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About the Safe Church Program

For over a decade, the Safe Church Program has helped churches and Christian ministries to create safer environments for children and vulnerable adults. The program started organically in 2004 when a number of ministry leaders recognised the need to work on this issue across denominations and churches. Born of several years of dedication and effort, it was initially called the Safe Church Training Agreement. It encompassed Safe Church Awareness and ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops, and the Biennial Safer Churches Conference.

The NCCA oversaw the program via the Safe Church Network, until it formally took ownership of the program in late 2014 with the appointment of a full-time National Coordinator. The program that exists today is focused on helping local church leaders to fulfil their safeguarding requirements ie. pastoral, ethical, legal (i.e. duty of care, child protection, due diligence), insurance and risk management. It also includes the responsibility that churches have for the spiritual, emotional and physical safety of all community members.

The NCCA recognises the findings of the Royal Commission which definitively includes the need for churches to act strategically and proactively to create child safe cultures. These changes should not be left to happen in an ‘organic’ way or pace — what’s clear is that a robust approach, in line with the seriousness of the issue, is required by all church and faith communities to address the issue. To this end, the Safe Church Program works in consultation with the National Office for Child Safety, state and territory regulatory bodies, the eSafety Commissioner, and both NCCA member churches and non-member churches.  

Both NCCA and non-NCCA churches participate via membership, training and an explicit commitment to the key objectives of the Safe Church Program. The existence of the program facilitates high-quality, sustainable, accessible Safe Church workshops for local leaders, both paid and volunteer.

Our value statements

The Safe Church Program is committed to protecting the safety of all people within its programs, ministries and events, and supporting organisations to adhere to safety legislation. The value statements we uphold in this work are:

  • A zero tolerance stand on all forms of abuse in the church.
  • Protection of the rights of and flourishing of all people as the shared commitment in our cultivation of safe church and ministry environments.
  • Protection of children and vulnerable people in the community as an imperative of our shared Christian faith.
  • Training that is safe for all people and which speaks to the concept of serving together in ministry.
  • Respect for the diversity of Christian traditions and an awareness of how these interact with child safety legislation.
  • The use of National Standards as the common basis for holistic Safe Church ministry.
  • Training which focuses on continual development to create cultures where a Christ-like attitude and behaviour towards all people is exampled by leadership. 
Our objectives

The NCCA has identified seven key objectives for the Safe Church Program. They are:

  • To respond to the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.
  • To provide a National Framework and training standards for churches to benchmark against as they implement the ‘National Principles for Child Safe Organisations’.
  • To build churches’ safeguarding capacity through safe church awareness and ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops.
  • To ensure that all churches are safe places for all people.
  • To provide networking and advocacy opportunities across denominations.
  • To encourage cross-sector partnerships and relationships..
  • To ensure all training and resourcing is transparent, and hold churches and faith communities accountable for providing safe environments for all people.

National Training Standards

To help make all Australian churches safer, the program provides National Training Standards to guide churches in developing their own workshops and training. This includes resources, available on this website under ‘Resource Hub’, to support churches in educating all stakeholders in the prevention of abuse and misconduct.

NCCA Child Safety Framework

The National Framework and Training Standards for Child Safety have been developed by Child Wise in consultation with NCCA Safe Church Program members. The framework and guidance on developing training are based on the National Principles for Child Safety and provide churches and Christian ministries with a suite of information to develop their safeguarding capacity. This includes a self-assessment tool to measure progress on their child safeguarding journey against the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

State and Territory Safe Church Awareness workshops

Safe Church Workshops are informative, engaging and interactive. They are designed to raise everyone’s understanding and awareness of Christian foundations of safe ministry, duty of care, vulnerable people protection (abuse prevention), due diligence in recruiting and supervising church leaders, and risk management.

The Safe Church Awareness workbooks have been designed to deliver content on safeguarding that is broadly applicable to church and Christian ministries within each state and territory of Australia. They address relevant legislation and information on state based regulatory bodies and services.

The Safe Church Program recommends that all church leaders, young people, those involved in ministry to children and those who may be vulnerable, attend an introduction (full day) workshop in their first year of ministry as well as a three-hour refresher course every three years. To find workshops in your area, view the NCCA SCP calendar by clicking here

‘Train the Trainer’ workshops

The Safe Church Training Program runs ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops around Australia throughout the year. The ‘endorsed presenter’ recruitment process has been developed to ensure the highest quality presenters are selected to run Safe Church Awareness workshops. Read more about how to become a trained workshop presenter here . 

Educational and learning

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the biennial Safer Churches Conferences from 2004 to 2019. Thank you to all those who have attended from across the churches and who have been part of the Christian community dedicated to making our churches safe places for all people. To all the subject matter experts who have delivered engaging, informative and evidence based research to improve the knowledge and capacity of those involved in safeguarding, thank you for your contributions and partnership. 

The NCCA will continue offering education and learning opportunities in roundtable, webinars and other forums. Please contact the NCCA Safe Church program National Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like us to support you or sponsor your learning event and partner with you in the future.

 

  

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