We Put Children First
Every day, Life Without Barriers offers support and care to children. We want each and every one of those children to feel as safe and respected as they should. At Life Without Barriers, the wellbeing of children is our greatest concern. Ensuring children are well cared for, supported and protected from sexual and physical abuse is an absolute, non-negotiable priority.
We Put Children First provides more information about our stance on child safety and well-being, and includes guidelines about what constitutes illegal, unacceptable, and concerning behaviour in relation to children. Everyone within the LWB community are expected to act in a way that prioritises the wellbeing of children at all times.
You can watch a brief overview of our We Put Children First: Understanding Child Sexual Abuse training module for employees who work with children and foster carers.
Please also visit Listening to Children's Voices and read the report on our 2014 Children's Voices initiative where we heard directly from children and young people about their own views of their safety and happiness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is Life Without Barriers?
A:Life Without Barriers is a national not-for-profit organisation working in more than 300 communities across Australia. We deliver services in the areas of disability, out-of-home care, aged care, mental health and support for refugee and asylum seekers. We also provide services to homeless people and to youth involved with the justice system. We are committed to working with people to change lives for the better.
Q: Why have we created We Put Children First?
A:At Life Without Barriers, we recognise that we have a great responsibility to keep the children we support safe. Part of ensuring children’s safety is making sure that the people who work with us – and anyone considering working with us - is clear about our shared responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of children, and what is and is not acceptable behaviour in relation to children.
Q: Why have we produced We Put Children First now?
A:We’re always asking ourselves, “what more can we do to protect children?” The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has helped all of us who work with children, in any kind of organisation, to understand more about prevention – through the publication of research and hearing from expert witnesses, and through case studies. We’ve responded to what we’ve learned, and we’re taking action to protect children.
Q: What is We Put Children First based on?
A:We Put Children First is based on a situational prevention approach. Situational prevention is a primary prevention strategy to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring by focussing on environmental risk factors, rather than only focussing on the risk that any particular individual may pose. Whilst we will continue to maintain our rigorous approach to screening and authorising our staff and carers, we are also pursuing situational prevention strategies across the organisation. Through this publication, and the integration of related messages throughout processes and products like recruitment advertising, contracts of employment and induction, we’re making our our position clear that we all share responsibility for children.
Q: Who is We Put Children First for?
A:Our message about child safety is targeted to our staff and foster carers, as well as people thinking of becoming Life Without Barriers staff or foster carers. We’re also working on adapting the messages contained in We Put Children First for children and young people, to make our unequivocal support of their right to be safe and respected clear.
Q: How will you know it's working?
A:We believe in listening to and acting on what children and young people tell us, particularly about their safety and wellbeing. Earlier this year, Life Without Barriers spoke to every child and young person in our out-of-home care programs across the country, and asked them a series of questions about their feelings of safety and wellbeing. The results were positive, with the vast majority of children and young people telling us that they feel safe and part of the family where they live. We will continue to listen to children and young people, as well as use a range of other mechanisms to constantly review and refine what we are doing, and push ourselves to consider what more we can do.
Q: Is Life Without Barriers one of the organisations that has presented to the Royal Commission?
A:Life Without Barriers has not been the subject of a Royal Commission Case Study. Along with a number of other organisations who work with children and young people, we have assisted the Commission by making submissions on issues papers, as well as providing evidence about systemic issues from our perspective as a large national provider of out-of-home care.