abuse in relation to an adult means the following conduct:

  1. bullying;
  2. emotional abuse;
  3. harassment;
  4. physical abuse;
  5. sexual abuse; or
  6. spiritual abuse.

bullying means repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed to a person or persons which, having regard to all the circumstances, would be expected to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten the person or persons, and which creates a risk to their health and safety.  Where it involves the use of information and communication technologies, it is often called cyberbullying.  It can include:

  • making derogatory, demeaning or belittling comments or jokes about someone’s appearance, lifestyle, background, or capability;
  • communicating in an abusive manner;
  • spreading rumours or innuendo about someone or undermining in other ways their performance or reputation;
  • dismissing or minimising someone’s legitimate concerns or needs;
  • inappropriately ignoring or excluding someone from information or activities;
  • touching someone threateningly or inappropriately
  • invading someone’s  personal space or interfering with their personal property;
  • teasing, or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes;
  • displaying or distributing written or visual material that degrades or offends.

Behaviour which is not bullying includes:

  • respectfully disagreeing with or criticising someone’s beliefs or opinions or actions;
  • setting reasonable performance goals, standards or deadlines;
  • giving reasonable  instructions, feedback or assessments of  someone’s conduct;
  • taking legitimate disciplinary action.

child means anyone under the age of 18.

child abuse means the following conduct in relation to a child:

  • bullying;
  • emotional abuse;
  • harassment;
  • neglect;
  • physical abuse;
  • sexual abuse; or
  • spiritual abuse.

child exploitation material means material that describes or depicts a person who is or who appears to be a child –

(a) engaged in sexual activity; or

(b) in a sexual context; or

(c) as the subject of torture, cruelty or abuse (whether or not in a sexual context)

in a way that a reasonable person would regard as being, in all the circumstances, offensive. Child exploitation material can include any film, printed matter, electronic data, computer image or any other depiction.

child pornography means sexually explicit or suggestive material depicting children. Child pornography is a form of child exploitation material.

Church means the Anglican Church of Australia.

church authority means the person or body having authority to ordain, license, appoint, dismiss or suspend a member of the clergy or church worker.

church body includes a parish, school, or any body corporate, organisation or association that exercises pastoral ministry within, or on behalf of, or in the name of, the Church.

church worker means a lay person:

  • who is licensed or authorised by the bishop of a diocese;
  • who is employed by a church body in respect of whom this Code is part of their employment contract; or
  • who, for payment or not, holds a position or performs a function with the actual or apparent authority of a church authority or church body, including an office, position or function:
    • of leadership in a parish, diocese or General Synod body;
    • as a member of the General Synod or a diocesan synod;
    • as a member of a body incorporated by the General Synod, a diocese or a diocesan synod;
    • as a churchwarden, member of any parish council or member of any committee constituted by or by the authority of the General Synod, a diocesan synod or a parish council;
  • in respect of whom the diocesan synod, the diocesan council, the church authority or the church body has adopted this Code.

civil authorities means the police and the relevant State or Territory government child protection authority.

clergy means bishops, priests and deacons of the Church.

corporal punishment means any punishment inflicted on the body.

Director of Professional Standards means the person in a diocese who has responsibility for the maintenance of professional standards of clergy and church workers.

emotional abuse means acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause emotional harm or lead to serious behavioural or cognitive disorders.  It includes:

  • subjecting a person to excessive and repeated personal criticism;
  • ridiculing a person, including the use of insulting or derogatory terms to refer to them;
  • threatening or intimidating a person;
  • ignoring a person openly and pointedly; and
  • behaving in a hostile manner or in any way that could reasonably result in another person feeling isolated or rejected.

grooming is the manipulative cultivation of a relationship in order to initiate or cloak sexual abuse of an adult or a child.  In the case of child sexual abuse, an offender may groom not only the child, but also those who exercise authority over the child, including the child’s parents or guardians, and clergy and church workers.

harassment means unwelcome conduct, whether intended or not, in relation to another person where the person feels with good reason in all the circumstances offended, belittled or threatened.  Such behaviour may consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time.  It includes:

  • making unwelcome physical contact with a person;
  • making gestures or using language that could reasonably give offence including continual and unwarranted shouting;
  • making unjustified or unnecessary comments about a person’s capacities or attributes;
  • putting on open display pictures, posters, graffiti or written materials that could reasonably give offence;
  • making unwelcome communication with a person in any form (for example, phone calls, email, text messages) ; and
  • stalking a person.

individual pastoral ministry means pastoral ministry carried out one-to-one.  It includes spiritual direction, or pastoral counselling arising out of bereavement, divorce or other life crises.

neglect means the failure to provide the basic necessities of life where a child’s health and development are placed at risk of harm.  It includes being deprived of:

  • food;
  • clothing;
  • shelter;
  • hygiene;
  • education;
  • supervision and safety;
  • attachment to and affection from adults; and
  • medical care.

offensive language includes blasphemy, verbal harassment, racial and other forms of vilification, personal insult or comment and obscene words.

pastoral ministry means the work involved or the situation which exists when a member of the clergy or church worker has responsibility as part of their role for the wellbeing of others.  This includes the provision of spiritual advice and support, education, counselling, medical care, and assistance in times of need. 

pastoral relationship means a relationship between clergy or church workers and any person for the purposes of pastoral ministry.

physical abuse means any intentional or reckless act, use of force or threat to use force causing injury to, or involving unwelcome physical contact with, another person.  This may take the form of slapping, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, shoving or grabbing.  An injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures.  It does not include lawful discipline by a parent or guardian.

professional supervision/consultation is a formal, collaborative process which a more senior or experienced person uses to develop and support a person in their ministry.  This relationship is confidential, evaluative, and extends over time.  It is preferable if the supervisor:

  • has no other pastoral or personal relationship with the person being supervised; and
  • has been trained in professional supervision.

prohibited material means:

  • publications, films and computer games that have been classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification as being unsuitable for a child to read, see or play;
  • any other images or sounds not subject to classification by the Office of Film and Literature Classification that are considered with good reason within the Church to be unsuitable for a child to see or hear; and
  • any substance or product whose supply to or use by children is prohibited by law, such as alcohol, tobacco products, illegal drugs and gambling products.

prohibited substance means any substance banned or prohibited by law for use or consumption by adults.

restricted material means:

  • publications, films, and computer games that have been classified as Category 1 or 2 restricted, X or RC classification by the Office of Film and Literature Classification; and
  • any other images or sounds not subject to classification by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (for example, internet material) that are considered with good reason within the Church as being offensive on the grounds of violence, sex, language, drug abuse or nudity.

sexual abuse of an adult means sexual assault, sexual exploitation or sexual harassment of an adult.

sexual abuse of a child means the use of a child by another person for his or her own sexual stimulation or gratification or for that of others.  It includes:

  • exposing oneself indecently to a child;
  • having vaginal or anal intercourse with a child;
  • penetrating a child’s vagina or anus with an object or any bodily part;
  • sexually touching or fondling a child;
  • kissing, touching, holding or fondling a child in a sexual manner;
  • staring at or secretly watching a child for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification;
  • making any gesture or action of a sexual nature in a child’s presence;
  • making sexual references or innuendo in a child’s presence using any form of communication;
  • discussing or inquiring about personal matters of a sexual nature with a child;
  • exposing a child to any form of sexually explicit or suggestive material;
  • forcing a child to sexually touch or fondle another person;
  • forcing a child to perform oral sex;
  • forcing a child either to masturbate self or others, or to watch others masturbate; and
  • forcing a child to engage in or watch any other sexual activity.

Sexual abuse of a child does not include:

  • sex education with the prior consent of a parent or guardian;
  • age appropriate consensual sexual behaviour between peers (i.e. the same or a similar age); or
  • inquiries by clergy and church workers with pastoral responsibility for a child or investigation responsibility into complains that may involve sexual abuse.

sexual assault means any intentional or reckless act, use of force or threat to use force involving some form of sexual activity against an adult without their consent.  It includes:

  • having vaginal or anal intercourse with a person without their consent;
  • penetrating another person’s vagina or anus with an object or any bodily part without that person’s consent;
  • sexually touching and fondling a person without their consent;
  • kissing another person without their consent;
  • holding another person in a sexual manner without their consent;
  • forcing a person to sexually touch or fondle another person; and
  • forcing a person to perform oral sex.

sexual exploitation refers to any form of sexual contact or invitation to sexual contact with an adult, with whom there is a pastoral or supervisory relationship, whether or not there is consent and regardless of who initiated the contact or invitation.  It does not include such contact or invitation within a marriage.

sexual harassment means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether intended or not, in relation to an adult where the person reasonably feels in all circumstances offended, belittled or threatened.  Such behaviour may consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time.  It includes:

  • asking a person for sex;
  • giving a person to understand that you would like sexual favours from them;
  • making any gesture, action or comment of a sexual nature to a person directly or making a comment of a sexual nature about them in their presence;
  • making jokes containing sexual references or innuendo using any form of communication;
  • exposing a person to any form of sexually explicit or suggestive material;
  • making unwelcome physical contact such as touching, pinching, or patting;
  • making unwelcome or unnecessary inquiries about or attempts to discuss personal matters of a sexual nature;
  • deliberately intruding on an individual’s personal space;
  • staring at or secretly watching a person for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification; and
  • stalking a person.

spiritual abuse means the mistreatment of a person by actions or threats when justified by appeal to God, faith or religion.  It includes:

  • using a position of spiritual authority to dominate or manipulate another person or group;
  • using a position of spiritual authority to seek inappropriate deference from others;
  • isolating a person from friends and family members; and
  • using biblical or religious terminology to justify abuse.