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Keeping your learners safe using the Conduct Reporting Guide

Understand your child safety reporting obligations and responsibilities for protecting children and young people.

Have you ever been in a situation where you should report a concern about the conduct of a colleague or about how your employer may have handled the conduct? What about a situation that involved another member of your school or early childhood community – a parent, student or non-teaching staff member? 

Did you know how to report it and was the process clear? Did you feel supported and confident to make the report? 

The VIT has launched a conduct reporting guide to help teachers to understand and act on child safety matters. The guide also assists parents, learners, the general public, schools and early childhood services in reporting concerns about the conduct of any person employed in a Victorian education setting.

The guide includes a wide range of practical scenarios and various conduct concerns individuals may be obligated to report on, such as criminal behaviour (sexual and non-sexual), inappropriate conduct, teacher registration concerns, and school / service-based concerns. If you have concerns about someone’s conduct, the guide outlines who to report your concerns to, maps out which organisations are involved following a report, and explains the relationship between the VIT and other co-regulators.

Picture this scenario…

Case Study

You’re an early childhood teacher working in the kindergarten of a local primary school.  
 
You arrive to work one morning, and notice one of the learners has a bruised and puffy lip. When you ask the learner what happened to cause the sore lip, he says: “My mummy was mad and accidentally hit me.”

The child’s mother is a registered teacher who also works at the school, and you know her well. You understand that you have an obligation to tell someone about this, but you feel uncomfortable about the allegation and you’re unsure how to go about it.

  • What do you do? 
  • What would you do if you reported the incident to your employer, but you didn’t believe the school handled the incident correctly? 
  • What if the child’s mother was not a teacher? Would you do things differently? 
  • Would you react differently if the incident involved verbal conduct, rather than physical conduct?

Understanding your child safety reporting obligations

The impact of the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry and Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has dramatically changed the public expectations of teacher conduct and behaviour. 
 
A crucial role for teachers and early childhood teachers is to respond effectively to children and young people whose safety and wellbeing may be at risk, or who are in need of protection.  
 
All registered teachers in Victoria are mandated to report physical and sexual abuse of children to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Child Protection. In some cases, you might be legally required to report matters – but how do you know what you should (or could) report, and who to report it to?  

Conduct reporting guide

The guide was developed in collaboration with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA), the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) and the Quality Assessment and Regulation Division of the Victorian Department of Education and Training (QARD). These organisations frequently work together to protect the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. 

FYI

The Victorian Teaching Profession’s Codes of Conduct and Ethics support all teachers to understand the expectations of the teaching profession and the community in relation to their professional conduct, personal conduct and professional competence.

Supporting your professional learning

The Child Protection and Child Safe Standards (PROTECT) Protecting Children - Mandatory Reporting and Other Obligations eLearning modules are available for all school and early childhood staff. These modules explore teachers’ responsibilities for protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. 
 
All staff working in schools and early childhood settings within Victoria – particularly those with mandatory reporting obligations – are strongly encouraged to regularly undertake and complete the relevant online module.