Child Protection Policy

LEO BAECK CENTRE FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN

Policy adopted by the LBC Board meeting of 14 December 2015

Introduction

LBC is a religious and community centre for a portion of Melbourne’s Progressive Jewish community. It has several hundred member households and is also attended by non-members for both religious and community events and functions. It provides a range of services and activities relevant to its community. These include religious services, formal and informal Jewish educational services for children and adults, and youth movement activities.

In recent years it has become evident that all too many children have been abused while in the care of organisations, too many of which have been religious organisations. Details of such abuse has been ratified by State inquiries and during the 2015 Royal Commission into Child Abuse. There is clear evidence that not only were organisations found wanting in preventing the occurrence of child abuse but that, when abuse occurred, the child and family’s reports were often denied, and at times the family was rejected by the organisation. There is also clear evidence that at times, senior people in positions of authority in these organisations dealt with perpetrators of abuse by moving them to other areas or at times to other countries rather than report to appropriate civil authorities. It is also clear that some organisations in which abuse occurred failed to have appropriate policies and procedures in place for the protection of children.

It is now recognized that all organisations such as LBC must have an appropriate Child Protection Policy and a procedural document. There is significant evidence to suggest that it is important for LBC to have clear policies, guidelines and procedures regarding the safety of children and the management of concerns, should they occur, in order to ensure the safeguarding of children in their care. Such documents also provide protection for staff who follow the guidelines.

The Rabbi and the Board and Management of LBC are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children, with zero tolerance for any abusive behavior toward them from anyone involved with the LBC community.

As part of this commitment, all employees and volunteers must read this document and be familiar with its contents. This includes Rabbis, cantors, organists, teachers, mentors, event leaders, administrative staff, caretaking staff and board and committee members. Some will be required to take part in discussions and reviews pertaining to this document.

We regard LBC as a community. This document contains a set of guidelines which we regard as essential for the wellbeing of our community. As such we consider it essential that all employees and volunteers understand its contents and sign an agreement to follow its guidelines.

Chair of LBC Board                                                                                      Rabbi of LBC

SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

LBC is committed to the welfare of all of its members. This document relates particularly to children and young people up to the age of 18. For the purposes of the document this section of our congregation will be referred to as children in parts, e.g. in discussing child abuse. It has unfortunately become clear that in order to safeguard children, organisations such as ours must have an understanding of child abuse and policies and procedures aimed at preventing its occurrence. Thus the focus of this document is on child abuse.

What is Child Abuse?

For the purposes of this document, the term ‘Child Abuse’ is equivalent to the term ‘Child Maltreatment’. Child Abuse refers to an act or omission by parents or caregivers which endangers a child or young person’s physical and/or emotional health and/or development. It can be intentional or unintentional and involve single or multiple incidents. Child abuse includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher). It can also apply to abuse of a younger child by an older adolescent. Child abuse is commonly divided into five subgroups:

  • Sexual Abuse. A general definition of sexual abuse of children is ‘The use of a child for sexual gratification by an adult or significantly older child/adolescent, any act which exposes a child to, or involves a child in, sexual processes beyond his or her understanding or contrary to accepted community standards. Sexually abusive behaviours can involve contact and non-contact behaviours.
    • Non-contact behaviours include
      • Making sexual comments either directly or indirectly through telephone, emails, text messages etc.
      • Voyeurism including comments about physical attractiveness.
      • Exposing to pornography.
      • Exposure of the abuser or child’s body.
    • Contact behaviours include
      • Kissing
      • Fondling of breasts or genitalia, masturbation, oral sex
      • Sexual penetration
      • Exploitation through prostitution.
    • Physical Abuse. This generally refers to the non-accidental use of physical force against a child that results in harm to the child regardless of the intention of the perpetrator. Physical punishment resulting in bruising would generally be considered to be physical abuse. The effects of physical abuse vary with the age and developmental status of the child and the nature of the abusive behaviour.
    • Emotional /Psychological Abuse. This occurs when a parent, caregiver or person of importance to a child repeatedly threatens or rejects that child. It also refers to adult actions which compromise a child’s self-esteem and social confidence or seek to isolate the child from others.
    • Neglect. This refers to the failure of a parent or caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. It includes
      • physical neglect, ie the caregiver’s failure to provide basic physical necessities,
      • emotional or psychological neglect, ie the lack of appropriate nurturance and support
      • neglect of education and environmental safety..
    • The witnessing of family violence. Exposure to violence between family members or other trusted adults can significantly affect a child’s emotional development.

What is the effect of child abuse on children?

  • All forms of child abuse are traumatic for the child and the effects of the trauma frequently remain with the person into adulthood.
  • Child abuse is perpetrated by the very people whom the child depends upon for his or her physical and emotional safety, the adults who should be appropriate models for the child’s intellectual, emotional and social development.
  • Children have not yet developed their capacity to understand their thoughts and feelings nor the impact of environmental traumatic events. This can lead to the child feeling responsible for the abuse and having difficulty in telling others of it. Perpetrators of such abuse may instill a sense that the child or others of importance might be harmed if the “secret” of the abuse is divulged.

What might lead to a concern that a child is being abused?

Children may show physical and/or behavioural and emotional signs that raise concerns as to the possibility that they have been abused. The child may disclose that he or she has been abused, may attempt to hide signs of abuse, may have a range of symptoms which, taken together raise concerns regarding possible abuse or may have physical signs of abuse such as vaginal bleeding. Appendix 1, taken from Spiritgrow’s protocol, outlines these in more detail. It must be kept in mind that investigation of suspicion or concern can only be appropriately pursued by those equipped and empowered to do so ie the police or child protection workers from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Perpetrators of child abuse.

In the vast majority of cases of child abuse the perpetrator is known to the child. In all but cases of sexual abuse, the perpetrator is most likely to be someone in a parenting role although this does not preclude other known people and, occasionally, strangers. In cases of sexual abuse there is a greater variance with regard to perpetrators. A significant minority involve acquaintances, neighbours and other known persons. The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has uncovered to an alarming degree the amount of child abuse which has occurred in institutionalised settings.

Perpetrators of child sexual abuse are a heterogeneous group of people. In some cases opportunity, eg periods of being alone with a child, together with a perpetrator’s vulnerabilities, lead to the occurrence of sexual abuse. In other cases, the perpetrator is a predator who encourages and exploits situations in which the abuse can occur.

The latter group often utilise grooming behaviour. This refers to a process of grooming children and their adult caregivers to trust them in order that they may gain inappropriate access to a child. This behaviour is also aimed at normalising sexual behaviours in relation to a child. Grooming behaviour may involve:

  • Offering to babysit a child or take them on outings.
  • Isolating a child from other adults or children.
  • Insisting on physical affection such as hugging, kissing or wrestling.
  • Showing inappropriate interest in a child’s sexual development.
  • Inappropriate sexual discussion with a child.
  • Taking photos of the child.
  • Exposing genitals to a child.
  • Offering drugs or alcohol to a child.

Practice and Behaviour Guidelines.

Principles and Practice.

LBC is committed to the welfare and safety of children. Data from government Royal Commissions and Inquiries indicate that an alarming number of organisations have failed to provide a safe environment for the children in their care. There are various reasons for the breakdown in the care of children in these organisations. An important factor in such cases has been the lack of appropriate guidelines regarding what is appropriate and important in the relationship between adults and children and / or the failure to reinforce guidelines and ensure that they are understood by relevant members of the organisations.

Impact of poor organisational response.

The effects of child abuse on a child within an organisational setting are a function of:

  1. The nature of the abuse i.e. the severity and whether it is one off or continuing abuse
  2. The particular child’s inherent capacity to cope with such trauma.
  3. Whether or not the child has a background of trauma from home or elsewhere.
  4. The degree to which the child is supported and understood in his or her caretaking environment.
  5. The way in which the organisation involved responds to the abuse. Failure to act appropriately by avoiding the issue, blaming the victim and failing to protect can be significantly damaging to the child.

LBC must be mindful particularly regarding 4 and 5 above. We must ensure that there is an appropriate response to the possibility that a child has been or is being abused. As adult employees and volunteers form part of a child’s caretaking environment, we must ensure that we form part of that child’s support environment. This policy has been written with the aim of maximising LBC’s ability to provide for the needs of the children in its care.

Policy application.

LBC has a zero tolerance policy regarding the breaching of this policy or of any inappropriate conduct with regard to children. Knowledge and understanding of this policy and its application are considered to be a collective responsibility applying without exception to:

All those who deal with children at LBC including:

Rabbis and Cantors, teachers, tutors, madrichim and volunteers, and others who deal with children at LBC. This also extends to LBC Board members as they have a significant influence on the culture of our organisation.

All are to follow this policy document with regard to their relationships with children and the management of situations where there are concerns about a child’s safety. At all times children are to be treated with respect.

Breaches of guidelines.

All breaches will be reviewed by a standing committee comprising at least two of the Rabbi, the Chair of the congregation and an appointed specialist. In some circumstances this review could lead to dismissal and/or reporting to relevant authorities as may be required by law.

Sexual misconduct.

LBC forbids sexual conduct occurring within the Centre or as part of external LBC activities. This includes both contact and non-contact sexual conduct.

Sexual behaviour between an adult staff member and a person under the age of 18.

Sexual behaviour refers to interactions which would be considered as such within the community. They include:

  • Contact behaviour such as sexual intercourse, kissing, fondling, sexual penetration and exploitation through child prostitution.
  • Non-contact behaviour such as flirting, sexually suggestive communications or behaviour, inappropriate communications via electronic means or hard copy material, and exposure to pornography and nudity.

Such behaviour is prohibited under any circumstances and has criminal implications for the following reasons:

  1. The person involved has not reached the age of consent from a legal point of view.

If the staff member has a teaching, spiritual advisor or leadership role with regard to the young person then there is considered to be an unequal power relationship between them

It is thus of great importance that there be appropriate boundaries within relationships. Such boundaries are important as inappropriate touching may be, or may be experienced as, sexual contact. This is of obvious importance for the child who is the subject of this experience. Boundaries are also important for the protection of the adult staff member whose actions may be misconstrued. These boundaries involve:

Physical contact.

Touching of a child may be appropriate or inappropriate depending on the age of the child, the nature of the touching and the circumstances in which it occurs. Handshakes or high fives would generally be deemed to be appropriate. Sexualised touching such as fondling would always be deemed as inappropriate.

Unacceptable physical contact includes:

  • Touching of genitals, breasts or buttocks unless for reason of a medical emergency.
  • That which would be seen by reasonable people as having a sexual connotation or purpose.
  • That which is intended to cause physical pain or distress to the child.
  • That which is not required by the child and his or her developmental competences (e.g. assisting with toileting).
  • That which occurs against the wishes of a child unless in order to prevent imminent harm or injury. This includes the use of physical restraint.

Guidelines for age related appropriate touching are:

  • In general:
    • Assistance with toileting to the age of 5.
    • Assistance with changing of clothes in children to the age of (8).
    • Comforting of a distressed child to the age of 12. For older children in this range, one should ask them if they want a hug.
    • Physical contact is not normally required in children above the age of 12.
    • It is important to understand each child’s developmental needs. An older child with special needs may require physical assistance. A younger child may be able to self-manage toileting and/or dressing.
  • During Activities.

Certain activities, eg sports activity coaching may require a degree of physical contact. This should be done in an appropriate manner and, advisably, when others are around.

It is an overriding principal that the reason for touching is that it directly relates to the child’s needs.

Communication.

Communications with children should be

  • Clear and respectful. Adults should ensure that their communications are not discriminatory, racist or sexist.
  • Free of belittling or shaming.
  • Non-threatening.
  • Avoiding of sexual comments or swearing.

With regard to teachers, staff and volunteers:

  • Personal details should not be given to a child.
  • If communication via email or texting is required the parent or guardian or the Rabbi’s office must be copied in on the communication.
  • Email communication to students must be via an LBC email account and the email must be copied and filed.
  • Parents or guardians must be party to information shared with children on social media.
  • Staff and volunteers must not become ‘friends’ with children on social media sites.

Gift giving, Favouritism

Gift giving by adults who have responsibility for children at LBC is prohibited except for attendance at a social function such as a bar or bat mitzvah where a gift is congruent with the occasion. Gifts are to be proportionate, ie similar for each child.

Outside Contact.

This refers to direct contact between LBC staff, teachers or volunteers and children with whom they are involved in this capacity, which occurs outside of LBC and its programs. Such contact, including babysitting must not occur except in particular circumstances. The staff member might be a relative or a close friend of the family. If so, there must be discussion with the Rabbi in order to determine whether or not such contact would be appropriate.

Transport

Where possible, LBC adult members should avoid transporting children, other than their own, to and from LBC events and programs, except with the agreement of the parents of those children.

No individual employed by or engaged in volunteering for LBC is to transport an individual child except in an emergency (see below). If the use of personal cars is required, then there should either be two adults in the car, or if there is only the adult driver there must be more than one child in the car which should be part of a convoy. Where possible parents should be approached to assist. In an emergency it may be necessary for one adult to transport one child. In such circumstances a parent or guardian or failing that another LBC member should be notified. Adult drivers must have a valid licence and have progressed past P plate status.

Photography

It is necessary to have a policy regarding photographs and videos in order to protect the privacy and integrity of children. The following guidelines must be followed.

Consent should be gained from a parent or guardian. This may be a general consent obtained from parents or guardians at the beginning of a year or an activity. In giving consent, it is important that parents or guardians understand that photos may appear in the synagogue newsletters including posting on social media, or be used for publicity purposes.

The child must be suitably clothed and in an appropriate pose. No sexualised poses are permitted. If any image inadvertently reveals private body parts it must be deleted.

No cameras, cameras on phones, or any type of video recorder are to be used in changing areas, showers or toilets.

Any image of a child should be taken in the presence of another adult.

Images of children should not contain identifying data such as address, phone number or email address.

Those taking images at LBC events in an official role must have appropriate permission from the Rabbi or a Board member who is designated to oversee child safety matters. Those at LBC who take photographs involving children on regularly on behalf of LBC must have Working with Children checks. Anyone taking photos involving children at LBC may be asked to explain their purpose including how the images will be used. LBC retains the right to refuse photography if deemed inappropriate.

Alcohol and Drugs

No alcohol or illicit drugs are allowed at LBC events for children apart from wine used in religious rituals where parents are present.

Peer to peer relationships

Part of LBC’s commitment to the safety and welfare of children in its care requires there to be appropriate boundaries and interactions in peer to peer relationships. There is likely to be physical interaction between peers as well as the development of personal relationships. LBC requires the following with regard to such relationships and interactions:

  • Interactions must be age-appropriate, non-violent and non-sexual.
  • There must be no sexual harassment.
  • There must be no sexting or sexualized bullying.
  • LBC adults must work to ensure that there is no sexual pressure, coercion or sexual assault between peers.
  • LBC members are to foster a culture of mutual respect.

Adult to Adult relationships.

The relationships between LBC adults, including the Rabbi, cantors, teachers, leaders and volunteers significantly influences the culture to which children are exposed. In the context of LBC programs and activities involving children, adults involved must:

Not exhibit sexualised contact with other adults.

Not engage in physical confrontations with other adults.

Communicate in a respectful manner even if as part of a disagreement.

Not criticize other adults in their interactions with children.

Bullying

Bullying is a pattern of aggressive behaviour intended to make others uncomfortable, scared or hurt. Bullies behave this way to get control – they feel a sense of power from taking advantage of and disparaging those they target.

If not properly dealt with, bullying, whether open or secretive, can cause lasting emotional, psychological and sometimes physical damage.

Bullying is not “just a phase,” or “a natural part of growing up” – it is always unacceptable.

There are four types of bullying:

  1. Physical – a person is harmed or their property is damaged.
  2. Verbal – a person’s feelings are hurt through insults and name-calling.
  3. Social – a person is shunned or excluded from groups and events.
  4. Cyber – use of the Internet, mobile devices or other digital technology to harm others.

LBC has a No bullying policy. It is incumbent on adult members of LBC to ensure that the culture of the Centre and the supervision provided prevents the occurrence of bullying.

Hiring of Staff and volunteers.

Advertising.

  • There should be broad advertising of vacant permanent positions.
  • Advertisements should contain clear job descriptions and criteria for selection.
  • Advertisements are to state clearly LBC’s commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for children. As such it is to be clear that applicants will:
    • Be required to have Working With Children checks
    • Be asked questions, if interviewed, regarding child safety issues.
    • Be required to provide the names and contact details of at least 2 referees who are unrelated to them, and which are contacted before appointment.

Position Description.

This is to include

  • That there is a requirement to sign an undertaking to read and adhere to this policy and procedures document.
  • That employees are required to renew Working With Children checks as required.
  • That the names and contact details of three independent referees are to be provided.

Qualifications.

If formal qualifications are required for a position, then LBC will require the presentation of relevant documentation such as certificates and transcripts together with a full resume.

Checking of references.

The three referees are to be contacted and questioned regarding the nature and appropriateness of the applicant’s interaction with children. The list in appendix 3 is for guidance regarding referee checks

Interviews.

All employees and volunteers to be involved with children will take part in an interview process the nature of which will depend on the situation. Broadly speaking:

  • Permanent employees will have a formal interview with the Rabbi and another appropriate member of Staff or the Board
  • Volunteers who are not known to the Rabbi or to the Board will require an interview with a person who will be working with them if appointed.
  • Anyone appointed will be given an induction which will include discussion of this document.

Responding to child abuse concerns and allegations.

LBC employees and volunteers must report any suspicion of child abuse to either the Rabbi or to a nominated independent expert. Suspicion should take into account the discussion of the nature of child abuse and how it might present in a child as discussed in this document above and in appendix A below. Reporting must occur whether it is felt that abuse has occurred at LBC or from some outside perpetrator.

The welfare of an alleged victim needs to be paramount. This includes consideration of

  • How the matter is discussed with the child. It is important that the child is allowed to tell his or her own story. There should be encouragement for the child to to do so but avoidance of leading or suggestive comments or questions. Any investigation must be left to those with the expertise and authority to do so such as the police or DHHS Child Protection Workers.
  • The extent to which the child is kept informed and consulted regarding the reporting process. This would depend on the child’s age and level of development. It is important that older children do not feel disempowered by feeling pushed aside in the process. Younger children are more accepting of adults taking charge. The question of notification of parents or guardians is complex. It should be discussed with the Rabbi and the independent expert. Our involving the parents depends in part on whether suspected abuse has occurred at LBC or whether from outside where the possibility of parental abuse needs to be clarified.

Confidentiality.

LBC will keep information regarding alleged perpetrators and victims confidential apart from any reporting to appropriate authorities where necessary.

 Records of information.

It is imperative that detailed notes be made regarding any report. This should include the recording of what the allegedly abused child and / or witnesses say with regard to the nature and circumstances of the abuse. Original notes as well as a more formal summary should both be kept. As far as possible, a child’s actual words should be reported.

Reports and notes will be securely stored at LBC and only available to members of the standing committee / or if no standing committee, the Rabbi, the Board President and the Board member who is designated as responsible for Child safety issues. They would also be available to appropriate authorities as required.

Dissemination of information

The document and the issue of child protection will be discussed with all new staff and volunteers at the time of their interview/appointment/commencement. The document will be distributed to all staff, volunteers and Board members who will be asked to attend a briefing meeting about it soon after appointment/election/commencement. The aim of the meeting is to make sure that all are fully aware of and understand matters important to child safety at LBC. Feedback from participants will also be important in refining the relevance of this document to the LBC community. They will also be invited to attend the annual staff or Board briefing meetings.

Review Process

The designated Board member and the Rabbi will review this document on an annual basis and amend as necessary. Employees and volunteers will receive notice of the name and contact details of the nominated independent expert and contact details for the Rabbi at the beginning of each year together with a reminder that this document has been provided previously and that it is available on the LBC website. They will also be notified of any changes regarding these personnel should they occur in the interim period

Appendix A Indicators of Child Abuse (From Spiritgrow’s policy pp 6-8)

Sexual Abuse

Physical Signs Behavioural Signs
Child/youth tells someone they trust that they have been abused

Presence of sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, or vaginal or anal bleeding or discharge may indicate sexual abuse

 

 

 

Displaying sexual behaviour or knowledge which is unusual for their age.

 

Complaining of headaches or stomach aches

Experiencing problems with school work

Showing behaviour such as frequent rocking, sucking and biting Experiencing difficulties in sleeping Having difficulties in relating to adults and peers

Physical abuse

Physical Signs Behavioural Signs
Bruises, burns, sprains, dislocations, bites and cuts

 

Fractured bones especially in infants where a fracture is unlikely to occur accidently

 

Poisoning

 

Internal injuries

Showing weariness or distrust with adults

 

 

 

 

Wearing long sleeved clothes in hot weather (this may be to hide bruising or other injuries)

Demonstrating fear of parent and/or of going home

Becoming fearful when other children cry or shout

Being excessively friendly to strangers

Being very passive and compliant

Emotional or psychological abuse

Physical Signs Behavioural Signs
Possible delays in emotional, mental or even physical development •           Displaying low self esteem

•           Tending to be withdrawn, passive or tearful

•           Displaying aggressive or demanding behavior

•           Being highly anxious

•           Showing delayed speech

•           Acting like a much younger child e.g. soiling/wetting pants

•           Displaying difficulties in relating to adults and peers

 

Physical Signs Behavioural Signs
•         Frequent hunger

•         Malnutrition

•         Poor hygiene

•         Inappropriate clothing for season (eg: long sleeves may be to hide bruising)

•         Left unsupervised for long periods

•         Abandoned by parents

•         Excessive avoidance of spending time at home

•         Stealing food

•         Staying at school outside school hours

•        Often being tired and falling asleep during activities

•         Abusing alcohol or drugs

•         Displaying aggressive behavior

•         Not getting on well with peers

 

 Appendix B. Interview Questions (from Session 3)

A sample of interview questions

In addition to the questions one would normally ask volunteers and staff, below are some sample interview questions. Case studies or scenarios can provide examples of the candidate’s thought process and reveal values and beliefs about the treatment of children.

It is important to have a system for recording and filing responses or summaries of interviews in accordance with privacy laws.

  • What do you find most rewarding about working with children and young people? (Provide an example).
  • What do you find most challenging about working with children and young people?
  • Can you give an example of a challenging situation with a child or young person that you feel you have handled well? What happened and what you have learnt from it? What would you handle differently if the same or a similar situation arose again?
  • Can you tell me about a situation when you had to handle a child who:

Was angry and lashing out physically at you or another program participant?

Was distressed and required comforting?

Was uncooperative and refused to participate in an organisational activity?

How would you deal with a young person or child who was yelling at you? Disobeying you?

  • Provide an example that demonstrates how you respond to responsibility.
  • Have you undertaken any child protection training? If so in what context? What are the key messages from the training you undertook?
  • Are there any children or young people you particularly don’t like to work with, and why?
  • Are there any children or young people you particularly like to work with, and why?
  • What sort of situations make you feel angry? How do you deal with your feelings of anger or frustration?
  • Have you ever lost your temper when working with children or young people? What happened? What was the trigger? What was the outcome?
  • How would you handle a child who appears sad and refuses to participate in activities?
  • How would you handle a situation where a child is injured during the course of an activity e.g. football match?
  • Describe how you deal with stress.
  • What would you do if a young person disclosed, or you observed or you suspected that a young person was being abused at home by a family member?
  • What would you do if you thought another adult’s behaviour in relation to children was inappropriate, suspicious or outside the boundaries of their role?
  • How do you think your peers, supervisors and referees would describe your previous work with children and young people?
  • Have you ever had any disciplinary action taken against you in relation to working with children and young people?

Appendix C .Reference checks. (Katherine Levi)

Sample question for reference checks

            Verification of facts:

  • How long have you known the applicant?
  • What was your relationship to the applicant during the time you worked together?
  • Nature of reference (personal/professional)
  • Nature of the work that the applicant undertook

            Verification of information in Resume and information provided at interview point:

  • Applicant’s position title in your organisation?
  • Dates of employment
  • Main duties and responsibilities?
  • Assessment of their performance in that role?
  • Weaknesses and strengths?
  • Willingness to seek to consult with manager or senior personnel and seek assistance in challenging situations?

            Suitability to work with children and young people

(if you don’t ask all these questions, still ensure you use the final one).

  • What experience does the applicant have in working with children and young people? E.g. length of time they worked with children, age range of children, skills and abilities of children?
  • Do you have any concerns about the applicant working with children at LBC (describe the context of the role they have applied for)
  • Are you comfortable in knowing that at times the applicant may be working alone (as the sole adult) with children?
  • In your opinion are there any challenges that the applicant would face in working with or engaging with children?
  • Are there any age groups he/she may not be suited to work with? If yes, why?
  • Does the applicant use appropriate language when communicating with children?
  • Have you observed the applicant disciplining a child for misbehaviour? If yes, please describe the scenario and the appropriateness of the discipline in this context.
  • Can you tell me about a situation when the applicant had to handle a child who was angry and lashing out physically? Was distressed and required comforting? Was uncooperative and refused to participate?
  • How did the applicant relate to the children/young people parent’s in the context of their work?
  • Does the applicant become angry easily?
  • How does the applicant deal with pressure?
  • How does the applicant deal with a child/young person/staff member or parent who is demanding? Can you give an example?
  • Do you know of any instances when the applicant has demonstrated any inappropriate physical contact with children?
  • Do you know of any instances where the applicant acted outside the boundaries of their defined role?
  • Have there been any findings against the applicant in relation to allegations of in appropriate behaviour towards children or young people?
  • Why did the applicant leave your organisation?
  • Would you be willing to re-employ the applicant in your organisation or another organisation?
  • Is there anything I haven’t asked which you think might be important for me to know before employing this applicant to work in a role that has contact with and responsibility for children?