As part of its ongoing commitment to developing a child-safe culture within the church, the LCA has responded to a child protection paper from the New South Wales Government.
New South Wales has recently moved to regulate all organisations delivering services to children, including churches, and released a consultation paper, with the request for feedback. The call for submissions is the first request the LCA has received from a statutory body seeking to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The intent is for organisations to be regulated against the 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments. The LCA/NZ is committed to implementing these principles across the church. LCA/NZ Child Protection Project Officer Mary-Ann Carver said the introduction of mandated principles and a regulatory approach to child-safe practices within the church would represent a significant shift from current practice.
In response to the NSW paper, she said the church had advocated for a supportive model focused on the principles – in terms of their critical purpose to keep children safe – ahead of regulatory and compliance aspects of the framework. Ms Carver said the LCA was committed to supporting members in finding ‘an effective and workable balance between the demands of compliance and the need to maintain a safe church environment’.
‘We want this to be a positive process of genuinely using the principles to help us improve safety within the church for our children and young people’, she said.
Ms Carver’s role is to support the implementation of the national principles and the Royal Commission’s recommendations across the church. A Child Protection Advisory Committee has been appointed to advise and support her work. She will visit all district church councils to provide an overview of the project.
Ms Carver said the LCA/NZ ‘takes its duty of care to children and its responsibilities in relation to keeping children safe and protected very seriously’. ‘Children are a special and precious gift from God and they are to be protected from all forms of physical, psychological, sexual and spiritual abuse’, she said.
For contributions or queries, email her at email@example.com or phone 08 267 7300 or 0490 281 727.