Building a safe church

A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has indicated a significant increase in cases of abuse and neglect against children. The finding notes the number of children involved in substantiated cases of abuse and neglect as increasing nationally from 31,527 to 37,781 in 2011-12.

The most common type of abuse identified in the study was emotional (36 per cent), followed by neglect (31 per cent), physical (21 per cent) and sexual (12 per cent).

As the Uniting Church seeks to improve all levels of safety across its congregations, parishioners are being invited to attend upcoming Safe Church training sessions.

The Synod’s safe church educator, Josh Woollett, is facilitating the sessions. He said it is an important initiative for all congregations to be involved with.

“In many ways churches of all denominations are being asked by the community ‘what have you done to protect children?’,” Mr Woollett said.

“This training is a practical response to what we are saying as a church – it’s about raising awareness, strengthening our duty of care and, as a church, protecting vulnerable people.

“By increasing our awareness of child abuse, we can identify potential risks before children become statistics.”

Safe Church training sessions are being held on 6 April at Diamond Valley Baptist Church, 309 Diamond Creek Road Plenty, 20 April at Koonung Uniting Church, Cnr Belmore and Winfielde Roads Mont Albert North and 4 May at Canterbury Baptist Church, 1A Balwyn Road, Canterbury.

Sessions run from 9.30am to 4pm and cost $20 per person.

Please contact Josh Woollett on 9340 8810 or josh.woollett@victas.org.au.

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