Safe Church

Our Commitment to Safety

Doncaster Church of Christ is committed to the safety and holistic well-being of all children, young people, those with disabilities and the vulnerable, of all ethnic backgrounds and cultures. We see all people as made in God’s image, and therefore deserving of our best efforts to keep them safe, encouraged, welcomed and cared for. We want to reflect God’s loving nature, and meet our legal and moral obligations, by ensuring the safety and holistic well-being of everyone.

All staff and volunteers aged 18 years or over who directly work with children (under 18s) are required to have a current Working With Children Check, to attend and complete child safe training every 12 months, and to sign the church’s child safe code of conduct every 12 months. At least one such leader will be present at any program/ministry involving children, and is responsible for the safety of the children in their care.

Doncaster Church of Christ has zero tolerance for any type of child abuse (including physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, racial and spiritual abuse) or for the grooming of young and vulnerable people. We work towards the prevention and management of bullying (physical and cyber), family violence and neglect. We aim to embed accountability into all leadership positions. Unsafe, unethical and inconsistent behaviour will not be tolerated and will always be referred quickly and confidentially to the appropriate level of leadership for investigation, discernment and response.

The relevant ministry staff (i.e. children’s and youth ministers) are responsible for the implementation of training in the child safety standards (code of conduct), accountable to the senior minister and board of elders, who are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the standards and policies are adhered to. The child safety policies (including code of conduct, expected behaviour, procedure for reporting suspected child abuse) are publicly available through the church website so that all staff and volunteers working with children are empowered to be fully responsible for the children in their care.

If you have concerns about anyone’s safety or the conduct of a leader, please speak as soon as possible with one of the people listed below.
(version 2016 November)

Code of Conduct

Read our Code of Conduct for working with Children and Youth which is based on that of ChildSafe's SP3.

Contacts

These people are aware of the church policies and procedures for dealing with concerns. Your concern will be treated seriously and confidentially.

Church Office: Lai Poh Tang (9848 1546 or office@doncasterchurch.org.au)
Senior Minister: Jim Catford (jim@doncasterchurch.org.au)
Youth Minister: Nathan Shanks (nathan@doncasterchurch.org.au)
Elders Chair: Daryl Marchant (dazzler1229@icloud.com)
Elder: Linda Wilson (wilson.linda.ml@edumail.vic.gov.au)
Children's Ministry Leader: Beverley Watson (beverley@doncasterchurch.org.au)
DYGletts Leader: Charlotte Hobson (office@doncasterchurch.org.au)
Youth Leader: Nat Macdonald (nat.jean.macdonald@gmail.com)
10am Congregation: Bev Borig (bborig@bigpond.net.au
5pm Congregation: Nathan Shanks (nathan@doncasterchurch.org.au)
Chinese Fellowship: Leon and Joanne Lee (office@doncasterchurch.org.au)

Process for Dealing With a Concern

This is the process that is to be followed by those listed as contacts above.

When someone has reported a concern to you:

  1. Write down all information you have been given
  2. Contact the relevant ministry leader for the context that the concern relates to. Use the list of contacts below, choosing the first person in the list that is not implicated in the concern that has been raised.
    1. In Children’s Ministry:
      1. Beverley Watson
      2. Jim Catford
      3. Daryl Marchant
      4. CCVT
    2. In Youth Ministry:
      1. Nathan Shanks
      2. Jim Catford
      3. Daryl Mrchant
      4. CCVT
    3. Other:
      1. Jim Catford
      2. Daryl Marchant
      3. CCVT
  3. If the concern is of a criminal nature, also contact police directly. You may choose to be supported by the person you have contacted above, but as an adult you have legal responsibility to make a report yourself - you cannot leave it to someone else to report potentially criminal behaviour on your behalf. You must report:
    1. Reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child in Victoria
    2. Reasonable belief that a child is at risk of sexual abuse
    3. Reasonable belief that an individual is grooming (communicating with a child or their parents with the intent of committing child sexual abuse)
    4. More details available at www.dhs.vic.gov.au
    5. More details about referral to authorities around child protection at www.dhs.vic.gov.au

When a concern has been reported to you as per point 2 above, as one of those contacts listed in point 2 above (if you are not one of those people, please refer to them):

  1. Keep a written record of all information you have been given
    1. Ask for the person with the concern and the person who received it initially to write down all relevant information
  2. Follow any advice from police and law enforcement (if they have been involved), as it has priority over the internal procedures listed here
    1. Note that confidentiality laws need to be carefully navigated when communicating with others about any reports that have been made to police, the contents of the report and the person who made the report. Always defer to police advice on these matters
  3. Establish that there is reasonable concern that a code of conduct, policy or law has been breached. Make record of the relevant parts, for further investigation
  4. Where a concern relates to a person in active leadership, make contact with their ministry supervisor, who will then decide if it is appropriate to ask the leader to step aside from their role for one week to reduce the risk of harm to a child, while investigations proceed
  5. Where a concern relates to paid staff or a minister, the CCVT (Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania) professional standards committee must be informed
  6. Form an investigation group comprising of yourself and two others from Ministry Team, Elders and/or CCVT (Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania). This group then needs to decide what action to take, for example:
    1. Referral to CCVT
    2. A conversation with the leader
    3. Removal from leadership
    4. Further training
    5. Counselling