The Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Abuse developed National Principles for a Child Safe Organisation. The principles and resources can be found at this link.

The principles are intended to help organisations that work with children to embed a child-safe culture and to develop their capacity to provide an environment where children can grow and thrive. They are child-focussed and take a child’s rights approach. The principles will be the key benchmarks against which organisations who work with children will be measured by the community.

The National Safe Church Unit of the Assembly is developing resources for congregations to engage with the National Principles. They produced a poster last year, some congregations have already received their copy, if you missed out they will be available at Synod this year. We will also ensure that presbyteries have some for distribution. The poster names each of the principles with images that capture the themes and hopefully make them child-friendly.

Another project underway is a conversation guide for Church Councils to engage with the principles, if you are interested we can supply a draft of this. It will be important and helpful for Church Councils to engage with the principles on a regular basis. I think that they helpfully raise issues that are broader than simply Children’s Ministry, asking us ‘What kind of community do we want to be?’ All good safe church programs do this.

Over the next few months I will be exploring the principles in short articles in New Times Online, hopefully these too will be helpful in helping you to have the conversation about child safety in your congregation and in embedding a culture in which people are safe and able to thrive.

Rev Philip Gardner