The following definitions are applied to this procedure and the allegations against employees in the area of student protection guidelines.
Refers to repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a student or a group of students that creates a risk to health and safety.
‘Repeated behaviour’ refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can refer to a range of behaviours over time.
‘Unreasonable behaviour’ means behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard for the circumstances, would see as victimising, humiliating, undermining or threatening.
For the purposes of this procedure, a child is a person under the age of 18 years.
Any person employed by the department to work in a state educational facility in a permanent, temporary, casual, volunteer or contractual capacity.
Grooming is the act of deliberately establishing an emotional connection to lower a child’s inhibitions. The act of grooming is to prepare, as for a specific position or purpose: groom a child for advancement or preparation for other activities. An adult may groom a child for purposes of gratification later in life when the child becomes of age or earlier when, and if, an opportunity arises. Some indicators of grooming behaviour by an employee may include:
- Student/s are permitted to call an employee by their first name
- Students are seen to be in close proximity to an employee
- The frequency of contact between and an employee and a student is seen to be unusual
- An employee takes or offers to transport students in their car
- An employee offers to transport a student or students home of an afternoon or bring them to school
- Special treatment is given to the student such as selection to do privileged tasks in school
- Differential standard of treatment from other students in areas of punishment and or duties
- Gives menial tasks or jobs to do such as cleaning, tidying, sorting, photocopying, etc.
Touching or caressing
- Non-sexual touching can be rubbing shoulders, massages, brushing past, holding hands, playing with hair, checking fingernails, preening, etc.
- Sexual touching can be all of the above and touching of breasts, buttocks and the genitals or genital area. This touching can be obvious or inadvertent grazes or accidental brushing or bumping
- Employee establishes a social bond with the student’s family or family members
- An unusual interest in a student’s siblings or the activities of siblings
- Grandparents and other family members, carers or guardians or any other person can also be targeted to establish a bond
Unnecessary out of school hours contact
- Attendance or interest in sporting events external to school sports activities
- Meets with the student or family at clubs or other social events such as shows, expos, concerts, etc.
- Develops a similar interest in the same hobbies that the student is involved in
- Organises sleepovers where the student is involved
- Involves other family members in most activities to limit suspicion that then enables access to the student at other times when the opportunity arises
- Visits the family home at night to tutor or just to talk
- Repeated phone calls out of hours
- Text messaging that has no legitimate educational focus
- Conversing, offering to meet and/or sending images via email
- MSN or similar - assuming a profile or establishing a cluster where students have to be invited in by the employee
- Conversing on and or joining as friends on social media sites such as Facebook
Supplying of gifts and treats
- Expensive or inexpensive presents are provided as rewards
- Engaging in co-purchasing items that they both can share
- Suppling of comfort food on a regular basis
- Easy access to lollies or sweets as treats for good behaviour
- Lends the student money on the false pretence that they expect the student to pay it back sometime
Some of the behaviours likely to be seen when a student is being groomed by an employee include:
- Secrecy (probably the most important indicator)
- Sharing of gifts/bribes – purchasing things the student wants
- Anything that will make the student feel special
- Isolating the student from family, friends and other support networks – creating ‘us’ (abuser and student) versus others style of relationship
- Inappropriate sharing of personal information about the abuser to the student and inappropriate ‘equality’ in the relationship
- Offenders often groom the family and environment of the student
- Gradual desensitisation of the student to touch and gradual sexualisation of the relationship
These behaviours may not always be reportable conduct where they occur in isolation. However, a repetition of behaviour or patterns or several of these behaviours together could indicate that the conduct may amount to grooming and therefore would be reportable conduct.
Mentoring, coaching or tutoring programs in schools often involve individual attention being given to students from employees. Appropriate conduct within these programs that is consistent with departmental policies should not be confused with grooming behaviour.
As defined in the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) section 187 (4) (a) (b), misconduct means:
- inappropriate or improper conduct in an official capacity; or
- inappropriate or improper conduct in a private capacity that reflects seriously and adversely on the public service.
As defined in the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 (Qld) (s. 14-15) official misconduct is conduct that could, if proved, be:
- a criminal offence or a disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for terminating the person’s services, if the person is a holder of an appointment and;
- is a breach of trust by virtue of their position
Refers to the principal or manager working in a state educational facility or a business unit in the department.
As defined in the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) s.365 and s.365(a): sexual abuse, in relation to a relevant person, includes sexual behaviour involving the relevant person and another person in the following circumstances—
- (a) the other person bribes, coerces, exploits, threatens or is violent toward the relevant person;
- (b) the relevant person has less power than the other person;
- (c) there is a significant disparity between the relevant person and the other person in intellectual capacity or maturity.
A ‘relevant person’ is defined as:
- (a) a student under 18 years attending the school;
- (b) a pre-preparatory age child registered in a pre-preparatory learning program at the school;
- (c) a person with a disability who—
- (i) under section 420(2), is being provided with special education at the school; and
- (ii) is not enrolled in the preparatory year at the school.
For the purpose of this procedure, sexual misconduct and/or sexual harassment may also include behaviours which amount to sexual abuse.
Sexual misconduct is defined in the department's Standard of Practice as a range of behaviours, a pattern of behaviour or an act aimed at the involvement of a student in sexual acts. Sexual misconduct includes:
- conduct towards any person that would constitute a criminal offence of a sexual nature
- sexual behaviour by an employee with or towards a student
- conduct that is sexual harassment as defined in section 119 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)
Behaviours of an employee which may amount to sexual misconduct include:
- an employee makes a remark with sexual connotation relating to the other person
- conduct towards any person that would constitute a criminal offence of a sexual nature
- any sexual relationship with a student
- inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature with a student
- comments that express a desire to act in a sexual manner with a student
- unwarranted and inappropriate touching of a student
- sexual exhibitionism in the presence of a student
- personal correspondence (including electronic communication) with a student in respect of the employees sexual feelings for that student or of a general nature
- possession of pornography on departmental property or any supplied electronic device
- suggestive remarks or action of a sexual nature
- obscene gestures, language, jokes containing sexual references or deliberately exposing students to the sexual behaviour of others in any form, other than in the case of prescribed curriculum material in which sexual themes are contextual, or
- a pattern of behaviour aimed at engaging in or ‘grooming’ a student as a precursor to sexual abuse. Grooming may be a separate offence from the actual sexual abuse.
Sexual harassment occurs when:
- an employee subjects a student or students to an unsolicited act of physical intimacy;
- an employee makes an unsolicited demand or request (whether directly or by implication) for sexual favours from a student or students;
- an employee makes a remark with sexual connotation relating a student or students;
- an employee engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to a student and the employee engaging in the conduct mentioned above does so with the intention of offending, humiliating or intimidating the student;
- a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the student would be offended, humiliated or intimidated by the conduct of the employee; or
- an employee engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to a student
- any conduct that is sexual harassment as defined in section 119 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)
State Educational Facility
Includes state schools, TAFE Institutes, Statutory TAFE Authorities and any other educational facility where employees work.
A TAFE Institute is defined in s.191 of the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 (Qld).
A Statutory TAFE Institute is defined under Chapter 6A of the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 (Qld).
A student is defined as a person who is enrolled in a state education facility and who is under the age of 18 years. This definition is extended to include students who are enrolled in a state education facility, are identified as having a disability, are over the age of 18 years of age, and where a carer or adult guardian has been appointed as the student’s interim decision maker.
Any detrimental effect on a student’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing caused by an employee, other than confirmed accidental harm not involving negligence or misconduct. Harm to a student includes minor harm that is cumulative in nature that would significantly hurt or injure a student, if allowed to continue. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse or exploitation.
- Emotional harm occurs when a student is deprived of an environment which supports and nurtures them emotionally and intellectually. Emotional harm can occur in the home, as well as outside of the home through teasing or rejection from peers or constant criticism from significant adults such as employees of a state educational facility.
- Physical harm occurs when an adult, such as an employee of a state educational facility, deliberately causes physical harm to a student. Physical harm may include hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, shaking, throwing, burning, biting or threats to do so when the threat has intent and the employee is in a position to carry out such a threat.
Any person who visits a state educational facility on a one-off or regular basis to provide services. This includes volunteers assisting in the classroom, on excursion, or as a presenter of one-off program.