10. Girl Guiding in Practise

Policy

Girl Guiding in Australia (GGiA) is committed to providing safe activities and environments for all Guides, Volunteers, and Employees and has policies and procedures for specific aspects. These include supervision ratios, risk management, outdoor activities, adventure-based activities, overnight stays, interstate events, international events and travel, social media and internet, and engagement and activities with other organisations. These policies and procedures support Youth Members to engage in Girl Guiding safely.

Adult Members, Volunteers and Employees must be familiar with the Girl Guide policies and procedures relevant to their role. All GGiA Members, Volunteers, and Employees will adopt a culture of adherence to the policies and procedures of GGA and the relevant SGGO according to their role in Guiding.

The procedures to support this policy are included below.

1. Supervision Ratios

Girl Guiding in Australia is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all Guides, Volunteers and Employees.

It is important to consider the supervision ratios of adults to Youth Members when planning any Girl Guiding activity.

Adult to Youth Member ratios vary according to the ages of the girls, the activity being undertaken, and the results of any risk assessment undertaken for the activity.  There are some specific rules applicable for some activities including for members with additional needs, international travel, swimming and boating activities.

The Guidance Note – Supervision Ratios has full details of the applicable ratios and what to consider when determining the number of adults that should be present for any Girl Guiding activity. Ratios at a Glance  provides easy reference to the supervision ratios.

There are special provisions for International Travel – see 7. International Events and Travel.

2. Risk Management

GGA has a risk management framework which must be referenced for all Guiding activities. All volunteers and staff are empowered to manage risks within their sphere of influence and are responsible for:

  • actively undertaking risk assessments and managing risks, in consultation with colleagues;
  • communicating risks identified to supervisors, colleagues and other stakeholders
  • supporting and contributing to Risk Management initiatives;
  • obeying reasonable directions given by Managers in relation to Risk Management;
  • advising their Managers of any Risk issues that require attention; and
  • acting at all times in accordance with the mission of GGA.

When assessing risk, consideration must be given to the requirements of the GGA CSCF Policy and Procedures.

The Risk Management Framework can be accessed on Guide Lines.

If a Member, Volunteer or Employee identifies an area of risk with any aspect of Guiding that they consider is not covered by a policy or procedure they should immediately raise this issue with their supervisor. The supervisor will provide assistance as to the correct process to be adopted for any immediate issue and, if a policy or procedure vacuum exists, the supervisor will escalate this to the relevant State Commissioner and/or CEO.

3. Boundaries When Interacting With Youth Members

Adults in Guiding are to avoid placing themselves in a situation where Youth Members feel uncomfortable or compromised or where adults’ actions could be misinterpreted. Boundaries must be maintained with Youth Members at all times, both during and outside of Girl Guide activities. Adults in Guiding have agreed to the GGA Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct, the Girl Guide Promise, the Guide Law and the policies and procedures of GGA and SGGO provide guidance on the expected standards of conduct when interacting with Youth Members. For more information see Guidance Note – Boundaries When Interacting With Others in Guiding.

4. Outdoor and Adventure-based Activities

Enjoying the outdoors is an important part of the Australian Guide Program. There are specific guidelines and procedures which must be followed for some activities. When choosing any outdoor activity, Leaders should take into consideration the age, experience and needs of the participants so that everyone has an opportunity for enjoyment and to challenge themselves.

Camping is enjoyed by many. Camping rules and requirements must be adhered to and can be accessed on Guide Lines.

The Activities Manual has been developed to support Leaders’ understanding of the additional responsibilities for camping or exploring other adventure-based activities.  These can be found on Guide Lines.

The procedures for all camping and other adventure-based activities are minimum requirements of GGA. Safety rules apply to all members, at all times, and are to be strictly observed. More stringent conditions may be enforced if considered necessary.  When planning and engaging in any activities, apart from addressing the risks of the specific activity, it is important to also remember GGiA has no tolerance for any activity that puts children at increased risk of any form of abuse.

There are some activities that are specifically not approved for GGiA. Refer to Guide Lines.

5. Overnight Stays

A Guide Unit may hold an indoor overnight stay or sleepover. These must be held in a Guide approved venue and meet specific requirements pursuant to each SGGO including supervision ratio requirements.

A qualified Leader must be in attendance at all times and prior notification of the activity must be given to the District Manager.  Refer to Guide Lines.

Any Volunteer that attends a camp or an overnight stay must meet the requirements for an Ongoing Volunteer.

6. Interstate Girl Guide Youth Member Events

WWCCs are only valid in the state or territory where they are issued. Any Adult in Guiding who attends a Girl Guide Youth Member event in another state or territory must meet the WWCC requirements in that state or territory.  Checking these requirements must be part of the planning for any State Girl Guide event. There may be exemptions for events organised by Girl Guides.

The legislation in most states and territories allows for reliance on the relevant WWCC issued by the jurisdiction in which the person lives if they are attending an authorised Girl Guide event.  There is limited validity of WWCC (or the equivalent) in other states and territories (e.g., they are usually only valid for a certain number of days).

* Note in some states and territories a Working With Children Check is required for anyone 14 years or over.

7. International Events and Travel

GGA is a foundation member of WAGGGS and it is important for GGiA to promote friendship among the girls and women of all nations as a contribution to peace and understanding.

Guides have the opportunity for travel to international Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting events to explore cultures, share experiences and gain an understanding of Guiding in other countries.

The policies and procedures in Guide Lines must be adhered to when planning and undertaking any international Guiding travel.  Risk assessments must be completed and supervision ratios for international Guide travel must be adhered to.  The Guidance Note -International Travel Ratios provides the ratios that must be adhered to when Youth Members are travelling internationally.

Any adult that is a member of an international contingent which includes Youth Members must meet the requirements for an Ongoing Volunteer.

Contingent Leaders for events must comply with the Contingent Leaders Handbook.

8. Digital Platforms – including social media and internet

GGiA recognises the rapidly changing electronic age that we live in today and the opportunities and challenges that this provides for all Members and supports the responsible use of all digital platforms.

GGiA promotes the safe use of the internet and social media by Youth Members through activities and programs, and in general discussions at all levels of the organisation.

Adults in Guiding must not engage with Youth Members through social media personal profiles.

If communicating with a Youth Member through an official GGiA profile, Adults in Guiding must not engage with Youth Members in an inappropriate or unsafe manner at any time.  This includes any private or public contact that does not directly relate to GGiA activities, or is of a sexual, grooming, bullying, harassing or violent nature.

For further information on digital safety refer to Guide Lines.

Additionally the Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides valuable resources to share with Youth Members to support digital safety.  Please refer to esafety.gov.au.

9. Parental Rights and Court Orders

Under Australian law, both parents of a Youth Member will usually have equal ‘parental responsibility’ for that Youth Member unless:

  • There is a ‘Child Protection Order’ in place which has taken away all, or some, of the parental responsibility
  • There is a ‘Family Court Order’ in place which has taken away all, or some, of the parental responsibility
  • There is another legal restriction on ‘parental responsibility’.

If both parents have parental responsibility of a Youth Member, then both parents have an equal say in what happens in the life of the Youth Member and are entitled to equal information about the Youth Member.

If anyone makes an allegation or complaint involving a parent of a Youth Member, GGiA must not ‘take sides’ with one particular parent and must abide by all Court Orders e.g., Child Protection, Family Court Orders and Domestic Violence Orders.

If a Court Order makes reference to how relationships between Unit Leaders, Managers and parents are to be conducted, these must be followed.

Note that a ‘Domestic/Family Violence Order’, or ‘Protection Order’, does not necessarily take away a parent’s parental responsibility, it usually just says who can and cannot have contact with a person. Such orders often extend to children (Youth Members).

If you are uncertain as to how to respond to any of these court orders, then consult with your District or Region Manager.

10. Engagement and Activities with Scouts and other organisations

Girl Guides often share activities with other community groups and participate in a wide variety of community events. It is important to remember supervision ratios must be adhered to and child safe checks completed as required by GGiA.

Many activities are shared with Scouts. GGA and Scouts Australia share a common background. However, they are separate organisations.  Any activities with Scouts should also adhere to the guidelines for shared activities included in Guide Lines.

11. Administration of Units and Support Groups

Youth members contribute to the administration and self-governance of a Unit and are consulted by the Unit Leaders about decisions that affect them. A Guide Support Group is a vital body of non-uniformed volunteers within a District or local area who wish to support Guiding.

More information regarding Support Groups can be found here. As Support Groups Members are likely to come into contact with Youth Members on more than four occasions in any twelve month period the members of a Support Group are considered Ongoing Volunteers and are required to meet the requirements set out in Element 3 – Recruiting and Screening Volunteers.

12. Additional Needs

GGiA provides opportunities for girls and young women with as wide a range of additional needs as it can accommodate in a safe manner (see GGA Diversity and Inclusion Policy). If after taking all reasonable steps GGiA cannot provide adequate supervision or support required to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the applicant for membership and/or other Members, Volunteers, or Employees, membership will be declined (see Element 2 – Becoming a Girl Guide).

13. The Australian Leadership & Qualification Program

The Australian Leadership & Qualification Program (ALQP) provides the training requirements for all Leaders, Managers and Trainers. The ALQP is focused on facilitating Adult Members to empower girls and young women to discover their potential as leaders of their world by providing them with opportunities to grow, learn and have fun in relevant and meaningful ways.

14. Uniform

To contribute to GGiA being a Child Safe Child Friendly there is a requirement that members wear a uniform for Guiding activities (see here for more information).

Youth Members are often involved in activities that will take them out and about in public spaces.  The wearing of uniform by Youth Members facilitates supervision of Youth Members.  The Guidance Note – Supervision Ratios must always be complied with.

Any adult wearing a uniform must have complied with the requirements for membership or of an Ongoing Volunteer.

15. Street Collections

Guides may only participate in Street Collections in limited circumstances.

Guides may assist in street collections or door knock on behalf of other organisations which comply with State ordinances and with the approval of the Unit Leader and the District or Region Manager.

State laws must be adhered to with relation to the age of the girls participating.

In the interest of safety of the girls, all girls involved in any street collection or door knocking activity must work in groups of at least two. They must be accompanied by two or more adults and adhere to the requirements of Clause 1 Supervision Ratios above.

All Guides, Leaders and Managers must wear uniform and carry and show identification.

16. Home hospitality for visiting Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Girl Guiding in Australia welcomes visiting Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and when appropriate will organise home hospitality in accordance with state or territory legislation and the policy and procedures of GGA.  This is only possible if all people living in the household hold current Working with Children Checks if required by the state or territory legislation. National Police Checks may also be required. Where the visiting Girl Guide or Girl Scout is under the age of 18 years then permission from the relevant Commissioner is required.

Last Modified: 23/11/21 at 12:28 PM