St Columba's Anglican Church, Scarborough
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Procedures for dealing with disclosures or incidents of abuse and neglect

Adopted by Parish Council 28/11/04

1. This policy addresses the issues of abuse and neglect, with an emphasis on children.

2. These procedures are to be read in conjunction with Diocesan Council Policy 41: Protocol for dealing with complains of sexual misconduct by clergy and church workers, the Diocesan Council Policy 40: Policy Guidelines for Child Protection, and the Professional Standards Statute 2003 (these are available in the Parish Office).

3. The Parish considers any misconduct by a clergy person, church worker or church volunteer, especially sexual misconduct, as very serious.

4. The Parish is committed to support the victims and their families, the accused and their families, the informant, and the wider community.

5. All persons involved in situations where abuse is suspected or disclosed, whether of a child or an adult, must treat the situation with sensitivity, must observe appropriate confidentialities, and have an obligation to ensure that this information is kept secure.

6. Child abuse is defined as maltreatment of a person under 18 years of age. It is the result of action or inaction on the part of an adult which results in harm or injury to a child or which endangers or impairs a child's physical or emotional well-being. Maltreatment includes: Physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Emotional abuse, and Physical and emotional neglect.

7. In this Parish the ‘responsible person’ is the Parish Priest, or in the priest’s absence, the Rector’s Warden. The ‘responsible person’ is responsible for the management of suspected or disclosed incidents of abuse and neglect within the parish.

8. A person to whom a disclosure is made (the informant) has a responsibility to report it. The informant does not have an investigative role or a responsibility to determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred. Nor is it appropriate for the informant to confront a suspected perpetrator or intervene with the child's or person’s family. Other authorities are best placed to undertake these onerous tasks at the appropriate time. Investigation by an unauthorized person, including clergy, may jeopardize the prospects of apprehending offenders and expose an abused person to greater risk of harm.

9. Those who have concerns that abuse or neglect may be occurring should keep brief written, dated records of their suspicions or observations and keep the ‘responsible person’ informed.

10. Where there is a disclosure of child abuse or strong concerns about the well-being of a child, the informant must report the matter to the relevant authority, namely:

    1. Department of Community Development – for child abuse originating within families (ph 9223 1111 any time), or

    2. Police (WA Police Service Child Abuse Unit) – for child abuse originating outside the family or abuse of adults (ph 9492 5444; after hours contact 131444 or 9356 0555 (Family and Domestic Violence)

11. Where the disclosure concerns any misconduct by a clergy person, church worker or church volunteer, it is also necessary for the responsible officer to advise the Director of Professional Standards and their Regional Bishop.

12. The informant can confidentially consult the Director of Professional Standards on procedures. Church Office can arrange for legal support or other support as necessary. The Professional Standards Committee exists to assist those with complaints against clergy.

13. It is important to note that the safety and welfare of the child is all important and this must always be the primary concern.

14. A copy of this policy is available in our Parish Office.



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St Columba's Anglican Church
150 Northstead Street, Scarborough, W.A., 6019

Ph: 08 9341 3861 or  Email