Child Safety Policy and Procedures Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. is committed to providing a child-safe and child-friendly environment. Belief Statement “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3-5 We believe we are called by Jesus Christ to shape our lives and our communities in his image; growing in love, faith, justice, hope, joy, generosity, self-control and gentleness. For the church to be an environment unsafe for children, either through deliberate action or negligent inaction stands in direct opposition to this calling. We believe that the church, being concerned vigilantly with the safety of its children, provides an environment in which these children can experience true life in relationship with God and grow in faith. The Conference of Churches of Christ in South Australia and Northern Territory is committed to doing all within its power to assist churches in achieving the highest standards in their care of children. We believe that authority and power ultimately belongs to the God of Jesus Christ. Those who have power or influence over others, due to their position, age, gender or qualification, have the responsibility to use that power as God uses power, not for self-interest or gain but for the betterment of others.
Churches of Christ in SA & NT and Child Safety Developing a culture that respects and protects the dignity and safety of children and young people requires more than simply adopting appropriate policies and procedures. It includes:
The Conference of Churches of Christ in South Australia and Northern Territory recommends that affiliated Churches implement the ChildSafe SP4 Safety Management System, or a similar system, to assist with developing a child-safe culture and environment. This system will not replace the need for procedures contained in this guide, but can provide an overall road map for how to ensure our Churches are child-safe organisations. Among other things, ChildSafe SP4 Safety Management System includes a risk management framework, and resources for training. Churches and agencies affiliated with Churches of Christ in South Australia and Northern Territory are required by law to implement Child Safety Policy and Procedures, in compliance with the Children’s Protection Act 1993.
Fostering churches where children flourish The State Board of Churches of Christ in SA & NT Inc has established a Child Safe Work Group to provide resources and practical support for congregations as they work to ensure their ministry with children is conducted in the safest and healthiest environment possible. Churches of Christ in SA & NT Inc acknowledge the long-term damage done to children who are abused or mistreated by adults, and that people in authority who fail to act appropriately, or collude to protect the reputation of their organisations deepen and reinforce the consequences of the abuse. Churches of Christ are committed to being communities:
Table of Contents Introductory Comments
|Churches of Christ in SA & NT and Child Safety
|Fostering Churches where Children Flourish
|Table of Contents
|Child Safety Policy
|Child Safety Policy Objectives
|Conduct of Leaders, Volunteers and Employees
|Screening of Leaders, Volunteers and Employees
|Support, training, supervision and enhancement
|Reporting and responding to abuse and neglect
|Child participation and training
Definitions COCSANT Churches of Christ in South Australia and Northern Territory
Child In line with current South Australian legislation, a child/ young person is a person under the age of 18 years.
C.A.R.L. Child Abuse Report Line Leaders
Leaders are those who have oversight, supervision or key leadership responsibilities. They can be paid employees or volunteers.
Volunteers Volunteers are the leaders, helpers and assistants in positions and programs who are not paid. Employees
Employees refers to those who are paid by the church. Abuse
Child abuse is not usually a single act but takes place over time. The Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA) defines and identifies four categories of child abuse: Physical – a situation where a child suffers or is likely to suffer significant harm from an injury inflicted by another person. The injury may be inflicted intentionally or may be an inadvertent consequence of physical punishment or aggression.
Sexual – a situation in which a person uses power or authority over a child to involve the child in sexual activity.
Emotional – a situation in which a person repeatedly rejects the child or uses threats to frighten the child and creates an emotional environment which significantly damages the child’s physical, social, intellectual or emotional development.
Neglect – a situation in which an adult fails to provide the child with the basic necessities of life to the extent that the child’s health and development is, or is likely to be, significantly harmed. In addition, Churches of Christ in South Australia and Northern Territory recognises spiritual abuse – a situation in which a person misuses their power, leadership or influence to control, coerce or manipulate a child for seemingly religious purposes. It includes intentional and unwitting abuse in both formal and casual situations. Spiritual abuse includes enticements, threats of rejection, evoking fear, emotional appeals, accusation of demon possession and involving children in spiritual activity against their will.
Bullying Bullying is a form of persistent harassment that demeans, threatens, humiliates or intimidates a person.
Cyber-bullying Cyber-bullying uses e-technology as a means of victimising others. It is the use of an internet service or mobile technologies - such as e-mail, chat room, discussion groups, instant messaging, web pages or SMS (text messaging) - with the intention of harming another person.
Examples include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down or humiliate the recipient.
Duty of Care Duty of care means the legal responsibility that the local church has to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those who participate in its activities and services.
Complainant A person[s] who alleges and/or reports abusive or inappropriate behaviour. Criminal History Report Criminal History Reports [also known as National Police Certificates or a National Criminal History Record Checks], are reports from South Australia Police or a CrimTrac accredited agency or broker that contains any criminal history information about an individual. Relevant History Report The ‘Relevant History Assessment’ involves assessing information about a person’s relevant history for the purpose of determining whether a person may pose a risk of harm to children if appointed to, or engaged to act in, a prescribed position within an organisation. The Child Safe Coordinator must apply to the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion Screening Unit for a child-related employment screening check. This is referred to as a “relevant history assessment” - http://www.dcsi.sa.gov.au/services/screening. The assessment must be conducted by an organisation or authorised screening unit in accordance with the Children’s Protection Act 1993 and associated regulations.
Child Safety Policy Objectives
1.1 To protect children by minimising the risk of abuse or harm within ministries, programs or activities associated with Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc.
1.2 To enable children and young people to flourish in ministries, programs and activities provided by the church.
1.3 To ensure that all Federal and State legislation pertaining to child protection is strictly adhered to in the ministries, programs and activities involving children in the Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. Responsibility
2.1 The Leadership acknowledges it has legal responsibility to ensure all children involved in any church ministries, programs and activities are safe.
2.2 The Leadership appoints a Child Safe Coordinator to oversee the implementation of this Policy and associated procedures, and must report to Leadership yearly.
Conduct of Leaders, Volunteers and Employees
3.1 Children in the care of Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. are entitled to be safe and feel safe at all times.
3.2 Every person involved in ministry at Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. must treat the safety and care of children as paramount.
3.3 As leaders, volunteers and employees are placed in a position of trust and responsibility, they will make every reasonable effort to avoid acting, or failing to act, in a way that compromises a child’s sense of physical, emotional or spiritual safety and wellbeing.
3.4 In particular, Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. adopts the Child Safety Code of Conduct and associated procedures named in that Code. Every volunteer, leader and employee involved in ministry at Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. must comply with the Child Safety Code of Conduct and associated procedures named in that Code. Failure to do so will be reported in accordance with the Child Safety Reporting Procedure and will be dealt with in accordance with the Child Safety Response Procedure.
Screening of Leaders, Volunteers and Employees
4.1 Leaders, volunteers and employees must be screened and appointed in line with measures and best practice standards outlined in the Child Safety Screening Procedure, which accords with the requirements in the Children’s Protection Act 1993.
4.2 A leader, volunteer or employee must agree to abide by the Child Safety Code of Conduct before becoming involved in ministry in Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc.
4.3 Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. must ensure that relevant history assessment information is managed securely and confidentially in accordance with the Child Safety Records Procedure. Support, training, supervision and enhancement
5.1 Leaders, volunteers and employees must receive child-safety training before becoming involved in ministry at Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc., including (without limitation) training on how to recognise and respond to abuse and neglect of children.
5.2 The training provider and/or content must be approved by the Church’s governing body.
5.3 Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. is committed to its ongoing improvement and development of as a child safe and child friendly organisation.
So: 5.3.1 It is necessary for training to be provided on an ongoing basis, at least every five years; and
5.3.2 The following matters will be taken into account when conducting employee performance reviews:
Reporting and responding to abuse and neglect
 Anyone who has regular contact with children or works in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or who has responsibility for the supervision or management of people in positions involving regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or they have access to records that relate to: (i) an educational, child care, health or disability service related to children; or (ii) legal proceedings relating to children; or (iii) the administration of the requirements in the Children’s Protection Act 1993, the Family and Community Services Act 1972, the Young Offenders Act 1993 or the Youth Court Act 1993.
6.1 Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. acknowledges that any act that endangers a child’s physical or emotional health or development is serious and must be reported and responded to seriously by it. Children are to be believed.
6.2 External reporting: Employees, volunteers and leaders must report suspected abuse or neglect to external authorities in accordance with the steps outlined in the Child Safety Reporting Procedure, which reflects the requirements of the Children’s Protection Act 1993.
6.3 Internal reporting: In addition to any external reporting obligations, Employees, volunteers and leaders must report any:
to the Coordinator in accordance with the steps outlined in the Child Safety Reporting Procedure. 6.4 Where a report is made to the Coordinator, he or she must ensure that appropriate steps are taken in response to the report, as outlined in the Child Safety Response Procedure, to ensure the ongoing and future safety of children within the Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc.. This may include:
Bullying 7.1 Bullying of or by a leader or participant, in any program or activity, is always unacceptable.
Safe Environments 8.1 Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. believes that every measure should be taken to ensure that all programs and activities are planned and conducted in a safe manner.
8.2 No ministry activity or program can be undertaken in Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. without a risk management assessment being undertaken in accordance with The Child Safety Risk Management Plan. The risk management assessment must specifically consider the risks to children, including risks that may exist as a result of physical surroundings, and risks that may exist because of the personnel involved.
Child Participation and Training
9.1 Mount Barker Church of Christ Inc. wants children to flourish. It values and embraces the opinion and views of children. 9.2 The Coordinator is responsible for overseeing a communication program that will help children:
Review This policy must be reviewed and updated every 24 months. Procedures Child Safe procedures relevant to this policy are outlined in Childsafe version 4 Team Member guide (CSTMGv4). CSTMGv4 may be updated periodically.
Procedures Child Safe procedures relevant to this policy are outlined in Childsafe version 4 Team Member guide (CSTMGv4). CSTMGv4 may be updated periodically.
 Children’s Protection Act 1993 section 8C (1)