Gateway Community Church

Leaders Code of Conduct

1.1 Purpose:

The Gateway Community Church is a group of followers of Jesus Christ meeting in Cockburn Central seeking to reflect the teachings of Christ and of the New Testament with integrity and humility. We accept that our faith is worked out and expressed in the quality of relationships we develop as a church community and all those with whom we interact in our daily lives. Jesus summarised God’s expectation for the conduct of His people into one famous and succinct sentence: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbours as yourself.’ He reinforced this ‘law of love’ by adding, ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples; you love one another!’ Jesus also taught and demonstrated the importance of truth and honesty, of justice and mercy as essential to healthy relationships.

This Code of Conduct seeks to apply to the ministerial, or pastoral relationship those ethical standards that God expects of all people. People in various forms of recognised ministry are therefore expected to be examples and models of Christian faith and practice. It is the duty of any person in a ministry position not to use the influence or authority of their position for personal gain, whether that gain is financial or in terms of power, sexual gratification, or otherwise. This includes any action, verbal, written or electronic, physical or emotional that could be interpreted as emotional, sexual or spiritual abuse, and applies especially when working with children. We recognise the power differential between children and adults in ministry roles, and these guidelines seek to ensure that such a power is not used to harm children or any vulnerable person.

The adoption of this Code of Conduct and the related Procedural Documents for investigating breaches of the Code, reflects a deep desire for an open, accountable process that seeks to express justice, acceptance and compassion to all parties, rather than to protect the organisation.

for leaders

1.2 Our Commitment

Our commitment to expressing the love of Christ leads us to the view that all people should be able to live, work and learn in an environment that is free from abuse of any kind. Our commitment is to cultivate an environment and culture where a diversity of people, regardless of age, gender, race and culture can thrive and grow holistically. That is, we are committed to the Church being a safe place for all people, with a special focus on the safety and wellbeing of children.

This Code of Conduct aims to detail the standards of conduct expected by staff (paid and voluntary) in the performance of their duties in working with children and to provide guidance in areas where there is a need to make personal and ethical decisions.

The Code of Conduct recognises and is aligned with all statutory and compliance requirements enshrined in State and Federal law. The Church is committed to operating in accordance with the law in all its operations.

2. Specific Expectations to Protect Children from Abuse

All those who minister or work under the auspices of the Church with children should be fully aware of the Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct. Abusive behaviour towards children will not be tolerated. Any and all allegations will be investigated and reported if found to be substantially true.

2.1 DO:
  • contact the police if a child is at immediate risk of abuse (telephone ‘000’)
  • adhere to the Child Protection Policy and Procedure and uphold the the Church’s commitment to child safety at all times.
  • take all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse, recognising your duty of care.
  • conduct yourselves in a manner consistent with your position as an employee, volunteer, leader or contractor of the Church and as a positive role model to children and young people.
  • work towards the achievement of the aims and purposes of the Church.
  • be responsible for relevant administration of programs and activities in your area.
  • establish and maintain a child-safe environment in the course of your work.
  • be fair, considerate and honest with others.
  • treat children and young people with respect. Value their ideas, opinions and consider their age, background and abilities.
  • promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of all children, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children (for example, by never questioning an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island child’s self-identification);
  • promote the safety, participation and empowerment of children and young people including those with culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (for example, by having a zero tolerance of discrimination);
  • promote the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability.
  • listen and respond to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they are or another child has been abused or that they are worried about their safety/the safety of another child;
  • ensure (as far as practicable) that adults are not alone with a child, or, at least, observable by another adult.
  • raise concerns about suspected abuse with the Child Protection Officer or a leader as soon as possible.
  • comply with all reporting obligations as they relate to reporting under legislation.
  • record and act upon all allegations or suspicions of abuse, discrimination or harassment.
  • if an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible, the immediate and ongoing safety of the child or children.
  • be professional, consistent and responsible in all your actions.
  • maintain strict impartiality.
  • respect confidentiality when sharing information about children in accordance with the Child Protection Policy and Procedures and your reporting obligations.
2.2 DO NOT:

All people involved in the care of children on behalf of the Church must not:

  • ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse;
  • put a child at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors for an improper reason);
  • speak to a child in a way that is or could be construed by any observer as harsh, threatening, intimidating, shaming, derogatory, demeaning, or humiliating. Some examples are:
    - swearing or using inappropriate language in the presence of a child;
    - yelling at a child, except in an emergency situation where the child’s safety may be in danger.
    - dealing with a child in anger; and
    - using hurtful sarcasm.
  • discuss sexual activities with a child, unless it is a specific job requirement and the person is trained or qualified to discuss these matters (and it is part of an approved program or activity);
  • have private contact with a child outside of church activities without the knowledge and/or consent of the Church’s leadership or the child’s parent or guardian.
  • have any online contact with a child (including by social media, email, instant messaging etc.) or their family (unless necessary and approved by the church and the child’s parents/guardians, using an approved church email or social media account);
  • use any personal communication channels/devices such as a personal email account
  • or social media to communicate with a child without parental knowledge.
  • exchange personal contact details such as phone number, social networking sites or email addresses with a child (unless necessary and approved by the church and the child’s parents/guardians as the agreed form of communication).
  • use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol while in the presence of or while supervising a child (unless your contact with the child is accidental/incidental and you are not performing your duties as directed by the Church);
  • use, possess, or be under the influence of illegal drugs while in the presence of or while supervising a child.
  • provide or allow a child to consume alcohol.
  • provide or allow a child to consume illegal drugs.
  • initiate unnecessary physical contact with a child or young person, or do things of a personal nature for them that they can do for themselves.
  • engage in rough physical games, hold, massage, kiss, cuddle or touch a child in an inappropriate and or/culturally insensitive way.
  • engage in any sexual contact with a child for any purpose.
  • take a child to your home or encourage meetings outside program activities (unless necessary and approved by the church and the child’s parents/guardians).
  • be naked in the presence of a child.
  • possess sexually explicit printed materials (magazines, cards, videos, films, clothing, etc.) in the presence of children.
  • sleep in the same bed, sleeping bag, room or tent with a single child.
  • treat any child or young person disrespectfully, unfairly, harshly or discouragingly based on their age, gender, race, culture, disability or any other differences.
  • engage in any activity with a child that is likely to emotionally harm them (e.g. watch a movie that is age or content inappropriate for a child);
  • be alone with a child unnecessarily and for more than a very short time, unless you are observable by another adult, or it is unavoidable.
  • develop a ‘special’ relationship with a specific child for the adult’s needs.
  • show favouritism through the provision of gifts or inappropriate attention.
  • photograph or video a child without the consent of the child and his/her parents or guardians.
  • do anything in contravention of the Church’s policies, procedures or this Code.