One of the great advantages of partnering with Ansvar Risk is their ability to keep us up to date with issues and improvements around keeping our ministries safe and properly screened.
In line with this, we’ve recently updated the wording that is asked of leaders when then complete the screening questions. One of the key screening questions is asking volunteers to make a personal disclosure about any previous instance where they have engaged in inappropriate behaviour towards children or vulnerable adults. Added to this, they are asked to disclose if they have been the subject of an accusation about inappropriate behaviour.
Where the question used to ask volunteers if they “have ever been the subject of an investigation”, we’ve now (with instructions from Ansvar) updated this to ask volunteers if they “have ever been the subject of a formal accusation”.
This might seem like a small – and possibly inconsequential – change, but there’s various factors that mean this is a better question.
The term “investigation” is usually withheld for the very formal process, after a concern has been raised, and even after a formal accusation might have been made. That is, a formal accusation could have been made against someone, but – for various reasons – that may not have progressed to a formal investigation.
And yet, if there was a volunteer who has had a pattern of formal accusations made against them, that might raise important flags about the appropriateness of that person serving in various high-risk areas, or serving at all.
We, together with Ansvar Risk, believe these continuous changes to our Safe Ministry Training tool will all go towards helping our churches and ministries develop and establish safe cultures that look out for vulnerable people.