Croydon Uniting Church takes seriously a need to work within the ethical and legal framework expected of a Uniting Church congregation in present-day society. For example:
- All our designated leaders have Working with Children Checks
- The Uniting Church’s Code of Conduct for Lay Leaders was formally tabled at Church Council in Jan 2016
In 2015, the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania formally launched the Keeping Children Safe Policy. It is an overarching whole of church policy that is the Uniting Church’s binding and public commitment to the provision of safety for children. It builds on the good work already done to develop our church communities and establishments as safe places for children. Croydon Uniting Church is committed to the Keeping Children Safe Policy and process.
On 1 January, 2017 the Victorian Government expects minimum compulsory standards for religious institutions, including churches:
- 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
To create and maintain a child safe organisation, an organization to which these standards apply must embrace the Child Safe Standards At Croydon Uniting Church:
- The Statement of Commitment for Keeping Children Safe (adopted at Church Council in Nov 2016).pdf
- The Code of Conduct for Keeping Children Safe (adopted at Church Council in Nov 2016).pdf
- Safe Church Contact People are appointed
Safe Church Contact People: about the role
It is an unfortunate part of life that some people within our society may experience abuse of various kinds (including emotional, spiritual, physical or sexual abuse, or various forms of bullying).
As we live out our Christian witness as compassionate people, it may be that people within Croydon Uniting Church find that others (who may be of any age) confide in them, disclosing abuse. It is likely that being ‘disclosed to’ would be an unsettling and challenging experience. Consistent with policies, codes of conduct and legal requirements, Croydon Uniting Church identifies two ‘safe church contact people’. This is a role which supports anyone who has been ‘disclosed to’, to provide advice about legal and administrative obligations and to provide pastoral support.
All adults should be aware of the legal duty that they have in Victoria to report information about child sexual abuse to police (the ‘failure to disclose’ legislation), in the same fashion as certain professions must report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect (the ‘mandatory reporting’ legislation). The ‘safe church contact people’ also serve to educate the CUC community about their obligations.
If you need support or assistance
If you require assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about these issues, or have some form of abuse to report or disclose, you could could consider calling the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 14, the CUC Minister or the Bethel Centre.
The Bethel Centre (http://bethelcentre.com.au/) is a counselling, education and support service of the Uniting Church, operating independently of Synod within its own separate premises. Bethel provides support services to those have experienced abuse within the Uniting Church, and also supports those accused of, or who identify as being, a perpetrator.