Safe Church Update

Safe Church Update

The Safe Church Unit wishes all our Congregations, Faith Communities and Parish Missions a happy and safe 2022. We aim to ensure that the Church is safe for all and provide information to support this aim. We would like to draw your attention to the following:

Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is now law in NSW

As of 1 February 2022, the NSW Children’s Guardian, Janet Schroer, requires religious organisations to demonstrate how they are implementing the Child Safe Standards. These Standards, which emerged from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, are now a legal requirement. The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) is expected to audit congregations and has announced that for 2022, their focus will be on the standards relating to Leadership.

These standards apply to all congregations across NSW with active children’s ministry and those where a child is occasionally present in worship. Full implementation is not expected within twelve months; however, organisations will be required to demonstrate how they are progressing towards full implementation.

The OCG will be running introductory webinars, and we will include these on the Events page as they become available or refer to the OCG webinar registration page. Webinars and face-to-face training – NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian. The OCG has also produced a booklet Child Safe Standards – NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian

The Uniting Church is committed to actively safeguarding children. The UCA Child Safeguarding Framework requires every part of the Church to be able to demonstrate their implementation of the 10 Child Safe Standards even where they are not legislated in a particular State or Territory.

The Synod website page has a wealth of resources to assist congregations in both NSW and the ACT to implement the Child Safe Standards.

UCA National Safe Church Unit partners with the e-Safety Commissioner to deliver a free webinar on e-Safety –11 March.

e-Safety continues to be a complex area for our churches to navigate, especially with the need to move services and activities online as the pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. This free webinar is designed to equip all adults in our Church, particularly youth leaders, with an understanding of the current trends in technology and the risks associated with online interactions. Register now to attend this important event.

Anne Empson
Safe Church Quality and Compliance Manager

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