7. Sexual Conduct

Preamble

7.1 The sexual conduct of clergy and church workers has a significant impact on the Church and the community.

7.2 Sexuality is a gift from God and is integral to human nature.  It is appropriate for clergy and church workers to value this gift, taking responsibility for their sexual conduct by maintaining chastity in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.

7.3 It is part of the role of clergy and church workers to care for, protect and respect all with whom they have a pastoral relationship.  It is never appropriate for clergy and church workers to take advantage of their role to engage in sexual activity with a person with whom they have a pastoral relationship.  Consent to such activity will not be regarded by the Church as valid, except within marriage.

Standards for clergy and church workers

These standards state the Church’s expectations for personal behaviour and the practice of pastoral ministry.

7.4 You are to be chaste and not engage in sex outside of marriage.

7.5 You are not to:

  • sexually abuse an adult;
  • sexually abuse a child;
  • engage in prostitution;
  • visit brothels and other places associated with the sex industry without a legitimate purpose;
  • view, possess, produce or distribute restricted material containing sex or nudity without a legitimate purpose; and
  • view, possess, produce or distribute any form of child pornography or child exploitation material.

Guidelines

These guidelines explain and illustrate best practice and highlight practical ways to achieve it.

7.6 If you intend to make physical contact with another adult or speak to them about a sexual matter you should:

  • take responsibility for your own actions;
  • seek permission;
  • respect the person’s wishes;
  • notice and respond to the person’s non-verbal communication; and
  • refrain from such conduct if in doubt about the person’s wishes.

7.7 You should avoid situations where you are vulnerable to temptation or where your conduct may be construed as a breach of the standards of sexual conduct in this Code.

7.8 Any involvement in pastoral ministry to persons in the sex industry requires safeguards and a high level of accountability and collegial support.   If in pastoral ministry you intend to visit people or places associated with the sex industry, you should:

  • consider the legitimate purpose of visiting the person or place;
  • consider whether your conduct will damage your reputation and impair your ministry; and
  • to avoid any misunderstanding, disclose the purpose and circumstances of what you are doing to a supervisor or colleague.