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NCCA Safe Church Program

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, states that the “National Council of Churches in Australia is well positioned to work proactively with the independent oversight bodies to ensure that individual religious institutions are able to comply with the requirements” (Final Report, Volume 16 Religious Institutions, Book 3, page 293).

The Safe Church Program is focused on helping local church leaders and congregation leaders to fulfil their pastoral, legal (ie duty of care, child protection, due diligence), insurance, risk management, denominational and ethical roles and the responsibilities for the spiritual, emotional and physical safety of all people.

The Safe Church Program is an initiative of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) with both NCCA and non-NCCA churches participating in the agreement. It helps facilitate quality, sustainable, accessible Safe Church workshops for local leaders, both paid and volunteer.

Safe Church Awareness Workshops (SCAW) are interactive, awareness raising workshops covering: Christian foundations of safe ministry, duty of care, vulnerable people and child protection (abuse prevention), due diligence in relation to recruitment and supervision of all church leaders and the management of program risks. The Safe Church Program recommends all leaders and those involved in ministry with young people and vulnerable people attend an introduction (full day) workshop in their first year of ministry and a three hour refresher course every three years.   The Safe Church Refresher Workshops (SCRW) provide updates on relevant legislative changes and recommendations of judicial inquiries, compliance requirements and review of progress towards being a safe church.

To help make Australian churches safer, the Safe Church Program provides National Training Standards for safe church programs and workshop presenter training to ensure the quality of workshops and presenters. The Safe Church Program resources and facilitates the ongoing task of educating leaders in holistic Safe Church ministry so as to prevent abuse and misconduct.

Key Values

Safe Church Program is committed to protecting the safety of all people within its programs, ministries and events. Our policies have been developed to uphold this commitment to safeguarding and to adhere to National and State legislation.

  • The protection of the rights of and flourishing of all people is the shared commitment in our promotion of safe church and ministry environments.
  • Protection of children and vulnerable people in the community is an imperative of our shared Christian faith.
  • Inter-church training expresses our "serving together in ministry" that is safe for all people.
  • Safe ministry recognises and respects the differences between our Christian traditions and State and Territory legislation and compliance.
  • Common National Standards of good practice are the basis for holistic Safe Church ministry.
  • Training and professional development focussses on leaders having a Christ-like attitude and behaviour in Christian ministry at all times with all people.

Key Objective

To make Australian churches safer places the Safe Church Program aims to model:

  • SUSTAINABILITY: by resourcing and facilitating the ongoing task of educating leaders in holistic Safe Church ministry.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: by resourcing and facilitating the training of greater numbers of church and ministry leaders so as to minimise the risk of the potential for, and intensity of, failures in duty of care and cases of physical, sexual, emotional, financial and spiritual abuse.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: by increasing the awareness of 'every person' involved in Australian churches and Christian ministry of our shared responsibility in holistic Safe Church ministry. 


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