker, is Jocelyn Condon, who’s the Director of Development Effectiveness
Australian Council for International Development. We’ve all seen some of the challenges that the international aid and community development sector have faced in some of these child-related spaces. You know, where they’re
going to very vulnerable communities and they really
are faced with challenges to ensure that they are
adopting and implementing policies on the ground
and educating their staff and their volunteers in that way, to ensure that children are
safe in these environments. So, Jocelyn is, as I said, the Director of Development Effectiveness, and I guess she’ll tell us what development effectiveness means. But I understand it
encompasses the practice of Australian-international development and humanitarian organizations in bringing about a just
and sustainable future, and recently this has focused on the safeguarding of vulnerable
people, including children. And Jocelyn’s team is responsible for the sector’s
self-regulatory code of conduct, as a peak organization. And this also includes supporting learning and innovation programs and membership and stakeholder engagement. So, Jocelyn!
(audience claps) – [Jocelyn Condon] Thank you, Megan. Good morning, I am not
a walker and talker, so I’m just going to stand very still while I talk to you about child rights and safeguarding in the
international context. My name is Jocelyn Condon, I am the Director of Development
Effectiveness at ACFID. And Megan touched on a little
about what my team does. We do a lot of work with development and humanitarian
non-government organizations who are working overseas. Given the importance of aid work and its heavy interaction with
vulnerable people generally, but especially with children, we have done- we’ve been
on a many years’ journey around child safeguarding
and child rights. And I’ve been asked to
come and share with you this morning a little bit about some of the issues that
our sector has encountered along that journey. Where we’re at at the
moment and where I think we still would like to go. And you might be aware that recently, I think Megan touched on
this a little as well, recently we’ve had some more challenges around the safeguarding
of vulnerable people. Our sector is not immune to the risks and the challenges of
working with young people, and also with working in communities of different power dynamics
and issues that we encounter when we undertake that kind of work. So, I thought that I would
tell you a little bit about the Australian Council for
International Development, who we are and what we do so that we can keep that in context when I explain some of the issues that we encounter, some of the work that we are doing. I want to tell you a little bit about the ACFID code of conduct, which is a core part of
our sector’s response to working in advancing the
safeguard of children and also child rights. Recently, we’ve had an opportunity to reflect on what we think have been some of the things that we have achieved in child safeguarding to date and we’ve done that in the context of wanting to both strengthen our work in child safeguarding and
also expand that across how we interact with
vulnerable people more broadly, so I thought I’d share with you some of the insights that
we’ve found in doing that, and also just some guidance tools and resources that we have. So, this is a visual representation
of ACFID’s membership. There are 125 organizations
actively working in the international development
and humanitarian sector, plus another 15 universities who are affiliate members to ACFID. Some of those logos
will be familiar to you. They don’t all work just in
international development, lots of them work in the
social services sector in Australia as well. Some of them are in heavily-focused, child-focused activities,
and some not so much at all. So they work in 90 countries implementing some 3,000
programs, we think, with out latest data survey. They do not encompass all of
the charities working abroad, but they do make up some 85 percent of the funds sent abroad from Australia are implemented by these agencies. Last year that was some
1.5 million dollars, and ACFID estimates that
around 20 percent of that was spent in child-focused activities. It’s implicit within that
that aid and development is often focused in activities that will have a heavy interaction
with local communities and interaction with
children in particular. So, not to focus too much
in the negative space of what the issues are… I do want to talk to
you about what we think our members’ agency has
been doing something about the challenges and the risks that we see, but not to understate the complexity of the environment that international development agencies
work in in particular. Many of these will resonate
with your organizations working here in Australia, and there’s some additional layers that we deal with amongst our membership. So, I’ve broken them
into three categories, and I won’t speak about all of them, but I think that the three main ones are how we work with our human resources, so how we recruit and deploy personnel, how we communicate about
the work that we do, and how we deliver our critical programs quickly and effectively on the ground. So, some of the main
issues that we encounter in the human resources- these are the ones that will probably be
very familiar to you. Challenges in recruitment
and screening processes are not unusual in the
international development context. It’s very common to be employing people rapidly in your response to
a humanitarian emergency. There often in ongoing
employment arrangements, and they may or may not have worked in the international development or
humanitarian sector before. Grant funding means that projects are often short-term and quickly deployed, and it often involves
engaging people quickly in the countries that we work, as well. So I think that Peter touched on this. There’s some quite thorough screening and protection processes for Australia, and Australia is often seen
as a leader in this regard, but for many of the countries, particularly some of
Australia’s nearest neighbors, there are not the equivalent resources. There’s not the equivalent
checks available upon engaging a local staff
member in particular. And even whether an incident
that involved children in particular in the past would have met a threshold for it to be reported. We think an organization or
even to a local authority. The international development sector, and this is common to many charities, engages a lot of volunteers. Volunteers are a wonderful resource and usually a very, very
well-meaning resource as well, but they also come with a
particular set of challenges, especially around rapid deployment,
pre-departure trainings, and trying to get people
really up to speed really quickly with the work
that you want them to do. One of the particular challenges that we have had as a sector, and some of the most lively
and robust conversations that we have had and
that we continue to have is how we communicate
about the work that we do, and it’s particularly relevant to child safeguarding and to child rights. We use a fundraising
charter around the use of images and messages in getting our marketing campaigns off the ground, and it’s no mean feat,
no small feat to generate agreement amongst our membership. I think we all agree in principle that we advance the safeguarding of children, and I’ll speak more to that in a second, and that we uphold the rights of children, but there’s a particular attention and a particular interaction
that we need to call out and recognize when we speak about
advertising, in particular. The aid sector is well-known for child sponsorship campaigns. Lots of people have very
strong opinions about them, and lots of those feelings are called out in our code of conduct. But it’s also well-known that this is an extremely tight
fundraising environment, and that in particular child sponsorship campaigns that you might be familiar with from the mid-to-late 90s employed particularly powerful images that would be particularly problematic in most of our now common agreement
about child safeguarding and what child rights are, but they’re also the most successful advertising and fundraising campaigns that have been run by the charity sector. So there’s a particular tension that’s called into play, I think, between the work that we want to do
and how we resource that work. And so particularly in this iteration of our code of conduct, which was only finalized
at the end of 2016, we went through a really challenging but really worthwhile,
really meaningful process to agree what those
standards should look like and also how we navigate those gray areas. Some are more straightforward than others- whilst still giving our
agencies the capacity to resource their collective work effectively and reach the
people who need it most. When we work with children, we encounter particular challenges around children in residential care. It’s particularly common in
many developing countries that you do find children in
residential care arrangements. It’s also something that’s very popular with the giving community in Australia. So, there’s an incentive
for those programs to exist. It’s something that’s very popular with church groups in particular and with some of the
most well-meaning parts of our population, and
in some circumstances, residential care of children is a very appropriate response to
the issues that we encounter, but not always. And so there’s sort of a moral hazard and a tension that needs to be called out when we talk about child safeguarding in international contexts in terms of how we navigate those issues and really, really consider the residential care
arrangements of children and what our role is in
perpetuating those kinds of cycles. The final one that interacts
particularly with child rights, that impacts us and how we
communicate about our work, is voluntourism. A relatively new term that
you might have heard of. It’s meaning is fairly straightforward. We go abroad with the best intentions and we often do things
like help build a school. People also often want to, off the back of the popularity of child sponsorship
programs in particular, they want to meet the children
that they’ve supported. And that brings about a
whole other bunch of issues. (cough from audience covers speaker) considerations of the
rights of those children who feel that they are obliged to meet the people that may have
supported them in the past. So, layers of complexity, lots of detail, but lots of good work happening
on the ground as well. We shouldn’t underestimate the criticality of the programs delivered by humanitarian organizations in particular. Rapid recruitment is what
enables rapid response, but rapid response also often means that, as much as we would like to have well-designed plans and
risk assessment frameworks in place before we enter a country and start work on the ground, the reality is that’s not always the case. And especially in response
to tsunamis in the Pacific, to cyclones and to earthquakes, we tend to deploy very, very quickly, and that brings with it a
whole new set of challenges around how we work with our partners and how we manage the
expectations of the community. I think that Peter also spoke about the power dynamics that we often create between adults and children, and I think that
oftentimes that’s amplified in the international context, especially in humanitarian
and development response when these are humanitarians who are bringing life-saving
relief to you community, that there’s a particular set of dynamics that are created in that arrangement that are not always helpful in upholding and safeguarding
children’s rights. So, important for us
to talk about as well. There’s a lot of cultural
context that we engage with when we work in developing
communities, as well. It’s great to say that’s
so many organizations in the room today that we see all think fairly similar things about the standards that we should uphold when
we interact with children and also what their rights
are during a given context, and I think we would be able to generate a lot of common agreement
amongst ourselves. But that’s just not always the case. When we work overseas, for a
variety of different reasons, and in different cultures
that often what we might take for granted as being the rights or agency of a particular
child in a situation is not at all given, and that there’s often a lot of prior work that we need to do with the
communities that we work with and with our locally-engaged staff to really make sure that we’re generating a common understanding of
what that behavior should be and what those kinds of
interactions should look like, and how we can work together to bring about the outcomes
that we want to see. So I wanted to share with
you a little bit as well about the ACFID code of conduct. It’s our sector’s
self-regulatory standard, and it really forms the cornerstone of how we respond to the work that we do with children in international development and humanitarian relief. It’s a voluntary and self-regulatory code that every organization
that’s a member of ACFID has signed up to it in its entirety. Signing up to the ACFID code means you’re reporting at least once every year. Once in a what we call
a full assessment cycle and then in the other two
years on an exceptions basis. It has nine quality
principles and 33 commitments. And I’ll tell you about the
ones that relate to children. And it’s assessed by my team within ACFID, and then that code itself
is independently governed by a code of conduct committee who exist in our constitution
as a separate entity from the ACFID board and who can also manage any complaint
about an ACFID member. So any member of the
public or any stakeholder in general can raise a
complaint about an ACFID member, and if it hasn’t been dealt with sufficiently by that member group, it will be dealt with by
the group conduct committee. So it looks like this. There’s- and the way that it’s set out is to have sort of three principles right in the center that talk about the way that we approach our work. The three blue ones in that second ring talk about the processes that we use when we undertake our work. And the three red ones
right on the outside are how we have a whole bunch of systems in place that really
support the work that we do and make it effective. And so you see also the one
right there in the center, it’s quality principle number one, rights, protection, and inclusion. That’s where we find our
commitment to safeguarding and the commitment that ACFID members make is that they advance the
safeguarding of children. I think that the language
is quite deliberate and it’s not sufficient to
just safeguard the children. ACFID’s members also have a responsibility to access safeguarding, and that’s where we get to
working with our partners and really devolving responsibility for safeguarding in practice. And then in quality and
equality principle number two, which is participation,
empowerment, and local ownership, all of ACFID’s members promote
the participation of children and that’s particularly important for our members that work
in child-focused activities. So what this means in practice is that when we conduct an assessment of how our members work with children, we really expect to see child safeguarding and how they’re advancing the rights and participation of children to be reflected across the
breadth of their organization. So what they’re required to do going to that approach quality principle is to have a policy in place that sets out how they approach the work that they do, what their organizational
commitment to it is, and that they will comply with
ACFID’s fundraising charter. But then we expect to see that implemented in a number of ways, so it should be communicated in policies, it should be playing
out in their training. We should be able to see evidence of children’s views
influencing the design, monitoring, and evaluation of any of the new initiatives
that they’re undertaking, and that the child
safeguarding requirements are extended to partners. And then in their enabling systems we expect to see the child safeguarding to be reflected in codes of conduct in their recruitment
and background screening and the training that they provide, and that there should really be some strong clauses in
employment contracts about the appropriate
actions that will be taken if somebody is found to have breached their staff code of conduct in that way. Our members also commit to reviewing their policies regularly. So we’ve had the opportunity to start a quick assessment of
what this looks like, what places we might want to build on as a result of trying to align with the national principles as well. And that’s been really interesting for us. I think ACFID’s members have been quite comfortable for a little while that this is a robust and
comprehensive standard, and it seems that actually we might have a bit of work to do. So, in particular, we were interested by equality principle three, which is about how we provide
sufficient information to families and communities. We don’t have particularly
strong standards around that in our current code, so that’s something that we could work on. We also don’t cover a
safe, online environment, which is a particular challenge as well that we will need to do more work on. So it’s something that ACFID’s code of conduct committee will look at and we’ll seek to strengthen our own code to bring it into greater
alignment with what our organizations are expected
to do nationally as well. So, I thought I could finish off with telling you a little bit about our reflections on where we have found some successes so far
in child safeguarding. This is something that our sector (audience member coughs) has been working on
with particularly regard to standards for more than a decade now. And so we have had some chance to reflect on what has worked well and what else we might like to build on. And in particular, I think
what’s really important is that we do have a strong commitment and the commitments
within our code of conduct we do advertise widely, because we expect our members to be held to account and to hold
themselves to account for the things that they are committed to. We know that, I think somebody
else already mentioned this, but we know that policies
and processes alone will not be enough to implement the changes that we wish to see. And I think that particularly resonated with our sector in early last year, in regards to the work of Oxfam in Haiti. There’s a particular set of cases that you might be familiar with. And that was, I think, the reflection from the sector was that Oxfam was known as being one of the organizations with the most robust policies and the best recruitment
screening practices, and the most effective
organization worldwide, and so if it could happen to Oxfam, it could happen to anyone, and that was a really, really important and really critical moment for our sector, to really do some internal investigation of what we have done and
where we could do better, and where we’d like to go from here. In particular with regards
to child safeguarding, I think where we’ve had
a good degree of success is in partnership with federal
government, in particular. ACFID does a lot of work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade around child safeguarding in particular, and more recently in the
prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of all vulnerable persons. It really elevates the visibility and the leadership that’s
required to take action on these kinds of really important issues when we have a common buy-in
across multiple sectors, so not just civil society saying this is something that we need to do, but also an agency like DFAT saying that all of their aid
partners need to do that. That’s obviously- it’s
got very many charities working abroad and that’s
been a really powerful message and I think one that we’ve
been particularly pleased with. It’s been really important across all of these issues on the
journey that we’ve taken to be able to have frank
and open discussions about what the challenges to implementing all of our principles around child rights and child safeguarding effectively are. There’s lots of complexity in working in international development, but I suspect that’s true across
many of your organizations, and so really we’ve found
that there was a lot of value for ACFID’s members in particular at the implementing level, being able to come together and have those frank
and open conversations about what the challenges that they’re finding in doing that are. We spent a lot of time
and a lot of resources in developing technical tools, guidance, and support for our members. They’re freely available on our website and I encourage you to go and take a look. And we think they’re a
particularly good resource for use with partners. We have e-learning, we
have policy templates, and lots of other things that
can help agencies get started. And then the final part that we have got a lot of traction with is
a community of practice. We have one just about child rights, and it brings together
the child rights experts in all of our organizations
into one online community that meets face-to-face
a couple of times a year to really talk about
what are the live issues going on in this sector. So they have their own submission to the modern slavery inquiry, they’re really very technical,
very skilled experts and just the collective power
of bringing them all together has been just a really
valuable resource for ACFID. So I’ll finish with a plug for the stuff that we have on our website
that you are welcome to go on and take a look
at if you would like to. We’ve recently refreshed our
guidelines for developing a child safeguarding policy. It’s all there for download. We have some e-learning
that you can jump on and have a look at, and a whole bunch of other
guidance tools and resources. But I am conscious that I am standing between you and your tea, so I won’t hold you up
for too much longer. Thank you.
(audience applauds) – For address for Scouts Australia, so Scouts have awarded to (mumbles) And he’s a member of
the federal government’s Child Safe Sectors leadership group. And since appearing before
the Royal Commission in 2017, Neville has led significant reforms across Scouts Australia to ensure all branches continue to work towards being
child safe organizations. And that has included empowering young leaders in the organization as well. So, Neville, over to you.
(audience applauds) – [Neville Tomkins] Well thank you, Megan, and good morning to you all. I can’t even sew my badges on properly, so I’m not going to try and
walk and talk at the same time, so I’m going to stand here and hopefully try and get good eye contact
with the entire room. I believe that every
youth member in Scouting, and indeed in the wider community, has a right to feel safe. Scouts New South Wales, my organization, is indeed fully committed to the creation and importantly the maintenance of a child safe environment. We are delighted to be able
to speak here this morning and I’m particularly
pleased to share with you our journey towards being
a child safe organization. I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land that we meet this morning, the Gadigal people and I pay my respects to their elders, past,
present, and emerging. I also acknowledge the
support of my office, especially Elaine Heaney,
our Child Protection Officer, in the presentation and the preparation of my talk for this morning. Last year, Scouts New South Wales was delighted to be invited by
the Human Rights Commission, through Megan, to participate
in the training video about the National Child Safe Principles. That video was shared
with you this morning. Our Scouts New South
Wales Youth Commissioner, himself a young person, led a team of young members to participate in that filming project. Not only did we want the film to promote the National Principles, important as they are, but we wanted to make a statement, and we wanted our youth to take a leadership role with that project. That is consistent with our ethos of a youth-leading,
adult-supporting, organization. That filming was a wonderful, a practical, training exercise for
all of our young people and for our wider membership, which reinforced the importance not only of those National Child Safe Principles but it also showed to us how they could be applied in the daily Scouting life. Ensuring we place a high priority on implementing these National Principles, Scouts New South Wales has established a dedicated Child Protection team consisting of both our volunteers
and out employed staff. The vision of the Child Protection team is to create a cohesive
approach to youth safety right across our large
and diverse organization. Importantly, our board of directors is taking a strong leadership role. They are fully supporting each one of our Child Safe initiatives and the dedicated Child Protection team. Indeed, last year, we were
delighted to have appointed to our board one of the
most senior specialists here in New South Wales in child safety. She is now making an
extraordinary contribution to our whole reform process
across New South Wales. As the Chief Commissioner, I’m very proud to be a member of the
Child Protection team, and believe unless an
organization demonstrates a balanced approach to child safety, which is supported both at the very top of the organization through the board, but also at the grassroots level, unless we have that combination, any reform program is not
going to be successful. I take seriously my responsibilities as the Chief Commissioner
to always lead by example. Not only do I truly believe
that a child safe environment is the very foundation of
what we do in Scouting, I seek to actively practice
that each and every day. And as we know, the
standard that we walk past is the standard that we accept. Our national Scouting
body, Scouts Australia, has also developed a national
Child Protection policy. Scouts New South Wales, I
am very proud to report, was the first state to sign
up to that national policy and inject a real focus on
keeping policies up-to-date and aligned with contemporary practice. Let me now turn to the
important topic of culture. What I do know from my own career as a senior executive in
the Department of Defense but also as a senior leader in Scouting, is that policies and
procedures, by themselves, will not necessarily deliver
a child safe organization. For this very reason, we are spending an enormous amount of
time shaping a new culture across every part of our organization. A culture where I want every
child and every youth member to know that they have
a right to feel safe and importantly know what to
do if they don’t feel safe. That is, empowering our youth to speak up. Part of shaping that new culture is also making it very clear
to our volunteer leaders and supporters what
unacceptable behavior is, and importantly the consequences of any inappropriate action. It is in this context
that we have launched the Youth Safe Advocates scheme. This is a first for Scouting. It’s a first for Scouts Australia and it’s also a first for other community-based organizations. To be a Youth Safe Advocate
in our organization- and we do have a number here, including Mitch and also Mel, two of our young leaders. To be a Youth Safe Advocate, we need to undertake
extensive online training, provided by the Office of
the Children’s Guardian, as well as additional, internal training by Scouts New South Wales. Our aim is to have our trained Youth Safe Advocates present at each of our major activities and
each of our major events across the state. Their job is to promote child
safe policies, to observe, and also to report any
concerns that they may have, or indeed any concerns brought to their attention
by our young people. Each advocate wears a unique scarf clip, that’s a woggle,
(crowd laughs) as we call it in Scouts,
and a badge at these events, to ensure that they can be identified as a champion of child safety. Across the state we now have 80 qualified Youth Safe Advocates with a further 60 in training. And I’m very pleased to
say that there’s been enormous interest
internationally in this program. Scouts New Zealand itself has decided to now adopt the principles
of the Youth Safe organized youth safe principles. In addition to this, and
as a routine practice at all of our major events, we have face-to-face
briefings on youth safety. That is at the start and right throughout each of our major events. At our most recent event
only two weekends ago, Stage Rally, we had
1,300 11 to 14 year olds, and I was very pleased to say that the clear messages were sent out even before our young people arrived at Cataract Park. That message highlighted the importance of them not only being
safe but also feeling safe right through the range of activities that they participated in. And we also had, on arrival, our leaders speak to all of them about
what they are entitled to expect with regards to safety. From a human rights perspective, we seek to encourage
all of our youth members to understand that they
are entitled to feel safe. That is their fundamental right. We also believe our aim is helped by the use of clear, simple
language and signage. Making it explicit to our youth members what their rights are and to empower them about what to do if they
have any concerns at all. Disseminating information across a large and diverse organization, as Scouts is, in a clear and uncomplicated
way has not always been easy. However, we’ve worked consistently to simplify the language we use, to modernize the way in which we communicate those key messages, and to create a space where anyone with a concern is able to step forward and be provided with support. We don’t shy away from the fact that, as an organization, the Royal Commission was highly critical of our past practices and that significant
improvement was required at all levels of the organization. As a team, we have worked hard to achieve significant improvements. From the eight-year-old Cub Scout who enters a hall on a cold
winter’s night in Broken Hill, to learn how to cook on a camp stove, through to the thousands
of teenage Scouts, who recently attended
the World Scout Jamboree in the United States with 45,000 others from across the globe. As you can imagine, this has not been without its challenges. But as the Chief Commissioner, I am confident that our
stronger polices and procedures, our unrelenting focus on cultural reform, our specific initiatives, including the Child Safe Advocates, combined with leadership
from the top, from the board, and myself as the head
of the organization, as well as support from
the grassroots of Scouting, I believe that this
will take us a long way to being a safe organization. And my hope is that, by
working alongside each of you, we can help many more of today’s youth to understand that they
have a right to be safe, and that we can continue
to promote and disseminate safety information right
across New South Wales through organizations such as Scouts. Through these initiatives,
I hope that, together, we can create not only a safer Scouting environment
for today’s youth, but importantly, a safer
world for generations to come. I have been, and I remain, your very proud Chief Commissioner of Scouts New South Wales. Thank you very much indeed. (audience applauds)

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