Safe Ministry Check was developed out of a desire to see churches do the right thing. Thankfully in Australia, we have a government who has set the safety of vulnerable people, particularly children, as a priority for churches and ministry organisations.
One of the helpful tools that Australia has established is from the Human Rights Commission. They’ve developed and published the 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, and we’ve developed our system to help churches fulfil them. Safe Ministry Check not only helps you to fulfil the principles for child safety, but our goal is to help you care for all vulnerable people.
It’s probably worth saying here that having a Safe Ministry Check account doesn’t mean that you fulfil the principles by default. Signing up for a free account won’t mean that you no longer have to think about working towards safety for your church, but when used properly it will help you take the right steps towards fulfilling the principles.
So here are the 10 Principles and how Safe Ministry Check helps you to fulfil each of them.
- Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance, and culture.
The Safe Ministry Check system is designed around assisting churches and ministry organisations creating a safe culture through training and screening. For example, we have developed the member awareness training so that all people in your church can be trained. Also, the Board Members course, designed for those in organisational leadership and governance, is purposed towards helping high leadership of church and ministry based organisations see the importance of, as well as their responsibility for, the safety of all vulnerable people including children.
- Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
Safe Ministry Check content is available to people of all ages, though it is recommended that those under 18 do their training with a supervising adult. Safe Ministry Check also gives leaders and congregation members an understanding of what constitutes unsafe practice which they can and should communicate to those in their care. It’s also important to recognise that Safe Ministry Check training and example policy encourages all people to take any report of abuse seriously and to follow protocol in making sure it is dealt with in a correct manner.
- Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
As mentioned earlier, Safe Ministry Check encourages churches and ministry groups to provide member awareness training to all members of their church. This gives families and communities an understanding of safe ministry practise and promotes child safety and wellbeing. This is one of our prime examples of how having an account with Safe Ministry Check doesn’t fulfil requirements, but helps your church to easily fulfil the requirements when used well.
- Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practise.
Safe Ministry Check provides example documents, such as a Safe Ministry Policy, Code of Conduct, and Incident Response Process, which have been developed in line with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. What this means is that Churches and ministry organisations are able to customise these for themselves to uphold equity within their organisation.
- People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practise.
The Safe Ministry Check screening tool is designed to test the appropriateness of those who take any kind of care responsibility for others, whether child or adult. By asking the legally required questions, as well as questions developed in line with the national principles, your Safe Ministry Check gives you the confidence to know your leaders and members are the right people to be in their position. Also, to give your leaders support, the supervisor level of training is designed to train those who support others in their activities. This training makes sure those who are working with vulnerable people are well supported in matters relating to safety.
- Processes to respond to complaints and concerns are child focussed.
As part of the Safe Ministry Check system, churches and ministry organisations are prompted to adopt an incident response process. This allows churches and ministry organisations to take proper care when responding to reports of, or concerns around, unsafe ministry practice.
- Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
Safe Ministry Check training and education is available 24/7 and regularity of training is determined by the church or ministry organisation with high frequency encouraged. If you wanted your team to review it semesterly, you could, and at no extra cost. We’re also regularly assessing and reviewing our system to make sure that Safe Ministry Check training is in line with relevant legislation and understanding of safe ministry practice.
- Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
Through our example policies, code of conduct and training, Safe Ministry Check assists churches and ministry organisations to develop safe environments for all people. Through screening and training, all people in churches and ministry organisations can be made aware of possible dangers to children and young people, allowing them to develop safe environments for all people.
- Implementation of the National Child Safe Principles is regularly reviewed and improved.
Churches and ministry organisations on the Safe Ministry System receive regular updates with resources for implementation of the Safe Ministry Check system. Churches on our system are also encouraged to regularly assess their safe ministry documents and policies through our regularly updated blog.
- Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
Safe Ministry Check assists churches and ministry organisations in developing their own policies and procedures by providing example documents which are able to be modified for the individual use of each church. The Safe Ministry Check system creates a log of all actions taken to screen and train volunteers.
Hopefully this helps you confidently pursue safety for all people in your church as you use our system. If you need help with how to use our system, or you haven’t yet signed up, please let us know and we can help you with the next steps.