All staff and volunteers at Warrandyte Community Church are expected to behave in a way that is consistent with our Christian Faith, and as such should be concerned about likely perceptions of the church in the wider community, and the need to acknowledge the real or perceived power given as trusted members of the church.
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 Warrandyte Community Church staff and volunteers are responsible for promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by:
- adhering to our Child Safe Policy, and other policies
- taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse
- treating everyone 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
- promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children, children with culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds and children with a disability
- modelling appropriate adult behaviour
- listening to children and responding to them appropriately
- never shouting at children in anger (shouting could be necessary if someone is in danger to alert them and avoid a situation escalating)
- reporting and acting on any breaches of this Code of Conduct, complaints or concerns
- complying with our guidelines on physical contact with children
- ensuring as far as practicable that adults are not left alone with a child
- 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.
- if an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the child(ren) are safe
- encouraging children to ‘have a say’ and participate in all relevant organisational activities where possible, especially on issues that are important to them.
Warrandyte Community Church 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
- put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors)
- discriminate based on 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. If it is necessary to help pre-schoolers with these things, it should be done in an open way with another worker within hearing distance.
- undertake any ministry which is not in a public place or location with visibility
- develop ‘special’ 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 under the age of 13.
- supervise a child leaving the program to use the toilet or move around the building without another child or adult being present.
- visit a child at home while the child is alone.
- make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even as a joke.
- kiss or tickle a child or do anything which is potentially sexual.
- touch children in genital or chest areas.
- transport children under the age of 16 without at least one other person in the car (can be another child or young person), or to do so without parental permission (both stipulations apply). If the need for this does arise, the parent/s will be informed and either a phone call will be made as the journey begins with an ETA, or the parent will give written permission, or the parent will be on the phone (hands free if the driver is talking) whilst the journey is made. However, this is not the ideal situation, and at least two children/young people should be present if at all possible. A male leader will never drive a lone female under the age of 18, a female leader will never drive a lone male under the age of 18 as part of a church activity.
- verbally ridicule or ‘put down,’ a young person in our care.
- leave the premises with a child/children without the express consent of a parent/carer.
- engage in rough or dangerous physical play that could result in injury or upset. Common sense should prevail as games may become rougher with increasing age of children.
- leaders are not to engage with children under the age of 13 via private messages by email or any other social media. Communication should be made via a parent if required.
By observing these standards, you acknowledge your responsibility to immediately report any breach of this code to the church Child Safety Officer/leadership.
If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000