Local Church Policy & Practice For Safer Church Ministry
AdSAFE is the independently operating agency appointed by the Church in the South Pacific Division to manage cases of child sexual abuse in the church. There is a great need for our churches to maintain and continually improve our duty of care in the area of child safety. It is good to see many churches engaging with this duty of care. Local churches must address this need by:
- screening workers and volunteers who work with children and youth;
- adhering to a code of conduct towards children and youth;
- facilitating reporting of allegations, suspicions and disclosures of child sexual abuse;
- adopting methods of ministry and operation that will minimize the possibility of child sexual abuse in its environs and;
- applying Fellowship or Safety Agreements for those at risk of causing harm.
To implement safer church ministry in our Seventh-day Adventist Churches every church, church plant, group or congregation must fulfill the following requirements.
Requirements for the local church / congregations
- Adopt the latest Local Church Policy – sps.org.au/resources/local-church-policy
- Implement the local church code of conduct and help members and attenders to be familiar with the code – sps.org.au/resources/code-of-conduct-information-2019
- Appoint a person to oversee safer church practices. This person will usually be the AdSafe Coordinator for the local church or another person who has responsibility to ensure the following essential procedures are being completed.
- Personnel working with children and youth
Ensure the following local church leaders and helpers who will have direct involvement with children or young people undergo screening and training: Local Church Board Members or those roles outlined in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual as being eligible to be on the local church board and any child, youth or vulnerable persons related role within the church, especially those connected with ages 0-17.
- Screening involves AdSafe training and NZ Police Vetting, before taking up any of the above roles or responsibilities and must be repeated every 3 years. (NZ Health and Safety At Work Act 2015 – compulsory NZ Law). Online AdSafe training can be undertaken via the following link – elearning.safeplaceservices.org.au (please note that the website associated with this link is currently being upgraded).
POLICE VETTING (for those working with children, youth and vulnerable persons or serving on the local church board)
The local church AdSafe Co-ordinator or other nominated person deemed responsible for this, will organise the Police Vetting of these ministry personnel.
AdSAFE has directed that this is to be done via the New Zealand Police Vetting service using its Request and Consent Form found at www.police.govt.nz/advice/businesses-and-organisations/vetting/forms-and-guides
Safe Place Coordinators: Arrange to fully complete the Police Vet Request and Consent Form – www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/pvs-vetting-request-and-consent-form.docx
- Page 1 AdSafe Coordinator (or pastor, elder) complete and sign as approved representative. In most cases tick “No (mandatory under other legislation…)”
- Pages 2-3. Applicant to fully complete and sign.
- If applicant has lived in Australia please also complete relevant pages.
- Scan and email or post completed forms inclusive of the name of your local church to the Conference:
- North New Zealand Conference
post to North NZ Conference, Private Bag 76900, Manukau, Auckland 2241
or scan & email to: NNZConf@adventist.org.nz
- South New Zealand Conference
post to South NZ Conference, PO Box 5186, Papanui, Christchurch 8542
or scan & email to: SNZConf@adventist.org.nz
- North New Zealand Conference
We will pass the resultant Police report back to the local church AdSafe Co-ordinator. If there is anything in the report of concern for child safety it will be discussed with the church pastor, AdSafe Coordinator or appropriate local church leader before a decision is made about that person’s suitability for the role.
SIGN THE ONLINE PLEDGE
All personnel receiving screening and training must also agree to the code of conduct and sign the online pledge to finalise due process and be certified. This is made available as part of AdSafe’s online training at:
elearning.safeplaceservices.org.au (please note that the website associated with this link is currently being upgraded).
To contact AdSAFE go to – sps.org.au/contact-us
Updated 7 October 2019