SCTA Safe Church Awareness Workshops
For a list of upcoming Safe Church workshops see the Upcoming Training Dates page.
The Synod through Uniting Mission & Education (UME) facilitates SAFE CHURCH AWARENESS TRAINING for all leaders and helpers involved in ministry with children and other vulnerable people through church-run programs (including SRE in schools) and those with pastoral oversight such as ministers, elders, and church council members.
The safe church awareness program includes an introductory Safe Church Awareness Workshop (6 hours – including breaks) and then a shorter refresher course every 3 years. This refresher is necessary to keep up with changes in legislation and therefore recommended procedures for congregations and presbyteries.
This is a vitally important program in our church and is one way that the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT is actively working towards making our churches a safe place for all.
History of the Safe Church Awareness Program
Since 2007, the Board of Education has been addressing the recognised need to provide training in child protection and appropriate behaviour to volunteers working with children in church run programs. Over the past 3½ years, child protection workshops have been conducted across the Synod and have assisted many people in ministry to understand child protection requirements, to know where to turn in difficult situations and how to proactively seek to provide safe and welcome spaces for children to encounter God, to develop relationships as part of a community and to grow in faith.
As we move into 2011, the Board of Education is rolling out an updated version of this vital training – now known as Safe Church Awareness Workshops – which align with the National Council of Churches Australia’s (NCCA) Safe Church Training Agreement (SCTA) standards. This new name and SCTA accreditation reflects the broader practicalities explored through these workshops. The Safe Church Awareness Workshops addresses topics such as: safe church foundations (duty of care, transparency and accountability); child and vulnerable person’s protection; understanding and responding to abuse; protective behaviours; safe leadership; and safe programs and environments.
Safe Church training consists of an introductory Safe Church Awareness Workshop (5.5 hours) and then a refresher workshop (3 hours) every three years.
The SCTA also provides more opportunities for people to attend an Awareness Workshop as Uniting Church members and adherents can attend another denomination’s SCTA accredited workshop and vice versa. A comprehensive list of upcoming SCTA accredited workshops is available on the SCTA website and updated monthly. http://www.ncca.org.au/departments/safe-church/scta/scta-workshop-calendar
Through partnership with SCTA, the Synod of NSW and the ACT also has access to the Safety Management Online databases system, which records and tracks an individual’s participation in the introductory safe church awareness workshop and subsequent refresher courses every three years.
As with the previous child protection training, there will be opportunities to train as a Safe Church Workshop Presenters. By training suitable people in each presbytery to be SCTA accredited workshop presenters, Safe Church Awareness Workshops can be facilitated locally more easily in the longer term. If you are interested in training as a Workshop presenter, please contact Emma Parr (email@example.com or 02 8267 4290)