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About Safe as Churches?

 

An initiative of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), Safe as Churches? are biennial events that provide excellent professional development opportunities for those working in Professional Standards and Child Safety in Australian churches.

Australian churches are responding to the challenge of providing safe church environments in which to carry out ministry programs. This challenge is reflected not only in preventing and responding to claims and cases of sexual misconduct in our faith communities, but also in the lack of knowledge at a local and congregational level as to how we are to discharge our duty of care, and about the dynamics of power in leadership relationships.

In response to this challenge many Christian denominations have established strategies aimed at accountability and transparency in relationships and programs. Significant resources have been put into the establishment of professional standards groups / boards to handle complaints of abuse, and implementation of programs to train employees and volunteer leaders in best practice for creating safer churches. Another pro-active response, initiated by the women and men of the NCCA Gender Commission in 2004, has been to hold inter-denominational consultations (conferences) under the banner of ‘Safe as Churches?’ .

The 'Safe as Churches?' consultations and conferences have been engaging the highly sensitive issues of sexual abuse and misconduct that in the past have often been concealed or ignored.  Openness between Churches and being willing to ask for help from the family of Churches, is an important step in allowing God to heal us and our communities and work towards reconciliation, wellbeing and wholeness.

 

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