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Safe Church Program

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It is vital to have a Code of Conduct signed by all your staff, volunteers, leaders, Ministers, Priests, and anyone involved within your church to ensure that all involved representing your church understand acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. A Code of Conduct allows you to be able to respond to instances of misconduct in appropriate ways and assists in ensuring the safety of all people who access your church.

For certain instances and types of misconduct you may also be required to inform a Government Agency depending on which State or Territory you live in. Reportable Conduct Schemes are being introduced in the ACT and Victoria, while NSW has had a scheme for over 10 years. Ensure that you know what is applicable to your circumstance.

New South Wales Ombudsman Update

The NSW Ombudsman’s office has released a new employment-related child protection factsheet: Sharing information about reportable conduct allegations with non-involved parties. Reportable conduct means any sexual offence, sexual misconduct, assault or neglect of a child; or, behaviour that causes psychological harm towards a child.  If such an allegation is made or offense committed, many parties (who are not directly involved in the matter) may have an interest or concern. For example, parents with children at a school where a report of sexual misconduct against another student has been made may seek assurances that their child will be safe and know that steps are being taken by the school and other authorities.

This new factsheet provides agencies with practical advice about the legal framework for information sharing in relation to reportable allegations. The factsheet will ensure organisations disclose information appropriately, giving adequate consideration to privacy, duty of care and procedural fairness.

Sharing information with the parties who are directly involved, the alleged victim and their parents or carers, is discussed in a separate NSW Ombudsman fact sheet: Providing advice about reportable conduct investigations to children, parents and carers .

Factsheets regarding child protection and reportable conduct relevant to NSW are available on the NSW Omudsman website.

 

For more information contact the NCCA -  Safe Church Program(02) 9299 2215or visit www.safechurches.org.au

 

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