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Protective practices - information for parents and caregivers

Protective practices are standards of behaviour that staff and volunteers are expected to meet in their interactions with children and young people.

They apply to all adults working or volunteering in government, Catholic, or independent education or children’s services settings.

As a parent you can help to support these standards by taking action if you see or hear about adult behaviours that are not in line with the protective practices. Education and care staff in all sectors should refer to the child protection policies and interagency guidelines for more details.

Appropriate physical contact

Protective practices represent a code of conduct that covers appropriate physical contact and acceptable ways of communicating and interacting with children and young people.

They do not ban touching but describe respectful and safe ways for adults to use touch when it is appropriate. This may be to provide:

  • care
  • encouragement
  • congratulations
  • protection to a child or young person.

Concerns about an adult’s behaviour

If you have concerns about an adult’s behaviour, talk to the principal or director of your school or children’s service. Raising the concern will allow the principal or director to explore the matter properly and make sure the right response is made.

See the protective practices parent brochure (PDF 179KB) for additional information.

If you feels uncomfortable having this conversation on your own, you can ask a trusted friend or member of staff to accompany them.

It is very important that the principal or director hears the concern directly so it can be acted on quickly.

What if my concern is about the principal or director?

You should raise your concern through the following:

What happens to the adult when a concern is raised?

Depending on what is reported and investigated, it may mean the adult is given a formal documented instruction about expected conduct, or it may result in an employee being dismissed or a volunteer’s service being discontinued.

Criminal matters are investigated by police and when this is the case all education sectors follow the managing allegations of sexual misconduct guidelines (PDF 490KB).

Taking the matter further

If you are unhappy with the way the school or service has dealt with your concern, contact the following: