WCP Child Safety Code of Conduct

This code of Conduct outlines appropriate standards of behavior by adults towards children. It aims to protect children and reduce any opportunities for abuse or harm to occur. It also helps staff and volunteers by providing them with guidance on how to best support children and how to avoid or better manage difficult situations. All staff and volunteers are required to comply.

This Code of Conduct is not intended to cover those activities where the child is under the direct care and supervision of a parent or guardian.

All staff and volunteers of our Parish are responsible for promoting the safety and well being of children and young people by:

• Adhering to our child safe policy, and other policies, at all times taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse.

• Treating everyone with respect, including listening to and valuing their ideas and opinions.

• Welcoming all children and their families and carers and being inclusive • Respecting cultural, religious and political differences and acting in a culturally sensitive way.

• Modelling appropriate adult behaviour

• Listening to children and responding to them appropriately.

• Reporting and acting on any breaches of this Code of Conduct, complaints or concerns, contact Jacinta Bartlett 0418 470 532 or Sonni La Motte-Schubert 0434 179 411

• Ensuring that adults are not left alone with a child and are within clear lines of sight.

• Working with children in an open and transparent way – other adults should always know about the work you are doing with children.

• Respecting the privacy of children and their families, and only disclosing information to people who have a need to know.

Promoting appropriate behaviour by children: Where a child’s behaviour is disruptive, appropriate steps may include:

• Directing other children away from dangerous or disruptive situations.

• Discussing the behaviour with the child, and asking him or her to stop.

• Giving the child an opportunity to explain his/her behaviour.

• Discussing the consequences of the behaviour with the child.

• Asking for assistance from other adults

• Removing the child from the activity to another supervised environment.

• If the behaviour continues, calling the child’s parent/guardian and asking them to remove the child from the activity.

Staff and volunteers must NOT:

• Ignore or disregard any concerns, suspicions or disclosures of child abuse.

• Seek to use children in any way to meet the needs of adults.

• Put children at risk of abuse, for example, by locking doors.

• Develop any ‘special ’relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism, for example, inappropriate attention, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific children

• Initiate unnecessary physical contact with children or do things of a personal nature that children can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes.

• Use prejudice, oppressive behaviour or inappropriate language with children.

• Discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability or sexuality.

• Express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality, in the presence of children.

• Engage in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children.

• Exchange personal contact details, for example, a phone number, social networking or email address with children.

Working with Children Checks

Please note that holding a current WWC Check does not imply that a person is suitable to care for children. Clergy, parish staff, volunteers and parents should not discount the value of their instincts or observations.

Use of the internet/Electronic devices:

• All parish or diocesan internet services, and particularly those which may be used by children or young people, should have appropriate filtering devices in place. If using services provided by other organisations, ensure that filtering devices are in place.

• Do not have unauthorised contact with children and young people online or by phone.

Medical Conditions: regardless of medical forms completed previously.

  • You should always ask parents/guardians, prior to the commencement of any activity, whether their child has any medical condition of which you should be aware, for instance, asthma, allergies, or anaphylaxis and what particular care is required.
  •  If you are caring for a child at risk of anaphylaxis, a parent/guardian might agree to remain with the child during the activity.
  •  Some carers who regularly care for children at risk might choose to undergo appropriate training.
  • Collection of Children: At the conclusion of activities, release children only into the care of a parent/guardian or a person with the written permission of the parent or guardian. Under no circumstance should you take a child home at the end of an activity.

Review of Code of Conduct: This Code of Conduct is intended to be a living document. We will review this document regularly and we welcome any comments or suggestions for improvement.

Emergency Procedures:

  • Ensure that a telephone is available at all times. If you are using a mobile, check that it is properly charged and assess whether you are likely to be in range for emergency calls to 000. If using an out-of-range mobile, dial 112 for emergency access through another mobile phone network, if one is available.
  • A First Aid Kit should be accessible. Familiarize yourself with the location of First Aid Kits and know who is trained in First Aid and available to respond in an emergency.

Child Safety Policy


Child Safety Policy

This Child Safe Policy has been endorsed by the Wodonga Parish Pastoral Council and was approved by Rev Fr Pantaleon Amaya Jr. on 6 November 2019.

Our commitment to child safety

Our Parish is committed to child safety. All children who come to Wodonga Catholic Parish have a right to feel and be safe. The welfare of the children in our care will always be our first priority and we have a zero tolerance to child abuse. We aim to create a child safe and child friendly environment where children feel safe and feel part of our parish community.

Children’s rights to safety and participation 

Wodonga Catholic Parish staff and volunteers encourage children to express their views. We listen to their suggestions, especially on matters that directly affect them. We actively encourage all children, who use our services, to ‘have a say’ about things that are important to them. We encourage parents to teach children what they can do if they feel unsafe.  We listen to and act on concerns children, or their parents, rise with us.

We value diversity and inclusiveness in our Parish. To achieve this we welcome all and promote:

  • The cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children and their families
  • The cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families
  • Participation of children with differing abilities together with their families.

Recruiting staff and volunteers

Wodonga Catholic Parish applies the best practice standards in the recruitment and screening of staff and volunteers. We require Working with Children Checks for relevant positions.                                                                                 

Code of Conduct 

Wodonga Catholic Parish seeks to attract and retain the best staff and volunteers. We provide support and supervision so people feel valued, respected and fairly treated. We have developed a Code of Conduct to provide guidance to our staff and volunteers, all of whom receive training on the requirements of the Code.

Breach of Policy 

Where a person is found to have breached any of his or her obligations under this policy disciplinary action may be taken. This may include the termination of his or her employment. If there is a reasonable belief that a criminal act has been committed, the concerned party is advised to contact Victoria Police. 

Reporting a child safety concern or complaint

Our Parish takes all allegations seriously and has appointed Sonia La Motte-Schubert and Jacinta Bartlett to be the Child Safety Persons with specific responsibility for responding to any complaints made by staff, volunteers’ parents or children.  You may contact Sonia on 0434-179-411 or the Parish Centre 6024-3366.  Jacinta may be contacted on 0418-470-532

Reportable Conduct Scheme (RCS)

The Victorian Government has introduced the new RCS on 1st July 2017 to improve oversight of how organisations prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse. The RCS will not interfere with reporting obligations for Victoria Police or with Victorian Police investigations

The RCS applies to the following people associated with an organisation

  • Employees
  • Volunteers
  • Contractors
  • Office holders
  • Ministers of religion
  • Officers of a religious body

There are 5 types of “reportable conduct”

  • Sexual offences committed against, with or in the presence of a child
  • Sexual misconduct committed against, with or in the presence of a child
  • Physical violence against, with or in the presence of a child
  • Any behavior that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child
  • Significant neglect of a child

When the “Head” of entity has been notified of an allegation they have a legal responsibility to report to the Commission for Children and young People (CCYP) within 3 business days and follow up with an investigation. The “Head” then has a responsibility to report to the CCYP with the outcome of the investigation within 30 calendar days.

Risk management

We recognize the importance of a risk management approach to minimizing the potential for child abuse or harm to occur and use this to inform our policy, procedures and activity planning. In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our children.

Relevant Legislation

  • Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)
  • Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic)
  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

Three new criminal offences have been introduced under this act:

a) ‘Failure to disclose’ offence

A new offence came into effect on 27 October 2014 for adults who fail to disclose child sexual abuse to police. The new offence applies to all adults, not just professionals who work with children.

Any adult who holds a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child in Victoria must report that belief to police, unless they have a reasonable excuse for not reporting.

For information about how the offence may affect the reporting obligations of funded organisations and Department of Health & Human Services staff, a fact sheet is available to download. http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/failure+to+disclose+offence

b) ‘Failure to protect’ offence

A new ‘failure to protect’ offence came into effect on 1 July 2015 that applies to people within organisations who knew of a risk of child sexual abuse by someone in the organisation and had the authority to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently failed to do so. A fact sheet is available to download from this page with more information about the offence. http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/failure+to+protect+offence

c) ‘Grooming offence’  

A grooming offence is now in effect to target individuals who communicate with a child or their parents with the intent of committing child sexual abuse.

Regular review

This policy will be reviewed every two years and following significant incidents if they occur. We undertake to seek views, comments and suggestions from children, parents, carers, staff and volunteers.

This next review of this policy is due on 3 November 2021.

Welcome Bishop-Elect Shane Mackinlay

Bishop-Elect Shane Mackinlay

Source: Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Media Blog

Pope Francis has this evening appointed Fr Shane Mackinlay, currently Master of Catholic Theological College Melbourne and a parish priest in Ballarat, the next Bishop of Sandhurst.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge recalls teaching Fr Mackinlay and said the qualities he observed then have developed in the years since.“Bishop-elect Mackinlay combines high intelligence with good strategic ability, deep faith with a capacity to engage the culture,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“All of this will make him a fine Bishop of Sandhurst and a real gain for the Bishops Conference at this important and complex time. I congratulate Fr Shane and look forward to working closely with him in the years ahead.”

Fr Mackinlay was born in Melbourne in 1965, his family moving to Ballarat 10 years later. He attended St Francis Xavier Primary School and St Patrick’s College, where he was dux.

In addition to his study for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College and at Catholic Theological College, he completed a physics degree at Monash University. He was ordained a priest of Ballarat Diocese in 1991 and, after parish ministry, undertook graduate studies in philosophy, completing a master’s and doctorate at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

Fr Mackinlay taught philosophy at the Australian Catholic University campus in Ballarat before moving to Catholic Theological College, where he has been Master since 2011. He has held a range of leadership and advisory roles within Ballarat Diocese.

He also served as spokesperson for the Catholic Church during the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations.

Fr Mackinlay said while his role at Catholic Theological College was a demanding one and typically saw the Master relinquish parish ministry, he had been keen to continue that work alongside his teaching and administrative duties.

“I love teaching and also being involved with people in their local parish communities and I very much look forward to continuing those two ministries in a different way in my new role,” Bishop-Elect Mackinlay said.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed being a priest in the Ballarat diocese and I’m very pleased that I can continue my ministry among the people of regional Victoria.”

In announcing Fr Mackinlay’s appointment, Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of Bishop Leslie Tomlinson, who has been a bishop since 2009 and Bishop of Sandhurst since 2012.

Fr Mackinlay said he had observed Bishop Tomlinson’s “generous and diligent service” in Sandhurst over those years and was grateful for the welcome Bishop Tomlinson has extended to him as his successor.

Bishop-Elect Mackinlay’s episcopal ordination is expected to take place in mid-October.

Photo: SRC Catholic Theological College