Code of Conduct & Member Protection Policy

1.    Introduction   

Scholar Victoria has never had the need for an overly strict set of rules or code of conduct. We have, however, created a set of general provisions for the protection of our members.

2.    Purpose of Our Policy

The main objective of the Scholar Victoria Incorporated Member Protection Policy is to maintain responsible behaviour and the making of informed decisions by members and other participants in this club. It outlines our commitment to a person’s right to be treated with respect and dignity, and to be safe and protected from discrimination, harassment and abuse. Our policy informs everyone involved in our club of his or her legal and ethical rights and responsibilities and the standards of behaviour that are expected of them.

3.    Who Our Policy Applies To

This policy applies to everyone involved in the activities of our club whether they are in a paid or unpaid/voluntary capacity and including:

  • club committee members, administrators and other club officials;
  • coaches and assistant coaches and other personnel participating in events and activities, including camps and training sessions;
  • support personnel, including managers, physiotherapists, psychologists, masseurs, sport trainers and others;
  • referees, umpires and other officials;
  • athletes;
  • members, including any life members;
  • parents;
  • spectators

4.    Extent of Our Policy

Our policy covers all matters directly and indirectly related to Scholar Victoria and its activities. In particular, the policy governs unfair selection decisions and actions, breaches of our code of behaviour and behaviour that occurs at training sessions, in the club rooms, at social events organised or sanctioned by the club (or our sport), and on away and overnight trips. It also covers private behaviour where that behaviour brings our club or sport into disrepute or there is suspicion of harm towards a child or young person

5.    Club Responsibilities

We will:

  • adopt, implement and comply with this policy;
  • ensure that this policy is enforceable;
  • publish, distribute and promote this policy and the consequences of any breaches of this policy;
  • promote and model appropriate standards of behaviour at all times;
  • deal with any complaints made under this policy in an appropriate manner;
  • deal with any breaches of this policy in an appropriate manner;
  • recognise and enforce any penalty imposed under this policy;
  • ensure that a copy of this policy is available or accessible to all people and organisations to whom this policy applies;
  • review this policy every 3 years

Serious issues include unlawful behaviour that involves or could lead to significant harm and includes criminal behaviour (e.g. physical assault, sexual assault, child abuse) and any other issues that our state or national bodies request to be referred to them.

6.    Individual Responsibilities

Everyone associated with our club must:

  • make themselves aware of the contents of this  policy;
  • comply with all relevant provisions of this policy, including the standards of behaviour outlined in this policy;
  • consent to any state or territory Working with Children checks where required by law;
  • treat other people with respect;
  • always place the safety and welfare of children above other considerations;
  • be responsible and accountable for their behaviour; and
  • follow the guidelines outlined in this policy if they wish to make a complaint or report a concern about possible abuse, discrimination, harassment, bullying or other inappropriate behaviour; and
  • comply with any decisions and/or disciplinary measures imposed under this policy.

7.    Protection of Children

7.1    Child Protection

Scholar Victoria does not ordinarily accept students under the age of 16 years, however where children are present, Scholar Victoria is committed to the safety and well being of children and young people who participate in our clubs activities or use our services.  We support the rights of the child and will act at all times to ensure that a child safe environment is maintained. We also support the rights and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers and encourage their active participation in building and maintaining a secure and safe environment for all participants

Scholar Victoria acknowledges the valuable contribution made by our staff, members and volunteers and we encourage their active participating in providing a safe, fair and inclusive environment for all participants.

7.2 Report and Respond Appropriately to Suspected Abuse and Neglect

Scholar Victoria will ensure that employees and volunteers are able to identify and respond appropriately to children at risk of harm and that they are aware of their responsibilities under state laws to make a report if they suspect on reasonable ground that a child has be, or is being, abused or neglected

In addition to any legal obligations, if any person believes that another person or organisation bound by this policy is acting inappropriately towards a child or is in breach of this policy they may make an internal complaint.  

Please refer to our complaints procedure in section 10 of this policy.

Any person who believes a child is in immediate danger or in a life threatening situation, should contact the police immediately.

7.3     Supervision

Children under the age of 16 must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult. We endeavour to provide an appropriate level of supervision at all times. If a member finds a child under the age of 16 is unsupervised, they should assume responsibility for the child’s safety until the child’s parent/guardian or supervisor is located.

For reasons of courtesy and safety, parents must collect their children on time. If it appears a member will be left alone with just one child at the end of any club activity, they will ask another member to stay until the child is collected

8.    Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying

Our club is committed to providing an environment in which people are treated fairly and equitably and that is, as far as practicable, free from all forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying

We recognise that people may not be able to enjoy themselves or perform at their best if they are treated unfairly, discriminated against, harassed or bullied.

8.1        Discrimination

Unlawful discrimination involves the less favourable treatment of a person on the basis of one or more of the personal characteristics protected by State or Federal anti-discrimination laws.

Discrimination includes both direct and indirect discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination occurs if a person treats, or proposes to treat, a person with a protected personal characteristic unfavourably because of that personal characteristic.
  • Indirect discrimination occurs if a person imposes, or proposes to impose, a requirement, condition or practice that will disadvantage a person with a protected personal characteristic and that requirement, condition or practice is not reasonable.

For the purpose of determining discrimination, the offender’s awareness and motive are irrelevant.

8.2        Harassment

Harassment is any unwelcome conduct, verbal or physical, that intimidates, offends or humiliates another person and which happens because a person has a certain personal characteristic protected by State or Federal anti-discrimination legislation.

The offensive behaviour does not have to take place a number of times, a single incident can constitute harassment.

Sexual harassment is one type of harassment. Sexual harassment involves unwelcome conduct, remarks or innuendo of a sexual nature. It covers a wide range of behaviours and can be verbal, written, visual or physical. Sexual harassment is not limited to members of the opposite sex.

Every person is covered by the anti-discrimination laws that apply in their State as well as the Federal anti-discrimination laws.

The following is a list of all the personal characteristics that apply throughout Australia:

  • gender;
  • race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, nationality, ethno-religious origin, immigration;
  • national extraction or social origin;
  • marital status, relationship status, identity of spouse or domestic partner;
  • pregnancy, potential pregnancy, breastfeeding;
  • family or carer responsibilities, status as a parent or carer;
  • age;
  • religion, religious beliefs or activities;
  • political beliefs or activities;
  • lawful sexual activity;
  • sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • profession, trade, occupation or calling;
  • irrelevant criminal record, spent convictions;
  • irrelevant medical record;
  • member of association or organisation of employees or employers, industrial activity, trade union activity;
  • physical features;
  • disability, mental or physical impairment;
  • defence service; and
  • personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, any of these personal characteristics.

Legislation also prohibits:

  • racial, religious, homosexual, transgender and HIV/AIDS vilification; and
  • victimisation resulting from a complaint.

8.3        Bullying

Scholar Victoria is committed to providing an environment that is free from bullying. We understand that bullying has the potential to result in significant negative consequences for an individual’s health and wellbeing, and we regard bullying in all forms as unacceptable at our club.

Bullying is characterised by repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at a person, or group of persons, that creates a risk to health and safety.  Bullying behaviour is that which a reasonable person in the circumstances would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine, threaten, degrade, offend or intimidate a person.  Bullying behaviour can include actions of an individual or group.

Whilst generally characterised by repeated behaviours, one off instances can amount to bullying.

The following types of behaviour, where repeated or occurring as part of a pattern of behaviour, would be considered bullying:

  • verbal abuse including shouting, swearing, teasing, making belittling remarks or persistent unjustified criticism;
  • excluding or isolating a group or person;
  • spreading malicious rumours; or
  • psychological harassment such as intimidation.

Bullying includes cyber-bulling which occurs through the use of technology. New technologies and communication tools, such as smart phones and social networking websites, have greatly increased the potential for people to be bullied though unwanted and inappropriate comments. We will not tolerate abusive, discriminatory, intimidating or offensive statements being made online.

If any person believes they are being, or have been, bullied by another person or organisation bound by this policy, he or she may make a complaint (Refer to Item 10 of this policy).

9. Inclusive practices

Our club is welcoming and we will seek to include members from all areas of our community.

The following are examples of some of our inclusive practices.

9.1     People with a disability

Scholar Victoria will not discriminate against any person because they have a disability. Where it is necessary, we will make reasonable adjustments  (e.g. modifications to equipment and rules) to enable participation.

9. 2     People from diverse cultures

We will support, respect and encourage people from diverse cultures and religions to participate in our club and where possible we will accommodate requests for flexibility (e.g. modifications to uniforms).

9.3     Sexual & Gender Identity

All people, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity, are welcome at our club. We strive to provide a safe environment for participation and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment because of a person’s sexuality or gender identity.  

9.2    Pregnancy

Scholar Victoria is committed to treating pregnant women fairly and to removing any unreasonable barriers to their full participation in our club’s activities. We will not tolerate any discrimination or harassment against pregnant women.

We will take reasonable care to ensure the continuing safety, health and wellbeing of pregnant women. We will advise pregnant women that there may be risks involved with their continuing participation in sport, and we will encourage them to obtain medical advice about those risks.  Pregnant women should be aware that their own health and wellbeing, and that of their unborn child, is of utmost importance in their decision-making about the extent they choose to participate in our sport.

If a pregnant woman believes she is being, or has been, harassed or discriminated against by another person bound by this policy, she may make a complaint (see section 10).

10.    Responding to Complaints

10.1    Complaints

Our club takes all complaints about breaches of our policy seriously. Our club will handle complaints based on the principles of procedural fairness, and ensure:

  • all complaints will be taken seriously;
  • the person making the complaint (complainant) will be given full details of what is being alleged against them and have the opportunity to respond to those allegations;
  • irrelevant matters will not be taken into account;
  • decisions will be unbiased; and
  • any penalties imposed will be reasonable.

If the complaint relates to suspected child abuse, sexual assault or other criminal activity, then our club may need to report the behaviour to the police and/or relevant government authority.

10.2    Complaint Handling Process

When a complaint is received by our club, the person receiving the complaint (e.g. President, Member Protection Information Officer) will:

  • listen carefully and ask questions to understand the nature and extent of the concern;
  • ask what the complainant how they would like their concern to be resolved and if they need any support;
  • explain the different options available to help resolve the complainant’s concern;
  • inform the relevant government authorities and/or police, if required by law to do so; and
  • where possible and appropriate, maintain confidentiality but not necessarily anonymity.

Once the complainant decides on their preferred option for resolution, the club will assist, where appropriate and necessary, with the resolution process. This may involve:

  • supporting the person complaining to talk to the person being complained about;
  • bringing all the people involved in the complaint together to talk objectively through the problem (this could include external mediation);
  • gathering more information (e.g. from other people that may have seen the behaviour);

At any stage of the process, a person can seek advice from an anti-discrimination commission or other external agency and, if the matter is within their jurisdiction, may lodge a complaint with the anti-discrimination commission or other external agency.

10.3     Disciplinary Sanctions

Our club may take disciplinary action against anyone found to have breached our policy or made false and malicious allegations. Any disciplinary measure imposed under our policy must:

  • be applied consistent with any contractual and employment rules and requirements;
  • be fair and reasonable;
  • be based on the evidence and information presented and the seriousness of the breach; and
  • be determined by our constituent documents, by Laws and the rules of the game.

Possible sanctions that may be taken include:

  • a direction that the individual make verbal and/or written apology;
  • counselling of the individual to address behaviour;
  • withdrawal of any awards, placings, records, achievements bestowed in any tournaments, activities or events held or sanctioned by our club;
  • suspension or termination of membership, participation or engagement in a role or activity;
  • de-registration of accreditation for a period of time or permanently;
  • a fine (ie. non-payment of some or all fees); or
  • any other form of discipline that our club considers reasonable and appropriate.

10.4     Appeals

The complainant or respondent may be entitled to lodge an appeal against a decision made in relation to a complaint. Appeals must be based on any right of appeal provided for in the relevant constituent documents, rules, regulations or by laws.

11.    Insurance

Scholar Victoria students are insuredunder Historical Fencing Australia’s insurance policy.

HFA insurance covers you for fencing or volunteering at Scholar Victoria events and activities as well as at inter-club events and activities so long as those events are conducted in a manner consistent with HFA’s safety and included event policies.

Students are usually responsible for paying insurance excesses except by specific agreement with Scholar Victoria.

A summary of the HFA insurance policy can be found HERE, covering what you are covered for.