Safe Ministry Policy and Guidelines
Safe Ministry Policy
Emu Plains Anglican Church
1) Introduction – Why have a church policy and guidelines?
2) Who Does This Apply To?
B Being A Safe Leader
3) Workers – Recruitment and Appointment
4) Workers – Overview of Safe Ministry Behaviour
5) Safe Ministry Representative
6) Work, Health and Safety Act 2011
C Relationships With Children and Young People
8) Physical Contact
10) Contacting Children and Young People
10A) Meeting Outside Programmed Events
11) Photos / Images
D Running a Safe Group
14) Venue and Equipment
15) Risk Assessment
16) Record Keeping
17) Parents and Guardians
19) Food and Kitchen
21) First Aid & Medical
23) Off Site Activities
26) External Service Providers
E Dealing With Child Abuse
27) Child Abuse – Meaning
28) Disclosure and Indicators of Abuse
29) Reporting Child Abuse
1) Introduction – Why have a church policy and guidelines?
Children and young people are valued members of our church family. They are entitled to be taught the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and participate in church activities, in a safe, protected and nurturing environment. Because of their age children and young people are by nature vulnerable. Ministry involving children requires absolute trustworthiness.
Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney, writes “Unfortunately some Christian workers have not always protected the vulnerable – of whom children are the prime example”. (Foreword to the Anglican Church “Faithfulness in Service Code of Conduct – 2012”)
Those who seek to abuse children or young people have used group based activities, including church organised activities, in order to gain the trust of a child or young person and having gained that trust they have engaged in one to one activities that offer an opportunity for abuse to occur.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the children and young people involved in activities run by Emu Plains Anglican Church, Emu Plains, as well as safeguarding the integrity of the workers involved in this ministry. This policy and guidelines document is to be read with the Anglican Church Faithfulness in Service Code of Conduct (2017). It is in no way intended to replace or weaken this Code.
All workers involved in activities at Emu Plains Anglican Church are required to read, accept and abide by the procedures and standards set out in this policy.
A copy of this policy should be accessible through the public church website. Parents and guardians of children and young people attending groups should be made aware of the policy and where it can be accessed. Copies should be made available to all workers.
2) Who Does This Apply To?
In this policy:
Any term used to refer to ‘children / young people / young person’ means people aged under 18 years, unless otherwise stated.
The term “worker” includes all people, paid and unpaid, leading, serving and participating in activities involving children and young people on behalf of Emu Plains Anglican Church. This includes people assisting on a casual or ‘one off’ basis.
Where teams include workers who are under 18 years of age the provisions of this policy apply to the relationship between these workers and adult workers on the team.
B. Being a Safe Leader
3) Workers – Recruitment, Appointment and Training
The Senior Minister is responsible for the recruitment and appointment of people to work with children and young people within the church. This responsibility may be delegated by the Senior Minister to an appropriate person.
Before a person is approached about involvement in ministry involving children or young people consideration must be given to their suitability for the role including their demonstrated Christian commitment, character, aptitude and availability. This must include a discussion with the Senior Minister and their Growth Group leader.
Clear job descriptions should be provided to all workers to ensure they are aware of the following:
i. The vision of ministry at Emu Plains Anglican Church
ii. The nature and expectations of their role and responsibilities
iii. The characteristics workers should be developing
iv. Who they are responsible to
v. What they are responsible for
Before starting involvement in any ministry involving children or young people at Emu Plains Anglican Church all workers must:
i. Read the job description information provided in relation to that role
ii. Read the Faithfulness in Service Code 2017
iii. Read this Safe Ministry Policy
iv. Provide a Working With Children Check that has been verified by the church office
v. Complete and sign a Volunteers Application Form
All workers must be trained in the responsibility of caring for children and young people and reporting suspected child abuse. The Safe Ministry Training Course must be up to date (full or refresher course completed within the last three years) or completed within three months of starting in a position where there is no record of Safe Ministry Training or it has been completed more than three years ago. This can be completed online and arranged through the Church Safe Ministry Representative.
The Senior Minister has the discretion to approve a person temporarily continuing as a worker without completing the Safe Ministry Training (maximum of 3 months) for ‘just cause’ (this may include temporary delays due to unavailability of courses or personal difficulties in completing training).
Parents who provide assistance on a casual basis in a children’s or youth ministry that involves their child must provide a WWCC number and will be encouraged to complete Safe Ministry Training.
Workers under 18 Years: Workers under 18 years of age cannot obtain WWCC numbers, and so must sign (with a parent/guardian countersigning) a declaration about their suitability. A WWCC number must be obtained and supplied to the church as soon as a worker turns 18 years (numbers may be applied for up to one month prior to a person’s eighteenth birthday).
Workers between 17 and 18 years of age must complete Safe Ministry Training. Workers aged 14-16 years must complete Junior Safe Ministry Training.
4) Workers – Overview of Safe Ministry Behaviour
“A wise and careful worker will put the interests of the children and young people who they are leading before their own, and will carefully think through the implications of their own actions before acting on them”. (Safe Ministry with Children And Young People – Leading Children and Youth Handout, Youthworks Training Program)
When involved in ministry with children or young people all workers have responsibility for the safety and welfare of the children and young people in their care. No worker is to engage in or tolerate from others child abuse (see 27) Child Abuse).
Workers should be open in all they say and do. Workers should avoid being alone with a child or young person under all circumstances.
Workers should maintain a sense of responsibility towards one another to prevent any breach of trust towards children and young people and to maintain the integrity of each worker.
We encourage a ‘speak up’ environment’. If a worker observes anything, or has any concern, that a person, activity or environment may jeopardise the interests of children or young people they should raise it with one or any of: the activity leader, the Children’s Co-ordinator, the Youth Ministry Co-ordinator or the Safe Ministry Representative.
5) Safe Ministry Representative
A Safe Ministry Representative will be appointed by the Senior Minister, with agreement from the Parish Council. The person must be 21 years or older, be up to date with Safe Ministry Training and have provided their Working With Children Check.
The position is appointed for a period of 12 months (renewable) unless at the time of the appointment some other period is specified in writing by the Senior Minister.
The Safe Ministry Representative is to assist the Senior Minister in complying with child protection screening legislation and all other safe ministry requirements of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church.
The Safe Ministry Representative is responsible for ensuring that everyone who is working with Children and Young people at Emu Plains Anglican Church has:
i. Completed up to date Safe Ministry Training
ii. Provided the church with a Working With Children Check Number
iii. Received a copy of the Church Safe Ministry Policy and Guidelines
iv. Received a copy of the Faithfulness in Service Code (2017)
The Safe Ministry Representative is responsible to:
i. Maintain an up to date list of people with Safe Ministry Training, including details of when and where the training was completed and the name of the trainer
ii. Maintain an up to date list of Working With Children Check numbers for people in the Parish who have provided the numbers
iii. For each worker in a Children’s or Youth Ministry position keep an up to date record of their full name, address, date of birth, position, date of commencement, information on safe ministry training and WWCC number verification
iv. Organise online Safe Ministry Training Courses where required
v. Report to the Director of the Professional Standards Unit, any knowledge or reasonable suspicion that a child who attends or has attended any activity of the church has suffered child abuse or is at risk of harm of child abuse from a parish office holder
vi. Monitor and report to Parish Council on Safe Ministry systems and practices in the church
6) Work and Safety - (NSW) Work, Health and Safety Act 2011
The Senior Minister and Church Wardens have, as far as reasonably practicable, responsibility to:
i. Ensure the health and safety of workers
ii. Ensure the health and safety of others are not put at risk from work carried out at the church
All workers have an obligation to:
i. Take reasonable care for their own health and safety
ii. Take reasonable care so that nothing they do or fail to do adversely affects the health or safety of others
iii. Comply as far as reasonably able with any reasonable instructions, policies and procedures of the wardens and minister in relation to work health and safety
Anyone else on the church property, including parishioners and visitors, must also obey reasonable instructions.
C. Relationships With Children and Young People
7) General Principles
Pastoral Care and general communication are an integral part of youth and children’s ministry and something that is to be encouraged in ministry. For this reason healthy, appropriate relationships between workers and the children and young people in their groups are encouraged.
Children and young people should be able to trust and confide in workers, and develop appropriate relationships that provide support and encouragement to the child or young person. Workers should avoid fostering inappropriate dependence on the part of a child or young person.
It is important that relationships are transparent – parents, guardians and church leaders should be aware of relationships that exist between workers and children or young people.
Extra care should be taken in developing relationships with children and young people of the opposite sex. Where a child or young person seeks to discuss or obtain assistance in relation to a personal problem they should be directed to confide in a person of the same sex.
Workers should avoid behaviour that involves or suggests favouritism or inappropriate special relationships. Workers should have no secrets with children or young people.
Workers must not cultivate relationships in order to initiate or cloak abuse of children or young persons.
A worker should not become romantically involved with any young person under the age of 18 years who is a participant of a program of which the worker is involved in leading. Where a pre-existing relationship exists workers should discuss this with their Team Leader.
8) Physical Contact
Appropriate interaction is important for a child and young person’s healthy development.
Any form of interaction with a child or young person should respect their feelings and privacy. Except for safety reasons (e.g. personal injury) children have the right to refuse touch. Male workers should be particularly aware of their behaviour towards children and young people, keeping unavoidable physical contact to a minimum.
A worker must never touch a child or young person in a manner that is inappropriate given their age, sex or cultural background.
What constitutes appropriate physical contact will vary according to the age of the child or young person.
The following will always constitute inappropriate physical contact:
i. Any contact that is sexually stimulating or may be construed as sexual
ii. Kissing or coaxing a child / young person to kiss
iii. Extended hugging
iv. Touching any area normally covered by swimmers – including buttocks, thighs, breasts and groin area
v. Carrying older children, sitting them on a worker’s lap or having them rub against a worker
vi. Having an older child sit on a male worker’s lap
vii. Slapping, hitting or shaking
viii. Forceful grabbing or picking up
Appropriate physical contact may include:
i. Redirection of a child into an appropriate activity
ii. Bending to the child’s eye level and speaking kindly
iii. Praising or welcoming a child
iv. Open / side hugs to welcome or comfort
v. High fives
vi. Quick pat on top of child’s back to reassure or praise
vii. Holding hands to guide or reassure
viii. Sitting a child next to a worker (eg to read a story)
ix. Contact that is part of an appropriate game or activity in the program
If a baby or young infant is crying or distressed it is appropriate to pick them up, talk to them in reassuring tones and hold them in order to comfort them. Other appropriate physical contact for a baby or young infant may include hugging, sitting on a worker’s lap, carrying, rubbing or patting backs and handholding.
Assisting with face-washing, hand-washing, changing outer layers of clothing, examining sore spots and blowing noses for young children will all be appropriate touch.
A worker should not assist a child in a way that involves intimate touch where the child is capable of acting on his or her own (eg toileting, changing clothes) or where a parent or carer is available.
Love and care for the children and young people in our care can be expressed in non-physical ways. This may include the following:
Engaging in a two way conversation with a child or young person
Words of encouragement
Quality time and attention
Providing tangible objects to play with
Addressing a cause of discomfort or distress
Children and young people may take initiative and seek out physical contact, especially with a well-known and trusted adult figure. Workers must learn to provide appropriate responses to their behaviour. There may be occasions where a worker must break off inappropriate or extended physical contact initiated and maintained by a child or young person, even where the child or young person is a relative or close family friend.
See 9) Discipline for the policy to be adopted where a child or young person behaves in a manner presenting physical danger to themselves and / or others. See also policies in relation to 20) Toileting and 21) First Aid.
This section provides a minimum guideline as to appropriate and inappropriate methods of managing and disciplining children and young people participating in activities provided by Emu Plains Anglican Church.
The purpose of discipline is to guide, teach and correct, helping children and young people learn how to behave. Workers must discipline in a way that shows love, care, value and support.
Good discipline starts with prayer, the workers, the environment, the program, the atmosphere and relationships with the children and young people. The aim should be to prevent rather than punish.
In crèche all children should be supervised closely. Speak firmly and gently to a child who needs redirection. If it is necessary to restrain a child or move them for the purpose of safety do so with a minimum of force.
Older groups should develop a set of rules or standards of behaviour to be expected from the children and young people in the group. These should include consequences to be imposed for breach of the rules that increase in severity. The rules and consequences should be clearly explained to the children and young people. All workers should understand and accept the discipline policy for the group.
The following general rules always apply:
i. Guidelines should be implemented firmly, fairly and consistently
ii. No corporal (physical) punishment is to be used under any circumstances
iii. Discipline must not ridicule, humiliate or be otherwise offensive or abusive
iv. Very young children should not be isolated as a form of discipline
v. Never punish the whole group for misbehaviour of a few
vi. Discipline must be appropriate to the situation and age of the child and young person
vii. Workers should remain calm when talking to a child or young person about behaviour – do not speak in anger – try to keep emotions out of the way – maybe take a few minutes to decide what to say
viii. Discipline with respect and preferably out of earshot of others
Where a child or young person behaves in a manner presenting physical danger to themselves and / or others the following procedures should be adopted:
i. If necessary, for young children aged 0 to 5, the child should be held at arm’s length, from behind, facing away from yourself and any others in the immediate surrounds until he or she settles down
ii. The child or young person should be spoken to in calm, reassuring tones
iii. The parents or guardians must be informed of the circumstances
iv. A written record should made of the circumstances of the incident and the discipline employed
Concerns about the behaviour of an individual child or young person should be discussed with the Team Leader of the Group who will decide whether parents or guardians of the child or young person need to be contacted.
10) Communicating With Children & Young People
Workers should take care that their communication and contact with children and young persons is appropriate and above reproach. Be aware that those who wish to abuse children and young persons may use electronic communications and / or face to face meeting with the child or young person alone to cultivate secretive or exclusive relationships. A worker must never engage in any contact with a child or young person that is secretive or encourages secrecy.
Guidelines for Those Ministering to Children in Year 5 and Below
Appropriate forms of contact with children in Year 5 or below include letters / cards / invitations sent by post. These should be addressed to the child care of the parent and should clearly indicate the letter has come from the church.
Workers should not contact children by any form of electronic communication. Workers should not call or text a child on the child’s mobile phone. All electronic communication must be with the child’s parent or guardian.
Guidelines for Those Ministering to Youth (Year 6 and above)
(adapted from the Safe Ministry Map, Professional Standards Unit of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, pp. 22-24)
For most young people in our society today, electronic communications are a part of daily life and a key way of engaging socially. New social media platforms and apps are being developed every day, and no one policy can hope to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. Rather than attempting to create a comprehensive policy, there are key principles to guide workers in their communication with young people.
ABOVE REPROACH Communications should always be above reproach, both in terms of the content and the way it is communicated. Workers should ask themselves: if this communication were to be made known to all of church, would they consider it to be appropriate? Workers ought to be sensitive to the impact of the words and images used, to avoid offence or miscommunication. They must never use flirtatious, sexually suggestive, explicit or offensive language or images. Workers ought also to be conscious of how things might look. They should be careful that the circumstances of their communication do not suggest that their relationship with a young person is inappropriate by, for example, communicating regularly or late at night. Even if a worker’s motives are pure, misunderstandings can arise.
IN PERSON IS BEST Face-to-face interactions are the best way to build relationships with youth. Workers should not use electronic communications for matters that are pastorally sensitive, emotionally charged or that require a back-and-forth conversation. In those cases, it’s much better to have a conversation in person. If a young person initiates a pastoral conversation with a worker using electronic communications, the worker should ask if they can talk about it with the young person the next time they see them.
BE TRANSPARENT Be aware that those who wish to abuse young people may try to cultivate secretive or exclusive relationships through electronic communications. That is why it is so important for workers to be transparent in all communications. Workers should aim to keep communications public and brief. Long or intense conversations by electronic means should be avoided. If a young person initiates a conversation like that, workers should consider how to redirect it to a more transparent forum or include other people in the conversation. That might mean talking face to face or including another worker in the communication with the young person’s permission. At the very least, the worker should let their ministry leader know so that nothing is going on in secret. Workers should also keep any emails, text messages or conversation threads with youth, in case an accusation is ever made or a misunderstanding arises.
DON’T INITIATE SOCIAL MEDIA FRIENDSHIPS There is a power imbalance that exists between workers and the youth they are ministering to. That power imbalance might make it difficult for a young person to say ‘no’ when a worker initiates a friendship on social media by, for example, sending a Facebook friend request or following them on Instagram. For that reason, it is best for a worker not to initiate, though a worker might choose to accept if the young person initiates a friendship.
SAFETY IN NUMBERS Wherever possible, workers should communicate electronically with groups rather than individuals. The best practice when sending emails or text messages is to include multiple youth or another worker in the message. When using social media for ministry purposes, closed groups should be used where possible (for example, Facebook) and youth should be directed to the group rather than to a worker’s individual account if possible.
BUILD UP THE CHURCH When posting on social media, workers should think carefully about the impact of what is being communicated on the entire church community (including children, youth and the vulnerable). It is important to remember that workers are often seen as representing the church. Workers ought to consider how they can build up the church community, and avoid being divisive, showing favouritism or making others feel excluded or inferior.
RESPECT OTHERS Workers should be careful to observe confidentiality and privacy in electronic communications, for example, not publishing the names, contact details or other personal information of people online.
BE TRUTHFUL A worker should never hide their identity or pretend to be someone else. Electronic communications that seek to hide the identity of the sender or represent the sender as someone else should not be used in ministry in any circumstances.
CONSIDER AGE AND SEX Think about the age and the sex of the person the worker is communicating with. The younger the child or young person the less appropriate it will be to have these types of communication. Personal or individual communications should generally be restricted to persons of the same sex as the worker.
REPORTING ONLINE ABUSE Laws regarding mandatory reporting of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of children and youth apply equally to the digital world.
AND FINALLY, USE COMMON SENSE! There may be exceptional circumstances that arise from time to time, and common sense might dictate that a worker deviates from their usual practice when it comes to electronic communications. In those situations, workers must be transparent and above reproach and, where possible, should seek advice from their ministry leader.
Recommendations about the sort of contact that is likely to be appropriate at different ages:
10A) Meeting Outside Programmed Events
Where a ministry event is organised outside the normal programmed events parents should be given details as to the nature and purpose of the event and required to provide verbal or written consent. See further details under 23) Offsite Activities, 24) Driving and 25) Overnight.
Where a worker is considering meeting up with children or youth for social, pastoral or ministry reasons they must consider the following guidelines.
Children in Year 5 and Below
It is not appropriate for workers to meet up with children in Year 5 and below socially, unless it is in the context of socialising with the child’s family.
A worker must first obtain written or verbal permission from parents and the Youth Ministry Co-Ordinator before arranging to meet socially or for pastoral or ministry purposes with youth in Years 6-10. Any meeting should involve groups of youth of the same sex as the worker or of mixed sex.
Where a worker deems it necessary to meet with a youth in Year 6-10 on a one-to-one basis they must first obtain written or verbal permission from parents, or where this is deemed inappropriate in the circumstances (eg the youth has expressed a desire to discuss problems at home) only after first discussing the matter with the Youth Ministry Co-Ordinator or the Senior Minister. Any meeting should take place at the church with another adult present or nearby. Keep a record of the meeting. This should only be with a youth of the same sex as the worker.
Workers may choose to meet socially or for pastoral or ministry purposes with groups that include youth in Years 11-12. This should be groups of the same sex as the worker or of mixed sex. In view of the importance of transparency in our relationships consider whether parents should be notified of the meeting.
Where a worker meets with a youth in Year 11-12 on a one-to-one basis (eg for pastoral or ministry purposes) they must first discuss this with the Young Adult Ministry Leader. Any meeting should take place at the church with another adult present or nearby, or at a public place, such as a coffee shop. In view of the importance of transparency in our relationships consider whether parents should be notified of the meeting.
Where a group that includes both adults and youth (such as the Young Adults Growth Group) organises a social event thought should be given to the nature of the event and the composition of the group in view of the youth members.
Where a worker invites youth to a personal social event such as a birthday party thought should be given to the nature of the event and the appropriateness of the invitation.
Workers should not visit a young person at their home unless a parent or guardian is present.
Expressing hospitality by hosting youth at the home of a worker can be a significant element of pastoral care. Keep the following guidelines in mind:
Workers should never have youth present in their home without another adult present. Persons who seek to groom or abuse children or youth have often encouraged their victims to visit them in their private homes, isolating them from others.
Hosting youth in the home of a worker is best done in groups of both adults and youth.
Workers should never permit youth to stay overnight at the home of the worker.
Meeting one to one is best done at the church or in a public place (such as a coffee shop)
11) Photos / Images
Permission must be obtained from parents and guardians before taking and using images (including photos and videos) of children / young people engaged in activities. The form must clearly indicate the broad intended use of the images. Generally videos and photos should only be used to showcase or advertise ministry related events or activities. Photos should only be used for the purposes for which consent was given.
Where permission is not given to take or display photos or videos the Team Leaders and workers involved in taking photos need to be aware of this. Care must be taken not to cause embarrassment to the child or young person (e.g. loudly asking a child or young person to step aside while taking a group photo).
Photos and videos of children and youth ministry activities should only be taken by a designated person. That person should have their WWCC (if over 18 years of age) and up to date Safe Ministry Training. Individual workers are not to take photos or videos of children or young people during ministry activities with their own personal phones. Any exception to this policy should be discussed with the Team Leader.
The person designated to take the photos must be familiar with, and follow, the Church procedure in relation to the taking of photos at church events.
Photos and videos should focus on groups and activities rather than individuals. Do not photograph or video a child or young person who has asked not to be photographed.
All children and young people must be appropriately dressed when photographed or videoed. Children should not be photographed in swimmers or pyjamas.
Where seeking to use images of large groups and it is not practical to obtain individual consent, inform parents and guardians generally of the intention to publish the photos or videos and give anyone reasonable time to object to the use of the picture.
Do not post photos or videos of children or young people on the internet without parental or guardian permission.
Ask permission from the primary subjects of the photo or video before posting an image online. Team Leaders need to monitor social media pages associated with the ministry to ensure images and comments are appropriate.
Do not identify in writing people in the image. Care should be taken to ensure no personal information is displayed.
Pictures that are likely to cause embarrassment or are offensive are not to be used.
When a video of a service or activity is to be distributed or streamed on the web or via other broadcast media signs should be posted indicating this.
Children and young people will often want to take photos or videos as part of their life together, Children should only take photos or videos of workers as part of a group.
D. Running A Safe Group
Children and young people are to be supervised at all times.
The recommended minimum level of supervision for activities on the church site is as follows (ratio of worker:children):
Pre-school – 1:5
Infants / Primary – 1:7
Youth – 1:10
The following matters should be taken into account when considering whether an activity or group requires a higher ratio of workers to children:
i. The number and age of the children or young people, including any children or young people with disabilities
ii. The nature of the activity and level of risk
iii. The requirement that more than one worker be present at an activity and that workers should works in pairs as much as possible
iv. The location of the activity
Where possible infants and babies should be supervised by at least three workers in order for a worker to leave and contact parents while still having two workers in the room.
Workers should avoid being left alone with a child or young person. As much as possible workers should work in teams or pairs. Where this is not possible small group activities (such as discussion groups) should meet where they can be clearly seen by others. A child or young person can talk one on one to a worker provided other children, young people or workers are in the room.
Children or young people must not be permitted to leave the church premises without supervision.
All workers are to wear nametags with photo identification.
All workers should be alert for people wandering around. A person unknown to workers should never be granted access to children or young people.
The attendance of all children and young people must be recorded at the beginning of the group. The record must remain easily accessible during the program in case of emergency (see 22) Emergency).
All groups should have a carefully thought out end to their activity and let parents and guardians know the procedure for children and young people leaving the program.
All children attending groups that include pre-schoolers must be signed out by the adult responsible for them and must not leave the group area unless accompanied by the adult responsible for them.
Children must not be permitted to leave the church premises at the end of an activity without an adult responsible for them.
All activities should be open to observation, particularly to parents and guardians.
All activities should be appropriate to the age and capabilities of the children and young people, and within the expertise and ability of the workers. Workers should think through the implications of all activities, considering in particular the risk factor (see 15) Risk Assessment).
Careful consideration should be given to the appropriateness of games and activities involving the following:
i. Physical contact between participants
ii. Children or young people working alone or in pairs independent of a worker
Activities must not involve any of the following:
i. Nudity or sexual contact
ii. Secret rites or initiations
iii. Inappropriate emphasis on sex, physical, intellectual or ethnic differences
iv. Unhygienic practices (see 17) Hygiene)
Care should be taken to ensure all activities have defined boundaries that are easily observed and patrolled.
Workers should avoid situations where it is possible to be physically isolated with children or young people.
When organizing activities workers should give consideration to whether children or young people should be required to wear particular clothing (eg closed in shoes, clothes for messy games). Parents and guardians should be advised of such requirements.
All audio and visual materials (such as films, DVDS, computer games, graphics, photographs, Youtube Clips and song lyrics) should be reviewed in full to ensure the content is appropriate for the group, taking into account the youngest member of the group. Children under the age of 7 years cannot be shown a film with a PG rating or above without signed permission from parents or guardians. Careful consideration should be given to showing a film with a PG rating to children under 12 years, films with M ratings to young people under 15 years, or films with a rating of 15+ to young people under 18 years without permission from their parents or guardians. No film or clip from a film rated R is to be shown at an activity involving children or young people. All material should be reviewed taking into account the level and impact of offensive language, unnecessary violence, sexual innuendo, the depiction of sex scenes and anything else that runs counter to the Christian message and ethics. Care must be taken to comply with relevant copyright laws.
Alcohol is not permitted at any activity where children or young people are encouraged to attend.
14) Venue and Equipment
Safety awareness is the responsibility of all venue users. Any potential risks should be notified to the Wardens.
The venue for all activities must be checked for safety and be appropriate for the activity, considering in particular the following:
i. Whether the site is securely fenced off or contained, ensuring children cannot wander away
ii. Proximity to roads and traffic
iii. Availability of toilet facilities
iv. Enough room for appropriate activities
v. Ability to safely supervise all children / young people in the group
vi. Any hazards that may present injury risk to children or young people, noting especially sharp edges, falling hazards, electrical hazards, the presence of glass and syringes
Any out of bounds area should be clearly communicated to children, young people and their parents or guardians.
The following are suggested areas where the Wardens should ensure compliance and safety:
i. Fire extinguishers should be available, emergency exits clearly marked and never obstructed or internally locked and fire safety and evacuation procedures clearly displayed
ii. Electrical wiring, sockets and appliances must be kept in good condition and child proofed (child proof plugs in all empty electrical sockets). Also ensure electrical cords are not in reach of children and do not present a tripping hazard
iii. Heating must be checked to ensure it presents no danger to children
iv. Flooring should be non-slip and splinter free. Mats should be regularly checked for tripping hazards. Carpets should be regularly vacuumed and steam cleaned once a year
v. Safety glass should be used for windows at floor level
vi. Child proof locks should be used on cupboards at low levels where activities are conducted for infants and pre-school children
No smoking is allowed in any church premises where an activity is held for children or young people during that activity.
When using equipment:
i. All equipment used must be checked for safety and be appropriate for the activity and age of the children and young people
ii. Broken toys should be thrown out not repaired
iii. Equipment only to be used by adults must be kept out of reach of children
15) Risk Assessment
The aim of risk assessment is to identify and minimise possible risks.
All workers should be encouraged to consider, prior to running an activity, what could go wrong. Each risk that is identified should be evaluated and managed to minimize or eliminate the risk.
Risk assessments should take into account factors such as:
i. Types of equipment
ii. Location of activity
iii. Proximity to other activities
iv. Who will use the equipment
To determine the risk rating of a hazard, match the likelihood of the event happening with the severity of its consequences. Generally the higher the risk rating, the higher the priority in fixing the hazard.
A spreadsheet to help leaders in undertaking Risk Assessments has been developed.
16) Record Keeping
The following information should be obtained from parents or guardians of children and young people involved in our activities at the beginning of each year and when a child / young person joins the group:
i. Names of parents and guardians
ii. Contact details (including emergency contacts)
iii. Names of people allowed to collect the child or young person (including any noncontact orders)
iv. Relevant medical conditions including allergies, disabilities and chronic health issues that the parent or guardian feels may be relevant to the child or young person’s participation in the group
v. Any behaviour issues the parent or guardian feels may be relevant to the child or young person’s participation in the group
vi. Permission for workers to obtain emergency medical treatment
vii. Permission or otherwise to receive additional information concerning other church activities
viii. Permission or otherwise in relation to the taking of photographs (see 11) Photos)
Collect only relevant information.
Parents and guardians should be advised as to why the information is collected, who will have access to the information and how the information will be used.
Information collected should be processed and collated in a secure and password protected place
on the church computer database. This information should not be made available on the general access section of the church database. Access to the information on the database should be made available only to staff members of the church, the Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator and the Youth Ministry Coordinator.
Relevant information in relation to the members of a group should be made available to the Team Leaders of that group. This information should be kept by the Team Leader in a folder in the church office to provide security of information but also easy access in case of an emergency.
The Team Leader of each group must ensure each worker in the group has been provided with relevant information in relation to the children or young people of the group. For example all workers in a group must be made aware of allergies, medical conditions and non-contact orders. Workers must keep such information confidential.
Great care must be taken when sharing and using information provided by parent or guardian that embarrassment is not caused to a child or young person.
Records of attendance must be kept for each activity involving children and young people. This should also include the workers who attended.
Enrolment forms and attendance records should be kept in a secure place for future reference if required.
17) Parents and Guardians
At the commencement of the year, and as children and young people join the group, parents and guardians should be provided with the following information about the group:
i. The purpose of the group (including a clear statement that the children and young people will be taught about the God of the Bible)
ii. The names and contact numbers of the Team Leader
iii. Information as to accessing this policy
iv. Costs involved
v. Times and scope of activities
vi. Record Keeping (why information is required, how it will be stored and who will be given access to the information – see 16) Record Keeping)
vii. An invitation and opportunity to seek further information (including this Policy)
Parents and guardians should be provided with an update of information as to the activities of the group once a term.
No children or young people with seriously contagious diseases are to be knowingly permitted to attend an activity. No child or worker is to attend the group if they are suffering from a rash, temperature, gastric or green runny nose.
Parents are to be notified by the church if their children have been exposed to a seriously contagious disease.
All workers handling food must comply with the kitchen policy (see 19) Food and Kitchen).
Games and activities should not involve unhygienic practices.
Tissues should be available in all children’s rooms.
All workers should wash hands / use sanitizer before entering the crèche room.
Disinfectant and cleaning equipment, including disposable gloves, should be readily available – if a child or young person vomits or soils the area should be disinfected immediately.
Toys and equipment used for infants and pre-school children should be regularly cleaned.
19) Food and Kitchen Policy for Children and Youth Activities
Due care in food preparation should be taken in regard to medical conditions and allergies e.g., anaphylaxis, diabetes, etc (see 16) Record Keeping).
Tea and coffee making facilities for parents and guardians should be kept out of reach of children.
Children and young people should wash hands before eating food using the handbasins and soap available in the bathrooms.
If playing games with food provide individual wrapped servings (eg wrapped lollies).
All workers must comply with the following guidelines:
i. All workers must wash hands or use gloves if handling food. Handwashing needs to take place at the handwashing station located just inside the kitchen door.
ii. All workers must change gloves or wash hands between different food groups and after blowing their nose, going to the toilet, or touching their hair or face.
iii. All wounds must be covered.
iv. Children should be kept out of the kitchen unless supervised by an adult.
v. Knives should be changed or washed between different foods.
vi. Hot soapy water must be used when washing items by hand – do not just rinse. Where the dishwasher is to be used rinse items in sink and load into the dishwasher trays. The dishwasher must be operated by a person who has been instructed in its use.
Parents or guardians are to be collected for nappy changes. Nappy changes should be done using the change table, located in the disabled toilet room.
If a child needs assistance in going to the toilet their parents or guardian must be collected to take the child to the toilet. If a parent or guardian are not available an experienced (18 years +) female worker must assist in toileting. Where a worker needs to wash or toilet a child they should inform another worker what they are doing.
Pre-school children who can go to the toilet themselves, and, where necessary, infants aged children, should be accompanied to the toilet by a female worker. If possible more than one child should be taken to the toilet at the time.
In supervising children at the toilets:
i. Ensure no one else is in the toilet
ii. Send the children into the toilet
iii. Ensure no other adult enters the toilet
iv. Only enter the toilet if children are misbehaving or call for help
v. Do not go to the toilet at the same time as the children
Where the entrance to the toilets can be viewed from the classroom infants aged children can be supervised from the doorway of the classroom.
School age children should take themselves to the toilet.
When running activities for children and adults mark the toilets “boys and girls” and mark the disabled toilet “leaders”. Leaders should use this middle toilet during the group.
21) First Aid & Medical
A well-stocked and well maintained first aid kit must be available on the church premises and at any off site activity. If possible at least one worker in a ministry group should be qualified to administer first aid.
Where parents or guardians are readily accessible they should be sought to administer first aid. If a parent or guardian is not available two workers should be present to administer first aid, and if possible those workers should include at least one female over the age of 18 years.
Parents and guardians should be informed of any injury or medical treatment given to a child or young person and an incident report form filled out and held at the office.
Where an injury to a child or young person is more than minor, workers should comply with the following procedures:
i. Provide immediate assistance to the child or young person
ii. Call an ambulance if necessary
iii. Notify parents or guardians as soon as possible
iv. Be as helpful and understanding as you can but don’t admit or accept liability on behalf of the church
v. Notify the senior minister and wardens
vi. Record in writing the incident – including date and detailed description of the incident and the consequences
vii. Make a report to Diocesan Insurance Officer (this should be done by the Senior Minister)
Neither prescription nor non-prescription medicine should be administered without the written consent of parents or guardians.
Important medical information as to a child’s health should be obtained from parents and guardians (see 16) Record Keeping). This should be made available to Team Leaders who are responsible for ensuring every worker is aware of important health information such as allergies and serious medical conditions.
Where children / young people need to be evacuated the following procedures apply:
i. Children / young people should be lined up with a worker at the front and a worker at the back
ii. Daily attendance record must be taken by a worker. Use the record to ensure everyone has been evacuated
iii. Children / young people should be walked to the nearest exit and collection point (the grassed area between the rectory and the villas) - call the roll
iv. Keep the children and young people calm
v. Allocate one worker to check all rooms and toilets, calling for anyone to leave the building
vi. Workers should never attempt to deal with a fire – the responsibility of workers is to remove children and young people to safety
vii. A senior worker is responsible for contacting authorities once the children and young people are safe
viii. If smoke is present have everyone crawl on all fours
ix. Parents and guardians will collect children and young people from the collection point – mark off roll as they leave
Do not approach anyone who is violent – call the police.
An evacuation drill should be held once a year. Children should be given warning that the drill is a practice only to ensure they do not become alarmed.
A copy of emergency procedures should be displayed clearly in a prominent place in all rooms.
Where a critical incident has occurred (eg injury, fire, threat to group or property):
i. Notify the senior minister and wardens
ii. Record in writing
iii. Report to Diocesan Insurance Officer (this should be done by the Senior Minister)
23) Off Site Activities
If possible, arrange to meet children or young people at the site of the activity.
If driving children or young people to an off-site activity comply with guidelines under 24) Driving.
Children and young people must not be taken away from the church premises without written consent from parents or guardians.
Provide parents and guardians with the following information:
ii. Time of departure and return
iii. Means of travel
iv. Supervising personnel
v. Purpose of the trip, nature of the activity and costs
vi. Phone number of a contact person during the activity
Arrange a pre-determined place to meet if children or young people become separated during activity.
Count children and young people throughout the day, particularly at transition points.
Details of the activity must be provided to the Senior Minister or appropriate delegated staff member (this may be important for insurance purposes).
It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to either provide lifts or arrange alternative transport for their children / young people to and from regular children’s and youth activities.
Where parents are unwilling or unable to transport children or young people to and from regular activities these guidelines for driving should be observed.
Where transportation of children and young people is to be provided by the group, written permission must be obtained from parents and guardians who have been clearly informed of the details of the trip.
Where transportation of children and young people is to be provided by the group drivers must:
i. have provided the church with a verified WWCC number and have up to date Safe Ministry Training
ii. have zero alcohol level and not be impaired by any medication, mind altering drugs or addictive substances
iii. be responsible and experienced
iv. have a current license and be on Green P Plates or higher
Where transportation of children and young people is provided by the group the motor vehicles must be registered, insured and safe, and fitted with seat belts.
Workers should avoid being alone with a child or young person in a motor vehicle, or driving a child or young person anywhere unaccompanied, even with parental permission unless the child or young person is a family member. If such a trip is unavoidable seek the permission of the child or young person’s parents and inform another adult of the trip and the reason for it.
Sleeping accommodation should be strictly segregated and supervised by workers of the same sex as the children / young people.
Workers must not share accommodation alone with one child or young person (unless a parent or guardian). Workers must not sleep in close personal proximity to a child or young person (unless a parent or guardian). If possible workers should sleep in a different room or tent to the children or young people.
Where possible camp parents should be used – they should be a married couple, over 25 years of
age, and with known maturity and Christian commitment.
Provision must be made for privacy in bathing and dressing.
Parents and guardians should be given the following information:
ii. Sleeping arrangements
iii. Supervising personnel
iv. Purpose and nature of activity
vi. Times of departure and return
vii. Means of travel
viii. Clothing and equipment
ix. Phone number of the contact person during the activity
26) External Service Providers
All reasonable enquiries must be made to ensure external service providers are screened and selected in accordance with civil and church requirements.
External service providers should be used in a supplemental capacity only and must never be left alone with a child or young person.
E. Dealing With Child Abuse
27) Child Abuse – Meaning
Child abuse means someone harming or not taking care of a child or young person in such a way that will be detrimental to their health, safety and wellbeing. Abuse may occur because of what is done to a child or young person or because there is a failure to provide for or protect a child or young person.
All workers should be familiar with the definitions of the following terms found in the Appendices:
ii. Emotional abuse
v. Physical abuse
vi. Sexual abuse of a child
viii. Spiritual abuse
28) Disclosures and Indicators of Abuse
A worker may come to suspect a child or young person is being or has been abused or is at risk of harm in several ways:
i. A child or young person may say something to them in relation to the harm or abuse
ii. A child or young person may provide a scenario of abuse that is removed from them (e.g. “I have a friend”)
iii. Someone else may say something in relation to the harm or abuse
iv. The worker may observe indicators of abuse in relation to the child or young person
All workers should be aware of possible indicators of child abuse. These indicators may assist in deciding if a child or young person is at risk of significant harm.
A detailed list of possible indicators of abuse is contained in F. Appendices. Where a worker believes there are indications of child abuse he or she must follow the reporting guidelines set out at 29) Reporting.
If a child or young person makes a disclosure indicating possible abuse follow these guidelines:
i. DO remember that it is hard for a child to break the silence about child abuse. It is important to take the time to listen to them and show them love and support
ii. DO stay as calm as possible and listen to what they say
iii. DO NOT be dismissive of what they are saying or suggest disbelief
iv. DO NOT repeat back what they are saying, ask leading questions (questions that suggest an answer), ask more questions than is necessary or seek further detail. The less workers say in relation to the abuse the better
v. DO NOT promise not to tell anyone or promise that the abuse will stop
vi. DO NOT investigate or take action alone (see reporting guidelines below)
vii. DO NOT touch the child or young person
Once a worker believes the child or young person has disclosed sufficient information to give reasonable grounds for suspecting abuse or risk of harm they should gently conclude the conversation. Let the child or young person know they have done the right thing and that the worker is going to get help as to what to do next. The worker must follow the reporting guidelines under 29) Reporting.
Where a worker suspects a child or young person is being or has been abused, or is at risk of harm, they must report their suspicion, and the basis for that suspicion, (eg the observation of indicators of abuse or a disclosure) to their Team Leader, the Children’s or Youth Co-ordinator or the Senior Minister immediately.
IF THE ALLEGED ABUSE INVOLVES ONE OF THESE PERSONS THE WORKER MUST NOT CONSULT OR DISCLOSE THE ALLEGATION TO THAT PERSON. Either report to one of the other persons nominated or the Professional Standards Unit (9265 1604) if seeking further advice.
A decision will be made as to whether a report will be made to the authorities.
A report to authorities should be made if anyone is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, the child or young person is at risk of significant harm or if there is knowledge or suspicion that a criminal offence has been committed.
A child or young person is “at risk of significant harm” if current concerns exist for the safety, welfare or well-being of the child or young person because of the presence, to a significant extent, of any one or more of the following circumstances:
(a) the child’s or young person’s basic physical or psychological needs are not being met or are at risk of not being met
(b) the parents or other caregivers have not arranged and are unable or unwilling to arrange for the child or young person to receive necessary medical care
(c) the child or young person has been, or is at risk of being, physically or sexually abused or ill-treated
(d) the child or young person is living in a household where there have been incidents of domestic violence and, as a consequence, the child or young person is at risk of serious physical or psychological harm
(e) a parent or other caregiver has behaved in such a way towards the child or young person that the child or young person has suffered or is at risk of suffering serious psychological harm
In making a report to authorities follow this guide:
Advice can be obtained from:
Family and Community Services: 132 111
Anglican Church Professional Standards Unit: 9265 1604
The worker must make a note of their conversation with or observation of the child or young person as soon as possible. This account may subsequently be required as evidence in court. Follows these guidelines:
Include as much detail as possible
Write the exact words of the child or young person if possible
Include anything the worker said
Include the observations made of possible signs of abuse and the basis for forming the belief that the child or young person is or has been exposed to significant risk of harm
Include details of the child or young person’s name, age, place and time of disclosure or observation.
Include the date the record is made and sign it
A copy of the note should be kept by the worker and in the church office in a secure place.
The matter should be kept confidential and only discussed with appropriate authorities or someone who is to assist the worker debrief and deal with the matter. The Senior Minister should be ready to help identify an appropriate person to assist the worker in this way.
If the Team Leader, the Children’s or Youth Co-ordinator or the Senior Minister decide not to make a report to authorities the worker may make an independent report or seek further advice.
Where the decision is made not to make a report to authorities a record should be kept with the following information:
The name of the worker making the original report
The name, date of birth and address of the child or young person (if known)
Details of the observation or disclosure that caused the worker to make the original report, including the time and place
Reasons why a report was not made to the authorities
The record should be signed and dated and kept in a secure place.
While a single indicator is not necessarily sufficient to establish abuse or risk of harm to a child, a number of individual indictors observed over a period of time may establish reasonable grounds for concluding a significant risk of harm or provide evidence of abuse.
The following Definitions relate to Child Abuse and are taken from the Anglican Church Faithfulness in Service Code of Conduct (2017). Definitions of related terms can be found in the Code.
Bullying means the repeated seeking out or targeting of a person to cause them distress and humiliation or to exploit them. It includes:
i. Exclusion from a peer group
Emotional abuse means acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause emotional harm or lead to serious behavioural or cognitive disorders. It includes:
i. Subjecting a person to excessive and repeated personal criticism
ii. Ridiculing a person, including the use of insulting or derogatory terms to refer to them
iii. Threatening or intimidating a person
iv. Ignoring a person openly and pointedly
v. Behaving in a hostile manner or in any way that could reasonably result in another person feeling isolated or rejected
Grooming is the manipulative cultivation of a relationship in order to initiate or cloak sexual abuse of an adult or child. In the case of child sexual abuse an offender may groom not only the child but also those who exercise authority over the child, including the child’s parents, guardians and clergy and church workers.
Harassment means unwelcome conduct, whether intended or not, in relation to another person where the person feels with good reason in all the circumstances offended, belittled or threatened. Such behaviour may consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time. It includes:
i. Making unwelcome physical contact with a person
ii. Making gestures or using language that could reasonably give offence including continual and unwarranted shouting
iii. Making unjustified or unnecessary comments about a person’s capacities or attributes
iv. Putting on open display pictures, posters, graffiti or written materials that could reasonable give offence
v. Making unwelcome communication with a person in any form
vi. Stalking a person
Neglect means the failure to provide the basic necessities of life where a child’s health and development are placed at risk of harm. It includes being deprived of food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, education, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults and / or medical care.
Physical abuse means any intentional or reckless act (non-accidental), use of force or threat to use force causing injury to, or involving unwelcome physical contact with, another person. This may take the form of slapping, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, shoving or grabbing. An injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures. It does not include lawful discipline by a parent or guardian, although may be caused by excessive discipline which is not lawful.
Sexual abuse of a child means the use of a child by another person for his or her own sexual stimulation or gratification or for that of others. It includes:
i. Exposing oneself indecently to a child
ii. Having vaginal or anal intercourse with a child
iii. Penetrating a child’s vagina or anus with an object or any bodily part
iv. Sexually touching or fondling a child
v. Kissing, touching, holding or fondling a child in a sexual manner
vi. Staring at or secretly watching a child for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification
vii. Making any gesture or action of a sexual nature in a child’s presence
viii. Making sexual references or innuendo in a child’s presence using any form of communication
ix. Discussing or inquiring about personal matters of a sexual nature with a child
x. Exposing a child to any form of sexually explicit or suggestive material
xi. Forcing a child to sexually touch or fondle another person
xii. Forcing a child to perform oral sex
xiii. Forcing a child either to masturbate self or others, or to watch others masturbate
xiv. Forcing a child to engage in or watch any other sexual activity
Sexual abuse of a child does not include:
i. Sex education with the prior consent of parents or guardians
ii. Age appropriate consensual sexual behaviour between
consenting peers (ie the same or similar age)
iii. Inquiries by clergy and church workers with pastoral responsibility for a child or investigation responsibility into complaints that may involve sexual abuse
In relation to sexual abuse of a child all workers should be aware of the following:
i. It is often perpetrated by someone known to the child or young person and often in a position of trust by the child or their parents or guardians – sexual abuse may be perpetrated by a friend, family member (including a parent), neighbour, peer or person in authority
ii. It usually starts with something minor and gradually builds up to more involved behaviours through a process of grooming
iii. It is secretive and generally known only to the abuser and the victim making it extremely difficult to detect
iv. It is rarely a self-contained or one-off incident but rather part of an ongoing relationship that is corruptive and distorting
Spiritual abuse means mistreatment of a person by actions or threats when justified by appeal to God, faith or religion. It includes:
i. Using a position of spiritual authority to dominate or manipulate another person or group
ii. Using a position of spiritual authority to seek inappropriate deference from others
iii. Isolating a person from friends and family members
iv. Using biblical or religious terminology to justify abuse
Possible Indicators of Child Abuse
The following tables come from Anglican Youthworks Safe Ministry Training Material.
i. Low self esteem.
ii. High levels of anxiety and fear.
iii. Excessive deference to a leader and isolation from former friends and family.
Bullying / Harassment:
i. Low self-esteem.
ii. Loss of trust in others.