Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities
The mission of Edmund Rice Camps Victoria is:
To provide a safe and nurturing environment delivering growth opportunities for those in our community experiencing adversity.
We work in close partnership with the community to deliver camps and other programs that transform lives, while providing development opportunities for our valued volunteers.
Your Responsibilities as an ERCvic Volunteer
When volunteers and employees are running activities with clients of ERCSA who are minors, the law recognises ERCSA volunteers and employees as being in loco parentis, ie. they stand in the role of parent/guardian of the children. In this situation, all volunteers and employees running or participating in the activity on behalf of ERCSA have a duty of care towards ERCSA clients. A duty of care means that volunteers and employees have to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm to ERCSA’s clients when the clients are participating in an ERCSA activity (such as a camp or activity day). All volunteers and employees running the activity commit to this duty of care for the duration of the activity (for example, on a camp, this is a 24-hour responsibility for the length of the camp).
ERCSA employees have primary legal responsibility for the welfare of ERCSA clients who are participating in an ERCSA activity. Volunteers and employees participating in the activity are required to share in that responsibility through enacting the policies and procedures of ERCSA, as outlined in the ERCSA Operations Manual and ERCSA Volunteer Code of Conduct. As an organisation, we operate under the governance of Edmund Rice Ministries Oceania, and as such all staff and volunteers must also operate under the Children and Vulnerable Adults Care, Safety & Protection: Code of Conduct.
The policies, procedures, and guidelines applicable to the roles of volunteers (and employees) will be made known to all volunteers during the induction sessions on every ERCSA program. On request, you can also have access to the ERCSA Operations Manual for more information.
It is acknowledged that written procedures cannot cover every possible occurrence on camp. Volunteers and employees are expected to use common sense and initiative when dealing with various situations.
As a volunteer, you should make yourself aware of your workplace health and safety responsibilities. For instance, you must:
look after your own health and safety at work
not do anything that will harm you or others
use any safety equipment that you are given
obey your ERCSA’s safety rules
not take drugs or drink alcohol at work
participate in an induction and sign off to show that you understand what is expected of you.
as an ERCSA Volunteer
As an ERCSA Volunteer you have the right to:
Access to full, up to date and accurate information about ERCSA
Clear instruction, both verbal and written, regarding your roles within ERCSA
Clear information regarding the structure of ERCSA
Being supported and supervised in your role
Knowing to whom you are accountable
A healthy and safe working environment
Being made aware of the grievance complaint procedures within ERCSA
Being made aware of other relevant guidelines for volunteers within ERCSA
Saying no if you feel you are being exploited
Being adequately trained to undertake roles within ERCSA
ERCSA values diversity and difference in our volunteers. We operate in adherence to discrimination and equal opportunity laws that address certain kinds of unfair treatment. For more information, see Legal considerations for the volunteer sector, and the Equal Opportunity Commission website.
The Volunteers Protection Act 2001 addresses concerns that people could be held legally responsible for their actions while doing voluntary work on behalf of an organisation. The Act gives legal protection from personal liability to volunteers doing voluntary work for an incorporated community organisation or government program, but does not cover personal injury matters. To protect individuals in relation to personal injury, ERCSA’s insurance can provide benefits to volunteers following injury, disability or death while carrying out duties for their organisation.
Volunteering can offer rewarding outcomes for all participants but this requires mutual respect and trust. As a volunteer you have the right to expect privacy and confidentiality from staff and colleagues. They should also treat all information about other volunteers and clients as confidential, regardless of the source of information.
For more information, or to discuss any of the above further, contact the Executive Officer.
Children and Young People
At ERCSA we are continuously seeking to engage in best practice which works to prevent and minimize the risk of harm to children and adults who engage with any services run by, or in collaboration with ERCSA. We seek to ensure that all those who hold a duty of care towards children are aware of their responsibilities to respond to safety concerns that arise.
Abuse towards a child or adult is not tolerated. The welfare and best interests of the child and adult are paramount.
Existence of risk for Children
ERCSA acknowledges that barriers to child safety still exist within our society and, for that reason, persistent efforts to safeguard children and adults from harm are required.
All individuals are unique and will be treated equally and fairly. The views of children and others are highly valued. Everyone has the right to be safe regardless of any diverse factors such as attributes, socio-economic status, nationality, sex, culture, ethnicity, beliefs, health, or any other status.
All concerns regarding the safety, development or wellbeing of a child or adult will be managed with a high degree of professionalism and appropriate confidentiality will be maintained. Our practices seek to ensure that all parties involved in the process will be appropriately supported.
Child protection is everyone’s responsibility, to ensure that a culture of safety is fostered and maintained within the organisation and its associated services.
Processes related to effective documentation, monitoring, and review procedures are practiced that support and inform management and staff to ensure their safeguarding roles and responsibilities are being conducted to the best of their ability.
By working to uphold these principles and/or rights, we are seeking to recognise and demonstrate genuine respect for the inherent value, dignity, and worth of all. Through this commitment, we are also demonstrating respect for basic human rights as this is the cornerstone of developing strong communities in which every member feels safe and secure, together with a having a sense of connectedness and belonging.
As a Volunteer you must adhere to our Safeguarding Policy. For a copy of our Safeguarding Policy click here. It is your responsibility to report any Safeguarding concerns to the Camp Manager as soon as it is appropriate.
If your Safeguarding concern is about the conduct of a Camp Manager or ERCSA Staff member, contact the Edmund Rice Ministries Oceania Safeguarding Coordinator on 0438 917 505.
Your rights as a
ERCSA has its own internal process for dealing with concerns around child maltreatment. This process includes reporting to the Department of Child Protection, working directly with referral agencies, or with Police where necessary to ensure that the children and young people in our service are safe.
At any time you are within your rights as a mandated notifier to report a concern directly to the Department of Child Protection.
As a mandated notifier is required by law to notify the Department for Child Protection if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk of harm. If a mandated notifier forms a suspicion outside of their work (whether paid or voluntary) that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk of harm, they may make a notification to the Department for Child Protection voluntarily.
Abuse and neglect can be reported to the Child Abuse Report Line on 131 478 (13 CARL).
Always call 000 in an emergency.
For more information head to the Department of Child Protection's webpage 'Mandated notifiers and their role'.