Ministries

 

Child Safety

STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT


Grace Communion International is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people.

  • We foster a culture of child safety at all levels within the organisation
  • We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children
  • We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers
  • We have zero tolerance of child abuse and have systems in place to protect children from abuse, and will take all allegations and concerns seriously and respond to them consistently in line with our policies and procedures
  • We provide written guidance on appropriate conduct and behaviour towards children through the Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and Child Safety documents
  • We ensure children know who to talk with if they are worried or are feeling unsafe, and that they are comfortable to raise issues
  • We are committed to promoting the cultural safety for Aboriginal children, cultural safety for children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability
  • We are committed to a preventative and proactive approach with regular training and education for staff on child safety
 
 


Child Safety Protocols


Grace Communion International  (GCI) has a rich history of ministry to children and young people. GCI Child Safety protocols aim to ensure that congregations provide an ongoing safe place for children and young people where they can grow and flourish. The protocols aim to remove risk of harm or anything that could represent a threat to the physical, emotional and spiritual safety of children and young people.  Any risk of harm or suspected abuse or misconduct will be responded to and handled thoroughly.  All leaders will report disclosures or suspicions of child abuse in accordance with policies and procedures. 

In endorsing the safety of children, GCI has adopted the ChildSafe SP3 system and is committed to the sound implementation of its policies and procedures.  The ChildSafe training, Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and understanding of policies and procedures help ensure a safe environment for children and alignment with the 10 Child Safe Standards as set out by the Royal Commission:

1. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture. 

2. Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

3. Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing. 

4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

5. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice. 

6. Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused. 

7. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training. 

8. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed. 

9. Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved. 

10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

The Child Safe Policy is to be read and implemented in conjunction with the relevant documents to ensure adherence with the standards.  A suite of tools and forms are available to support congregations to implement the policy and processes.

All Ministry leaders, staff and volunteers are required to have current working with children checks and to undertake ChildSafe training with a refresher course every 3 years.  Additional ministry-specific training is to be undertaken as required.

Volunteers Code of Ethics


Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us.

As a volunteer you are governed by the policies and procedures of Grace Communion International Ltd and are making this statement of personal commitment and agree to the code of ethics detailed below:

Statement of personal commitment

The statement of personal commitment is to be agreed by volunteers and for those that are volunteering for Grace Communion International (GCI), this agreement will be annually renewed.

I agree to volunteering with GCI and understand that I am accountable to the senior pastor of my area, or designated leader of an event or activity being conducted by GCI.

As applicable, I will fulfil my role, giving priority to the safety and wellbeing of children, and I will encourage others to do the same. My words and actions will reflect Christian values and principles, both publicly and privately, and will be in line with the requirements of legislation. I will work as part of a team, and be accountable for my own actions. I will ask for help, guidance and support when I need it. I will respond to concerns, incidents, accidents, and suspicion or knowledge of abuse in a timely and appropriate way which is in line with the church's Systems for handling concerns, outlined in ChildSafe policy.

I will contribute to the unity of GCI's fellowship by respecting the doctrinal summary and Statement of Beliefs within the fellowship of Grace Communion International.

Code of Ethics preamble

The Code of Ethics is designed to edify the body of Christ. We pray it will be embraced by all those serving the church in congregation/s, administrative responsibilities, and those volunteering. The code is intended to be a living document that helps shape our character as we constantly seek to make it better reflect Christ’s will for us as elders, members and volunteers in his church. Ethics provides a framework for how people make decisions and judgments and how we act on them. Decision making for the Christian is ethical when it is firmly grounded in the Word of God and led by the Holy Spirit, for it is only in these that we find a basis for understanding the will of God.

As church leaders and volunteers, we must submit ourselves to the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in the application of ethical principles of Scripture. Our Christian conduct must be based on the life and teachings of Jesus, the teachings of biblical writers and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament calls for the highest standard of reputation, ethics and conduct.

As Christian leaders, we recognise that Jesus Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit. We ask him to change us so that the reality of his resurrected life is evident in our thoughts and actions.

Therefore, as members and or volunteers in the body of Christ, we must endeavour to conduct our lives according to the spirit of the ethical guidelines and principles set forth in this Code of Ethics.

Responsibility to God

Knowing that Jesus Christ is the living Head of the church,  I will strive to conduct myself in a manner that brings glory to him.

This means, I will strive to:

  • be a responsible servant of God
  • exercise faithful stewardship in my devotional life through the use of spiritual disciplines, the gifts of the Spirit and acts of service.
  • exercise faithful stewardship of financial, physical and intellectual resources.
  • accept accountability for all my actions and avoid situations that could reflect negatively on the name of Jesus Christ.
  • maintain sexual purity.
  • exercise Christ’s servant leadership

Responsibility to Grace Communion International

As Members and or volunteers of Grace Communion International (GCI)

  • I will contribute to the unity of our fellowship by respecting GCI’s doctrinal summary and Statement of Beliefs within the fellowship.
  • I will not endorse any doctrines contrary to the official GCI Statements of Beliefs.
  • I will not share disagreements with GCI doctrine or policy statements.
  • I understand that it is unethical to cause division in GCI congregations, associated GCI events or activities.

Responsibility to the Greater Body of Christ

Members and volunteers of Grace Communion International are a part of the greater Christian community.

This means I will strive to:

  • avoid soliciting members from other church fellowships. 
  • seek to work in harmony with other Christian leaders and programs to strengthen the body of Christ and advance the kingdom of God.

Responsibility to the Local Community

The local church is an integral part of the society in which it resides. An active, appropriate role in the community serves as a Christian example of love and is a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This means I will strive to:

  • be a responsible member of my community.
  • accept reasonable responsibilities for community service, recognising this is a function of my public ministry.
  • encourage the involvement of the congregation in appropriate community events.
  • comply with the laws of my government as long as they do not conflict with God’s laws.
  • take care not to allow political issues to create polarizations within the congregation. 

Code of Conduct


Grace Communion International Ltd

Staff and volunteers are responsible for keeping a professional role with children.  This means establishing and maintaining clear boundaries which serve to protect everyone from misunderstandings.

This Code of Conduct sets out the behaviour which Grace Communion International Ltd expects from all people associated with or representing it.

Purpose

Following this code will help to protect children and young people from abuse and inappropriate behaviour from adults.  All staff and volunteers are expected to maintain a high standard of behaviour and are responsible for supporting the safety, participation, well-being and empowerment of all children.  Having  a Code of Conduct which everyone adheres to also protects the organisation because opportunities for harm are actively reduced.

Upholding this Code of Conduct

All staff and volunteers are expected to report any breaches of this code to the Senior Pastor/Event Co-Ordinator/National Director under the Child Safe policies and procedures put in place by Grace Communion International.

Staff and volunteers who breach this Code of Conduct may be subject to disciplinary procedures, including any breaches involving external workers or volunteers.

All allegations of child abuse will be reported to statutory authorities.

Grace Communion International  condemns all forms of child abuse, discrimination and sexual exploitation. We are committed to creating a culture of child safety within the organisation and maintaining an environment which promotes safety for people involved in our programs including all children, people with a disability, people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

I acknowledge that I have read and understand the Grace Communion International  Child Safe Policy, and agree with that in the course of my association with Grace Communion International.

I Will:


  • Conduct myself in a manner that is consistent with the values of the Grace Communion International
  • Maintain the highest standards of care and respect towards all children regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, political,  ethnic or social origin or disability.
  • Provide a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all children, young people, parents, staff and volunteers
  • Always consider children’s safety as the highest priority
  • Follow and report any concerns about child abuse in accordance with the Grace Communion International’s child protection policy and  procedures.
  • Contact the police if a child is at immediate risk of abuse (Ph: 000)
  • Listen to and respond to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child have been abused or that they are worried about their safety/the safety of another child.
  • Keep all information regarding child protection concerns confidential, only discussing information with relevant and appropriate people according to the reporting procedures.
  • Promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD)  by having a zero tolerance for discrimination.
  • Promote the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability by ensuring reasonable care is taken to cater for any additional needs as required.
  • Encourage open communication between all children, young people, parents, staff and volunteers, encourage them to ‘have a say’ and participate in all relevant organisational activities where possible, especially on issues that are important to them.
  • Be transparent in my actions and whereabouts
  • Take responsibility for being accountable and not placing myself in positions where there is a risk of allegations being made. Wherever possible, I will ensure that another adult is present when I am working with or near children but if unavoidable, then ensuring an open and supervised environment be maintained.
  • Self-assess my behaviour, actions, language and relationships with  children.
  • Report any concerns or suspicions regarding abuse by a fellow worker, volunteer, contractor or visitor, via Grace Communion International child protection reporting procedures.
  • Comply with all relevant Australian and local legislation.
  • Comply with my state specific child safe registration requirements (such as the QLD Blue Card registration), which includes providing notification of any change of address, name, or legal status
  • Immediately disclose any information of charges, convictions of abuse and policy non-compliance in accordance with appropriate procedures. This includes disclosing any charges or convictions made against oneself or others.
  • Maintain strict impartiality and avoid favouritism or developing any special relationships with a particular child which could be perceived as favouritism.
  • Ensure any contact with children and young people is appropriate and in the parameters of the program or event.
  • Always ensure language is appropriate, culturally sensitive and reflects that the ideas and opinions of children and young people are heard and valued.
  • Recognise that particular caution is required when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people.
  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations or suspicions of abuse.
  • Act as positive role models and provide examples of good conduct in daily activities.
  • Encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.
  • Ensure compliance with CS Protocols regarding physical contact and touch when working with children and young people.
  • Encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.
  • Be committed to ongoing training and development.

I Will Not:


  • Engage in any activity with a child or young person that is likely to physically or emotionally harm them.
  • Engage in behaviour that is intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or young people, in person or on social media.
  • Use inappropriate, offensive, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning, culturally inappropriate or discriminatory language when speaking with a child or young person.
  • Allow allegations, suspected abuse, risk of harm or disclosures go  unreported.
  • Initiate unnecessary physical contact or do things of a personal nature that a child can do for him/herself, such as assistance with toileting or changing clothes.  If this is necessary, for example for a child with a disability, I will inform my supervisor first and be as open as possible in my behaviour.
  • Hit or physically assault children.  Corporal punishment is never acceptable. Principles for managing behaviours will be in compliance with the CS protocols.
  • Develop inappropriate or secretive relationships with children or young people.
  • Conduct a sexual relationship with a child or young person or indulge in any form of sexual contact with a child or young person. 
  • Make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in an adult conversation in front of children and young people.
  • Seek to make contact including online or by phone and/or spend time with any child that I come into contact with in my role as a representative of the Grace Communion International outside of the designated times and activities set for performing my task as a representative of the Grace Communion International unless authorized by Supervisor or has parental agreement and is in line with Child Safe Protocols.
  • Condone or participate in behaviour of children that is illegal, unsafe or abusive.
  • Photograph or video a child or young person without the consent of the child and his/her parents or guardian.
  • Act in a way that shows unfair and differential treatment of children and young people by offering special treatment or inappropriate attention for a specific child.
  • Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive
  • Release or discuss any personal confidential information about suspected or proven child abuse or protection cases other than with the Child Safe Concerns Person and other parties as designated by them and according to reporting procedures.
  • Use any computer, mobile phone, or video and digital camera to exploit or harass children or any misuse which could damage their image or reputation.
  • Make inappropriate promises to children and young people, particularly in relation to confidentiality.
  • Jump to conclusions about others.
  • Exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues.
  • Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive
  • Work with children or young people while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Rely on your reputation or that of the organisation to protect  you

I am responsible for my actions and utilise Child Safe standards and best practices to avoid  behaviours that could be in breach of this Code of Conduct and the Child Safe policies of Grace Communion International.

I have read the Grace Communion International Child Safe Policy  and Code of Conduct and have/or will discussed its contents with my Supervisor. I am aware that Grace Communion International expects me to uphold at all times the standards of behaviour described in the Code of Conduct above.

I also understand that disciplinary measures and legal steps will be taken if I am found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct. I understand that in making that  report, Grace Communion International may have to inform other authorities, in a confidential manner to meet obligations under Australian law.

 
 

Annual Agreements


All GCI Employees, Elders, Pastoral Team members and volunteers will need to agree annually to the following statements:

  • Code of Ethics for Volunteers or Pastoral Team Members or Elders - depending on your role.
  • Code of Conduct

The specific links to use are as follows for Volunteers, Pastoral Team Members and Elder Agreements: