Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy
The Archdiocese of Brisbane and also Saint Rita’s Catholic Parish, Victoria Point, holds that children, young people and vulnerable adults are a gift from God with an intrinsic right to dignity of life, respect and security from physical and emotional harm. They are to be treasured, nurtured and safeguarded by all.
The Archbishop has promulgated a new Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy. The policy states:
Children are a gift from God with an intrinsic right to dignity of life, respect and security from physical and emotional harm. They are to be treasured, nurtured and safeguarded from harm by all.
A copy of the full policy document can be found on the notice board at the entrance of the church and in the hall. You are encouraged to read it. Our parish is implementing the policy and procedures during the coming months and some training will be provided to those who are working with children.
As part of the Archdiocesan Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy we will soon be appointing a parishioner in the role of Local Safeguarding Representative. This important role will assist our community to develop an extended culture of guardianship.
Code of Ethical Behaviour Policy
Relationships among people are the starting point of all Christian life, ministry and service and are central to Catholic life. It is with the objective that relationships in ministry be experienced as collaborative, communicative and coordinated without intention to harm or allow harm to occur that I [Archbishop Mark Coleridge] have approved this Code of Ethical Behaviour.
Those who serve in the Archdiocese of Brisbane – employees, volunteers and students on placement shall:
1. Commit to justice and equity by exhibiting the highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity in their professional conduct.
2. Uphold the dignity and right to respect of all people by conducting themselves in a moral manner consistent with the discipline, norms and teachings of the Catholic Church.
3. Commit to safe and supportive relationships by not taking advantage of any pastoral or authoritative role for their own benefit; and by adhering to the requirements of the law of Queensland regarding reporting any suspected abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
4. Respond with integrity to those who are poor, alienated or marginalised by not acting in an abusive or neglectful manner; and by sharing concerns about suspicious or inappropriate behaviour, confidentially, with the appropriate person in their organisational structure.
5. Strive for excellence in all their work by accepting their professional responsibility in the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse and harm; by providing a professional work environment that is free from harassment; and following the policies and procedures of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
6. Maintain appropriate professional boundaries in all contact settings including virtual by:
~ demonstrating behaviour consistent with role and responsibilities;
~ avoiding inappropriate emotional attachment;
~ not forming or engaging in relationships of a personal or sexual nature;
~ maintaining distance between work time and activities and personal time and activities;
~ not accepting gifts or entering into financial relationships or transactions;
~ not disclosing inappropriate personal information; and
~ avoiding touch, in a manner, which is not a legitimate occupational requirement.
Conduct not consistent with this Code of Ethical Behaviour in the workplace includes but is not limited to being engaged in activities or situations that can give the appearance of: bullying, sexual or other harassment, exploitation, sexual exploitation, conflict of interest, abuse as defined in the Church’s Towards Healing document, possession or distribution of pornographic material, abuse of alcohol, drugs or gambling that in any way interferes with the person’s service of the Church any form of criminal conduct including stealing or any other form of theft or any form of assault.
Safe Activities: Planning Activities for Children and Young People
Centacare Agencies must follow the procedures as prescribed in their Work Health and Safety, Children’s Health and Wellbeing, Risk Management and Client Services policies.
Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane must follow relevant policies when planning activities for students.
Our commitment to child safety along with State and National Legislation requires a parish/agency to undertake risk assessment of activities and services provided. As part of the overall risk management strategy, assessing any potential risks is critical in minimising harm to a child, young person or vulnerable adult.
A risk is anything, including the behaviour of others that can cause harm or loss to a child or young person. In assessing any activity or service provision within the Archdiocese it is important to consider how harm might occur, why and when it could occur.
Appendix 4 contains a Risk Calculator which will guide assessment of risks. Once the level of risk is determined, the risks can be prioritised and options that effectively control the situation can be considered for implementation. There is a sample Risk Assessment Sheet in Appendix 4.1.
Risk assessments must be conducted on all activities and services provided within the Archdiocese that involve children and young people. These assessments are to be kept on file and reviewed annually in light of the recent circumstances.
Parishes/agencies can minimise the risk of harm to children and young people by:
~ ensuring that activities support the interest of children and young people;
~ providing constant supervision by reliable and trained adults;
~ knowing where children and young people are at all times;
~ implementing appropriate risk mitigation strategies within the environment to keep children safe e.g. installing glass windows into doors to give a line of sight into a particular space.
Two Adult Rule
General safe practice in all activities involving children, recommends the application of the Two Adult Rule which serves to keep children and vulnerable adults as well as the adults serving them safe. Wherever practical no fewer than two adults are present at all times during any parish/agency sponsored program, event or ministry involving children and/or youth. It is best that these two adults not be related.
Why have this rule?
~ drastically reduces the risk of an incident of abuse (potential abuser will lose interest if they are constantly in sight of another adult);
~ protects the adults against false allegations;
~ reduces the possibility of a claim of negligence;
~ parents and adults more likely to volunteer to lead if they know they will have help on a regular basis;
~ provides help if there is an accident or emergency;
~ sends a clear statement that children/youth are important and valued.
What do we do if we are a small parish and have a hard time finding even one adult leader?
~ assign an adult roamer who visits each area during CLOW or other children’s activity, to function as additional helpers;
~ leave doors open;
~ put glass windows in the doors