The path to safer ministry

Using the Professional Standards documents of the Anglican Church of Australia

Safer ministry

Safer ministry is important to the Anglican Church.

Our aim is to manage risks to effective ministry in the context of personal and pastoral relationships.

Dioceses use resources developed by the Professional Standards Commission. This document identifies these resources and when to use them.

They are tools for effective ministry. Some are most useful for bishops while others are for clergy and church workers. Some are very specific in their use and others have a broad application across the church.

Professional Standards Commission resources are used in conjunction with the documents for professional standards of each diocese. The processes for handling complaints and working with survivors and respondents may vary between dioceses. The professional standards processes for your diocese are available from the Diocesan Office.

Where

The resources are found on the General Synod website under Governance, Commissions, Professional Standards.

http://www.anglican.org.au/governance/commissions/Pages/professional_standards.aspx
(note: the above address contains underscores ‘_’; /governance/commissions/Pages/professional_standards.aspx)

When

Resources fall into 2 categories:

Prevention

  • These resources are used in promoting safer ministry.
  • Their aim is preventing abuse in churches and church bodies.
  • They do this by identifying standards of behaviour and providing guidelines for screening, selecting and training clergy and church workers.

Response

  • These resources are used when responding to alleged or confirmed incidents of abuse in churches and church bodies.
  • They include caring for survivors, handling complaints and responding to people about whom complaints have been made.

What

The type of document influences its style and language. A legal document is structured differently from an educational or procedural one.

The types of resources are

Principles Risk Management
Education Research
Procedures Legal

Purpose

Each resource has a purpose which aligns with the categories of prevention and response. The resources may be used for one or more of the following purposes.

Prevention

Response

Purpose
Purpose
  • Identifying standards of behaviour
  • Training
  • Screening and selecting clergy and church workers
  • Caring for those who have been abused
  • Handling complaints
  • Responding to persons of concern

How

We can picture the aim, category, purpose and types of professional standards resources like this:

Who

There is a range of people involved in promoting safer ministry in the church.

PREVENTION

Promoting Standards of Behaviour

Purpose: These documents identify the standards behaviour of clergy and church workers and provide guidelines for achieving them.

Users: Bishops, clergy, church workers, Directors of Professional Standards

Documents:

  1. Faithfulness in Service

    Bishops, clergy, church workers and parishioners use this document to identify the standard of behaviour for bishops, clergy and church workers.

    Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) – November 2016.pdfFaithfulness in Service (Consolidated) – November 2016

  2. Support of clergy and churchworkers

    Clergy and church workers use this document to better understand self-care.

    Bishops, supervisors and church wardens use this document to help clergy and church workers understand the importance of self-care and act on it.

    Located in Making our Church safe: A programme for action - General Synod 2004, section 10. Ministry Support for Clergy. . See Reports 3.

  3. Developing of a policy for the use of technology in pastoral communications

    Dioceses use this document to develop a policy which ensures communication in the church is safe for everyone.

    Developing a policy for the use of technology in pastoral communications 2013 10 18.docDeveloping a policy for the use of technology in pastoral communications - Approved by Standing Committee, November 2013 (SC2013/2/30)

Training

Purpose: These documents are used when you are training clergy and church workers.

Users: Diocesan trainers, bishops, clergy, church workers, selectors, Directors of Professional Standards, parishes.

Documents:

  1. Safe Ministry Training Benchmarks

    Dioceses use this document to assess their Safe Ministry Training program and delivery against National Benchmarks. The benchmarks set a high and consistent standard in Safe Ministry training across the Church and facilitate mutual recognition of training between dioceses.

    Safe Ministry Training Benchmarks 23.10.11

  2. Faithfulness in Service Discussion Guide

    Leaders of training sessions in dioceses or parishes use this document to explore how Faithfulness in Service is applied by clergy and church workers.

    FIS Discussion May 2006

Screening and Selecting Clergy and Church Workers

Purpose: These documents are used when you are screening and selecting clergy and church workers.

Users: Bishops, applicants for ministry positions, selectors, Directors of Professional Standards, assessment teams

Documents:

  1. Model System for Selection and Accreditation of Church Workers in Parishes

    Clergy and parishes (selectors) use this document when selecting and accrediting parish church workers including volunteers. It gives steps to follow before and after appointing a church worker. While it is designed for use in parishes it can be used by other church bodies.

    LAY PARISH WORKERS

  2. Sample List of Church Worker Ministry Positions

    Clergy and parishes use this document to create a list of positions that a church worker, including a volunteer, may hold. It is not an exhaustive list. Creating a list of ministry positions in your parish is the 1st step in the appointment process. See Model System for Selection and Accreditation of Church Workers in Parishes.

    Sample List of Ministry Positions - Oct 2006

  3. Sample Ministry Position Template - Church Worker Positions

    Selectors use this document to set a framework for all church worker positions. It helps assess the type of ministry, responsibilities and reporting requirements of the role and if it is high risk or low risk in terms of potential harm (see step 3 in “Steps Prior to Appointment” in Model System for Selection and Accreditation of Church Workers in Parishes).

    Sample Ministry Position Template Oct 2006

  4. Safe Ministry Check – Volunteer Church Workers

    Selectors use this document to conduct a Safe Ministry Check on a voluntary church worker who has applied to engage in a high risk ministry.

    It is completed by the applicant.

    Completed Safe Ministry Checks are to be retained in a secure location for an indefinite period.

    Safe Ministry Check - Volunteer 2013.docSafe Ministry Check - Volunteer 2013.doc

  5. Referee Check - Sample Questions – Volunteers

    Selectors use this document to conduct a Referee Check on a lay person who has applied for a high risk voluntary ministry position. It gives sample questions to ask a referee.

    PSC App F Sample Questions Referee Checks-October 2006

  6. Church Worker Positions - Selection Checklist

    Selectors use this document to record and track the selection process used to appoint a lay person to a high risk ministry position. It is completed for successful and unsuccessful candidates for the position. Completed Selection Checklists are to be retained in a secure location for an indefinite period. It is not required if the position has been assessed as low risk.

    PSC App G Selection Checklist Instructions

  7. Safe Ministry Check – Ordination Candidates, Clergy and paid Church Worker positions - Applicant

    Selectors and Bishops use this document when selecting people to carry out ordained or paid lay ministry.

    It is completed by the applicant.

    Completed Safe Ministry Checks are to be retained in a secure location for an indefinite period. Ordination candidates and clergy complete it every 3 years or each time they apply for a position. Paid church workers complete it every time they apply for a high risk position, unless they’re currently accredited for high risk ministry.

    Safe Ministry Check - Applicant 2013.docSafe Ministry Check - Applicant 2013

  8. Safe Ministry Check – Ordination Candidates, Clergy and paid Church Worker positions – Referee's Screening Questionnaire

    Selectors and Bishops use this document when selecting people to carry out ordained or paid lay ministry.

    It is completed by the applicant's referee.

    Completed Referee Screening Questionnaires are to be retained in a secure location for an indefinite period.

    Safe Ministry Check - Referee 2013.docSafe Ministry Check - Referee 2013.doc

  9. Guidelines for Dioceses Undertaking Risk Assessments relating to Sexual Abuse

    Assessment teams use this document to undertake a risk assessment to determine whether a person applying for a ministry position might pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of children and other vulnerable people.

    Guidelines - Risk Assessment 2013

  10. National Register Protocol 2 – Access & Disclosure of Information

    Protocol for access and disclosure of information on the National Register.

    Bishops follow the protocol when ordaining, licencing or appointing.

    Directors of Professional Standards follow the protocol when investigating allegations of sexual misconduct or child abuse, and when specific appointments or elections are held within the diocese.

    The General Secretary follows the protocol when being requested to access or disclose information on the National Register.

    Protocol 2 - Access to and Disclosure of Information_updated Nov 2016.pdfProtocol for Access to and Disclosure of Information

  11. Protocol for Comprehensive Psychological Assessment

    Protocol for comprehensive psychological assessment for candidates for ordination.

    Bishops and those responsible for the selection process follow the protocol when assessing whether candidates are suitable for ordination.

    Documents for implementing the protocol are available through the General Synod Office for Bishops and those responsible for the selection process. (documents available – sample letters to candidates and psychologist).

    A Process for Comprehensive Psychological Assessment- 17 dec 2012

RESPONSE

Caring for those who have been abused

Purpose: These documents are used when you are caring for those who have been abused.

Users: Bishops, clergy, church workers, Directors of Professional Standards

Documents:

  1. Providing Pastoral Care to those Affected by Sexual Abuse

    Clergy and church workers use this document to help them provide effective pastoral support to those affected by sexual abuse.

    Document waiting publication

  2. Pastoral Care and Assistance Principles

    Dioceses use these principles to develop a scheme which provides pastoral care and assistance to those who have been sexually abused by clergy or church workers

    Pastoral Care and Assistance Principles

Handling Complaints

Purpose: These documents are used when you are handling professional standards complaints. They are used in conjunction with diocesan policies and procedures.

Users: Directors of Professional Standards, General Secretary

Documents:

  1. National Register Protocol 1 – Inclusion of information

    Directors of Professional Standards use this Protocol for the inclusion of information on the National Register.

    The General Secretary uses the Protocol when including information on the National Register.

    Protocol for provision of information for inclusion in the NR

  2. Resource - Reporting Historical Child Sexual Abuse

    Dioceses use this document when establishing their policy for reporting to the police disclosures by an adult of their sexual abuse as a child.

    1397 Resource_Reporting child sexual abuse_141108_updated Nov 2014_for website.pdfResource Reporting child sexual abuse (updated Nov 2014)

  3. Curriculum for training of Professional Standards Board members

    Dioceses use this document when establishing a training program for members of Professional Standards Boards

    Curriculum for Training of Members of Professional Standards Committees and Boards.pdfCurriculum for Training of Members of Professional Standards Committees and Boards

Responding to persons of concern

Purpose: These documents are used when you are responding to persons of concern.

Users: Bishops, clergy, church workers, selectors, Directors of Professional Standards, assessment teams, parishes, a person who is or may be on the National Register, General Secretary.

Documents:

  1. Guidelines for Parish Safety where there is a risk of sexual abuse by a person of concern

    Clergy and parishes use this document to address the safety issues that arise where there is a person in the parish community whose presence may constitute a risk of sexual abuse to others.

    Revised Guidelines for Parish Safety where there is a risk of Sexual Abuse by a Person of concern

  2. Template of an Agreement with a person of concern

    Parishes, clergy, bishops and Directors of Professional Standards use this document to develop an agreement between a parish and a person of concern. It is used in conjunction with Guidelines for Parish Safety where there is a risk of sexual abuse by a person concern.

    Appendix 6 of Revised Guidelines for Parish Safety where there is a risk of Sexual Abuse by a Person of concern

  3. Private Confession Pastoral Guidelines

    Clergy use these Guidelines when preparing to hear private confessions. The guidelines make special reference to child sexual abuse.

    Pastoral Guidelines with special reference to child sexual abuse

  4. National Register Protocol 3 – Ascertaining information

    A person who is or may on the National Register uses this Protocol to ascertain the existence and obtain a copy of information about them, or to obtain details of any access to any information about them by an authorised person.

    The General Secretary uses the Protocol to act on a request.

    Protocol 3 Ascertain Details

  5. National Register Protocol 4 – Amending information

    A person who is or may be on the National Register uses this Protocol to request an amendment to information about themself.

    The General Secretary and Directors of Professional Standards use the Protocol in responding to a request.

    Protocol 4 Amendment

  6. Guidelines for considering the issue of a licence to clergy and church workers who have engaged in sexual abuse or misconduct

    Bishops use this document when considering the possibility of restoration to licensed ministry of clergy and church workers who have engaged in sexual abuse or misconduct. The Guidelines may also be used by candidates and restoration teams.

    Document waiting publication

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Study of Reported Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

Purpose:

Research commissioned by the Standing Committee of General Synod assessed cases of reported child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church of Australia in the period 1990-2008.

The research assisted the Commission to verify the efficacy of the Church’s child protection protocols when assessed against the nature and circumstance of reported child sexual abuse.

Recommendations for change to specific child protection protocols and practical adjustments to processes were made as a result of the findings of the Study.

Study of Reported Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church May 2009 Full Report

Reports

1.  Making our Church safe: A progress report and recommendations for action - General Synod 2014

Making our Church Safe - A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2014.pdfMaking our Church Safe - A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2014

2. Making our Church safe: A progress report and recommendations for action – General Synod 2010

Making Our Church Safe - A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2010.pdfMaking Our Church Safe - A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2010

3. Making our Church safe: A progress report and recommendations for action - General Synod 2007

B3a-7Di-ProfStandards(format) (1) 23.7.2007

4. Making our Church safe: A programme for action - General Synod 2004

B3B 2A-Child Protection_June2004

 

Publication notes:
The Path to Safer Ministry – Using the Professional Standards documents of the Anglican Church of Australia  is updated regularly and contains links to the most current version of documents. If you require an earlier published version of a document please request it from the General Synod Office document archive.
This version published Dec 2013 (updating links to documents as a result of Standing Committee Nov 2013 resolutions)