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
8) Physical Contact
10) Contacting Children and Young People
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
Professional Standards Unit safe ministry resources for the Anglican Church Sydney Diocese: Click here
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”)
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 (2012). 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.
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.
B. Being a Safe Leader
3) Workers – Recruitment and Appointment
The Senior Minister is responsible for the recruitment and appointment of people to work with children / young people within the church. This responsibility may be delegated by the Senior Minister to an appropriate person.
Clear job descriptions should be provided to all workers to ensure they are aware of the following:
The vision of ministry at Emu Plains Anglican Church.
The nature and expectations of their role and responsibilities.
The characteristics workers should be developing.
Who they are responsible to.
What they are responsible for.
Before starting involvement in any ministry involving children or young people at Emu Plains Anglican Church all workers must:
Read the job description information provided in relation to that role.
Read the Faithfulness in Service Code 2012.
Read this Safe Ministry Policy.
Provide a Working With Children Check that has been verified by the
Complete and sign a Volunteers Application Form.
Safe Ministry Training (Youthworks) 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. 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 attending training).
A parent who provides assistance on a casual basis in a children’s or youth ministry that involves their child is encouraged to attend Safe Ministry Training.
If their help extends to groups that do not include their own children, or they help on a regular basis (e.g. parent roster at crèche) they must attend Safe Ministry Training and provide a WWCC number.
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 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 16 and 18 years of age must complete Safe Ministry Training. Workers under the age of 16 years should 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 / young people all workers have responsibility for the safety and welfare of the children / young people in their care. No worker is to engage in or tolerate from others child abuse (see Item 27 Child Abuse).
Workers should be open in all they say and do. Workers should avoid being alone with a child / young person under all circumstances.
Workers should maintain a sense of responsibility towards one another to prevent any breach of trust towards children / young people and to maintain the integrity of each worker.
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 / or 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 (2012).
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 annual Full and Refresher Safe Ministry Training Courses.
v. Report to the Director of the Professional Standards Unit, 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
Children / young people should be able to trust and confide in workers, and develop appropriate relationships that provide support and encouragement to the child / young person. Workers should avoid fostering inappropriate dependence on the part of a child / young person.
Extra care should be taken in developing relationships with children / young people of the opposite sex. During a program workers should focus their attention on members of the same sex. Where a child / 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 / young people.
8) Physical Contact
Appropriate interaction is important for a child and young person’s healthy development.
Any form of interaction with a child / young person should respect their feelings and privacy. Male workers should be particularly aware of their behaviour towards children and young people, keeping unavoidable physical contact to a minimum.
See Item 9 Discipline for the policy to be adopted where a child / young person behaves in a manner presenting physical danger to themselves and / or others. See also policies in relation to Item 20 Toileting and Item 21 First Aid.
The following constitutes 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 your lap or having them rub against you.
vi. Having children sit on a male worker’s lap.
vii. Slapping, hitting or shaking.
viii. Forceful grabbing or picking up.
ix. Tickling (this can easily get out of hand).
What constitutes appropriate physical contact will vary according to the age of the child / young person. Appropriate physical contact at any age may include:
i. Redirection of a child into an appropriate activity.
ii. Bending to a 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.
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 at this age include hugging, sitting on a worker’s lap, carrying, rubbing or patting backs, and handholding.
Except for safety reasons (e.g. personal injury) children have the right to refuse touch, especially as they gain a sense of their own identity and preferences.
Assisting with face-washing, hand-washing, changing clothes, examining sore spots and blowing noses for young children will all require appropriate touch.
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 / young person, even where the child / young person is a relative or close family friend.
This section provides a minimum guideline only 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 / 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 / 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 / young person.
vii. Workers should remain calm when talking to a child 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 / 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 / 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.
v. 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) Contacting Children & Young People
Healthy, appropriate relationships between workers and the children and young people in their groups are encouraged. This can involve contacting them outside of the main program. 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.
Pastoral Care and general communication is an integral part of youth and children’s ministry and something that is to be encouraged in ministry. Pastoral care for young people and children will be primarily through face to face contact. Where this is not possible workers may have to ‘meet’ children and young people through electronic communication.
Any contact outside the program should be with children / young person of the same gender as the worker, although it is appropriate to send generic invitations or reminders to children / young people.
In contacting children or young people outside programs the following guidelines should be observed.
Meeting up With Children / Young People
Workers should not visit or meet with children / young people unless permission is first obtained from parents or guardians. Workers should not visit children / young people at their home unless a parent or guardian is present. Workers should not have a child / young person visit their home without another adult present.
If meeting privately with a child / young person workers should obtain consent from their parent or guardian where practicable and ensure another suitable adult is present. Inform a member of the clergy, an adult church worker or another adult of the time, location and duration of the meeting. Keep a record of the meeting.
Workers can meet with the same gender students or mixed groups casually in public places. Parents, guardians and supervisors of the ministry should be aware of the meeting and why.
Appropriate forms of contact with children in primary school or below include letters / cards / invitations – these should be addressed to the child and should clearly indicate the letter has come from the church.
If contacting primary aged children or young people in Year 7-9 by telephone use the home phone number and speak first to a parent or guardian to explain the purpose of the call and obtain permission to speak to the child.
When contacting a young person in Year 10+ by telephone it is preferable to use the home phone number which allows some transparency with the relationships.
Any mobile telephone conversation should be kept to a minimum. Church workers should not enter into conversations involving video phoning with children or young people.
Electronic Communication in General
Interaction with a child or young person using this form should be kept to a minimum. The use of electronic communications should be limited to logistical purposes only (eg information about time and venue). Deeper, personal conversations should be conducted face to face, or at least by telephone conversation.
Parental permission should be obtained before a worker communicates with a child or young person using electronic form.
Workers must not knowingly transmit, retrieve or store any communication that is:
i. Discriminatory or harassing.
ii. Derogatory to any individual or group.
iii. Obscene, sexually explicit or suggestive, offensive or pornographic.
iv. Defamatory or threatening.
v. In violation of any licence governing the use of software.
vi. For any purpose that is illegal or in contradiction to the Anglican Church Faithfulness in Service Code of Conduct (2012).
Workers must not send any electronic communication that attempts to hide the identity of the sender or represent the sender as someone else.
Workers must also take care with the message communicated through both the words and images used as it may be perceived differently by those who view it. When communicating with a young person care must be taken to ensure the circumstances of the communication, the language and the images used do not suggest an inappropriate relationship with the young person.
All emails should be sent to the young person should be carbon copied to email@example.com.
SMS conversations should generally be restricted to purpose only communication. If a longer conversation begins the worker should ring the child or young person.
For older students (Year 10+) SMS could include brief words of encouragement.
Social Networking (eg Facebook)
It is never appropriate to contact a person under 13 years by social media.
Caution must be used when participating with young people on social networking sites. Workers must maintain transparency and be accountable for what they say. Workers should use the church or Youth Group’s social media page and not their own private page when interacting with young people. Ensure privacy settings prevent personal contacts from seeing or interacting with youth contacts connected to your ministry.
For Year 7-9 Students:
Online contact may include group conversations with young people provided the conversations are public and do not involve a worker conversing with a group of students all of the opposite gender. A history of the conversation must be kept and recorded.
Workers should refrain from private social media contact with young people. There should be no private social media contact with young people in Year 7-9.
For Year 10-12 Students:
Online contact can include group conversations with young people that are public and can be read by others.
Workers should not enter into closed one on one conversation with a young person. If a young person invites you into a conversation bring in a third party. Use discernment when having multi-person conversations.
If private social media is to be permitted it should be conducted according to strict guidelines:
i. Ensure privacy settings prevent personal contacts from seeing or interacting with young people contacts connected to your ministry.
ii. Ensure text and photos are beyond reproach and cannot be misconstrued.
iii. Ensure any private postings are kept as a record.
iv. Writing on walls should be kept to a minimum and only of a broad nature. Do not give out any details of children / young people on walls (eg home address, school etc).
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. This should indicate the use of photos on the screen in church during church activities and on the church website.
Where permission is not given to take or display photos or videos all workers in the group 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 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 / cameras. Any exception to this policy should be discussed with the Team Leader.
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.
Photos and videos should be saved to an appropriately private location as soon as practical and kept secure (password protected file on church computer then deleted from camera).
Where seeking to use images of large groups and it is not practical to obtain individual consent, inform parents and guardians 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. Individual photos or videos of children under 13 years should not be posted on social media (e.g. Facebook).
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. Pictures that are likely to cause embarrassment are not to be used.
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 / young people are to be supervised at all times.
The recommended minimum level of supervision for on the church site is as follows (ratio of worker:children):
Pre-school – 1:5
Infants / Primary – 1:8
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 / young people, including any children 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 / young person can talk one on one to a worker provided other children / young people or workers are in the room.
Children / 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 / 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 Item 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 / 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 Item 15 Risk Assessment).
Careful consideration should be given to the appropriateness of games and activities involving the following:
i. Physical contact between participants.
i. Children / 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 gender, physical, intellectual or ethnic differences.
iv. Unhygienic practices (see Item 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, videos, computer games, graphics, photographs and lyrics) should be reviewed 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 / 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 they may present injury risk to children or young people.
a. Noting especially sharp edges, falling hazards, electrical hazards and the presence of glass and syringes.
Any out of bounds area should be clearly communicated to children, young people and their parents / 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 / 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 / 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, and is available on the ‘Online EPAC’ website, or from the Church Office.
Dealing with risk:
i. Eliminate risk – remove risk-causing object.
ii. Avoid or substitute alternatives – direct people to alternatives.
iii. Reduce or minimise risk – do what we can to reduce risk that cannot be removed.
iv. Train and administer – teach people to perform tasks correctly.
v. Protective equipment.
vi. Transfer risk – insurance.
vii. Retain / accept risk.
16) Record Keeping
The following information should be obtained from parents or guardians of children / 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 child / young person (including non- contact orders).
iv. Relevant medical conditions. This should include allergies, disabilities and chronic health issues that the parent or guardian feels may be relevant to the child / 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 Item 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 Full Time staff members of the church, the Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator and the Youth Ministry Co- ordinator.
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, non-contact orders and any cases where permission has not been given for photos.
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.
Information should be destroyed when no longer required. This does not include attendance records which should continue to be kept in a secure place in case future reference is 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 / young people will be taught about the God of the Bible)
ii. The names and contact numbers of the Team Leader.
iii. The procedures that will be followed in relation to First Aid and a Medical emergency (see Item 21 First Aid).
iv. Principles that will be used in group management and discipline (see Item 9 Discipline).
v. Policy in relation to contacting children and young people (See Item 10 Contacting Children and Young People).
vi. Policy in relation to taking of photos (see Item 11 Photos).
vii. Qualification and training of workers in relation to Child Protection (eg Safe Ministry, WWCC).
viii. Costs involved.
ix. Times and scope of activities.
x. Record Keeping (why information is required, how it will be stored and who will be given access to the information – see Item 16 Record Keeping).
xi. An invitation and opportunity to seek further information (including this Policy).
Parents should also be notified of the following:
i. It is the responsibility of parents to arrange the transport of their child / young person to and from the activity.
ii. The policy in relation to the attendance of sick children (see Item 17 Hygiene).
Parents and guardians should be provided with an update of information as to the activities of the group once a term.
No children / 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 Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator if their children have been exposed to a seriously contagious diseases.
All workers handling food must comply with the kitchen policy (see Item 19 Food and Kitchen).
Games and activities should not involve unhygienic practices, e.g. using the same spoon for a game that requires putting a spoon in the mouth.
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
Due care in food preparation should be taken in regard to medical conditions and allergies e.g., anaphylaxis, diabetes, etc (see Item 16 Record Keeping).
There should be a nut free policy in all activities.
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.
If playing games with food provide individual wrapped servings (eg wrapped lollies).
All people working in the kitchen or involved in food preparation must comply with the kitchen guidelines:
i. All people must wash hands or use gloves if handling food.
ii. All people must change gloves or wash hands between different food groups.
iii. All wounds must be covered.
iv. Children should be kept out of the kitchen unless supervised by an adult.
v. Colour coded chopping boards should be used for different food types, and clearly labelled.
vi. Knives should be changed or washed between different foods.
vii. Care must be taken to ensure sharp knives are not unattended.
viii. Child proof locks should be used on drawers and cupboards below bench height with contents that could be hazardous to children.
ix. Hot soapy water must be used when washing – do not just rinse.
x. Leftover food in fridge must be clearly marked.
Guidelines in relation to the kitchen and food preparation should be clearly displayed in the kitchen area.
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 calls 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.
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 / young person.
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
v. liability on behalf of the church.
vi. Notify minister and wardens.
vii. Record in writing the incident – including date and detailed description of the incident and the consequences.
viii. Make a report to Diocesan Insurance Officer (this should be done by the Senior Minister).
ix. 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 Item 16 Record Keeping). This should be made available to Group 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. Allocate one worker to check all rooms and toilets, calling for anyone to leave the building.
iv. 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.
v. Keep the children / young people calm.
vi. Workers should never attempt to deal with fire – the responsibility of workers is to remove children / young people to safety.
vii. Do not approach anyone who is violent – call the police.
viii. The senior worker is responsible for contacting authorities once the children / young people are safe.
ix. If smoke is present have everyone crawl on all fours.
x. Parents and guardians will collect children/ young people from the collection point – mark off roll as they leave.
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 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 / young people at the site of the activity.
If driving children / young people to an off-site activity comply with guidelines under 24 Driving.
If taking children / young people away from the church premises obtain 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. Phone number of contact person.
Arrange a pre-determined place to meet if children / young people become separated during activity.
Count children / 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 the guidelines for driving set out below 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.
iii. be responsible and experienced.
iv. have a current license and be on Green P Plates or higher.
v. Where transportation of children and young people is to be provided by the group motor vehicles must be registered, insured and safe, and fitted with seat belts.
Workers should avoid being alone with a child / young person in a motor vehicle, or driving a child / young person anywhere unaccompanied, even with parental permission unless the child / young person is a family member. If such a trip is unavoidable seek the permission of the child / 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 should not share accommodation alone with one child / young person (unless parent or guardian). Workers should not sleep in close personal proximity to a child / young person (unless parent or guardian). If possible workers should sleep in a different room or tent to the children / 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 and costs.
vi. Times of departure and return.
vii. Means of travel.
viii. Clothing and equipment.
ix. Phone number of contact person.
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.
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. This may include child bullying, emotional abuse, harassment, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and spiritual abuse.
All workers should be familiar with the definitions of the following terms found in the Appendices:
ii. Emotional abuse.
v. Physical abuse.
iv. Sexual abuse of a child.
viii. Spiritual abuse.
28) Disclosures and Indicators of Abuse
A worker may come to suspect a child / young person is being abused or is at risk of harm in several ways:
i. A child / young person may say something to them in relation to the harm or abuse.
ii. A child / 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 the signs, symptoms and characteristics of child abuse. These indicators may assist in deciding if a child or young person is at risk of significant harm which will require a report being made (see Item 29 Reporting Child Abuse).
A one off indicator is rarely sufficient to establish abuse or risk of harm to a child. Usually there are a number of signs observed over a period of time.
One off observations that cause concern should be confidentially shared with the Team Leader or a Staff Member. Such observations should be recorded, signed and dated. The record should include details as to the child or young person (including date of birth and address), the time and place of the observation, the grounds for forming the belief or concern, and the name of the worker making the observation. The record should be kept in a secure place. A number of individual or ‘one off’ observations may for grounds for concluding a child or young person is at significant risk of harm.
See Appendices for a detailed breakdown of the indicators of abuse.
If a child or young person makes a disclosure about abuse follow these guidelines:
i. 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. Stay as calm as possible and listen to what you are being told.
iii. Do not be dismissive of what they are saying.
iv. Let them know you are listening (use eye contact and nod).
v. Do not repeat back what they are saying.
vi. Do not promise not to tell.
vii. Do not ask more questions than is necessary.
viii. Do not ask leading questions – questions that suggest an answer.
ix. Once reasonable grounds for suspecting abuse or risk of harm exist conclude the conversation.
x. Do not investigate or take action yourself.
xi. Do not touch the child / young person.
xii.xDo not feel you have to prove what has been said.
xiii. Do not promise the abuse will stop.
xiv. Do reassure them of your support.
xv. Do not discuss the disclosure with anyone apart from as recommended in 29 Reporting.
xvii. As soon as possible make a note of the conversation or observation you have made. Include as much detail as possible. Write what you have been told using the exact words of the child / young person if possible. Include details of the child / young person’s name, age, place and time of disclosure or observation. Include the date you made the record.
xviii. Take time to debrief – ask the Senior Minister to help identify an appropriate person to help deal with the emotions.
After listening to what the child or young person has said a decision will need to be made as to what will be done.
A report should be made if a worker is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, the child / young person is at risk of significant harm.
Significant harm is harm that which:
i. Is serious enough to warrant a response by statutory authorities irrespective of the family’s consent.
ii. Is not minor or trivial.
iii. May reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child / young person’s safety, welfare or well being.
The ‘NSW Online Mandatory Reporting Guide’ is an online guide that is designed to help make a decision as to whether to report a concern. It involves reading definitions and answering questions - This can be found on the NSW Government ‘Keep Them Safe’ website: http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/
Advice can also be obtained from the Anglican Church Professional Standards Unit:
i. Director – 9265 1514
ii. Request for Protocol and Other Documents – 9265 1604
iii. Chaplains to Victims – 9265 1500
iv. Legal Officer (Steve Lucas) – 9265 1647
Workers should consult their Team Leader, Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator or the Senior Minister as to the appropriate course of action, (unless the matter involves that person). If the Team Leader, Children’s Ministry Co- ordinator, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator or the Senior Minister declines to make a report the worker may make an independent report to Community Services and / or the police.
All workers may make a report to Community Services on 132 111 (voluntary reporting).
Contact police if the situation is an emergency or a criminal matter.
Paid workers and ‘supervisors’ are mandatory reporters. A ‘supervisor’ is a person who holds a management position in an organization, the duties of which include direct responsibility for or direct supervision of the provisions of welfare and education wholly or partly to a child. In the context of Emu Plains Anglican Church this would include the Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator as well as the Team Leaders of Children’s and Youth Groups. If a mandatory reporter forms a suspicion on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is at risk of harm they are required to report the matter to Community Services on 13 36 27. The Senior Minister should be consulted unless the matter involves the Senior Minster.
Where a person becomes aware of information from any source that causes them to reasonably suspect a church worker or parishioner may have abused a child they should inform the Senior Minister, unless the Senior Minister is the alleged abuser or some other exceptional circumstance makes disclosure to the Senior Minister inappropriate. The Senior Minister has the responsibility to ensure the protection of children within the ministries of the church and needs to be aware of any information in relation to a possible risk to children.
Where the child is at risk of significant harm the Senior Minister should make a report to Community Services and the police. A report should also be made to the Anglican Abuse Report Line – 1800 77 49 45.
Where the suspected abuse involves the Senior Minister contact should be made directly with the Anglican Abuse Report Line without advising the Senior Minister.
An SRE worker who suspects abuse should makes a report to the school principal (unless the principal is the alleged abuser). If the principal declines to make a report to Community Services the worker may make an independent report. It is recommended a SRE worker who suspects abuse should also consult with the Senior Minister.
If a decision is made not to report the matter consideration should still be given to whether there is a response that should be made by the church (eg discussing and offering support to parents). This should be done in consultation with the Senior Minister.
Reporting Guidelines Diagram:
The following Definitions relate to Child Abuse and are taken from the Anglican Church Faithfulness in Service Code of Conduct (2012). 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.