Screening Volunteers

Does your club screen volunteers?

All sporting clubs in South Australia providing for children are legally required to establish and maintain a Child Safe Environment. This could include:

  • having a Child Safe Policy (as part of a Member Protection Policy) - your state body could have a template for this, or a generic template can be found at the SA Office for Recreation and Sport
  • appointing a Child Safe Officer (3 hour courses at the SA Office for Recreation and Sport)
  • ‘up-skilling’ people required to be Mandated Notifiers (the Child Safe Officer could do this once trained)
  • screening volunteers

Screening involves conducting Criminal History Assessments of volunteers working with children and is legally required in South Australia, unless an exemption applies. Your State Sporting Organisation may conduct these assessments on your behalf and they may already have policies and procedures that you can use or adapt.

You will also find useful, relevant, up-to-date information on the website of the South Australian Office for Recreation and Sport.

  • Tips in using referees to assess the suitability of volunteers
    • While undertaking a police check is the first step in the screening process, there are more steps clubs can take to safeguard children in their care, such as interviewing potential volunteers (formal or informal) or asking for and speaking to referees.

      Why check referees?

      Checking referees:

      • ensures potential volunteers are who they say they are
      • helps clubs better understand the volunteer
      • helps identify strengths and weaknesses
      • helps identify any potential problems.

      Who should be a referee?

      • employers (current or previous)
      • committee members from previous club
      • teachers or principals
      • youth volunteers.

      What sorts of questions should our club ask a referee?

      • How long have you known [name] and in what capacity [i.e., as manager/supervisor, colleague or friend]?
      • How would you describe his/her personal characteristics?
      • How would you say he/she relates to children?
      • Would you rehire the applicant? If no, why not?

      What happens if the volunteer is new to the country and doesn’t know anyone?

      If people are new to the country and do not know anyone that could be a referee, it is important not to create a barrier. Explain to newcomers why a referee is needed. Depending on the position, he/she could volunteer under supervision until the club is confident in his/her abilities or sign a statutory declaration stating that he/she does not have any offences.

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  • Check club policies and procedures regarding Child Safe Environments
  • Contact State Sporting Organisation for help regarding screening volunteers
  • List all club positions and identify which require screening
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