by Mary-Ann Carver
We are very pleased that 92 per cent of Australian congregations have now submitted either a Child Safety Plan for their congregation or parish or an assurance that they have no children in regular attendance.
This is a terrific response and demonstrates a significant commitment from congregations – congratulations and a big ‘thank you’ to all of you!
The next step is for congregations to make sure that their Child Safety Plans are being implemented.
A simple starting point is to make sure that child safety is regularly on your leadership agenda. This will help draw attention to the actions in your Child Safety Plan and help you to review how well they are being addressed.
Remember this is a continuous development and learning process. You are not expected to complete all your actions at once. Our advice is to focus on one or two actions in your plan at any one time.
Children who feel safe, nurtured, comfortable, listened to and valued in their church environment are much more likely to speak up if they are being hurt or feel unsafe. They are also much more likely to keep coming to church and to engage with church life and its activities. It also means it is much more likely that you are contributing to their overall spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing.
An excellent resource to support congregational efforts in child safety is our LCA Commitment to Child Safety, which says ‘The Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) is committed to providing a safe church environment for children and young people. The LCA acknowledges that children are a precious gift from God, with special vulnerabilities, that they require nourishment and nurture in their spiritual development and that they are to be protected from all forms of abuse. The LCA also affirms that it has no tolerance for child abuse and that all its people have an important responsibility to care for children and to keep them safe. The way we care for children reflects our genuineness of faith. It is also a reflection of God’s love and his divine protection.’
This statement represents your public commitment to the children in your congregation and your commitment to their safety and wellbeing – a very important and positive message.
If you haven’t done so already, please download this statement from our LCA Child Safety page and display it prominently in your congregational spaces. You may also wish to include it in newsletters and social media posts. Some congregations are displaying it and other child-safe messages via PowerPoint during and after worship.
Please revisit our webpage, where you will find more regularly updated resources, including PowerPoint slides and videos, additional ideas, resources and suggestions.
If you have any questions, we are here to help and advise. Please contact:
• Your district Professional Standards Officer details here or
• Nicole Hall or Mary-Ann Carver from the Churchwide Child Safety Team
Email us at email@example.com or phone Nicole on 08 8267 7372 or 0491 011 643, or Mary-Ann on 0490 281 727