LawSense Child Safety NSW – Allegations Against Staff and Best Practice

Navigating Rights & Obligations Regarding Staff & Students Where an Allegation is Made and Examining Best Practice in 2024. Tailored for schools in NSW

Date12 March 2024
Time12.00pm-3.40 pm AEDT (Syd time)
FormatLive Online & Recorded. The recording can be viewed until 12 April 2024
Pricing$440. Prices includes gst.
CPDThis PD addresses 7.2.2. of the Standards
State / SectorNSW Schools

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Program

12.00   LawSense Welcome

12.05    Chairperson’s Introduction

Sarah Cahill, In-House Legal Counsel, Catholic Education, Diocese of Wollongong

12.10    Examining Current Child Safety Obligations, Standards and Enforcement and Exploring Best Practice in Schools

  • Reviewing key legal frameworks applying to child safety, including duty of care, Child Safe Standards and mandatory reporting
  • Examining the role and approach of regulators
  • Understanding the role of the Board and ensuring you properly report child safety issues to the Board
  • Staff recruitment and ongoing training – implementing effective due diligence and meeting obligations
  • Managing obligations with external contractors or service providers, including with off-campus activities
  • Exploring best practice child protection frameworks – learning from case studies and examples of what schools have implemented

Ben Tallboys, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers; Legal Consultant to Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA)

1.10      Break

1.20      Responding to and Investigating Reportable Conduct Allegations Against Staff: Navigating Duties to the School, Students, Families and The Staff Member

Key Considerations Once a Report is Made

  • Exploring the risks and considerations once a report has been made or an investigation has commenced:
    • risk to students and your duty of care
    • communication of information to families. What families should be informed? Should the whole of school be informed?
    • informing staff – should only selected staff be informed?
    • the rights of the person the subject of the report – privacy, damage to reputation and defamation
    • reputational damage to the school during the process
    • if information about the report is to be communicated – what should it contain, what level of detail should be used?

Applicable Legal Frameworks and Reportable Conduct Investigations

  • Examining the applicable legal framework, including reviewing mandatory reporting / reportable conduct obligations
  • Examining the extent of investigation required by schools and dealing with regulators and the police

Staff Member Rights and Obligations

  • Understanding the rights of the staff member and providing support
  • Examining options for suspension
  • Navigating reputational impacts on the staff member and privacy
  • Managing impacts where the person the subject of the report is charged or exonerated

Joanne Grant, General Counsel, Sydney Catholic Schools

2.20      Break

2.30      Professional Boundaries: Clarifying Grey Areas and Acting on Concerns

  • Identifying behaviours that cross professional boundaries – the black, the white and the grey, including
    • inappropriate communications with students
    • social media posts and comments in groups
    • physical contact with students
    • relationships with current and former students
    • private coaching and tutoring
  • Identifying and acting on concerns about professional boundaries

Ben Tallboys, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers; Legal Consultant to Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA)

3.35      Closing Comments

3.40      Event Close

Presenters / panelists include:

Ben Tallboys provides sector-specific, practical legal solutions to schools across Australia. Ben is a passionate and effective advocate for principals dealing with complex matters relating to parents, staff and students, as well as their own employment.
Joanne Grant has recently become General Counsel at Sydney Catholic Schools. Prior to taking this role, Joanne was a partner at Makinson d’Apice Lawyers, with extensive experience acting for educational establishments, churches, aged care facilities, charities and private clients.

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