As a church we work with many children and young people and it is important that we treat them appropriately with kindness and Gospel-shaped grace. It is of course important that everyone is treated in this way, but children can easily be forgotten or hurt.
Churches are still coming under fire following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In many cases around Australia, including Sydney, adults who were given responsibility to care for children in church settings have used and abused them. We have people in our own church who have suffered under the hands of evil men and women who used religion and religious networks to hide their horrific actions. This must not happen again.
In recognition of this, the Anglican Church requires all people involved with caring for and ministering to children and young people to do two things.
First, all people involved in caring for and ministering to children must do the Anglican Church approved Safe Ministry Training. Many professions require you to do Safe Working with Children programs however, such programs cannot be accredited to replace the Anglican Church Safe Ministry Training. Once completed, a refresher is completed every three years. The full course is now completed online. If you are unsure as to whether you should do the training or where you are up to in the three year cycle, please contact the office. If you are not Safe Ministry Trained or your certificate expires, you will not be able to start or continue with your ministry to children or young people.
Second, all people involved in caring for and ministering to children must apply for a Working With Children Check (WWCC). You start this process by going to www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au. You make an application and they send you a WWCC application number. You must then go to the RMS and identify yourself again after which the check takes place and clearance (or otherwise) is provided. You must then provide the church office with your WWCC number for verification. If you do not have a WWCC that has been verified by our office you will not be able to minister to children or young people.
There are some very limited exceptions to both of the above arrangements and if you wish to discuss those, please speak to me or our Safe Ministry Representative, Kerry Olsen.
The best way to protect our children is for everyone to be trained. It is actually our preference that everyone in our church does both the Safe Ministry Training and acquires a WWCC. This not only creates a helpful culture of transparency but also a culture of understanding. The more eyes that both see and understand, the better. If you have any questions about this, please speak to me or one of the Wardens.
Finally, if you see something strange, please say something!