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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

Why Should Organisations Invest in Child Protection Training? (Part 3)

Over the past 2 blog posts we have explored why Child Protection training is important and who should do this training. Today we are going to explore some common barriers to engaging in this training.


Fence made of coloured panels of wood that look like pencils

In the 10 years I have been running workshops there are some themes that come up repeatedly when organisations are considering child protection training for their workplace. In this blog we are going to explore some of these barriers and look at some strategies to overcome them.



Concern for Staff or Volunteers Who Have Their Own Trauma History

This is a concern that is raised frequently. 62% of the Australian population surveyed for the Australian Child Maltreatment study reported they had experienced one or more types of maltreatment prior to the age of 18, which suggests that experience of child abuse and harm is still highly prevalent in the community. Staff and volunteers who have their own experiences from childhood have to tread a fine line: they have an obligation to keep children in their care safe but at the same time they need to consider their own wellbeing. This is something that is considered in the development of all Growing Futures workshops and self care strategies are discussed at the start. There is no intention to cause harm to participants and whilst real life examples are used frequently, they have been carefully selected to provide enough information for discussion but not too much information. Staff should always be advised in advance that the workshops will include discussion around child abuse. As a presenter I am also happy to talk to concerned participants before a workshop so they know what to expect. For some participants this may lead to a decision that a face-to-face workshop is not suitable. For these staff and volunteers consideration can be given to eLearning, which they can complete at their own pace.


Time, Money and Resourcing

Taking staff “off the floor” to attend training is often raised as a barrier to workplace training. Organisations will often have to consider both the cost of training and the cost of overtime or cover for staff attending training. Whilst this is a reality, it doesn’t take everything into account. Consideration should also be given to the time, money and resourcing required when staff are not equipped with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to keep children safe.  Organisations have a duty of care to keep children safe and part of this is ensuring staff receive appropriate training. Further to this, as we saw in the first post in this series, when staff are not equipped we can see poor outcomes for children, including ongoing abuse or harm, and impacts for staff themselves. (Impact on staff has been discussed previously here)

 

Growing Futures offers training outside of standard business hours at no extra cost as many organisations can not take staff “off the floor” for training. Workshops can be delivered on site or online, with online workshops often providing a more cost-effective option. eLearning is also available, which is self-paced and can become part of an organisations annual approach to child protection training.


Staff Already Have Qualifications or Have Done Training in the Past

A key component of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and various state/territory based Child Safe Standards is that training is ongoing. This means that staff and volunteers receive regular refreshers and no one is ever “done with training”. Repetition helps reinforce and solidify new information or skills in memory. Many staff will go through their entire careers and never have to deal with a child at risk of abuse or harm but when they do, their initial responses can make a difference. However, they need to know what to do. Whilst Growing Futures’ workshops run from a pre prepared PowerPoint, no 2 workshops are identical and that’s because of the discussions that are encouraged throughout the workshop. I often receive feedback from staff who admit they were reluctant to attend training because it’s a difficult topic, or they have done it before but say they have found it engaging and that it has given them new ideas and strategies.



It is vital as an organisation to consider how you create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Contact Growing Futures today to discuss how we can help to support your team.



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