Our child safety code of conduct
At Make-A-Wish® Australia, we aim to conduct our business according to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, respect and fairness. We require that our employees, employee contractors, volunteers and board members (representatives) conduct themselves according to these high standards to ensure that Make-A-Wish Australia maintains its good reputation.
Appropriate behaviour towards children and young people
It is a requirement that all Make-A-Wish representatives are aware of, and act in accordance with, our expectations of appropriate behaviour specifically towards children and young people both when in the company of children and young people and when interacting with them online. This is set out in our Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and Child Safety Reporting Guidelines that representatives must comply with in addition to all other expectations detailed throughout this Code of Conduct.
Make-A-Wish representatives will:
- ensure they are never in a position where they are left alone in the physical company of a child or young person or when interacting online
- only ever enter the home of a wish child or young person when accompanied by another volunteer (or other appropriate Make-A-Wish representative)
- respect the cultural safety and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and those with culturally and/or linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, for example, by never denying a person’s Aboriginality
- be sensitive to and pay particular attention to the needs of children or young people with a disability and respect their individual requirements (e.g. methods of communicating with a non-verbal child, or difficulties communicating by phone or videoconference with a lack of physical cues)
- protect the privacy of children and young people by only recording and sharing personal information required for the delivery of Make-A-Wish’s program, and ensuring appropriate consent is obtained before collecting health information and sharing information with outside parties, including any PR and social media
- only photograph or video a child or young person with the consent of their parent or legal guardian
- promote a safe and welcoming environment where children or young people are encouraged to explore their ideas, opinions, and creativity without fear of judgement by allowing them to have a say and taking them seriously and centering the child’s ideas in the development of the Wish Journey
- empower children to speak up about their safety and listen to their needs, respecting their rights and taking them seriously at all times
- cooperate with Make-A-Wish and/or regulatory authorities if they are undertaking an investigation
- participate in and cooperate with any internal investigation by Make-A-Wish Australia if required
- comply with all reasonable directions provided by Make-A-Wish Australia
- ensure they have a valid Working with Children Check for their state of residence at all times
- adhere to the Make-A-Wish Australia Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy at all times; this includes reporting requirements and contacting the police if a child or young person is at immediate risk of abuse (telephone 000)
Make-A-Wish representatives will not:
- engage in any sexual activity with a child or young person that they interact with through Make-A-Wish
- communicate with children or young people (e.g. online, telephone) without the knowledge of their parent or legal guardian
- become ‘friends’ with or otherwise interact with children or young people on any digital platforms other than for the purpose for Make-A-Wish responsibilities, and only then in accordance with Make-A-Wish protocols unless they have relationship that is external to Make-A-Wish Australia (e.g., the child is the daughter of their friend)
- engage in unnecessary physical contact with children or young people or utilise any form of physical discipline
- exploit the child or young person’s situation for personal or professional gain
- leave a child on their own during a wish or in another instance where Make-A-Wish has a duty of care over the child
- provide gifts, special treatment or develop any “special relationship” with a child or young person or their parent or legal guardian that could be seen as favouritism, whether in the physical company of a child or young person or online
- share a bed or tent with a child
- share a room with a child without anyone else present
- ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse
- bully or harass a child or any other person
- act in a manner that breaches a child’s privacy or confidentiality
- be intoxicated with alcohol or any other drug in the presence of a child or young person
- act in a manner that puts a child or young person at risk of any form of abuse or violence
- discourage any person from reporting a complaint or concern related to child safety.
Make-A-Wish representatives will:
- Be aware that communication with a child or young person, or their parent or guardian, can be considered grooming even where there is no physical contact.
Consequences for breach
Disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination of employment or association with Make-A-Wish may be taken for any breach of this Code of Conduct. In cases where the conduct may also involve a breach of law, the relevant government authorities (or the police) may be notified.
Make-A-Wish Australia has full discretion to put in place safety management plans or take disciplinary action where it forms a reasonable belief that doing so is necessary for it to ensure the health and safety of its employees, clients, children in its care or the general public.