COVID-19 - Child Safe Standards


COVID-19 - Child Safe Standards - Minimising the opportunity for abuse to occur in the online environment

Last Updated on May 16, 2023

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended 10 Child Safe Standards. Where these standards are adopted, they help to make an organisation a safer place for children and young people. They could also be adapted for use with vulnerable people.

Child Safe Standard 8 says:

Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur.

This means:

  • Risks are identified in the online and physical environments and these risks are mitigated
  • The online environment is used in accordance with the code of conduct

This is an important standard for us to focus on as we move almost exclusively to the online environment during the COVID-19 restrictions. Now is also the time for us to consider how to ensure our practices in the online and physical environments are safe – both for the present time and for our future ministry plans in what is likely to be a ‘new normal’.

Reference to Faithfulness in Service (particularly chapters 4 & 5), the Diocesan Safe Ministry Policy and Parish Risk Management Procedures along with the current resources that are available from the ODSM will assist each church in this endeavour to create or strengthen policies for each of their ministries in line with the Child Safe Standards, and specifically Standard 8.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) has also created a short but practical resource focussed on this standard. It is a timely reminder that everyone should be informed of what appropriate practices are and offers helpful advice on

  1. how to empower children to be safe,
  2. identifying what leaders should be doing to be safe,
  3. assisting parents to create a safe environment for their child, and
  4. the responsibilities of organisational leaders to create and maintain safe environments e.g. senior minister, parish councillors or head ministry leader.

This two-page pdf is available to download here and we recommend you review this and apply these very practical suggestions to what you are already doing to maintain safe ministries, particularly now in these fast moving times but also as we move into the next stages of ‘normal’ life

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