“As Archbishop, I am committed to ensuring that the Diocese, including its parishes and congregations, complies with these standards and I would like to assure you of the Diocese’s commitment to help and support you in that regard.”
– Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier
The Child Safe Standards
All Victorian organisations that provide services or facilities to children (including religious bodies, parishes and authorised congregations) are required, under the Child Wellbeing and Child Safety Act 2005, to ensure that they comply with compulsory Child Safe Standards. This is to ensure that the safety of children is promoted, child abuse is prevented and allegations of child abuse are responded to properly. For full details refer to the CCYP webpage.
New Child Safe Standards apply from 1 July 2022. Refer to the New Child Safe Standards Information Sheet. Organisations must continue to comply with the current Child Safe Standards until the new Standards commence.
In complying with the child safe standards, the following principles apply as part of each standard:
- promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children
- promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
- promoting the safety of children with a disability
- involving families and communities in the organisation’s efforts to keep children and young people safe
- a greater focus on safety for Aboriginal children and young people
- managing the risk of child abuse in online environments
Implementing the Standards
CCYP require organisations to undertake a thorough self-assessment in order to form an action plan to address any gaps in compliance with the standards.
They encourage use of an Implementation and Action Plan Tool (please note this tool is for the Child Safe Standards that apply until 30.06.22) to conduct the self-assessment. It is expected that a new self-assessment tool will be released shortly for the new Child Safe Standards.
The Diocese is a complex organisation comprising over 200 parishes, congregations and other faith communities. Embedding a culture of child safety requires action at every level of the diocese from the Office of the Archbishop to the smallest parish or congregation and a commitment from their leaders, clergy and lay. Each community is expected to engage in this process of self-assessment.
The questions and resources below are intended to offer some assistance but are not exhaustive. Please refer to the Short Guide to the Child Safe Standards and the Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation for details of the documents and actions that are required as evidence of compliance with each standard.
The individual standards (from 1 July 2022)
Child Safe Standard 1 – Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the
diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are
respected and valued
Child Safe Standard 2 – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership,
governance and culture
How does your parish:
- help leaders create an organisational culture that protects children from abuse?
- ensure the parish’s policies and practices reflect a commitment to child safety?
- ensure leadership is aware of their duties to report cases of abuse and respond in ways that protect children from abuse?
- ensure staff and volunteers know and understand the Church’s commitment to child safety?
- commit to continuous improvement through regular reviews and updating policies and practices, and being open to scrutiny?
The Archbishop in Council of the Diocese has approved a Code of Conduct for Child Safety for the diocese.
The Code sets out in more detail the standards of behaviour which the Anglican Church in the Diocese expects from all people associated with or representing it to ensure child safety. It is the responsibility of each Church worker to be aware of and meet these standards and, unless there are cogent reasons for not doing so, to follow the guidelines. Parishes are asked to support and promote compliance with the code.
Clergy and and those engaged in child related work are asked to sign the Statement of Commitment for Child Safety and forward it to the Parish Child Safe Officer.
- As leader of the parish, are you familiar with the provisions of the Code?
- Have you signed the Statement of Commitment to it as an example to others?
Child Safe Standard 3 – Children and young people are empowered about their rights,
participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
Child Safe Standard 4 – Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting
child safety and wellbeing
Child Safe Standard 5 – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice
Child Safe Standard 6 – People working with children and young people are suitable and
supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice
The Diocese has adopted specific screening practices, referred to as Clearance for Ministry or Clearance for Service. Refer to the Safe Ministry page of this website.
The immediate supervision of associate clergy in a parish rests with the vicar. In consultation with the vicar, the Archbishop may appoint or remove from office a deacon priest or lay minister.
- As vicar, have you satisfied yourself that all clergy assisting you in the parish have the authority of the Archbishop granted by licence or permission to officiate?
The immediate supervision of lay people holding a role office or position in a parish rests generally with the vicar or their authorised agent: Parish Governance Act 2015, ss 28, 29.
- As vicar, have you satisfied yourself of the fitness of those lay people holding office in the parish?
- Have you delegated supervision of them to any person?
- How is that monitored?
- Are you familiar with the clearance provisions in the Act?
All Clergy and Lay Volunteers and Employees must undertake safe ministry training. Refer to the Safe Ministry page of this website for details.
- As vicar, have you ensured that all clergy and lay people holding a role, office or position have undertaken the appropriate levels of training?
Child Safe Standard 7 – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused
Refer to the Making A Complaint webpage.
- Does the parish display signs advertising Kooyoora Professional Standards?
- Do regular parish communications advertise the Kooyoora complaint process?
Organisations need to ensure that children feel safe and comfortable in reporting concerns or allegations of abuse.
- Does your parish have in place processes that help children understand what to do if they want to report abuse, inappropriate behaviour or concerns for their safety?
- Have you sought the views of children in the parish about what makes them feel safe and unsafe?
- Are the Kooyoora Professional Standards signs on display in the parish?
- Have you placed suitable signs in the parish toilets?
- Is there a protocol in place if children wish to raise a matter of concern?
- Do the parish leaders understand and respect that protocol?
More information and resources are included in this CCYP guide.
Child Safe Standard 8 – Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and
awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training
Child Safe Standard 9 – Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing
while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed
Child Safe Standard 10 – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed
Child Safe Standard 11 – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for
children and young people
The Archbishop in Council of the Diocese (the governing body) has approved a number of key safe ministry documents including codes of conduct, a safe ministry policy, guidelines for child safety and a statement of commitment for child safety.
- Has your parish adopted the Safe Ministry resources?
- Has it been drawn to the attention of parishioners?
- Is child safety a standing agenda item at parish council meetings?
Diocesan resources (Kooyoora website)
Public Resources (Kooyoora website)