Child Safety Policy
The purpose of this policy is:
- to facilitate the prevention of child abuse occurring at St Matthew’s Panton Hill.
- To work towards a church culture of child safety.
- To prevent child abuse within St Matthew’s
- To ensure that all parties at St Matthew’s are aware of their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs
- To provide guidance to staff, volunteers, members as to action that should be taken where they suspect any abuse within or outside the church community.
- To provide a clear statement to staff/volunteers/members forbidding such abuse
- To provide assurance that any and all suspected abuse will be reported and full investigated.
- St Matthew’s endeavours as much as it can to maintain its environment as safe as possible for children.
- We commit to promoting a general awareness amongst St Matthew’s congregation and attendees of the need to keep children safe from physical dangers in the environment. There is easy wheelchair access for people, including children, with physical disabilities.
- All volunteer members of St Matthew’s are required to have a working with children check. The church maintains a current register of WWC checks.
- The church has a zero tolerance policy to child abuse. As far as we are able to, we have removed barriers to reporting of child abuse, and we will continue to proactively ensure that this continues.
- St Matthew’s runs a playgroup weekly on its premises. The current co-ordinator of the playgroup, who is also a member of parish council, has been trained in the area of meeting the needs of children with disabilities. She has also had 12 years experience in facilitating playgroups.
- St Matthews will promote child safety through its regular means of communication, such as its pew sheet, its website, as well as on its noticeboards. We will also verbally remind everyone from time to time through Sunday services.
ST MATTHEWS CODE OF CONDUCT
This Code of Conduct outlines appropriate standards of behaviour by adults towards children.
The Code of Conduct aims to protect children and reduce any opportunities for abuse or harm to occur. It also helps staff and volunteers by providing them with guidance on how to best support children and how to avoid or better manage difficult situations. All staff and volunteers are required to comply.
All St Matthew’s staff and volunteers are responsible for promoting the safety and well-being of children and young people by:
- adhering to our Child Safe Policy
- taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse and harm
- treating everyone, including children, with respect, including listening to and valuing their ideas and opinions
- welcoming all children and their families and carers and being inclusive
- respecting cultural, religious and political differences and acting in a culturally sensitive way
- modelling appropriate adult behaviour
- listening to children and responding to them appropriately
- reporting and acting on any breaches of this Code of Conduct, complaints or concerns
- complying with our guidelines on physical contact with children
- working with children in an open and transparent way – other adults should always know about the work you are doing with children
- respecting the privacy of children and their families, and only disclosing information to people who have a need to know.
St Matthew’s staff and volunteers must NOT:
- seek to use children in any way to meet the needs of adults
- ignore or disregard any concerns, suspicions or disclosures of child abuse
- use prejudice, oppressive behaviour or language with children
- engage in inappropriate physical games or activities
- discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability or sexuality
- initiate unnecessary physical contact with children or do things of a personal nature that children can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes
- develop inappropriate relationships with specific children or show favouritism through the provision of gifts or inappropriate attention
- exchange personal contact details such as phone number, social networking site or email addresses with children, except where permission/authorisation is given by parents
- have unauthorised contact with children and young people online or by phone.
Policy on Screening, Supervision, Training and other human resources to reduce the risk of child abuse by existing personnel
Our aim at St Matthew’s is to identify the right people for the right tasks and ministries, including personnel who work with children. To ensure as much as is possible that the right people are placed in the right jobs and ministries, including the children’s ministry, St Matthew’s commits to the following:
A. Creation of clear job descriptions and duty statements
- the vicar and parish council will ensure that there are clear job descriptions and duty statements for each position, particularly where positions involve working with children.
- Ensure that job descriptions clearly spell out the organisational context of the position, the tasks and duties of the respective role
- clarify qualifications, experience and attributes the people must have
- clarify the level of responsibility and supervision associated with the position.
In the Anglican diocese of Melbourne any person who is a worker, bearing any responsibility, whether paid or voluntary, must have a working with children check.
B. Promote child safety through various means of communication
C. Assess potential staff or volunteers
In recruiting staff and volunteers who wish to work with children, the vicar, at least one warden and one other member of parish council, will assess potential personnel in the following areas:
- motivation to work with children
- relevant and verifiable experience
- understanding of children’s physical and emotional needs, with reference in particular to children with special needs
- understanding of professional boundaries
- communication skills
- attitudes to children’s rights and how they can be upheld
- values (honesty, integrity, reliability, fairness, and non-discrimination)
- responses from referees, including in particular the most recent referee
D. Staff and volunteer development, supervision and performance monitoring
After a person is selected for and begins in a role, St Matthew’s commits to
- ongoing supervision and support such as to enable the person in the role to meet clearly defined expectations and responsibilities associated with the role
- ongoing training equipping of people for their roles
E. Inclusive practice
St Matthew’s recognises that the dynamics of culture may be very different for children of minority cultures, and different again for children of indigenous cultures. We commit to ensuring that people in position of responsibility understand these differences, and that racism and cultural abuse have no place at St Matthew’s. We will also ensure that particular mention is given to these issues in policies, programs and other practices at St Matthew’s.