Safe Ministry Records

Storage and Retention of safe ministry data

This paper is designed to assist parishes in planning and implementing a comprehensive process to properly store Safe Ministry Records securely for the long term.

Background:

For many years now, our churches have been required to keep comprehensive records of people who work with children in our church.
Those records consist of a person’s name and contact information, their WWCC number, DOB, verification information relating to the WWCC, their Safe Ministry Training and leadership role information.
This can be thought of as Core Safe Ministry data and is detailed in the Safe Ministry Blueprint for Safe Ministry Representatives document.
In addition to that core data, churches also collect varying quantities of physical documents – things like (but not limited to):

  • Copies of Safe Ministry Training Certificates
  • Documents relating to disclosure of abuse
  • Risk of harm reports
  • SMR reports to Parish Council
  • Permission slips and enduring permission documents
  • Attendance data (sign in/sign out records) for children’s and youth ministry groups
  • Safe Ministry Plans

What has been uncertain up to now is how long all this information should be kept for.
It is now clear that we need to be keeping this data indefinitely.

This is largely due to the NSW government changing the laws in 2018 surrounding child sexual abuse claims, to remove any time limit for these complaints to be made.
In addition, institutions in NSW now bear an onus in civil litigation to prove they took reasonable steps to prevent child sexual abuse.

The implication for our record keeping is significant.
It means that ALL of our safe ministry related records need to be kept indefinitely, meaning increasing quantities of historic data that needs to be stored in logical manner to allow possible retrieval many years later.
Download the full paper from this page and begin planning how your church will help care and protect vulnerable people by engaging in excellent record keeping.

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