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Ballet schools raise the ‘child safe’ bar

Ballet schools raise the ‘child safe’ bar
January 28, 2014

A large contingent of ballet, jazz and tap dance teachers, school owners, dance judges and officials from across NSW have come together to learn how to make dance environments safer for children.

In the wake of the high profile mid-2013 arrest of a Sydney dance school teacher for multiple offences, including sexual assault of a minor and possession of child pornography, The Office of the Children's Guardian partnered with Ballet Australasia Limited and the National Dancing Association to deliver the Child Safe Organisation training.

The seminar took place at Ballet Australasia Limited's premises in Sydney on 17th January 2014.

The training, as part of the Ballet Australasia Limited's Summer School, outlined the systems, practices and tools which will help make dance organisations more child safe and child friendly.

Topics covered included risk management strategies, the new Working With Children Check obligations, recruitment tips, legal responsibilities, social media advice, appropriate behaviours and complaint handling procedures.

Ballet Australasia Limited Director Christopher Wood said that Child Safe Organisational training for the dance sector is an important opportunity for dance schools to understand what is needed to ensure children are kept safe.

Wood explained "the Child Safe Organisation training is about educating teachers on the latest policies and practices that businesses can implement to develop caring and safe environments."

The Office of the Children's Guardian has been working with Showcase Dance and the broader dance sector to help them implement improved child safe policies and practices. Since May 2013, they have conducted 11 Child Safe seminars for the dance industry in NSW. This year more Dance specific Child Safe seminars will take place in regional areas of NSW.

NSW Children's Guardian Kerryn Boland said it was encouraging that national dance organisations were keen to be involved with the Child Safe Organisations community education and training program.

Boland stated "the dance sector should be commended for the efforts they are taking to increase their understanding of child protection in their particular workplaces."

Following the arrest of Grant Davies, who remains in custody having been charged with multiple offences, the dance school community moved quickly to regulate their industry.

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Image used for illustrative purposes only.


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