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 improved duty of care by our churches 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 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 – “Safer Environments for Children and Young People” (v 2014.11). (SDA Church requirement – view/download here).
- Implement the local church code of conduct and help members and attenders to be familiar with the code. (SDA Church requirement – view/download sample here).
- Appoint a person to oversee safer church practices. This person will usually be the Safe Place Coordinator (refer to the job description – view/download here) 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: Child/Youth leaders, assistants, helpers, teachers, counsellors.
- This means all involved with any infant/child/youth ministry including (but not limited to) children/youth ministries, children/youth Sabbath schools, Pathfinders and Adventurers, Adventist youth, youth choirs etc. (for the ages from birth up to and including 17 years of age).
- This screening is to be done 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).
- The same personnel must also receive Safer Church Training every 3 years. (SDA Church requirement).
- Personnel who do not work directly with children and youth
The church also recommends that other church leaders such as elders, board members and office holders in the church are screened. For these personnel a Ministry of Justice criminal history check is to be processed by the local church Safe Place Coordinator.
a. POLICE VETTING (for those working with children and youth)
The local church Safe Place Coordinator, or other nominated person deemed responsible for this, will organise the Police Vetting of these ministry personnel.
AdSAFE has directed that screening of child and youth workers is to be done via the New Zealand Police Vetting service using its Request and Consent Form found at http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/businesses-and-organisations/vetting/forms-and-guides
Safe Place Coordinators: Arrange to fully complete the Police-request-and-consent form
- a. Page 1 Safe Place Coordinator (or pastor, elder) complete and sign as approved representative. In most cases tick “No (mandatory under other legislation…)”
- b. Pages 2-3. Applicant to fully complete and sign.
- c. If applicant has lived in Australia please also complete relevant pages.
- d. Scan and email or post completed forms to the Conference if your church does not have agency.
If so please forward the completed request and consent form including your church name:
- by post to Mrs Kim Teao, North NZ Conference, Private Bag 76900, Manukau, Auckland 2241
- or scan & email to: KimTeao@adventist.org.nz or; ValmarieYoung@adventist.org.nz
We will pass the Police report back to the local church SP Coordinator. If there is anything in the report of concern for child safety it will be discussed with the church pastor, SP Coordinator or appropriate local church leader before a decision is made about that person’s suitability for the role.
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECK (for those with irregular child/youth contact)
The local church Safe Place Coordinator can learn more by referring to the government website: https://www.justice.govt.nz/criminal-records/
The correct form to use is the the third party form which can be downloaded at this link: https://www.justice.govt.nz/criminal-records/get-someone-elses/
b. SAFER CHURCH TRAINING
The second requirement for working/involvement with children/youth in the church is to complete the required Safer Church training either online or by participating in a Sunday training workshop. This is also to be repeated every three years (although subsequent trainings will be shorter).
- Online training link – https://elearning.safeplaceservices.org.au
- Direct workshop (enquire with the Admin Pastor Conference about the next available training in your area).
c. 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 receive certification. Go to this link – http://safeplaceservices.org.au/safeguarding-churches
To contact AdSAFE go to – http://safeplaceservices.org.au/contact-us
Please contact me if necessary.
Ben Timothy – Admin Pastor, North New Zealand Conference
17 January 2018
North Island – Adsafe Administration Staff
General Secretary / Administrative Pastor
Originally from Wellington Ben is married to Noeline with two sons and seven grandchildren. After working for the NZ government for thirteen years he commenced pastoral ministry in North NZ in 1993. He has pastored churches on the west and east coasts of the Conference, Waikato, King Country and Auckland.
Ben believes many people today feel the need for hope and are looking for it. The church is a medium and voice for true hope that can only be found in Christ. To effect transformation in our communities the church must embody and demonstrate God’s true character by intentionally continuing Jesus’ service and sowing his gospel of hope in people’s lives.
Reception / Administrative Assistant for Trust Services
Wholeheartedly committing her life to God in the year 2000 was the start of a life journey in faith, hope and love. Kim began serving at the North New Zealand Conference in February 2014 and her desire for people is to pursue their relationship with God, to live life as God intended for them by His gracious Spirit through the love of Jesus. The reason for her smile is the joy in serving the Lord 🙂