Safeguarding Policy

How Off The Track promotes and protects the welfare of people that interact with, or are affected by, our work.

Key safeguarding contacts

Michael Walker

Safeguarding Manager and Public Officer
safeguarding@offthetrack.net

Peter Russell

Committee Chairperson
committeechair@offthetrack.net

Jesse Stevens


Committee Secretary

Matthew Fleming

Committee Member

Ben Galvin

Committee Member

Policy Statement

  1. All people, regardless of their age, gender, race, religious beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, or family or social background, have equal rights to protection from abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  2. Off The Track Media Inc. commits to promoting and protecting the welfare and human rights of people that interact with, or are affected by, our work - particularly those that may be at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation. We have no tolerance for abuse, neglect or exploitation. We will take a survivor-centric approach in all that we do.
  3. All staff, volunteers, partners and third parties of Off The Track share responsibility for protecting everyone from abuse, neglect or exploitation. Beyond this, particular people have specific responsibilities, and they must carry out their duties without exception.
  4. Off The Track has a process for managing incidents that must be followed when one arises.
  5. Off The Track is governed by a Committee and therefore any reference in this document to a ‘board’ or ‘the board’ is a reference to the Off The Track Committee.

Purpose

  1. The purpose of this policy is to:
    1. Help protect people that interact with, or are affected by, Off The Track.
    2. Define the key terms we use when talking about protecting people or safeguarding.
    3. Set out and develop the way Off The Track manages safeguarding risks.
    4. Set out the specific roles and responsibilities of persons working in and with Off The Track.
    5. Facilitate the safe management of incidents.
    6. To support a positive and effective internal culture towards safeguarding.

Definitions

  1. ‘Safeguarding’ means protecting the welfare and human rights of people that interact with, or are affected by, Off The Track, particularly those that might be at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation. This refers to any responsibility or measure undertaken to protect a person from harm.
  2. ‘Abuse, neglect or exploitation’ means all forms of physical and mental abuse, exploitation, coercion or ill-treatment. This might include, for example:
    1. Sexual harassment, bullying or abuse;
    2. Sexual criminal offences and serious sexual criminal offences;
    3. Threats of, or actual violence, verbal, emotional or social abuse;
    4. Cultural or identity abuse, such as racial, sexual or gender-based discrimination or hate crime;
    5. Coercion and exploitation;
    6. Abuse of power.
  3. ‘Reasonable grounds to suspect’ is a situation where a person has some information that leads them believe that abuse, neglect or exploitation has taken place, is taking place, or may take place. It comes with a low burden of proof (in fact, no proof is needed at all), but is based on some information. Questions that may help a person to determine whether they have ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ might include:
    1. Could you explain to another person why you suspect something? This helps to make sure that your suspicion is based on information, even if you have no proof.
    2. Would an objective other person, with the same information as you, come to the same conclusion? This helps to make sure that your suspicion is as objective as possible.
  4. A ‘survivor-centric approach’ means considering and lawfully prioritising the needs, right and wishes of survivors.

Roles and responsibilities

  1. While the responsibility to protect people is shared by all who work at or with Off The Track, some individuals have specific obligations with which they must comply.
  2. The members of the board of Off The Track are responsible for:
    1. Protecting all people that interact with, or are affected by, Off The Track;
    2. Ensuring that there are appropriate and effective ways for Off The Track to do this;
    3. Ensuring that Off The Track observes all relevant laws relating to safeguarding;
    4. Ensuring that Off The Track takes a survivor-centric approach.
  3. The Safeguarding Manager of Off The Track, currently the Public Officer, must:
    1. Manage reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation;
    2. Ensure that all staff, contractors, and volunteers are aware of relevant laws, policies and procedures, and Off The Track’s Code of Conduct;
    3. Ensure that all staff, contractors and volunteers are aware of their obligations to report suspected incidents of abuse, neglect or exploitation;
    4. Manage reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation;
    5. Provide support for staff, contractors and volunteers in undertaking their responsibilities.
  4. All Managers of Off The Track must:
    1. Promote a positive culture towards safeguarding;
    2. Implement this policy in their area of responsibility;
    3. Ensure that the risks of incidents have been considered in their area of responsibility;
    4. Ensure that there are appropriate controls in place to prevent, detect and respond to incidents;
    5. Facilitate the reporting of any suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation;
    6. Take a survivor-centric approach to potential incidents and ensure that any incident is dealt with transparently and accountably.
  5. All Staff and Volunteers of Off The Track must:
    1. Familiarise themselves with the relevant laws, the Code of Conduct, policies and procedures for safeguarding;
    2. Comply with all requirements;
    3. Report any incident to the appropriate authority when it is reasonable to suspect that a person’s safety or welfare is at risk
    4. Report any suspicion that a person’s safety or welfare may be at risk to the appropriate authority; and
    5. Provide an environment that is supportive of everyone’s emotional and physical safety.
  6. All partners and contractors of Off The Track must:
    1. Implement the provisions of this policy and Off The Track’s procedures in their dealings with Off The Track;
    2. Report any suspicion that an incident may have taken place, is taking place, or could take place.

Managing safeguarding risk

  1. The way Off The Track manages the risks of safeguarding will be:
    1. Holistic. Off The Track and its stakeholders will work to prevent, detect and take action on incidents.
    2. Risk-based and proportionate. Off The Track will regularly assess the risks to people in its operations and develop proportionate controls to mitigate those risks.
    3. Survivor-centric. Off The Track will put survivors at the heart of its approach to safeguarding.
    4. Lawful. Off The Track will ensure that it understands and complies with the law in everything it does, in all jurisdictions in which it works.
  2. Off The Track will manage the risk of safeguarding by:
    1. Having up-to-date and documented risk assessments;
    2. Maintaining a register of Off The Track’s legal obligations for safeguarding and workplace health and safety in all the jurisdictions in which it operates;
    3. Having an action plan that sets out how it will manage safeguarding;
    4. Adhering to this Safeguarding Policy and its Code of Conduct;
    5. Doing due diligence checks of staff, volunteers and third parties;
    6. Implementing policies, procedures and systems that introduce controls to reduce the likelihood and consequence of incidents;
    7. Conducting awareness-raising for stakeholders on risks, expectations, and individual responsibilities;
    8. Maintaining two reporting processes: the confidential reporting process, and the overt reporting process;
    9. Having an incident response plan;
    10. Monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness and proportionality of its safeguarding approach.

Managing incidents

  1. Harassment, abuse, neglect and exploitation are all serious misconduct and Off The Track reserves the right to:
    1. Take disciplinary action against those it believes are responsible, which may include dismissal;
    2. Take civil legal action;
    3. Report the matter to law enforcement.
Reporting suspected incidents
  1. All staff, volunteers and third parties must, as soon as practicable, report any suspicion that an incident has taken place, may be taking place, or could take place.
  2. They may do this through direct reporting to:
    1. Any member of the board;
    2. The Chief Executive Officer;
    3. The Safeguarding Manager;
    4. Their Manager or Supervisor.
  3. If a person wants to report confidentially, including with anonymity, they may use the confidential reporting system, which is to send an email to safeguarding@offthetrack.net
  4. If a person believes that another person is at risk of immediate harm or the victim of a criminal offence, they must dial 000 (within Australia).
Responding to suspected incidents
  1. All suspected, perceived, potential or actual incidents will be managed through the incident response plan.
External reporting
  1. Off The Track will:
    1. Report any suspicion of a criminal offence to the police or the relevant criminal judicial body;
    2. Meet all donor requirements regarding the reporting of incidents;
    3. Report any qualifying matter to the ACNC.

Privacy and data protection

  1. All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. Off The Track will protect personal information.
  2. Off The Track’s Privacy Policy applies.

Administration of this policy

  1. This Policy will be reviewed every two (2) years. The next review will be on 15/1/2024.

Procedures created by the policy

  1. Off The Track has developed policies relating to the reporting of matters that relate to this safeguarding policy. Anyone wanting to report matters can approach those stated in this document.

Related policies and procedures

  1. Commitment to child safety: https://www.offthetrack.net/child-safety