Safe people, places and programs

About Safe People, Places and Programs

Safe churches begin and end with the knowledge that God’s love is for all people. We are called to love all others, but God also has a special concern for the poor, the marginalised and the oppressed.

Safeguarding is both an individual and a corporate responsibility.

The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 and the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Regulation 2011 have certain requirements that relate to churches.

The Safe People, Places and Programs policy addresses the obligations and responsibilities of churches to provide safe environments for all people that they engage with.

A suite of tools and resources is provided on this site and updated regularly, to assist in the implementation of the Safe People, Places and Programs policy.

Safe People

Having a commitment to good practices in selecting, screening and training of volunteers and employees who are entrusted with working with children, young and vulnerable people is key to creating a safe environment within a church.

Forms and resources

External resources

Safe Places

Creating a safe place at church means looking at a range of different topics, but particular attention should be paid to the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects.

Physical aspects

  • Church property and equipment is to be maintained to a standard acceptable for the safe conduct of activities
  • Regular maintenance and cleaning are to be carried out, and hazards promptly treated
  • An Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is to be prepared and available to all leaders

Workplace Health and Safety

  • Understand your WHS responsibilities (refer to training section)
  • Commit to following good policies
  • Know your insurance requirements (contact churchsupport@cofcqld.com.au if you need clarification)

Basic guidelines for all who use the church facilities and grounds

  • Clean up after yourself
  • If you see or become aware of a new hazard, deal with the immediate safety risk, if there is one, and report it so that it can be managed and fixed
  • If you are the team leader, you may be planning an activity that is away from the usual church location. You will need to ensure that the location is safe for the activity
  • As coordinator, minister or elder you may be the recipient of complaints or comments regarding the safety of the premises. You will need to direct them appropriately so that they are dealt with in a timely manner

Forms and resources

External resources

Safe Programs

We encounter risk in our life every day. In just crossing the street we undertake a risk assessment for ourselves. Risk assessment is the simple process used to determine whether to proceed with an activity or not.

The leadership of the church are responsible for reviewing and approving planned activities and programs prior to their commencement.

To be comfortable about approving activities, those who are overseeing church activities should know that the people planning the activity have asked and answered these questions:

  • What do we want to do?
  • Where will we do it?
  • Who is involved?
  • What could go wrong?
  • What do we need to do to keep it safe?
  • What will we do if something goes wrong anyway?

Forms and resources

  • Safe People, Places and Programs poster [Poster] *coming soon
  • Planning Safe Programs [Process] *coming soon
  • Example program approval form and risk assessment [Template]
  • Information sheet for parents and guardians [Pamphlet] *coming soon
  • Attendee information form [Template] *coming soon
  • Emergency procedures flip chart [Reference]

External resources

Problems

The leadership of the church should develop an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) for their church community. It is important that leaders and helpers are aware of this plan, and equipped with proper first aid supplies and have access to qualified personnel.

The leadership of the church must also ensure that there are ways that safety incidents and complaints and claims of abuse are able to be reported, recorded and actioned by the appropriate people. All records must be collected, used and stored in accordance with the privacy policy  of the affiliated church.

Forms and resources

Use the following forms and processes for recording and responding to a disclosure of abuse or allegations of abuse or inappropriate conduct:

Training opportunities

A key principle of safe churches is that employees and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and vulnerable people safe through ongoing education and training, and they are appropriately screened for their suitability to work with children and vulnerable people.

Here are some online and workshop based training opportunities:

Safe Ministry check

CofCQ offers affiliated churches access to the Safe Ministry Check program. Developed in partnership with Ansvar insurance, Safe Ministry Check (SMC) is an online program that provides a process and record of screening and training of volunteers, leaders and board members. Safe Ministry Check focuses on promoting a safe culture and helping leaders and volunteers understand their responsibilities for keeping people safe. It also helps churches meet many of the obligations in relation to insurance coverage, and compliance with legislation and the CofCQ Safe People, Places and Programs Policy.

Individuals are enrolled in training videos and are screened based on their nominated ministry role/s and responsibilities. Screening includes Blue Card verification if working with children, agreeing to a code of conduct, self-disclosure questions and 2 referee checks (automated via email).

Please contact Church Support at churchsupport@cofcqld.com.au or 1800 193 438 for more information.