The Ryde Baptist Church is strongly committed to protecting children, young people and all vulnerable people.  This policy takes into consideration all vulnerable people in our churches, whether they are children, young people, elderly, those with disabilities or the emotionally and or spiritually vulnerable (i.e. those under the authority of church leaders).

Related Policies:  

ROOSH Child protection policies, Child Protection Policy, Code of Conduct

Related Legislation:

Ombudsman’s Act 1974 (part 3A);
Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 No 51
Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013

Applies to: All Staff and Volunteers over 18, and to general congregation.

Applies when: at all times, and in all locations (on and off – site).

1 – For the purpose of this policy all further references to ‘Child’ or ‘Child Protection’ mean to include both children and young person’s aged 0-18 years.

2 – Our mandate comes directly from God.  God identified classes of vulnerable people who were to be protected and given special care and treatment in society because of their powerlessness (Exodus 22:21-22, Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Jeremiah 22:2-4, James 1:27, Jesus loved, blessed and advocated for Children in Matthew 18:1-6 and the Kingdom of God is free of risk to Children as seen in Isaiah 11:6-9).

We affirm that all people have the right to be emotionally and physically safe, respected, and have their views and opinions valued at all times.

We also live in a country that legislates for people’s safety, particularly in the area of child protection. Our policy has been developed to help us live our Biblical mandate and our responsibilities under Federal and NSW legislation.

3 – We aim to:

  • To minimise the risk of abuse, ministry misconduct and the misuse of positional power within the church.  
  • To ensure that all cases of suspected abuse and ministry misconduct are handled in a consistent, unbiased and thorough manner.
  • To ensure that leaders and programs are safe.
  • To ensure that all people are respected and valued, irrespective of their gender, age, country of origin, cultural heritage, socio-economic background or ability.

To meet these aims, we commit to:

4 – Ensuring there is a child protection policy in place, which comes above this policy.

5 – Developing safe leaders

  • Communicating with Parents about policies and procedures.

6 – Safe recruitment of leaders.

  • We will screen all prospective Ministry Coordinators, Team leaders and Team Members in our ministries, before they are appointed
  • Ensuring all staff and volunteers have a valid WWCC.
  • We require a minimum church attendance of 3 months for all prospective volunteer leaders.
  • When it is appropriate for parents to stay and help, they must never be left unsupervised with other children.

7 – Adequate training of leaders

  • We require that all Pastors, Ministry Coordinators, Team Leaders and Paid Team Members (Not volunteers) attend Baptist Union Creating Safe Spaces or other SCTA endorsed workshop, and the Identify Risk of Harm Training.
  • All ministries leaders and key volunteers must hold a valid first aid certificate, including training on asthma and anaphylaxis emergency care.

8 – Continued supervision of Ministry Coordinators, Team Leaders and Team Members.

  • We commit to ongoing leadership training, supervision and support for leaders and Members
  • All Co-ordinators, leaders and Members will agree to follow our Leader’s Conduct Covenant.

9 – Responding to allegations of risk of harm (abuse) and serious ministry misconduct.

  • There will be appointed, by the Senior Pastor, a Child Protection Officer (CPO) on staff.
  • All leaders and members will report disclosures or suspicions of child abuse, to either the Senior Pastor or Pastor for Discipleship & Integration under the child protection policies and safe church policy put in place by Ryde Baptist Church.
  • The CPO will use the Mandatory Reporters Guide to inform further process.
  • Any allegations made against a staff member or volunteer in relation to a child will be reported to the Baptist Union Ministry Standards.

10 – Emotionally safe environments.

  • We will offer participants, including children, the opportunity to provide input in the programs and the activities in which they participate by; fostering and valuing their ideas, and encouraging participation in all areas of the life of the church, as far as is sensible and practical.
  • We will make a reasonable attempt to gain appropriate information relating to the program participant, including children’s health and family situation, to ensure that we are able to care for their physical and emotional needs.
  • Pastors, Co-ordinators and Team Leaders should commit themselves to ongoing professional development so as to provide the most relevant, safe and stimulating programs available.  They will do this by the purchase of publications and the attendance of seminars etc.  Provision in the budget is made for this.
  • Pastors, Co-ordinators, Team Leaders and Members will set yearly goals which are measurable and achievable, in order to provide emotionally safe and stimulating environments.

11 – Safe physical environments.

  1. All leaders will ensure the following:
    1. Toileting
      • Toileting can be problematic and an un-safe environment for children thus the following procedures should be followed.
      • While in any program operated by Ryde Baptist Church, Children are responsible for toileting themselves. If a child is not able to use a toilet without assistance, then their parent or guardian will be called back to toilet their child.
      • All children will be sent to the toilet with a buddy.
      • Adults and young leaders should stay within ‘sound’ distance but not enter the toilets whilst children are in them. Unless there is an emergency situation. 
      • Children will never be denied permission to use the toilet.
    2. Cuddling Children
      • Be respectful of boundaries set by children, young people and by their parents.
      • While it can be okay to pick up and hold a young child this should only be done with the parents’ permission; or in an emergency situation.
      • When appropriate and permitted: a comforting touch should be to shoulders and upper arm only, from the side and not from the front or from the back. 
      • Pastors, co-ordinators, leaders and members should remind all church attenders of this policy.
    3. Out of bound areas.
      • There are a number of areas where it is not safe for Children and Young People.  These areas include: Offices, Stage, PA Area, Sound Equipment, Car park, Kitchen and Storage areas.
      • Children and Young people are not permitted in unsafe areas, they may only be in these areas under strict supervision.
      • Leaders should never be alone with a child in any out of bounds area.
    4. Volunteer drivers: 
      • Driving Children and Young persons to and from ministries or excursions requires due diligence.
      • Before volunteer drivers can transport Children they must fill out a Volunteer Drivers Form.  This will give the Church and Parents confidence that the driver is licenced, safe and insured.
      • A record of volunteer driver’s forms are located in the Youth Pastors Office. These are reviewed annually.
      • To safe guard the reputations of leaders and team members and ensure protection for Children and Young Adults there must be two adult team members in every vehicle.
      • Red P Plate Drivers are not to transport Children or Young persons unless parental permission is given.
    5. Permission notes
      • When ministries take children on an excursion, ie away from the normal place of ministry, permission notes must be signed by parents prior to the excursion.  See appendix for sample Permission Note.
    6. Taking photos of Children
      • It is the policy of Ryde Baptist Church that parental consent must be obtained before photos of children can be published in any form.  This is generally gained by parent ticking the required box on the Child Information Form. Volunteers should not take photos on their personal devices.
    7. Adult to Children ratio’s
      • Ryde Baptist Church aims to follow the Education and Care services regulation ratios which are:
        0-2yrs: 1:4
        2-3yrs: 1:5
        3-5yrs: 1:10 (1:5 on excursions, 1:2 if water based)
        5-12yrs: 1:15 (1:8 on excursions; 1:5 if water based).
  2. Leaders will exercise a duty of care through the use of forms, checklists and templates in the Safe Church manual for establishment and maintenance of safe environments in our church.
  3. The following areas are incorporated into establishing and maintaining a safe physical environment; fire safety, building safety, first aid, food safety practices, risk assessment for activities, adequate ministry supervision for activities, transport, critical incident and emergency recommendations. There are individual policies related to these areas.
  4. Team Leaders are to complete a written ministry approval process annually. 
  5. Team Leaders are to submit their plans to their Pastoral team leader for assessment and to gain ministry approval.

12 – Our Safe Church Policy is supported by:

  • Creating Safe Spaces Recommendations
  • Creating Safe Spaces Workshop Workbooks
  • Keeping the balance leader’s Conduct Covenant
  • Responding to Kids@Risk Procedure
  • Ryde Baptist Church Procedures, forms checklists and templates

Risk Management: Risk assessments should be completed once per year per ministry area, and before each new event or activity, in the case of youth.

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