Safe Church Policy
All people have the right to be spiritually, emotionally and physically safe, respected and have their views and opinions valued at all times.
God calls us to love one another and to minister to vulnerable people.
God identified vulnerable people who were to be protected and given special care and treatment in society because of their powerlessness (Exodus 22: 21-22, Deuteronomy 10: 17-19, Jeremiah 22: 2-4, James 1: 27).
This policy has been developed to help us live out our Biblical mandate and our responsibilities under Australian legislation.
- To ensure that all reasonable and practicable steps are taken to avoid risks of harm to members of the Church and wider community arising from their involvement in any ministry.
- Minimise the risk of abuse, ministry misconduct and the misuse of positional power.
- To ensure that all cases of suspected abuse and ministry misconduct are handled thoroughly.
- To ensure that all leaders and programs are safe.
- To ensure that all people are respected and valued.
- To comply with relevant legislation such as the Work Health and Safety Act and the Child Protection Act.
Leaders, especially those relating to children, young people and vulnerable adults must be appropriately authorised (by the Minister or Church Council or Council of Elders) and suitably qualified and trained.
Leaders of any activity or group involving children (persons under the age of 18 years) must have completed the “Working with Children Check”.
Leaders will be supported in their role by the Minister, Church Council and/or elders.
Leaders will report any complaint, disclosure or suspicions of child or elder abuse or neglect to the Minister or Congregation Chair or a Church elder.
If a grievance or complaint is made against a leader, support will be provided to the complainant and leader, and the complaint will be referred to the appropriate authority for resolution.
The Church requires those in ministry to be nurturing and affirming in their ministry interactions with those they minister to and with.
The Church encourages all people to provide input into the programs and activities they participate in by valuing and fostering their ideas and encouraging participation in the life of the Church.
Safe Physical Environments
The Church will ensure that the following areas are incorporated into establishing and maintaining a safe physical environment: fire safety, building safety, first aid, food safety practices, risk assessment for activities and physical environment, critical incident and emergency protocols and ministry program review.
Leaders code of conduct
This Leaders Code of Conduct outlines appropriate boundaries of ministry. It applies to all leaders, both volunteers and paid.
As leaders of this Church we acknowledge that everyone who attends our Church needs to be confident that they will be cared for, nurtured and encouraged as they grow and at the same time, protected from spiritual, physical and emotional harm, therefore we commit to the following ministry standards.
- We minister out of a relationship with God by:
- Joining in regularly in the life and ministry of the Church.
- Studying the scriptures.
- Praying regularly.
- Give of our time, talents and finances to the work of the Church.
- As Christian Leaders we will:
- Undertake a “working with children” check if our ministry involves children under the age of 18 years.
- Treat others with respect.
- Uphold confidentiality.
- Be a team player.
- Use words that build up, do not ridicule or embarrass people.
- Treat everyone equally.
- Communicate with integrity.
- Acknowledge when we are out of our depth or do not possess the required skills in difficult pastoral situations.
- Act with financial integrity.
- Disclose to the Minister or elder if we have been investigated for any criminal offence or have knowledge of serious criminal activity.
- We will not:
- Ridicule or embarrass people.
- Make false, misleading, deceptive or defamatory statements.
- Engage in bullying, harassment, or emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
- Seek personal advantage or financial gain (other than in wages) from our position.
Complaint handling procedure
1) Complaints and allegations of breach of conduct against leaders shall be reported to the Minister or an elder.
2) If the complaint involves a breach of the law or abuse of children or the elderly it shall be reported to the appropriate government authority, in line with UCA NSW processes. (Contact Synod Associate Secretary on 02 8267 4323.)
3) The complaint (other than those referred to in 2) should be investigated by an appropriate person nominated by the Minister or elder to whom it has been reported.
4) If there has been a breach of the code of conduct, the leader concerned will be asked to correct their behaviour.
5) If the behaviour continues the Minister or elder shall meet with the person for behaviour review meetings and explain the required behaviour change.
6) If the behaviour continues then a small group of elders with the Minister shall arrange a meeting with the person concerned to address the behaviour. This may involve counselling.
7) At any time during this procedure the leader concerned may be asked to step aside.
8) In accordance with the Safe Church Policy support will be provided to the alleged victims and the leader to whom the complaint is about.
9) Written notes of all the meetings will be carefully taken and given to all concerned,
10) The matter should be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
Draft letter for Working With Children Check
Thank you very much for volunteering your time to be a part of our Children’s Ministry, Outreach or Worship programs. This letter has been sent to you because an adult leader within these programs, you may interact with children in your role at the church.
In the Uniting Church we aim to provide a safe, positive and empowering environment for children and their families. Our congregation’s Child Protection Policy supports the policies of the NSW ACT Synod, which mandate that each adult volunteering or working with people under the age of 18 must undergo a Working With Children Check [WWCC]. For more information please see the ‘Child Protection Policy’ and its appendixes, available from the children’s ministry coordinator or members of the safe church team. While we know and trust all our volunteers, WWCCs provide a higher level of transparency for the church and peace of mind for new families and participants. All information is kept confidentially.
There are three easy steps to obtaining a WWCC:
- Apply online at www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au: fill out the form and record your reference number.
- Take your reference number and photo identification to an RMS motor registry in NSW. A WWCC number will be issued to you within 7-10 working days.
- Provide the Children’s Ministry Coordinator with your WWCC Number so that it can be processed through the mandatory online employer’s portal.
In light of Church and Synod policies, all volunteers working with children must undergo a WWCC before engaging in child-related jobs or activities.
If you have any questions or need help with your Working With Children Check, please don’t hesitate to contact people below.
Thank you once again for volunteering your time with us!
Safe Church Contact Person: David Gibson
Phone: 0433 847 524
Food Preparation & Storage Practices
Keeping food safe starts from the moment that the food arrives.
- Check that your food suppliers are supplying safe food.
- Dry goods, dry ingredients or canned foods should be in good condition, without torn packaging or heavily dented cans.
- Use separate utensils, including cutting boards and knives, for raw food and cooked food. If this is not possible, thoroughly wash and sanitise equipment before using it.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables in clean water before using them.
Do not use food from damaged packaging.
- Do not let raw food come into contact with cooked food to avoid cross contamination.
- Cooked, or ready-to-eat food should not be handled with bare hands. Use tongs, spatulas, spoons, or disposable gloves.
- Raw food to be cooked can be handled with bare hands.
- Change disposable gloves every hour and/or when they tear and/or when you change tasks.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Have supply of soap, paper towels and gloves available in both kitchens.
Cooking and heating
- Thaw frozen food before cooking, in a microwave or at the bottom of the refrigerator.
- Never put thawed food back in the freezer.
- Cook thawed food immediately after thawing.
- Cook all foods completely, especially red meat, fish and chicken.
- Reheating: bring to the boil and simmer for a minimum of 5 minutes before serving (or microwave using manufacturer’s guidelines).
Temperature: meat, dairy or fish (not already processed by heat) are high-risk foods. Store at the correct temperature, frozen (hard) at -15° C or cooler or refrigerated at 5° C or cooler.
Time: Don’t keep food in storage for too long. Record dates, ‘first in - first out’ rule. Food should be refrigerated as soon as possible and not left out for lengthy periods.
Wrap or cover all food on display. Tag or label food trays, not the food.
Keep cold by using insulated containers with ice or cold blocks.