Safe Church Resources
These resources can be found under the headings: Safe People, Safe Places, Safe Programs and Safe Properties.
They are designed to assist churches to provide a safe, loving, ethical and compliant 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.
The Change or Suppression Act comes into operation on February 17th, 2022. This is an important Act for pastors and churches to be aware of with regard to individual and organisational responsibilities.
Recently the BUV hosted information sessions with the Victorian Equal Opportunities & Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Civil Response Scheme under the Act.
The BUV has drafted some Guidance for churches with regard to carrying out ministry in view of this Act. Please click here to view or download this document.
The BUV Code of Ethics for Pastoral Leaders provides us with a resource as we seek to be faithful to our calling and healthy in our practice of Christian ministry. It contains principles to aspire to and guidelines against which we are held accountable. If you have any questions about our BUV Code of Ethics, please contact BUV Professional Standards Consultant, Brenda Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Responding to Misconduct
Please refer to the BUV’s Professional Standards Resource pageBUV Professional Standards Resources
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.Creating Safe Spaces Training
A Safe Church Concerns Person (sometimes called Child Safety Officer or Safeguarding officer) acts as a contact point for concerns of abuse and misconduct within the church. (This is a separate role to a Property Officer who manages the church’s buildings and assets)
Safe Church Concerns Person Position Description
Safe Church Concerns Anecdotal Record
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.
Please ensure your church’s Code of Conduct and other Safe Church policies state that a leader/volunteer must have a current and valid WWCC, prior to commencing any work with children. Any leader/volunteer whose WWCC is cancelled, revoked, suspended, or receives an interim negative notice or negative notice must step down from all roles involving children immediately. Any such leader//volunteer may need to engage with the POC/known offender process in order to remain involved with your church. Please contact Brenda Williams (BUV Professional Standards Consultant) to discuss further, if you or your church are in this situation
For more information on Working With Children Check’s please see the resources below or visit their website at www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.
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 to five years for most positions; every one to three years for the treasurer is the best practice recommendation. This includes staff, pastors, deacons/elders, treasurer, secretary, the head of each ministry and Safe Church Contact Person or team. 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)
Please note: BUV is not eligible for the reduced volunteer rate or community organisation discount.
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
An induction in the process of introducing a new team member to the church culture and the ministry’s aims as well as the processes and tasks undertaken in that role. By completing an induction you are both making the team member aware of their responsibilities (including how to report injuries and concerns of abuse and misconduct) as well as helping them feel comfortable in the team and with their role. An orientation should cover things like appropriate boundaries during the ministry, basic COVID safety like handwashing etc, and articulating the tasks and expectations involved with that role. It would be helpful to have a written document with practical information such as a basic position description and list of tasks to give to the individual as well as a checklist to be completed by the supervisor to ensure all relevant part of the induction have taken place. A sample may be found below.Induction Checklist
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.email@example.com
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
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.
For more information about CCYP click here:CCYP website
For detailed information about the Victorian Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme please see the headings further down this page.
Update to Child Safe Standards:
New Child Safe Standards will come into effect on 1 July 2022. The 11 new Standards (increased from 7) will outline actions required for organisations to keep children and young people safe, including managing the risk of child abuse in online environments. These updates will not have significant changes within our Baptist churches and ministries, as the BUV Creating Safe Spaces (CSS) training complies with the Child Safe Standards.
For more information click here:New Child Safe Standards
Essential Safety and Duty of Care Measures
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
- First Aid
- Food Safety
- Grounds Maintenance
- Hazardous Substances
- Heating & Cooling
- Internal Housekeeping
- Mechanical Ventilation – Kitchen (6 monthly)
- Mechanical Ventilation – Kitchen (3 monthly)
- Ministry – Children and Families
- Ministry – Playgroups
- Ministry – Seniors
- Ministry – Youth
- Pastoral care
- Playgroups & Equipment
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Risk Management
- Screening & Selection
- Smoke Alarm (domestic)
- Staff Reviews
The BUV online platform for ESM and Duty of Care is currently undergoing development. For any enquires, please contact 9880 6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
(Formerly known as Department of Health & Human Services – DHHS)
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing 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.DFFH Families and Children
DFFH Child Protection
DFFH Making a Report to Child Protection
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
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 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 AbuseElder Abuse Prevention & Support Brochure
Sexual Harrassment & Abuse
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
Failure to Protect
Failure to Disclose
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 email@example.comSANO Taskforce
BUV Complaints Processes
The BUV has a Complaints Procedure to handle any issues raised by members of one of our churches or of the public about the conduct of leaders and/or pastors.
The procedure document may be downloaded below.
A Professional Standards Group oversee complaints processes within the Union. This group includes the Professional Standards Consultant, external professionals, senior officers of the Union and a representative of pastors.Complaint Procedure for Allegations of Misconduct by Pastoral Leaders 2011 (222.22 kB)
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.
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.
Church Directory sample
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
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
Forest Fire Management Victoria
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
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/
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 who engage with children and young people , including churches, and are foundational in developing a child safe organisation.
Information about the current seven Standards can be found here:CCYP – The Child Safe Standards
New Child Safe Standards will come into effect on 1 July 2022. The 11 new Standards (increased from 7) will outline actions required for organisations to keep children and young people safe, including managing the risk of child abuse in online environments. These updates will not have significant changes within our Baptist churches and ministries, as the BUV Creating Safe Spaces (CSS) training complies with the Child Safe Standards. Click here for information comparing the existing 7 and forthcoming 11 Standards.
Where existing resources referring to the 7 Standards remain relevant and helpful for churches as they create or edit their documentation, these will remain listed below.
Other documents and resources will be updated and replaced as they become available.
The CCYP’s Short Guide to the Standards is a key resource for churches.
Within this resource, CCYP has provided a list of documents and actions (called compliance indicators) that will show that your church is meeting the minimum requirements of each Standard.Short Guide to the Child Safe Standards
CCYP has also published additional tools and templates to help you create most of the required documents, or update your existing versions, to ensure your church is fulfilling the new requirements: https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/resources/child-safe-standards/
- Creating a Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy (all Standards)
- Creating and updating your Code of Conduct (Standards 1, 2, 6, 9)
- Risk assessment and management templates (Standards 8, 9)
- Child Safe Standards information sheets in languages other than English
- A practical guide to choosing, supervising and developing suitable staff and volunteers (Standard 6)
There are also two self-audit tools which your church can utilise as you implement the Child Safe Standards, and for your ongoing review.
- CCYP’s self-assessment tool. Once CCYP releases their self-assessment tool for the current 11 Standards it can be found here.
- BUV’s 11 Child Safe Standards self-audit tool Examples have been given for Standard 2
CCYP – Cultural Safety for Aboriginal Children
CCYP – Cultural Safety of Children from CALD Backgrounds
CCYP – Safety of Children with a Disability
BUV Templates and resources
Standards 6,8:BUV Creating Safe Spaces Training
Standards 2,6,8,9:Molestation Code of Conduct
Standards 6,11:Molestation Leader Application Screening Form
Standards 2,3,11:Sample Report and Handling Doc
Sample Safe Church Concerns Form Template
Sample Flowchart Reporting Process
Risk of Significant Harm Form
Standard 9:Youth Online Permission Form
Child Online Permission Form
Digital Comms Policy
Standard 3:CCYP – Speak up – it’s your right (poster)
CCYP – Teach your child how to keep themselves safe
CSS – Children’s Code of Conduct (sample)
Church Self-audit and ReviewBUV 11 Standards self review tool
CCYP 7 Standards Implementation & Action Plan
Please note that this tool refers to the 7 existing Standards. However, all the questions and examples it includes are still relevant to the forthcoming 11 StandardsStandard 1- Self assessment tool
This resource refers to Standard 1 only. It includes a number of concrete suggestions to include, documents to refer to, and a more detailed way to measure your progress at achieving each dot point
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 Forms for Reporting
Please click on the following link to find the forms required for reporting.CCYP Forms
The CCYP has translated resources available for a range of community languages for both the Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme
Please see below for links to translated information:CCYP – Child Safe Standards Translated Resources
CCYP – Reportable Conduct Scheme Translated Resources
Please note that there is also a telephone interpreter service available by calling the Australian Government’s Translating and Interpreter Service on 131 450
Every ministry, whether a once-off event or an ongoing ministry, should have an “Approval for Ministry” form completed by its leader/s and signed by senior leadership, before going ahead. It is recommended that every ongoing ministry to reviewed annually, to ensure that the program remains physically, emotionally and spiritually safe.Approval for Ministry form
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.
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
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
If you require further assistance with Safe Church matters please email: firstname.lastname@example.org