A Child Safe Environment

Coffs Hikers encourages members to bring their children on activities appropriate for their age and skill level. We see bushwalking as a fun outdoor physical experience that benefits children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Coffs Hikers aims to create a child safe environment where members can share positive experiences with their families.

Child Safety Officer

The committee shall designate a committee member as the Child Safety Officer. This person should have appropriate experience dealing with children and hold (or acquire in a reasonable time after being appointed) a “Volunteer” (or higher) role of NSW Working with Children certification.

The Child Safety Officer shall be responsible for compliance with the Child Protection Policy, and any club level liaison with law enforcement. If for any reason the Child Safety Officer is unable to perform these duties the Club President will assume the role.
The Child Safety Officer shall familiarise themselves with NSW legislation and make recommendations to the committee on any changes to the club’s Child Protection Policy.

The Child Safety Officer is the go to person for any member who wishes to discuss club policy or any non activity related incident.

Position of Walk Leader

On any activity the walk leader is responsible for:

  • Deciding whether the walk is appropriate for children to attend and any age restrictions to apply to children attending.
  • Declining to accept any child or member on the walk if they deem their health or skill levels are inadequate, or if they regard their behaviour on this or other walks may place them or others at additional risk.
  • Addressing child relevant risk as part of the pre activity briefing.
  • Following the Walk Child Protection guidelines.
  • Maintaining readily available a physical or digital copy of the Child Protection Incident Procedure for reference.
  • Submitting digital copies of the Acknowledgement of Risks and Obligations for a Child forms relating to the activity for the club records along with the attendance register

The walk leader is empowered to refuse any walk attendee from the walk for any reason.

Walk Child Protection Guidelines

  1. A Child is anyone who has not yet attained their 18th birthday.
  2. A Child is not permitted to be a member of the club but is permitted to attend a walk in the company of an authorised club member.
  3. The authorised club member must be a parent, grand-parent or legal guardian of the child. We do not accept other in-loco parentis.
  4. The Child’s parent or legal guardian must complete and sign an Acknowledgement of Risks and Obligations for a Child form (available on the website) and the authorised member must bring this on the walk and hand it to the walk leader.

Child Protection Incident Procedure

Serious Incidents

This covers any sexual or physical assault allegation made during a Club Activity. Actions:

  1. Cease the activity.
  2. If the leader has a conflict of interest or believes they may not be suitable they should seek a more suitable adult club members attending the activity to talk to the complainant. But do not discuss the complaint amongst the group. Do not involve the alleged perpetrator in any discussion.
  3. Take the complaint seriously and listen to the complainant. Do not question or investigate the incident.
  4. Record the date and time.
  5. As far as possible separate the complainant and the alleged perpetrator.
  6. Ask any other attendees who have overheard or witnessed the incident not to discuss it for the remainder of the activity.
  7. Arrange to exit the activity as soon as practicable maintaining separation of the complainant and alleged perpetrator. Explain to attendees that an event has occurred that requires the activity to be terminated but do not disclose any confidential details of the alleged event.
  8. Inform the police and arrange a meeting time and place as soon as you have mobile coverage.
  9. When you reach the end point (or vehicles) arrange for other participants to leave.
  10. Wait for the police to arrive or travel to the arranged meeting point. The complainant may or may not wish to wait for the police.
  11. While waiting, or after talking to the police, fill in an incident form. Keep the details of the incident (including names) confidential.

Minor Incidents

This covers bullying and Child on Child physical incidents that do not result in injury that occur during a club activity. Actions:

  1. Listen to the complaint. Take the complaint seriously.
  2. Record the date and time.
  3. As far as possible ensure the separation of the complainant and alleged perpetrator for the remainder of the activity.
  4. Fill in an incident form.
  5. Report the matter to the Child Safety Officer after the event.
  6. Follow the club Discrimination and Harassment Guidelines.

Other Incidents

This covers allegations against club members made outside of a club event or after a club event. Actions:

  1. Do not investigate the complaint, maintain confidentiality of all parties.
  2. Advise the complainant to contact the police
  3. Report the allegation to the police as soon as possible

This policy is reviewed periodically, and any changes will be updated on this page. If you have any questions or complaints, please contact us.