Orange Christian Assembly Codes of Conduct
Expectations for Staff, Volunteers and Students
As a church, we honour God’s name by holding values that honour and respect other people. Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who has given of himself for the good of others.
We value the following acceptable practices
- We will treat everyone with respect and honesty
- We value active listening to children
- We will be mindful of our responsibility for care. Below are ways in which we are recognising methods that will help us provide appropriate care;
- We will plan appropriate activities to the age or developmental needs of the children;
- We will protect ourselves and children by not being alone with them
- We will be mindful of the need for appropriate boundaries when comforting or sharing with children and young people;
- If a child approaches to hug we will turn the child into a sideways hug not a frontal hug;
- We will sit beside a child when reading a book and not have the child on our knee;
- We will hold hands for reassurance only, only if required;
- We will use an open hand on the child’s back or shoulder to comfort if the child is hurt or in distress;
- We will ensure adult supervision at all times, not leaving children unattended, and will call for assistance we must leave the group;
- We will use a buddy system if a child needs to leave the group for an appropriate reason;
- We will only use appropriate forms of discipline and never use physical discipline on a child
- We will use language that honours children (no crude language or jokes)
- We will only transport children when there is adequate supervision
- We will protect children by not having them in our homes without suitable supervision
- We will not dispense medication to a child without parent/ guardian guidelines and consent;
- We will be sensitive to activities that could be construed as grooming, (showing favouritism, giving gifts to individual children, spending time alone with a child, communicating with individual children via social media)
- We will be sensitive to bullying or unhealthy dominance within a group
- We will keep parents / guardians informed and gain permission for activities that are not part of the normal routine of the programmed activity;
- We will be alert and watch for strangers who may enter our programmed areas and act to ensure the safety of the children.
- Alcohol and illegal drugs and those affected by these are not allowed to participate in any of our children’s activities.
- We will ensure adequate supervision during programmed activities. We are committed to the following ratios: 1:3 for 0-1 year old, 1:5 for 2-6 year old, 1:8 for 7-12 year old, 1:15 for 13-17 year old. There will always be at least two adults present when running child related church activity.
- We will act and report incidents and suspicions of abuse to the Child Safety Officer.
- We will maintain our equipment to ensure they are in good working order.
- We will maintain confidentiality to protect those involved, to stop gossip but will follow policy and legal procedures to ensure the correct outcomes are achieved for the protection of children.
Effective behaviour management
In any children’s program, we will need to deal with children who misbehave and disrupt the program for other children. It is not acceptable to use physical force to discipline a child unless the child is causing physical harm to self or another child. It is then acceptable to use reasonable force to protect those involved.
Fostering safe and appropriate behaviour begins with positive and appropriate relationships with children and young people. It is important to take the time to outline and reinforce the expectations of safe and respectful participation in activities. This should be done efficiently and without ambiguity.
Positive relationships are those within which children and young people know they are valued and that they will have listened to and if it is required given wise and careful counsel.
Often a child’s behaviour is a reflection of their life circumstances. It is important to ensure they have their need to be heard satisfied before a situation is acted upon. Conversations can assist a child to recognise and accept their responsibility within a given situation. If a child acknowledges they have been in error then an apology is usually enough. If a child does not recognise they are in error, a brief timeout session might be in order. Similarly if children behave inappropriately due to excitement a brief time out is also usually effective.
Time out should be in view of others to ensure the child’s safety and to monitor their reactions.
If there is a need to address negative behaviour or correct a child try to remain calm and do not personalise the situation. Ensure the safety of others and the appropriateness of the time and place for dealing with the issue.
All corrective behaviour should be conducted sensitively and with the intent, for the child to accept responsibility and then resume activity or continue positive relationships. Remain calm and in control or call for assistance if you are angry.
Try to outline the desired behaviour and reinforce the benefits of such rather than outline the negative behaviours and threatening consequences.
Should more than one person be involved in a situation, then work only with the facts not past experiences or perceptions.
If a disruption continues or if a child places them or another individual at risk of harm then the child needs to be separated and the parent may need to be contacted and informed without imposing guilt or blame. It is important to maintain positive relationships with parents as much as possible.
Expectations for Children
For Children participating in our programmes, we would expect the following behaviours and attitudes
- That they be respectful and friendly to everyone and welcome new children joining the group
- That they play by the rules
- That they are free to raise any concerns or worries with the leaders
- They will not bully others
- They will not leave the group without approval or supervision from the leaders.
What happens if I break the Code of Conduct?
If the incident brings Children or Young people into a position of “risk of significant harm”, then the incident will be recorded on our Complaint form by our Child Safety Officer and the information passed onto Community Services for Investigation and The Children’s Guardian (WWCC managers). The incident may also be reported to the Police if the Child is still in immediate danger. The Church will then act in accordance with actions that ensure the safety of other children and may remove you from that and other ministries as they see fit. If appropriate the church will provide support to help you rectify the offending behaviour which may involve counselling or the like.
If the incident is not reportable, then the church will provide help and assistance to you to modify the offending behaviour. This may mean standing you down from the ministry or other ministries until the Child Safety Officer and church leadership are convinced the inappropriate behaviour has been modified in your life.
Last revised September 2021