Safe Church Resources

The BUV aims to empower churches with resources and advice that will help them to make their church a safe place for all.

These resources can be found under the headings: Safe People, Safe Places and Safe Programs. They are designed to assist churches to provide a safe, loving and ethical environment in which to run their ministries, and to provide support for churches in the event of allegations or incidents within their church.

For further information and downloadable resources please see the headings below.

Redbook Online – for ALL enquiries contact Rlink at buv@rlink.com.au or 03 9132 5038. Including:

  • Registering for Redbook Online
  • Essential Safety Measures
  • OH&S related questions
  • FAQs
  • www.rlink.com.au
Church Safety and Compliance Flowchart

Baptist Insurance Services for all questions relating to what you are insured for and assistance with work health and safety policies and guidelines go to the BIS website www.baptistinsurance.com.au or email insurance@baptistinsurance.com.au


Leadership Appointment Process

Safer recruitment is our first opportunity to deter and prevent unsuitable people from gaining contact through work or volunteering with vulnerable groups. The main steps involved in appointing a leader (or volunteer) involve having a position description, application process including interview and screening, orientation, and signing a Code of Conduct. The church should provide ongoing training, supervision and ministry review.

Code of Conduct

A code of conduct is an agreed commitment to uphold policies, procedures and
practices within the church and its ministries.

It includes what behaviours are encouraged and expected, as well as those behaviours that are not condoned.

See below for samples you can use at your church.

A Guide to Developing a Code of Conduct for Leaders
Leadership Conduct Covenant
Leadership Employee Interview
Leadership Review – Reapplication for Ministry
Ministry Review – Leadership & Employee Interview
Specific Leadership Role Interview
Induction Checklist
Recruitment Checklist

Responding to Misconduct

Please refer to the BUV’s Professional Standards Resource page

BUV Professional Standards Resources
Managing Volunteers

We are required to manage and care for all our volunteers. Making our programs safer includes: inductions, codes of conduct, relevant policies and procedures, work health & safety, position descriptions, training, support, and supervision. Part of managing volunteers is also understanding how to recruit and provide a positive experience for everyone.

Volunteers are regarded the same way as employees under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act). The best way to manage the health and safety of volunteers, is to think of them like employees.

The ’Volunteer Health & Safety Handbook’ can help you set up a health and safety system covering: consultation, risks, information, training, supervision, emergencies and first aid.

WorkSafe Victoria – Volunteer Health & Safety Handbook

’Working Safely in Community’ is a practical guide with templates and checklists for implementing & managing health & safety issues.

WorkSafe Victoria – Working Safely in the Community

Volunteering Victoria, the Peak body for volunteering, also has information for those managing volunteers. These include: resources and tools, a mentoring program for less experienced managers, and quick tips for managing volunteers.

Volunteering Victoria – Managing Volunteers

One of the tools offered by Volunteering Victoria is that of a Volunteering Management Toolkit. It will help you manage your volunteers, and provides information and a range of simple tools and templates. You are free to download these templates and adapt them to suit your church or program.

Volunteering Victoria – Volunteering Management Toolkit

Baptist Insurance Services (BIS) provide many policies and procedures to assist churches to develop and maintain safe environments in all situations. These include: risk assessments, community engagement programs such as community gardens, opportunity shops and playgroups as well as specific guidelines around volunteer workers and volunteer protection.

BIS – Volunteer Workers
BIS – Volunteer Protection

For sample position description of volunteer roles such as welcoming, Bible reading, please email Vicky.dyer@buv.com.au

Screening is part of the leadership appointment process. It is one way that the leadership can determine in advance if a particular individual is appropriate and eligible to lead or volunteer within the church.

DOC Screening and Selection Annual

Working with Children Checks

The Working with Children Check (WWCC) helps protect children from physical and sexual harm. It does this by screening people’s criminal records and professional conduct history and preventing those who pose an unjustifiable risk to children from working with or caring for them. The WWCC focuses on serious sexual, violent and drug offences, and the department continues to monitor these records for the life of the card.

If you are doing or intending to do child-related work, and do not qualify for an exemption, you need a WWCC.

Churches need to:

  • Determine which paid and volunteer workers require a WWCC
  • Ensure workers (employee or volunteer) have a valid WWCC. You can verify their status using ’Check Status’ on the website
  • Ensure new starters apply for a WWCC before commencing child-related work
  • Keep a register of the number, type (employee/volunteer), & expiry dates of all your workers cards
  • Ensure paid workers hold an Employee check; it’s an offence to use a volunteer check for paid work
  • Remind workers that the Act requires them to tell the Department of Justice and Regulation of all changes to their details within 21 days of a change occurring
  • Ensure workers can continue doing child-related work by renewing their Check online before it expires
  • Develop a process to deal with workers with a Negative Notice. These people must not do child related work, even if they can be directly supervised or qualify for an exemption

The WWCC is just a starting point. It screens a person’s criminal records and any reports about professional conduct. The WWCC does not assess a person’s suitability to work with or care for children in a particular role. It is the responsibility of your church to assess if a worker is suitable to work with children and continue monitoring their behaviour around children.

NEGATIVE NOTICES

If one of your workers, paid staff or volunteers, receives a negative notice, you need to remove them from their role of working with children immediately. You can also contact the Working with Children Check Unit for advise and guidance:

Customer Support Line: 1300 652 879 (local call charge)

The Customer Support Line operates from 8.30am to 5pm weekdays (excluding public holidays).

For more information on Working With Children Check’s please see the resources below or visit their website at www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.

WWCC Legislative Amendments Guide – Aug 2017
WWCC Obligations for your Organisation
WWCC General Information Guide – Jan 2015
WWCC Renewal Information Guide

WWCC Info for Ministers of Religion
WWCC L.O.T.E. Translations

WWCC Record-Keeping Sheet
BUV WWCC Register (sample)

 

 

National Police Record Checks

The BUV recommends churches conduct a National Police Record Check (aka a Police Check) for all senior leaders prior to commencing in their role and periodically thereafter. Every three years for most positions; every year for the treasurer is the best practice recommendation. This includes staff, pastors, deacons/elders, treasurer, secretary, the head of each ministry. This is in addition to, and completely separate process from, a Working with Children check.

A Police Check is not an assessment by a government agency and is only a list of some offences at a given point in time, therefore differing from the WWCC. Organisations can request a Police Check to help them assess a person’s suitability for other kinds of work the person may be required to do in the organisation other than children’s work. For example, an organisation may want to know about fraud offences if they were recruiting for a role with access to cash. Or for any driving offences if the person will be required to drive as part of their role.

Police Records Check (name only)

$48.90

Volunteer for an authorised organisation

$18.40

 

Note- BUV is not eligible for the reduced volunteer rate.

CrimCheck is the only not-for-profit organisation providing National Criminal History Checks (also called Police Checks). The BUV already utilises CrimCheck for managing BUV staff police checks. All local churches and missional communities are welcomed and encouraged to consider opening a branch account with CrimCheck (at no cost), in order to access police checks at a cheaper rate of $35.50 for paid staff and $16.00 for each volunteer check. For further information about CrimCheck and how to open an account click here.

If you have any questions regarding the National Police Record Check, please contact the Victoria Police:

Public Enquiry Service
GPO Box 919
Melbourne Vic 3001
Office hours are from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Phone: 1300 881 596

Website: www.police.vic.gov.au/policecheck
Email: policecheckvic@police.vic.gov.au

The Baptist Union of Victoria is committed to ensuring that our churches are safe places, particularly for children, youth and other vulnerable people, by providing training for leaders and volunteers who serve in the church’s various ministries. 

We are excited to announce a new Safe Church training partnership with the Baptist Association of NSW & ACT. Creating Safe Spaces will replace the previous six-hour Safe Church Awareness and Refresher Workshops.

Creating Safe Spaces (CSS) will significantly increase the accessibility of our Safe Church training. CSS training requires participants to complete an online individual training module (in one’s own time) and then attend a three-hour workshop.  CSS workshops will be conducted via Zoom during COVID restrictions, and via Zoom or in person after restrictions are lifted. 

All churches will be given detailed information about the new CSS training prior to the end of 2020, including how to access the online training module and book in for workshops. If you have any questions or would like resources related to Safe Church matters please contact Vicky Dyer to discuss.

 

Creating Safe Spaces (CSS)

Completing CSS will assist local church and mission community leaders to fulfil their pastoral, legal (ie duty of care, child protection, due diligence), insurance, risk management, denominational and ethical roles. 

 

These workshops are facilitated by trained presenters, hosted by local churches or run via Zoom.  Participants receive a workbook.

Who needs to complete Creating Safe Spaces?

The BUV recommends that:

ALL paid staff; ALL deacons, elders, or board members; ALL ministry leaders (children, youth, prayer, worship, seniors…); and ALL volunteers who work with children and youth under 18, are required to complete a Creating Safe Spaces (or equivalent) within their first year of ministry and to renew after every 3 years.

Topics include:

  • Foundations and principles of Safe Church
  • Protecting vulnerable people – definitions, indicators and response procedures
  • Information about training, recruiting and supervising Safe Leaders
  • How to establish and run Safe Environments for church ministry programs

This workshop also addresses the introduction of three criminal offences relating to child abuse and the Victorian Child Safe Standards legislation which came into effect on 1 Jan 2017.

Attendance of a Safe Church Awareness Workshop (SCAW) or Safe Church Refresher Workshop (SCRW) within the last 3 years is considered equal to completing a CSS. 

All in-person workshops are currently cancelled. Online format training is currently being prepared by the BUV. All churches will be advised when training resumes, whether in person and/or online.

If you require further information about Safe Church Workshops, or you require a certificate for a Safe Church Workshop you have completed, please contact safechurchworkshops@buv.com.au

All in-person workshops are currently cancelled. Online format training is currently being prepared by the BUV. All churches will be advised when training resumes, whether in person and/or online.

If you require further information about Safe Church Workshops, please contact safechurchworkshops@buv.com.au

In 2014, the Baptist Union Council sent a letter to all BUV Pastors regarding their position on child protection.

Union Council letter to BUV Pastors 2014

Australian Baptists are committed to promoting the welfare of children participating in any of their ministries or activities by protecting their rights and also protecting them from harm. This is facilitated through commitment to nationally agreed standards. Even though legislation differs in each state, these 10 standards are consistent with legislation in each state.

Australian Baptist Response

You can find ’An Australian Response to Working with Children and Youth’, under Professional Standards on the BUV website.

BUV Professional Standards

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) promotes improvements in policies and practices that affect the safety and wellbeing of Victorian children and young people. This includes adhering to the seven Child Safe Standards (which are in line with the ten National Principles for Child Safe Organisations).

For more information click here:

CCYP website
Human Rights.gov

Betrayal of Trust Inquiry

In April 2012, the Victorian Government initiated a landmark inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-government organisations.  Several pieces of legislation were created following presentation of the results, with further proposals being considered by the Victorian Government.

Justice and Community Safety website

*Commonwealth Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’.

The Royal Commission published it’s final report in December 2017.  Finding included case studies and recommendations how organisations can better prevent, identify and respond to risk of child sexual abuse within institutions. 

Royal Commission website

Commission for Children & Young People (CCYP)

CCYP – Who we are

Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

DHHS has a critical role in helping all types of families from all types of backgrounds to provide safe and caring environments in which children can grow. The department offers programs to help Victorians create safe and caring homes and communities for all families and children.

DHHS Families and Children
Child Protection
DHHS Child Protection
DHHS Making a Report to Child Protection

Victorian Child Safe Standards

To enhance and enforce the safeguarding of children, the Child Safe Standards were introduced in Victoria from 1 January 2017. These Standards are mandatory for all organisations, including churches, and are foundational in developing a child safe organisation.

CCYP – The Child Safe Standards

In order to understand the background to the 7 Victorian Child Safe Standards and your obligations, please read these two documents in the links below first. These will answer many of your initial questions and will be ongoing, helpful resources for you and your church.

CCYP A Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation
Victorian Child Safe Standards Faith Community Toolkit
 

Guidance through the Child Safe Standards

A training portal for faith communities was developed by the partnering of the Victorian Council of Churches (VCC), and the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) – Safe Church Program, along with the Commission for Children & Young People (CCYP). Their website provides resources, guidance and training for churches as they work through the Standards.

Child Safe Standards Training Portal for Faith Communities

 

The 7 Standards are set out below with specific resources to assist you in adopting each one. Included are some samples you might like to use as the basis for creating appropriate polices and procedures at your church.

Each Standard must take into consideration and promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and children from culturally &/or linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds; as well as the safety of children with a disability.

CCYP – Child Safe Principles
CCYP Victoria’s Child Safe Standards – poster
CCYP – Cultural Safety for Aboriginal Children
CCYP – Cultural Safety of Children from CALD Backgrounds
CCYP – Safety of Children with a Disability

 

Child Safe Standard 1: Organisational Culture
Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements
CSS – Standard 1: Organisational Culture
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 1 (video)
BUV Safe Church Workshops
Child Safe Standard 2: Child Safe Policy
A Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to Child Safety
CSS – Standard 2: Child Safe Policy
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 2 (video)
BUV Child Safe Policy (sample)
BUV Child Safe Statement
Betrayal of Trust: Factsheets
Failure to Disclose
Failure to Protect
Child Safe Standard 3: Code of Conduct
A Code of Conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
CCS – Standard 3: Code of Conduct
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 3 (video)
CSS – Children’s Code of Conduct (sample)
Molestation Code of Conduct
Child Safe Standard 4: Human Resource Practices
Screening, supervision, training and other resource practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
CSS – Standard 4: Human Resource Practices
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 4 (video)
Molestation Leader Application Screening Form
Child Safe Standard 5: Processes
Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
CSS – Standard 5: Processes
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 5 (video)
Sample Report and Handling Doc
Sample Safe Church Concerns Form Template
Sample Flowchart Reporting Process
Risk of Significant Harm Form
Child Safe Standard 6: Reducing & Removing Risks
Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
CSS – Standard 6: Reducing & Removing Risks
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 6 (video)
Youth Online Permission Form
Child Online Permission Form
Digital Comms Policy
Child Safe Standard 7: Empowerment of Children
Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children
CSS – Standard 7: Empowerment of Children
CCYP – Child Safe Standard 7 (video)
CCYP – Speak up – it’s your right (poster)
CCYP – Empowerment & participation of children
CCYP – Teach your child how to keep themselves safe
CSS – Children’s Code of Conduct (sample)

Church Self-audit and Review

CSS – Self Review Tool
BUV Child Safe Standards self-audit (adapted)
CCYP – Child Safe Review & Action Plan (Checklist)

Further Resources

CCYP – Making Children Safe
Child Protection Toolkit – Moores
CCYP – What to look for in a child safe organisation
CCYP – Child Safe Standards Presentations

The Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme (scheme) seeks to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and neglect by their workers and volunteers.

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP or Commission) is responsible for administering the scheme. Their role includes:

  • Supporting and guiding organisations that receive allegations in order to promote fair, effective, timely and appropriate responses
  • Independently overseeing, monitoring and, where appropriate, making recommendations to improve the responses of those organisations

CCYP – Reportable Conduct Scheme
CCYP – Reportable Conduct Scheme FAQs

CCYP Reportable Conduct Forms for Reporting

Please click on the following link to find the forms required for reporting.

CCYP Forms

 

CCYP Reportable Conduct Information Sheets

Information Sheet 1: About the Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme
Information Sheet 2: What is reportable conduct?
Information Sheet 3: Responsibilities of the head of an organisation
Information Sheet 4: Investigation overview
Information Sheet 5: Other reporting obligations
Information Sheet 6: Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme
Information Sheet 7: Reporting to the Commission

Head of Organisation

BUV Statement on the Reportable Conduct Scheme

The Commission for Children & Young People (CCYP) have produced Information Sheets in 15 different languages. These resources provide information about the CCYP, the Victorian Child Safe Standards & the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

CCYP Translated Information Sheets

Types of abuse that may be directed towards adults and children include: physical, emotional, family/domestic violence, sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse. Elder abuse can be experienced by adults over 65 years. Children can experience neglect.

Information and resources regarding a church or ministry response to abuse can be found in other sections, such as Victorian Child Safe Standards, Mandatory Reporting and Insurance Compliance

Family Violence

Family and domestic violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. This includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.

If you need help there are a number of telephone numbers you can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or services you can visit:

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the Police on 000.

1800 Respect: National counselling helpline, information and support 24/7

Department of Health & Human Services: provides resources in a variety of languages.

MensLine Australia: a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men.

For Baptist churches looking learn more about how we as a church can support and respond to the issue of Family Violence, please see the public issues page of our website. You will find discussion papers and other resources including the White Ribbon e-learing module on Family Violence.

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse Prevention & Support Brochure

Sexual Harrassment & Abuse

Mandatory Reporting

Some professionals are legally required to report suspected child sexual or physical abuse in certain situations including Doctors, nurses, police, teachers and people in religious ministry. The BUV advises that pastors, elders and deacons (at a minimum) fall into this category. For more information see these websites: 

DHHS Mandatory Reporting
Mandatory Reporting to Child Protection in Victoria

 

Betrayal of Trust – factsheets

Failure to Protect
Failure to Disclose
Organisational Duty of Care

 

Reporting to Victoria Police

If you want to report a child in immediate risk or danger of sexual abuse, please call ’000’. Alternatively you can contact your local police station.

If you or someone you know has experienced historical child sexual abuse in an institutional context, we encourage you to contact Victoria Police’s SANO Taskforce via email at sanotaskforce@police.vic.gov.au

SANO Taskforce

Record Keeping

Risk of Significant Harm (ROSH) form

Persons of Concern

A known offender is a person who is, or wants to be, part of your church community and who is known to have committed sexual abuse.  This may be known through the individual admitting this to church leadership a past sexual offense and/or leadership becoming aware of past or current convictions, allegations or investigations into sexual abuse.

A person of concern (POC) is a more general term meaning an individual who poses a risk to others in the church community. This may include suspicion of having committed sexual abuse, as well as inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature.  Other concerning behaviours, such as repeated breaching of appropriate boundaries or an individual’s WWCC being denied or revoked, may also place your church members at risk of harm and should also be addressed in a similar way.

From time to time you may face the situation where a known offender or person of concern has been worshipping and been involved, or wishes to worship and be involved, in your church. While demonstrating genuine compassion and justice, you must take steps to protect the whole church community.

This process aims to ensure that all reasonable measures have been put into place to ensure safe ministry occurs with persons of concern. Australian Baptists are committed to safe ministry, i.e. God honouring, abuse free, harm free, person valuing and respectful ministry as per agreed national standards.

You can find the document, ’An Australian Baptist Response to Persons of Concern’, under Professional Standards on the BUV website.

If you are aware of a known offender or person of concern attending your church, or involved in leadership, you should immediately contact Brenda Williams – Professional Standards Worker.

WorkSafe Victoria

Every year WorkSafe Victoria have Health and Safety Month. It’s mostly held in October and they provide free statewide workshops and events. Keep up to date with events and information on their website.

WorkSafe Victoria
WorkSafe Victoria Health & Safety Month

Work, Health and Safety (WHS) (previous known as Occupational Health and Safety- OHS) is the discipline concerned with protecting the health and safety of all people in the workplace from exposure to hazards and risks resulting from work activities. The local church has a duty to protect the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all staff, leaders and volunteers in the workplace. The workplace includes any location where work or ministry on behalf of the church occurs, such as the whole church property, offsite activities, staff cars, etc

For further information see the WorkSafe Victoria website: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/

Guide For Developing A Church WHS Policy

Safety Officer

The safety officer (or property officer) is responsible for ensuring regular ongoing and special maintenance is conducted on the church property.  (Not to be confused with the Safe Church Concerns Person role). Please see topics below “Redbook” and “Essential Safety and Duty of Care Measures” for further information essential to this role. Subscribe to the BUV Bulletin for the latest information or resources.

Subscribe
Baptist Insurance Services

Most BUV churches have their insurance with Baptist Insurance Services (BIS). BIS can assist you with understanding what activities you are insured for and inform you of relevant policies and procedures. Go to the BIS website for information on Risk Management, Frequently Asked Questions and Work Health & Safety Training.

The BIS Work Health & Safety Training is intended to assist church employees and volunteers understand their obligations under state legislation. It also provides reference material and tools to assist churches in complying with legislative requirements. Please click on the link below for more information about the training and to sign up.

BIS – website
BIS – Work Health & Safety Training
BIS – Risk Management for Churches
BIS – Frequently Asked Questions

Molestation Insurance

Victorian Baptists are committed to providing safe programmes as an expression of loving our neighbours.. As part of this, and in order to continue Molestation Cover with our insurer, churches should ensure that as a minimum they comply with the following policies and procedures:

1. A policy committing the organisation to providing a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults.

2. A Code of Practice covering pastors, employees and volunteers who may come into contact with children and vulnerable adults.

3. A process for screening applicants for ministry, employment and volunteering, including referee checks and working with children/criminal record checks.

4. A process for handling allegations of sexual abuse.

5. A process for complying with mandatory reporting obligations for suspected sexual abuse.

6. Training for pastors, employees and volunteers in the above policies/procedures.

The documents below provide resources to assist churches in these matters.

Molestation Insurance Declaration (for churches to sign and return)
Molestation Insurance Explanatory Notes
Molestation Insurance Sample Flowchart Reporting Process
Molestation Insurance Sample Church Safety Policy
Sample Molestation Insurance Code of Conduct
Molestation Insurance Sample Reporting and Handling Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Molestation Insurance Sample Safe Church Concerns Form Template
Molestation Insurance Sample Staff and Volunteer Application Screening Form

The Redbook is a free self-auditing system for Victorian Baptist churches, which covers Building Code compliance, Work Health Safety and Safe Church practices. 

Each Redbook is tailored to your church property and ministries, and is designed specifically for use by laypeople acting as:

  • An Instruction Manual – tells you what you need to do
  • A Diary System – tells you when you need to do it
  • A Filing System – gives you a place to record what you have done

It was until early 2019 provided as a hard copy binder but is now available online. Churches can log on and print off relevant PDFs for easy circulation amongst your leadership team. A new edition will be provided each year by the RLink. This is primarily a self-auditing resource, however every local church should send a completed copy of the Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR) directly to Rlink (not to the BUV).

If you would like further information about the Redbook or Building Code Compliance issues, please call RLink on 03 9132 5038.

If the person responsible for looking after the Redbook at your church has changed, please advise the BUV office as soon as possible via email data@buv.com.au 

For all technical questions email buv@rlink.com.au

  • Registering for Redbook Online
  • Essential Safety Measures
  • OH&S related questions
  • For Frequently Asked Questions FAQs go to www.rlink.com.au

If you are not sure whether to contact BUV Safe Church team or Rlink please see this flowchart

Essential Safety and Duty of Care Measures

Each Redbook Manual has a maintenance and inspection schedule. This schedule is made up of Essential Safety Measures (ESM) and Duty of Care (DOC) Measures relevant to each church. The type and amount of ESM and DOC measures appropriate for your church can depend on whether you: 1. own your church; 2. rent your property full time; or 3. rent your building for a few hours each week.

Essential Safety Measures (ESM) – are ‘essential’ to the maintenance and running of your church and are required by law to be maintained and inspected. These items include: Fire equipment, exit doors, emergency lighting and paths of travel to exits. Your Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR) that you are required to send in to the BUV each year, is based on these ESMs. You can find a list of your ESMs on your AESMR page which can be found on “Page 3 of _” (the length of your manual can vary) in Section 1 of your manuals.

The list of ESM items specified by the Victorian Building Authority include the following:

  • Air handling systems (used for smoke hazard management)
  • Early warning systems
  • Emergency & Exit Lighting
  • Emergency lifts
  • Emergency power supply
  • Emergency warning systems
  • Exit Doors
  • Exit Signs – Non Illuminated Throughout
  • Fire control centres
  • Fire curtains and doors
  • Fire Equipment – Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Equipment – Fire Hose Reels
  • Fire Equipment – Fire Hydrants
  • Fire Indicies for Materials
  • Fire isolated stairs
  • Fire isolated passageways and ramps
  • Fire rated materials
  • Fire windows
  • Paths of Travel to exits
  • Smoke control systems
  • Sprinkler systems

The Regulations require the building owner to maintain ESMs so that they operate satisfactorily. There are different obligations under the Regulations depending on when the building was built or when building work occurred on the building.

Duty of Care Measures (DOC) – are based on BUV policies and procedures, as well as other important guidelines and recommendations such as first aid requirements and using ladders.

  • Air Conditioning / Evaporative Cooling
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor
  • Child Safe Standards NEW
  • Confined Spaces
  • Financial
  • First Aid
  • Food Safety
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Heating & Cooling
  • Insurance
  • Internal Housekeeping
  • Ladders
  • Mechanical Ventilation – Kitchen (6 monthly)
  • Mechanical Ventilation – Kitchen (3 monthly)
  • Ministry – Children and Families
  • Ministry – Playgroups
  • Ministry – Seniors
  • Ministry – Youth
  • Pastoral care
  • Playgroups & Equipment
  • Privacy
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Risk Management
  • Screening & Selection
  • Smoke Alarm (domestic)
  • Staff Reviews
  • Vehicles

NB: More ESM & DOC measures will be added in the next week

Risk Management

Identifying and managing the risks of your church and church activities is extremely important. This is often done by conducting a risk assessment of each area and activity and there are many tools you can use to do this.

Baptist Insurance Services (BIS) provides information as well as a tool you can use.

BIS Risk Management for Churches
BIS Churches Activity Risk Assessment Tool

Emergency Planning, Fire Preparedness and Evacuation

Does your church know what to do in an emergency? Do you have an up to date Emergency Plan? Is your church in a high fire risk area? Are you linked in to local warnings for fire and evacuations? Do you follow the requirements and recommendations for fire preparedness from your local council?

It’s important that your church, and the people who use it, are protected and prepared for any emergency that may occur. Below you’ll find websites and resources that will help you and your church develop an emergency plan and be prepared and ready for any event. These links include: Baptist Insurance Services (BIS), the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Emergency Management Victoria (EMV), Forest Fire Management Victoria, Parks Victoria, as well as WorkSafe Victoria, where you can find all of the information you’ll need to provide a safe place.

BIS Churches Emergency Planning
BIS Churches Bush & Grass Fire Preparedness

CFA website
CFA – Business Fire Ready Kit

Forest Fire Management Victoria

Parks Victoria – Bushfire Safety
WorkSafe Vic – Fire & Evacuation

 

Alerts and Warnings

It’s a good idea to sign up to any alert or warning systems for your area. Your local CFA are best to contact and you can also find out information through your local council.

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV)

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) “leads emergency management in Victoria by working with communities, government, agencies and business to strengthen their capacity to withstand, plan for, respond to, and recover from emergencies”.

One of EMV’s responsibilities is managing Victoria’s warning system known as ’VicEmergency’

VicEmergency offers various channels providing a centralised location for Victorians to access timely emergency information and warnings. These channels include: their Website, Facebook, Twitter, a Hotline as well as a VicEmergency app.

Through these channels warnings and incident information are published for a wide range of hazards. Preparedness and recovery information is also available. Downloading the app onto your phone allows alerts and warnings to be sent relating to you ’watch zones’. Refer to the links below for more information.

Emergency Management Victoria website
EMV VicEmergency information

For information on protecting crowded places from terrorism please see the following resources:


National Security

Document from VicPol

From 12 March 2014 the Privacy Act includes 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) that outline how APP entities (i.e. churches) must handle, use and manage personal information.

Personal information is information or an opinion that identifies or could reasonably identify an individual. Some examples include name, address, telephone number, date of birth, gender, medical records, bank account details, and commentary or opinion about a person.

Every church should have an up to date Privacy Policy that meets the APPs. Your Privacy Policy should be on your website (if you have one) and made available at no cost over email or hard copy on demand.

You can use the sample Privacy Policy contained in this guide to get you started.

For help with your church Privacy Policy, please call the BUV Admin Dept on 03 9880 6111 or email admin@buv.com.au.

Australian Privacy Principles Factsheet
BUV Church Sample Privacy Policy
Church Directory sample
Privacy Policy of the BUV

Hospitality and fellowship involving food is commonplace in churches.

Often it is simply a cuppa and a biscuit after church or the serving of communion.

At other times churches hold sausage sizzles, pot luck lunches, formal dinners, casual meals at bible study groups, run cake stalls, serve meals to the wider community, sell food as a fundraiser, or run a food bank for those in need.

Safe food handling practices are required at all times.

If your church is selling food in any capacity, please be aware that the the Food Act 1984 provides the regulatory framework you must follow to ensure that food sold in Victoria is safe, suitable and correctly labelled.

For more information, please see the resources below, contact your local municipal council or go to https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/food-safety.

Food Preparation and Storage Practices
Food Safety Rules A4 Poster

All ministries should have enough leaders (over age of 18) to ensure that the participants and program is safe. All ministries with children should have two leaders minimum at all times. More leaders ,and leader with higher qualification and experience, will be required for more specialise programs or participants with higher needs. 

The recommended adult/child ratio is:

  • 0-2 years old = 1:3
  • 2-5 years old = 1:4
  • 5-12 years old (primary school) = 1:8
  • 12-18 years old (high school) = 1:15

For example a youth group with 10 youth should have two leaders (over 18) minimum. A creche with ten kids (Age 2-5) should have three leaders minimum.

Risk is the exposure to the possibility of such things as economic or financial loss or gain, physical damage, injury or delay, as a consequence of pursuing or not pursuing a particular course of action. In any church community the variety of activities and participants exposes the church to risk.

Risk Management is the process by which risks are identified, evaluated and controlled.

Outlined below are the elements of the Risk Management process (derived from Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines):

  • Identify Risks – identify where, when, why and how events could prevent, degrade, delay, or enhance the achievement of organisational goals.
  • Analyse Risks – identify and evaluate existing controls. Determine consequences and likelihood and hence the level of risk. This analysis should consider the range of potential consequences and how these could occur
  • Evaluate Risks – compare estimated level of risk against the pre-established criteria and consider the balance between potential benefits and adverse outcomes. This enables decisions to be made about the extent and nature of treatments required and about priorities.
  • Control Risks – develop and implement cost-effective strategies and action plans for increasing potential benefits and reducing potential costs
  • Monitor and Review – monitor the effectiveness of all steps of the risk management process and provision of feedback for improvement of the process.

Please refer to the Baptist Insurance Services website for more information around Risk Management plus some helpful tools for assessing and registering risk at your church: http://baptistinsurance.com.au/Risk-Management-For-Churches

For more assistance with risk management at your church, please call BIS on 03 9880 6166.

You may also find the resources below helpful.

Anaphylaxis – What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis – EpiPen Action plan general
Anaphylaxis – EpiPen Action plan personal
Camp Registration and Indemnity Form
Churches Activity Risk Assessment Tool
Churches Risk Management
Churches Risk Register Tool
Electronic Communication Guidelines
First Aid Attendants and Emergency Numbers – Sample Sign
Guide for churches – smoke-free policy
Guide to Churches conducting Working Bees 2010
Guide to Fire Safety & Emergency Management Plans at Church
Hall Hire Licence Agreement generic year
Housekeeping Checklist
If You Are Injured Poster
Incident or Injury Reporting Form 2014
Ladder Use Policy
Risk Assessment Action Plan – template
Safe Church Policy June 2015
Sample Baptist Church Safety Rules

Tasmanian Workers Rehab and Compensation Act 1988 Summary Poster

Volunteer Driver Information Form

Work Health and Safety Policy – sample

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