Syndal Baptist Church (SBC) is committed to protecting the safety of all people within its programs, ministries and events.
All people, regardless of age, gender, race, culture, disability and family/social background have equal rights to this protection.
All people, including children and young people, have the right to be respected and valued as well as feel emotionally, physically and spiritually safe at all times.
Our policy has been developed to uphold this commitment to safeguarding and to adhere to national and local legislation.
This policy applies to all staff, volunteers, or anyone working on behalf of Syndal Baptist Church.The purpose of this policy:
To protect children and young people and vulnerable adults who participate in our programs.
To provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
SBC believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe.
Our policy aims to:
Minimise the risk of abuse, misconduct and the misuse of positional power.
Ensure that all cases of suspected abuse and misconduct are handled thoroughly.
Ensure that leaders and programs are safe.
Ensure that all people are respected and valued.
Syndal Baptist Church (SBC) is committed to ministering to children, young people and adults by providing a church environment that is physically, emotionally and spiritually safe.
Our church is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children, young people and adults and will endeavour to provide a safe environment through our policies and procedures, including but not limited to recruitment, training, supervision, reviews, code of conduct, duty of care, risk management, workplace health and safety, conflict resolution, zero tolerance for discrimination against inclusion in our programs, zero tolerance for abuse, and environmental best practice.
The following values reflect the culture we are committed to promoting within our church: growing, inclusive, missional, generous, caring.
This policy reflects legislation and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:
National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children “Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business” 2009-2020 (Commonwealth of Australia)
Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (VIC)
Failure to Protect 2015 (VIC)
Failure to Disclose 2014 (VIC)
Crimes Amendment (Grooming) Act 2014 (VIC)
Working With Children Checks
Working With Children Act 2005 (VIC)
We recognise that:
The welfare of the child is paramount, and is everyone’s responsibility.
All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
Some children are additionally vulnerable due to impact of previous experiences, their level of dependence, communication needs or other issues.
Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other organisations is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
Safe recruitment, adequate training and continued supervision of leaders
We will screen all prospective leaders in our ministries before they are appointed, including but not limited to WWCC.
We require all leaders to attend safe church training upon commencement of their role, and a refresher every 3 years.
We commit to ongoing training, supervision and support for all leaders.
Have a clear Code of Conduct
We have a Code of Conduct for all leaders and volunteers, including boundaries of behaviour and expectations of interactions with children. All leaders and volunteers must sign the Code of Conduct prior to commencing their role.
Provide an open safe environment
We will be accountable and transparent, allowing participants a say in the program and activities in which they participate.
We will create a child-friendly environment, allowing people to raise their concerns in an appropriate manner. We will obtain appropriate information for program participants, including children’s health and family situation, to ensure we are able to care for their physical and emotional needs.
We will teach children and young people what they can do if they feel unsafe. We will listen to and act on any concerns children, young people, or their parents raise with us.
Understand and value diversity
We will be inclusive for all people in our programs. This includes adapting programs for anyone with a disability to receive access, as well as providing adequate training for leaders.
We will be sensitive to those from ‘Culturally and Liguistically Diverse’ (CALD) backgrounds and those within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We will respect all cultures and encourage the participation of all people, recognising their unique contributions to our community.
In addition to general workplace health and safety risks, we will proactively manage risks of abuse to our children and young people.
We have zero tolerance for any/all forms of child abuse. We are committed to preventing abuse of children and young people by identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.
Responding to allegations of risk of harm (abuse) and serious misconduct
We are aware of our legal and moral responsibilities in reporting abuse and risk of significant harm.
All leaders will report disclosures or suspicions of child abuse according to our procedures. We will listen to and believe children who raise concerns.
We will ensure that procedures are clear and appropriate in responding to allegations of abuse.
Where a leader has an allegation of abuse made against them, we will provide support to alleged victims and perpetrators and seek appropriate denominational assistance for a just and fair resolution.
Responding to other disclosures of abuse
We will ensure that appropriate training includes the recognition and response to indicators of abuse and neglect.
We understand that responding to abuse is not limited to children, but also includes adults within our programs and ministries who may be vulnerable at any given time. We will ensure that appropriate steps are taken to support our vulnerable people within our community.
Regular review of policy
This policy, along with our Code of Conduct, Risk Assessments, and other relevant policies and procedures, will be reviewed annually and following significant incidents if they occur, to ensure they are meeting legislative responsibilities and best practice benchmarks.