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About Safer Churches

The 9th biennial Safer Churches Conference

17 and 18 September 2019 at the Mecure Hotel Brisbane. 

This is the first conference held by the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) Safe Church Program since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations were released in December 2017.

The theme for the conference, "Transforming Cultures: Listening, Reflecting, Acting" will provide the framework across the two-day event.

The conference will focus on ensuring Australian churches are informed by key leaders, who are experts in this area in Australia. Information will be delivered on the implementation of the recommendations as well as the very important process of cultural change, both in our churches and religious organisations. In addition, there will be opportunities for open, facilitated conversations, with a strong emphasis on promoting deep, cultural changes for the whole church.

The key themes explored during the conference will include:

  • exploring the churches' obligation to the vulnerable, particularly those with disabilities and the elderly
  • being inclusive of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Indigenous groups within our community
  • listening to the voices of children and survivors, and understanding 'Trauma Informed Practice' and the complexities of spiritual abuse
  • creating a culture of child safety throughout our Christian organisations. 

An initiative of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), the Safer Churches conferences 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 ‘Safer Churches’ .

The 'Safer 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.

Previous Conferences