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Child Safety - Duty of Care

It is core to the DNA of Newstart Church that we are all uniquely gifted by God. Our core role as a community is to provide a safe place for all people, especially the marginalised and vulnerable, to thrive, grow, explore faith, establish values and gain a full understanding of their true worth in the eyes of their loving God.

'A Shared Responsibility'

Children & Child Protection
(Nov 2016)

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:2-6)

At Newstart Church we strive to include children in all aspects of the church community life. Church life should reflect a healthy model of home life – a complete community actively developing compassionate citizens capable of creating, leading and contributing. Therefore, the wisdom of all the community’s adults is available to the children as the wisdom of ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’, who watch over and listen to the voices of the children. In that, we strive to be interconnected, and look out for and after each other, as a large family – a place where everybody belongs.

Jesus Christ set children as the prime examples of what it means to belong to the Kingdom of God. This means that children have the right to be safe, protected, respected and listened to, and to have their particular needs addressed in all church activities, whether mixed-age or child specific.

In the above passage (and others), Jesus makes explicit observation that there is an inherent imbalance of power; children are incapable of giving valid consent to abuse. Any form of child abuse is always wrong. If you know, or reasonably suspect, that a child is at risk of harm from child abuse, you should report this to the appropriate authorities and to the church leaders.  

Newstart Church is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all people, but especially children and young people.

Newstart Church is committed to providing a child safe environment where children and young people are safe, and feel safe, and their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives. Particular attention will be paid to the safety of children with a disability, and children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Every person involved in the Newstart Church community has a collective responsibility to understand the important and specific role we all play in ensuring that the wellbeing and safety of children and young people is at the forefront of all they do and every decision they make.  

As part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report, there is a new regulatory landscape surrounding child safety, underpinned by new Child Safe Standards that are to be phased in during 2016 and 2017. The Standards are compulsory and apply to all organisations that work with children and young people up to 18 years old.

The Standards call for documented child safe policies, codes of conduct and clear strategies for responding to suspected abuse. Church communities have new accountabilities for minimising the risk of child abuse in their organisation.

Victoria’s Child Safe Standards include special protections for some children. Children with a disability and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are all given particular focus. This will help ensure all our children, regardless of their background and needs, are protected in our learning environments.  

As a church, we recognise that Child Abuse is serious and includes sexual offences, grooming, physical violence, serious emotional or psychological harm, serious neglect and a child’s exposure to family violence.

The church will take reasonable steps to protect children and young people in the community from any harm and injury that may reasonably be foreseen under common law duty of care. During Church meeting times, the church will endeavour to provide a safe environment at the community centre; all food will be prepared with care, and leaders will seek to identify and minimize potential safety hazards putting necessary boundaries into place where needed. A first-aid kit is provided at the centre and all those working with children in the teaching time will have a ‘Working with Children’ Check.

General supervision and protection at church meetings is provided by parents as they are present with their children. The congregation as a responsible community will assist parents in their duties where agreed. Where there is a concern for safety or suspected child abuse, members of the congregation are encouraged to react as responsible members of the community and report allegations to the relevant bodies.  

Support Services

There are services that you can contact to access more information, and in some cases, to speak to somebody about your concerns.

Child Protection Victoria - 1300 664 977
West Division Metro area reports are managed by North Division Intake located at DHHS Preston for the following areas and LGAs: Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley, Wyndham. Visit their website for Other Areas

National Child Abuse Helpline (Child Wise) - 1800 991 099
A toll-free number with access to expert advice from trained counsellors and an opportunity to speak up about child abuse.

Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800
For any time and for any reason - free, private and confidential phone and online counselling: 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.

Headspace (National Youth Mental Health Foundation) - 1800 650 890
Headspace can help if you are aged 12 or over and you are going through a tough time. You can talk to someone at Headspace on the phone, online or in person. They also have a lot of information on the Headspace website.

Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault – 1800 806 292
Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault provides services to child and adult victims/survivors of sexual assault. The assault may have occurred recently or in the past.