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Safer Churches Conference #9

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"Transforming Cultures: Listening, Reflecting, Acting"

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded" (Luke 12: 48)

The NCCA Safer Churches 9 Conference was held at the Mercure Hotel, Brisbane QLD on 17 - 18 September 2019. The focus of the Conference was on ensuring that Australian churches are informed by key leaders who are experts in child safeguarding in Australia. 

There is still much work to be done in our churches to institute practice to meet National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. Overall, the challenge for religious organisations is to transform our cultures that enabled, denied, shamed and ignored children and young people being abused.

In this 9th biennial gathering, the Safer Churches Conference program continued the journey of learning from each other and challenging churches and Christian organisations in areas where more needs to be done. In particular, with victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, with those affected by family violence and gender violence and with vulnerable adults, including the elderly and differently abled.

DAY ONE

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 NCCA President, Bishop Philip Huggins  NCCA Interim General Secretary, Liz Stone NCCA Safe Church Program coordinator        Laura Cregan 
  • Child-Safe Churches: A transformative culture Prof Daryl Higgins – Australian Catholic University, Institute of Child Protection Studies
  • Listening to the voices of children - Prof Tim Moore – University of South Australia, Australian Centre for Child Protection
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 Prof Daryl Higgins Prof Tim Moore 

Panel discussion, facilitated by Ellen Fanning

  • Prof Daryl Higgins – Australian Catholic University, Institute of Child Protection Studies
  • Prof Tim Moore – University of South Australia, Australian Centre for Child Protection
  • Lynette Drew - Uniting Church in Australia (In response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Lynette was instrumental in developing ‘Tools for Listening’ to ensure children and their families have meaningful input into decisions that affect them.)
  • Prof Peter Sherlock – Vice-Chancellor, University of Divinity

Keynotes:

  • Understanding the Impact of Institutional Betrayal and Spiritual Abuse on Survivors Julie Blyth – Clinical Consultant working for Survivor and Mates Support Network (SAMSN) and other organisations, previously Clinical Advisor at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and Craig Hughes-Cashmore – Chief Executive Officer, Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN).
  • Transforming Cultures: Trauma Informed Practice Dr Cathy Kezelman AM – President of Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma
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 Julie Blyth  Craig Hughes-Cashmore

Panel discussion facilitated by Ellen Fanning followed by table discussion and questions from the floor

  • Julie Blyth – Clinical Consultant
  • Dr Cathy Kezelman – President of Blue Knot Foundation
  • Rev Catherine Wynn Jones – Chaplain Professional Standards Unit, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
  • Dr Graham Barker – Clinical Psychologist
  • Craig Hughes-Cashmore – CEO, SAMSN
  • Scott Holmes – Chaplain, Brotherhood of St Laurence, formerly Manager, Practice Development, Our Watch
  • Caroline Carroll OAM – Chair, Alliance for Forgotten Australians 
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 Panel: Dr Cathy Kezelman AM with microphone

ELECTIVES: 

  • Participation of Children - Rev John Cox & Lynette Drew – Uniting Church in Australia
  • Supporting wellbeing and healing through informed engagement with survivors – Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation
  • Self-Care for Pastoral Carers - Rev Catherine Wynn Jones, Chaplain PSU, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
  • Working with an Intercultural Church – Rev Dr Marc Chan – Baptist Union of Victoria, Multicultural Inclusion Consultant
  • Grooming Awareness activity – Sue Crittall, Social Worker (Sue has developed a number of published training resources including the “grooming awareness activity”)

DAY TWO

Keynote Speaker: National Office for Child Safety, Kathryn Mandla – Head, National Office for Child Safety

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Kathryn Mandla  Panel: Lucy Davis with microphone

Panel facilitated by Ellen Fanning: 
“What is the Church’s imperative/mandate to safeguard vulnerable people, particularly the ageing and those with disabilities?”

  • Rev Andy Calder – Disability Inclusion Advocate, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, UCA
  • Janette Phelan – Psychologist and educator
  • Ilsa Hampton – CEO Meaningful Ageing
  • Dr Jeffrey Chan – National Senior Practitioner, Behaviour Support; NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
  • Lucy Davis - Divisional Coordinator Southern Queensland, Salvation Army

ELECTIVES: 

  • Participation of Children – Rev John Cox & Lynette Drew – Uniting Church in Australia
  • Supporting wellbeing and healing through informed engagement with survivors - Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation
  • Use of online platforms and technological innovation to improve the safeguarding systems and processes of churches and their programs that are working with vulnerable people.– Peter Baynard-Smith, Director; Strategic Partnerships, Dutyofcare
  • Transforming cultures for gender safety – Promoting equality, preventing violence: creating safe cultures for women – Scott Holmes, Manager, Practice Development, Our Watch
  • Resource market place – Cindy Gorton – Executive Officer: Culture of Safety, UCA
    Bring your resources to share, for example:
    • Safeguarding around our most vulnerable groups
    • Resources for Indigenous communities
    • Resources for CALD communities
    • Resources on reportable conduct schemes you have found helpful
    • Policies, procedures, tools, tricks, tips on particular safe church themes

The NCCA and Safe Church Program (SCP) Staff  would like to thank our various keynote speakers: Professor Daryl Higgins, Professor Tim Moore, Julie Blyth, Craig Hughes-Cashmore, Dr Cathy Kezelman and Kath Mandla for sharing their wisdom and scholarship.  We would also like to thank the participating panelists and those leading elective workshops for sharing their knowledge and experiences.

We are grateful for the creative and talented Joel McKerrow for providing theological reflections during the conference and Richelle Boer for musical accompaniment.

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 Mr Sam Burnett  Ms Ellen Fanning  Joel McKerrow and Richelle Boer

And lastly, we would also like to thank Conference Master of Ceremonies, Mr Sam Burnett and Panel Facilitator, Ms Ellen Fanning.

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Above left: Fr Abanoub Atalla and Thomas Ling, NCCA Board Directors.            Centre: Vera DeVere and Interim General Secretary, Liz Stone.                          Right: President, Bishop Philip Huggins and SCP National Coordinator Laura Cregan. NCCA SCP Staff: Laura Cregan and Vera DeVere

For details of the  pdf 2019 Safer Churches Conference Program and speakers: CLICK HERE (6.08 MB)  

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