Safe Church Policy 2021June.pdf

Safe Church Policy & Procedures

Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church

Trenton, Ontario

Revised June 2021


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Guiding Principles page 2

2. Definitions of Abuse, Neglect and Workplace Harassment pages 3-4

3. Statement of Policy page 5

4. Procedures page 5

5. Screening Procedures – Volunteers/Employees page 6

6. General Procedures page 7

7. Procedure for Responding to and Reporting Abuse pages 7-8

8. Complaint process for Allegations of Harassment/Discrimination pages 8-10

8. Policy for Handling Abuse Allegations pages 10-12

APPENDICES

A. Warning Signs of Abuse pages 13-15

B. Safe Church Team Mandate page 16

C. Table: Who Needs to be Screened page 18

D. Volunteer Application Form pages 19-20

E. Reference Checks Form page 21

F. Declaration of Understanding and Agreement page 22

G. Discipline Policy page 23

H. Transportation Policy page 24

I. Electronic Communication Best Practice Policy pages 25-27

J. Guidelines for Specific Programs pages 28-30

K. Recommendations for Pastoral/Council Visitation page 31

L. Incident Report page 32

M. Workplace Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Form page 33

N. Abuse Response Flow Chart page 37

DOCUMENT DEFINITIONS:

ECRC: Refers to Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church

Church: Refers to Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church

Volunteer: A worker who requires the approval of Council to lead or facilitate programs within the church as well as those persons who serve in programs without the requirement of Council approval

Employee: Any worker who is paid by ECRC

Council: Elected elders and deacons

Personnel Committee: consists of Chair of council, treasurer (C of A Liaison), one other council member; functions to address employment issues.

Child, Youth: A person under the age of 18 years

Vulnerable Adult: A person who is or may be for any reason unable to take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation

Helper: A child or youth who is assisting in programs

Congregant: Member of ECRC

Visitor: Non-member of ECRC

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain…

Isaiah 11:9a

Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church seeks to live the new life in Christ. It is our hope that our church community will be a place showing God’s presence in the world. Therefore, we strive to create in our church an environment that nurtures each person’s dignity and safety so that everyone can grow and mature as the Creator intended.

We acknowledge, however, that we live in a broken world, and that one of the signs of that brokenness is the violation of boundaries for healthy relationships. When sin of this nature occurs, appropriate action is required.

We must strive to achieve justice, protect victims, promote the healing of those who have been abused, and work towards the repentance and healing of the abuser.

ECRC (the “Church”) has a spiritual, moral and legal obligation to ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken to provide a safe, healthy environment for children, youth, vulnerable adults and the volunteers and employees who participate in Church programs. Policy and procedures must be in place to qualify for legal liability insurance coverage. This policy and all updates will be approved by council.

To that end, this document has been developed as a guide to both prevent and respond to abuse. It is not a contract and is not enforceable in civil courts or governmental agencies. The prevention policies outline the steps we are taking to create a safe environment for worship, learning, and fellowship in our church community. The reporting and responding policies indicate how we will respond if abuse and harassment/discrimination allegations are made.

DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any non-accidental act that violates the dignity and the image of God in another person, inflicting dehumanization, pain or injury. It can also include physical neglect, which means not doing what one is supposed to be doing to meet the physical needs of someone in his or her care. It can take the form of slapping, hitting, shaking and pulling, and pinching.

Emotional & Psychological Abuse

Emotional abuse is any attempt to control another person’s life through words, threats, fears, and/or deprivation in such a way that it impairs a person’s God-given sense of self worth. It can take the form of name calling, threatening, intimidating, and manipulation.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is a broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. Sexual violence takes different forms and can include: sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, incest, childhood sexual abuse, rape during armed conflict, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent or sexualized exposure, degrading sexual imagery, voyeurism, cyber harassment, trafficking, sexual exploitation.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is when an adult, adolescent or older child uses a younger child or youth for his or her own sexual pleasure. Sexual abuse can happen to both males and females, children and youth. It also includes “exploitation”—trafficking, prostitution and child sex abuse images (pornography).Children or youth can be sexually abused by being touched on the sexual parts of the body or being forced to touch someone else’s. Sexual abuse can also be non-touching such as being shown videos or sexual pictures, forced to listen to sexual talk or comments about one’s body, forced to pose for seductive or sexual photographs, forced to look at sexual parts of the body, forced to watch sexual acts, being watched in a sexual way while clothed or unclothed, or receiving intrusive written or spoken questions or comments in-person or online.

Sexual Harassment

As defined by Canadian law, “ sexual harassment” means any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favours or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that the perpetrator knows or ought to know is unwelcome. Sexual harassment occurs when: (1) submission to such advances, requests, or conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment (2) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct by an individual is uses as the basis for employment decisions affecting the individual or; (3) such advances, requests or conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Neglect

Neglect is defined as but not limited to any behavior that leads to a failure to provide services which are necessary such as withdrawing basic necessities as form of punishment, failing to assess and respond to changes in health status and refusing or withdrawing physical or emotional support.

Harassment

Harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Such harassment includes but is not limited to threats, intimidation, displays of racism, sexism, unnecessary physical contact, suggestive remarks or gestures, offensive pictures or jokes. Undirected harassment can also occur. This is the display of offensive materials or graffiti and the use of language including the types of remarks referred to above, but with no specific person being the target of the materials or the comments.

Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Workplace harassment may include but is limited to threats, intimidation, displays of anger, yelling, shunning, unnecessary physical contact, suggestive remarks or gestures, offensive pictures or jokes. Undirected workplace harassment can also occur. This is the display of offensive materials or graffiti and the use of language including the types of remarks referred to above, but with no specific person being the target of the materials or the comments.

Workplace harassment also includes bullying. Bullying is repeated and persistent negative acts towards one or more individuals that involve a perceived power imbalance and create a hostile work environment.

Workplace harassment does not include the exercise of normal managerial functions such as the giving of workplace direction, constructive criticism, corrective actions or discipline in appropriate cases.

Discrimination

Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, skin colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, age, record of offenses, marital status, family status or disability.

See Appendix A for Warning Signs of Abuse

Governing Legislation

1. Child, Youth and Family Services Act, SO 2017., c.14, Schedule 1 Section 125 “Duty to Report”

2. Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C., 1985 c.H-6.

3. Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46

4. Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 Ontario Regulation Sec 48

5. Acts of Synod 2016, Article 84 (p699-712)

6. Occupational Health and Safety Act Part III.0.1 Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment

STATEMENT OF POLICY

The Church is committed to:

· providing a safe environment for children, youth, vulnerable adults, volunteers and employees in the care of the Church and protect them from harm.

· identifying behaviors that are unacceptable

· establishing a mechanism for receiving and dealing with complaints

The Church will maintain a Safe Church Team that will provide leadership regarding the implementation and maintenance of this policy. See Appendix B for Safe Church Team Mandate.

SCREENING PROCEDURES – Volunteers/Employees

1. Mandatory screening for all volunteers, employees and helpers in child, youth and vulnerable adult programs of the Church. See Appendices C-F.

2. Initial training for new and annual refresher abuse prevention training for all volunteers, helpers and employees participating in child, youth and vulnerable adult programs of the Church and signing of Declaration of Understanding and Agreement with the Policy and Procedures following training. See Appendix F.

3. Written procedure for discipline (including no corporal punishment or inappropriate touching). See Appendix G.

4. Written procedure for transportation including written parental consent for off-premises or overnight activities and field trips. See Appendix H.

5. Safe physical premises: The Church will maintain the physical structure of the facilities to reduce the risk of child abuse in the church building including adequate lighting inside and outside of building and open doors and/or windows in rooms where children’s programs take place.

6. Safe supervision including age appropriate supervision of washroom breaks, parental sign-in/out for nursery/children’s programs (under grade 1). “Two unrelated adults rule” (whereby two adults from the same family cannot supervise at the same time), and/or open doors and/or windows in classrooms are examples of safe supervision. A designated monitor(s) circulate from room to room for surveillance and to protect workers against false allegations. See Appendix J: Guidelines for Specific Programs.

7. Written protocol for response to and for reporting suspected abuse or harassment/discrimination to child protective agencies or police authorities as legally required.

8. Annual review of understanding of the Safe Church Policy by the congregation will take place.

Screening Procedure

1. Written Application: Anyone wishing to serve in a program will contact the program coordinator who will ensure that the prospective volunteer completes a Volunteer Information Form. This form will be submitted to the Safe Church Team for review and filing in the church office.

2. Reference(s) Check: First-time applicants are required to provide names of three references. References will be contacted by the program coordinator. If the applicant has been a member of ECRC for more than six months then two references are considered sufficient. References can be from previous pastors, teachers, employers, friends and colleagues. The completed form will be given to the Safe Church Team for review and filing.

3. Police Check: Mandatory police background checks and vulnerability checks are required for all employees and volunteers 18 years and older associated with programs that involve children, youth and vulnerable adults. Members of Education Committee, Committee of Administration, Safe Church Committee, Worship Committee, Singers, Librarians, and Connections Committees do not need Vulnerable Sector Checks filled out. Council, Nursery volunteers, YAB, Family Meal Box delivery volunteers, Ushers, Grief Share leaders, Sunday School volunteers, Staff, Gems leaders, Cadets leaders, Friendship mentors, & Coffee Break volunteers require Vulnerable Sector Checks filled out. The completed police background checks and vulnerability checks will be given to the Safe Church Team for filing.

4. Declaration of Understanding and Agreement: Successful applicants must read Safe Church policy and sign the Declaration of Understanding and Agreement. Form to be given to Safe Church Team for filing.

a. All volunteers are required to attend yearly safe church training.

5. Volunteer Information Forms will be stored in a locked cabinet in the church office. Access to the cabinet will be restricted to the Safe Church Team or designate.

a. Volunteer Information Forms will be stored for the duration of the individual’s membership at Ebenezer.

6. Safe Church Team and Council approval is required for anyone wishing to volunteer on a standing committee or as a program coordinator. In the event that sufficient time is not available for Council to ratify the names of leaders prior to being asked to serve, these names will be approved at the earliest opportunity.

7. Anyone with a conviction of a sexual offence or of child abuse, or violence towards a youth or adult, will NOT be eligible to volunteer in programs.

a. Those who are being investigated for a suspected child abuse are ineligible to serve until their case is completed. If they are already serving as a volunteer they must take a leave of absence from their role until the investigation is completed unless instruction received by the appropriate legal authorities (CAS, Police) states that they may continue serving in their role as volunteer.

General Procedures

1. Hallway Monitor duties: include monitoring classrooms and hallways during Church services, and assisting Sunday school teachers with toileting of students as necessary.

2. Audit and implementation and review of Safe Church Policy: The safe church team will:

a. ensure an annual audit of the implementation of the policy and procedures is completed and report findings to council.

b. review the Safe Church Policy every three years and also when team becomes aware of any changes in insurance requirements and provincial legislation that affects the policy.

Procedure for Responding to and Reporting Abuse, Sexual Misconduct and Harassment

1. It is essential to take allegations of child abuse seriously:

a. Stay calm and do not overact.

b. Presume the child is telling the truth.

c. Listen to, support and reassure the child.

d. Tell the child you are glad s/he told you.

e. Advise the child that others will have to be involved.

f. Advise the proper authorities. Keep the information confidential.

g. Do not make promises you cannot keep.

h. Do not make judgments about the alleged abuser.

i. Volunteers, staff or leaders should never interview the concerned child in detail about any signs or symptoms and must never suggest to the child that s/he has been abused.

2. Anyone who has reasonable grounds to suspect a child has suffered abuse or neglect is required by law to report the suspicion and the information which it is based to a Children’s Aid Society in accordance with the Child and Family Services Act, Section 72(1). Such suspicion should also be reported to the police.

a. In the event that a person is uncertain whether a situation requires a report of child abuse, the Children’s Aid Society can be contacted to consult on a confidential basis regarding whether a report is required.

b. Phone Numbers:

i. Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society: 613-962-9291

ii. HSCAS after-hours emergency: 1-800-267-0570

iii. Quinte West OPP (non emergency): 1-888-310-1122

3. The person who made the report must also inform the Safe Church Committee as soon as possible. The reporter must keep the information confidential. An incident report form will be completed and kept on file.

a. Safe Church Team will inform Council and ensure that policies are being followed.

4. The person who received the disclosure of abuse should document what was disclosed and observed, including the date of the disclosure, and the child’s comment or response, if any. This report should be written as soon as possible after the contact with the child.

a. Any written report of alleged abuse will be placed in a locked cabinet in the church office. Access to this file will be restricted to the Safe Church Committee.

5. It is the responsibility of Children’s Aid Society or the police to notify the alleged offender of the abuse report. Council should not engage in an investigation, interviews, or attempt to substantiate the allegations prior to the completion of the criminal and/or civil investigation.

6. Council will appoint a contact person for communications between the authorities and the church. This contact person will be responsible for all communications between the authorities and the church throughout the entirety of the investigation.

Complaint process for Allegations of Discrimination and Harassment

This policy applies to all those working for Ebenezer CRC including its employees, volunteers, congregants and visitors. Ebenezer CRC will not tolerate discrimination or harassment whether engaged in by fellow employees, volunteers, congregants or visitors of Ebenezer. Ebenezer will not tolerate sexual solicitation as defined under Human Rights Code. (see Definitions of Abuse page 3&4 of this policy)

The complaint process may be initiated in any of the following circumstances:

· If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed or are the object of an unwelcome sexual solicitation.

· If you believe you have witnessed discrimination, harassment or sexual solicitation.

· If Ebenezer CRC council and/or Ebenezer Personnel Committee believes that discrimination or harassment has taken place.

In any of these circumstances, the complaint process may be initiated by resolving the situation informally or through the formal procedure.

How to Report Workplace Harassment/Discrimination

Workers can report incidents or complaints of workplace harassment/discrimination verbally or in writing. When submitting a written complaint, please use the workplace harassment/discrimination complaint form. When reporting verbally, the reporting contact, along with the worker complaining of harassment/discrimination will fill out the complaint form.

Who to Report Workplace Harassment/Discrimination To

An incident or a complaint of workplace harassment/discrimination should be reported as soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing an incident. This allows the incident to be investigated in a timely manner.

a) Report a workplace harassment/discrimination incident or complaint to those assigned as supervisor.

b) If the worker’s supervisor or reporting contact is the person engaging in the workplace harassment/discrimination a member of the Personnel Committee should be notified.

c) Personnel Committee shall be notified of the workplace harassment/discrimination incident or complaint so that they can ensure an investigation is conducted that is appropriate in the circumstances.

d) All incidents or complaints of workplace harassment/discrimination shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to protect workers, to investigate the complaint or incident, to take corrective action or otherwise as required by law

Investigation Process

The person conducting the investigation will, at minimum, complete the following:

1. The investigator must ensure the investigation is kept confidential and identifying information is not disclosed unless necessary to conduct the investigation. The investigator should remind the parties of this confidentiality obligation at the beginning of the investigation.

2. The investigator must thoroughly interview the worker who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment/discrimination and the alleged harasser(s), if the alleged harasser is a worker of the employer. If the alleged harasser is not a worker, the investigator should make reasonable efforts to interview the alleged harasser.

3. The alleged harasser(s) must be given the opportunity to respond to the specific allegations raised by the worker. In some circumstances, the worker who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment/discrimination should be given a reasonable opportunity to reply.

4. The investigator must interview any relevant witnesses employed by the employer who may be identified by either the worker who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment/discrimination, the alleged harasser(s) or as necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. The investigator must make reasonable efforts to interview any relevant witnesses who are not employed by the employer if there are any identified.

5. The investigator must collect and review any relevant documents. vi. The investigator must take appropriate notes and statements during interviews with the worker who allegedly experienced workplace harassment/discrimination, the alleged harasser and any witnesses.

6. The investigator must prepare a written report summarizing the steps taken during the investigation, the complaint, the allegations of the worker who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment/discrimination, the response from the alleged harasser, the evidence of any witnesses, and the evidence gathered. The report must set out findings of fact and come to a conclusion about whether workplace harassment/discrimination was found or not.

7. The investigation must be completed in a timely manner and generally within 90 days or less unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. illness, complex investigation) warranting a longer investigation.

8. Within 10 days of the investigation being completed, the worker who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment/discrimination and the alleged harasser, if he or she is an employee, volunteer, congregant or visitor of Ebenezer CRC, will be informed in writing of the results of the investigation and any corrective action taken or that will be taken by the employer to address workplace harassment/discrimination.

Policies for Handling Abuse, Sexual Violence and Harassment Allegations Against a Church Employee/Volunteer

When an allegation of abuse, sexual violence or harassment against a child, vulnerable adult, employee or volunteer has been reported to the CAS or police, or a criminal charge of abuse has been laid, ECRC also needs to act. The section describes the procedures to be followed by the Church.

1. Allegations

When Council becomes aware that the police/CAS are investigating an allegation of abuse or neglect of a child or a vulnerable adult, against a volunteer or employee, Council will notify the Safe Church Team. Chair of Council will then inform Safe Church Team and immediately suspend the person from his/her position, pending the police/CAS investigation. Suspension is carried out with pay (for employees) and without prejudice. Suspension of an office bearer is carried out in accordance with Church Order, Articles 78-84 and their Supplements. Council will immediately contact the Church’s insurance provider to report the incident in order to satisfy all the conditions of the Church’s liability policy and to avoid jeopardizing any available coverage. In addition, Council should seek advice from the police, CAS, legal counsel and/or other experts in terms of how to handle the situation. If Chair of Council is believed to have a conflict of interest, the Vice Chair should be notified to take the action prescribed above.

2. Criminal Charges

If a criminal charge related to abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult has been made against an employee/volunteer, the Chair of Council will notify the rest of Council and the Safe Church Team and immediately suspend the person from his/her position, with pay (if applicable) and without prejudice. Suspension of an office bearer is carried out in accordance with Church Order, Articles 78-84 and their Supplements. The Chair of Council will immediately contact the Church’s insurance provider to report the incident in order to satisfy all the conditions of the Church’s liability policy and to avoid jeopardizing any available coverage. In addition, the Chair of Council should seek advice from the police, CAS, legal counsel and/or other experts, in terms of how to handle the situation. If Chair of Council is believed to have a conflict of interest, the Vice Chair should be notified to take the action prescribed above.

3. Allegations which do not result in charges or charges dropped or no conviction

If the allegations do not result in criminal charge, or the criminal charges related to abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult against the employee/volunteer are dropped, or if there is no conviction of the charges, Council will meet to decide if a suspension should be lifted, subject to the concurring advice of Council. A suspension may be lifted when the Chair of Council, in consultation with Council, Safe Church Team, the police, CAS, legal counsel, Classis Quinte, and/or other experts consider it safe and proper to do so.

4. Conviction

In the event that the volunteer is convicted of an offence related to abuse or neglect of a child or a vulnerable adult, the volunteer shall be permanently suspended from any further role in the Church. In the event an employee of the Church is convicted of an offence related to abuse or neglect of a child or a vulnerable adult, the employee shall be terminated without further pay. If the person is ordained they shall be deposed according to Church Order, Articles 74-84 and their Supplements and their employment shall be terminated without further pay.

5. Communication

In the event an allegation is made against an employee/volunteer, Council will appoint a contact person for communications between the authorities and the church. This contact person will be responsible for all communications between the authorities and the church throughout the entirety of the investigation. Disclosure of information to the congregation is subject to the approval of the authorities. Upon approval, Council will inform the congregation that there has been an allegation of abuse against a staff/volunteer, that the accused individual has been suspended for the protection of all parties, and that an investigation is underway. The identity of the alleged victim will be confidential. A spokesperson will be assigned to engage the media in any discussion that may arise from the reporting of child abuse. Council has the discretion to seek legal advice if this were the case.

6. Support for Those Involved:

Council to establish a separate pastoral care plan for the child and family, and also for the alleged abuser and family. In the event of a suspension, direct contact between the involved parties should be avoided unless or until all charges have been dismissed.

Appendix A - Warning Signs of Abuse

1. Physical Abuse

a. Physical Indicators:

- unexplained bruises or welts

- unexplained burns

- other unexplained injuries

b. Behavioural Indicators:

- requests or feels deserving of physical punishment

- afraid to go home and/or requests to stay in program

- overly shy, tends to avoid physical contact with adults (including parent/caregiver)

- displays behavioural extremes (withdrawal or aggression)

- suggests that others be punished in a harsh manner

- cries excessively and/or sits and stares

- reports injury by parent or caregiver

- gives unbelievable explanations for injuries

2. Sexual Abuse:

Unfortunately, many individuals do not report this form of abuse. Children especially rely on adults to be aware of specific physical and behavioural indicators. An individual who persistently shows several of the following characteristics may be experiencing sexual abuse. Remember, the most reliable indicator of abuse is the individual’s verbal disclosure.

a. Physical Indicators:

- somatic complaints, including pain and irritation of the genitals

- sexually transmitted disease

- pregnancy in young adolescents

- frequent unexplained sore throats, yeast infections, or urinary infections

b. Behavioural Indicators:

- excessive masturbation in young children

- sexual knowledge of behavior beyond what is expected for the individuals’ age and or comprehension

- depression, suicidal gesture

- chronic runaway

- frequent psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches and stomach aches

- drug or alcohol abuse

- avoidance of undressing or wearing excessive layers of clothing

- sudden avoidance of certain familiar adults or places

3. Emotional Abuse:

The signs of emotional abuse may be less obvious than other forms of maltreatment. Emotional abuse is suspected when an individual exhibits impaired development, destructive behavior, or chronic somatic complaints that cannot be explained medically or circumstantially. An individual who persistently shows several of the following characteristics may be experiencing emotional abuse.

a. Physical Indicators:

- eating disorders

- sleep disorders, nightmares

- wetting or soiling by school-age children

- speech disorder, stuttering

- failure to thrive

- development lags

- asthma, severe allergies, or ulcers

b. Behavioural Indicators:

- habit disorders, such as biting, rocking, head banging, thumb sucking in an older child

- poor peer relationships

- behavioural extremes (overly compliant or demanding, withdrawn or aggressive)

- self-destructive behavior, oblivious to hazards and risks

- irrational and persistent fears, dreads or hatreds

4. Signs of Neglect:

An individual who persistently shows several of the following characteristics may be experiencing neglect. Keep in mind, however, that cultural standards which differ from those prevailing in a community are not necessarily neglect.

a. Physical Indicators:

- height and weight significantly below age level with no plausible explanation

- inappropriate clothing for weather

- poor hygiene, including lice, body odour, scaly skin

- child abandoned or left with inadequate supervision

- untreated illness or injury

- lack of safe, warm, sanitary shelter

- lack of necessary medical and dental care

b. Behavioural Indicators:

- begging or stealing food

- assumes adult responsibility or caregiver role

- falling asleep in program

- repeated acts of vandalism

- chronic hunger

- dull, apathetic appearance

- running away from home

- reports no caretaker in the home

5. Signs Caregiver May Be Abusive:

In this context caregiver can refer to an individuals’ birth parents or relatives or designated person in charge of the individual

a. Indicators:

- shows a lack of concern for the individual or takes a dismissive approach to the issues or problems as presented by the individual or volunteer/employee

- uses, or asks volunteer/employee to use harsh punishment if the individual misbehaves

- sees the individual as burdensome, worthless or entirely bad

- has inappropriate expectations in relation to the developmental stage or cognitive abilities of the individual

- looks primarily to the individual for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

Safe Church Team Mandate

Mission:

To uphold the Safe Church Policy of Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, assisting to create a safe environment for worship, learning, and fellowship in our church community.

Membership:

The Safe Church Committee shall consist of three to five members of Ebenezer, who demonstrate common sense, good judgement, and the ability to be discreet and confidential. Committee members should guard against a biased opinion in sensitive matters. The term of service to the Committee is three years. Staggered terms of service on the Committee are recommended for continuity.

Meetings:

The Committee will meet a minimum of four times per year, or more often if needed.

Reporting:

Minutes of Committee meetings will be recorded and submitted to Council. An annual report will be prepared for inclusion in Ebenezer’s Annual Report to the congregation.

Mandate:

1. To serve as a resource to the church in issues of abuse awareness and prevention.

2. To fulfill the Committee’s role as outlined in the Safe Church Policy:

a. Safe Church team works in conjunction with Council when an abuse allegation is received.

b. To facilitate and ensure that procedures for handling abuse allegations against a volunteer/employee are followed.

Duties:

1. Committee members will complete the Volunteer Application Form, Declaration of Understanding and Agreement, and a police records check.

2. To annually review the Safe Church Policy, and recommend changes to Council as needed.

3. Committee members will declare a conflict of interest and remove themselves from committee deliberations when situations arise involving family members, close friends, or pecuniary interest.

4. Committee members will attend training in abuse awareness and prevention upon direction from Council.

5. To maintain the files of volunteer screening documents completed by church volunteers. These documents include the Volunteer Application Form (which will be reviewed and updated as necessary), police records check, and Declaration of Understanding and Agreement. These are to be stored in a locked filing cabinet in the church office, with access restricted to the Committee.

6. Training program for volunteers to be created and updated. This will include a volunteer training video.

7. Training of Council members, as well as Sunday School (Circle of Grace) leaders to take place.

8. Update the Safe Church Policy and prepare it for congregational review.

9. Gather and have on-hand education materials as mental health resources.

Practices/tasks with associated calendar/dates:

1. To annually review the Safe Church Policy, and recommend changes to Council as needed.

2. In September annually, have training days for volunteers, council members and Circle of Grace teachers, to educate them on the Safe Church Policy as it pertains to their programs. As well to receive new and update expired volunteer forms and Police Record Checks.

3. In May annually, have Safe Church Policy review for the congregation at the Congregational meeting.

Date of Revision/Review:

October 2021

Appendix C – Table of Screening Requirements

Program

Position

Volunteer Form

Reference Checks

Police Check

Declaration of Understanding

Nursery

Supervisor(s)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Attendants

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Helpers

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Sunday School

Supervisor(s)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Leaders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Helpers

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Cadets & GEMS

Supervisor(s)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Counsellors

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Helpers

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Friendship

Supervisor(s)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Leaders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Helpers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Youth

Supervisor(s)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Leaders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Helpers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Coffee Break

Supervisor(s)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Leaders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Helpers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Church Staff

Pastors

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Paid Staff

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Elders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Deacons

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other

Ushers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Library

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VOLUNTEER FORM PROCESS:

· Annual process for getting names from Committee and Program leaders will start mid-August.

· Volunteer forms will be reviewed by Safe Church Team.

· Chair of Safe Church will follow-up with outstanding Police Checks.

· Two weeks from date form handed out is the due date for receiving police checks back. Chair of Safe Church will follow-up if police check is late being returned.

· References of new volunteer will be given to Chair of Safe Church for review.

Appendix D – Volunteer Application Form

- Confidential -

This application is to be completed by all individuals seeking a volunteer position involving the supervision of children, youth and others who may be vulnerable. Our desire is to provide a safe and secure environment for all who participate in our church activities.

Personal Information:

Name: ___________________________________

Address: ___________________________________

Phone #: ___________________________________

Email: ___________________________________

Please list any ministry experiences, gifts and/or training that have prepared you for volunteering at ECRC:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How would you like to serve in Ministry at ECRC?

______________________________________________________________________

Are you a member of ECRC? ____ Yes _____ No

How long have you attended ECRC? ____________________

Do you need any special accommodations to help you serve in this role?

___ No ___ Yes If so, please explain: __________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Personal References: (Non-Relatives)

Person #1

Name: __________________________________________

Relationship: __________________________________________

Phone #: __________________________________________

Person #2

Name: __________________________________________

Relationship: __________________________________________

Phone #: __________________________________________

Person #3 (third reference if new member or non-member only)

Name: __________________________________________

Relationship: __________________________________________

Phone #: __________________________________________

Thank you!

Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church thanks you for giving of your time and gifts by volunteering in our church life opportunities.

Please understand that your Police Check needs to be returned by two week from today ( date) or you will not be able to volunteer at Ebenezer.

Appendix E – Reference Checks Form

Name of Volunteer: _______________________________________

REFERENCE #1

Name of Reference: ___________________________ Phone #____________

Date of Contact: _______________________ How long have you known applicant? _______

Person Contacting the Reference: _____________________________

Method of Contact: Phone_______ Personal Conversation _______ Letter _____

In what capacity? _________

Summary of Content (Strengths, weaknesses, how does applicant relate to others, children/youth/vulnerable adults, follow through on commitments, how does applicant respond to supervision, any conduct you would call into question, any concerns with applicant working with children/youth/vulnerable adults?):

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

REFERENCE #2

Name of Reference: ___________________________ Phone #____________

Date of Contact: _______________________ How long have you known applicant? _______

Person Contacting the Reference: _____________________________

Method of Contact: Phone_______ Personal Conversation _______ Letter _____

In what capacity? _________

Summary of Content (Strengths, weaknesses, how does applicant relate to others, children/youth/vulnerable adults, follow through on commitments, how does applicant respond to supervision, any conduct you would call into question, any concerns with applicant working with children/youth/vulnerable adults?):

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

REFERENCE #3

Name of Reference: ___________________________ Phone #____________

Date of Contact: _______________________ How long have you known applicant? _______

Person Contacting the Reference: _____________________________

Method of Contact: Phone_______ Personal Conversation _______ Letter _____

In what capacity? _________

Summary of Content (Strengths, weaknesses, how does applicant relate to others, children/youth/vulnerable adults, follow through on commitments, how does applicant respond to supervision, any conduct you would call into question, any concerns with applicant working with children/youth/vulnerable adults?):

____________________________________________________________________________

Name of Safe Church Team member receiving report: __________ Date Received _____

Appendix F – Declaration of Understanding and Agreement

I have read and understand the Safe Church Policy of Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church.

I agree to this document’s policies, and will adhere to them. I realize that my failure to adhere to this document’s policies, or having an allegation of abuse, harassment or discrimination made against me, may result in suspension from my service duties at Ebenezer.

I understand and agree that all allegations of abuse, harassment/discrimination will be reported to the appropriate authorities and the church.

I agree to respect the privacy of all individuals and will hold in confidence all information concerning abuse, harassment/discrimination allegations acquired through my duties. I agree to disclose such information only as required by law or by Ebenezer’s Safe Church Policy.

My signature on this form acknowledges my understanding of, and agreement to this Safe Church Policy.

**the Safe Church Policy can be found under the “Resources” tab at the church website: www.ebenezercrc.ca

Name (Please Print): _______________________________________________

Signature: __________________________________ Date: _______________

Volunteer Position: ___________________________ Supervisor: __________ _

Appendix G – Discipline Policy

1. Corporal punishment (slapping, hitting, pushing) is not permitted.

2. Abusive verbal discipline (yelling, insults, threatening) is not permitted.

3. Parent(s) or legal guardians of a child/youth are to be informed and involved whenever a child/youth misbehaves beyond minor correction, or if a pattern of misbehaviour increases.

4. Concerns about a child/youth’s continued misbehaviour or the appropriate response to a child/youth’s behaviour should be discussed with the program coordinator.

5. An aide, parent or legal guardian should assist the leader in classrooms where misbehaviour is an ongoing problem.

6. Expectations of child’s/youth’s behaviour must reflect their age and level of comprehension. Similarly, discipline must reflect their age and level of comprehension. For young children, time-outs should not last longer than one minute per the age of the child. For example, a three-year-old should not have to sit for a time-out any longer than three minutes.

7. Child/youth are to be reminded of the kind of behaviour that is appropriate for the setting. Older children and youth may benefit from having these expectations in written form.

8. Appropriate techniques of behaviour management and discipline are to be reviewed with volunteers/employees by program coordinators before church programs begin a new season. Periodic reminders are to be given as needed.

9. Whenever possible, leaders/volunteers should try to avoid having to discipline a youth by choosing one or more of the following options:

· distract the child/youth with another activity.

· help the child/youth focus on another more acceptable behaviour.

· isolate the child/youth from others if another leader/volunteer is available to assist.

10. When nothing seems to be working, volunteers/employees/helpers should seek out

additional assistance before “losing their cool.”

Appendix H - Transportation Policy

This procedure applies to adults who may transport non-relatives in the course of church-sponsored programs.

1. Adults must have and provide proof of a valid driver’s license and insurance before transporting children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Drivers who routinely transport individuals will update the Safe Church Team of any changes to their license and insurance.

2. Drivers need to abide by federal and provincial requirements for car seat use, seatbelt use and air bag safety.

a. Except for school busses, children and youth must wear seatbelts wherever the vehicle is in motion. Drivers of private vehicles may not transport more children and youth than seatbelts installed in the vehicle.

b. Car seats must be available for younger children who require them by law .

c. Children and youth under 12 years of age may not sit in the front seat where there is a passenger-side airbag installed.

3. Participation of the child/youth in program outings requires parental signature of the Consent for Participation and Travel.

4. Adults or youth who transport related children and youth to church-sponsored events do so without the implied approval of the Church and at their own initiative and risk. By taking such a voluntary initiative, they hold the church harmless from all liability.

5. Parents or guardians who permit youth to transport non-related children/youth to church related events do so at their own risk and without the implied approval of the Church. They agree to hold the church harmless from any and all liability.

6. When transporting child/youth at least one of the following procedures must be in place:

· Two volunteers/employees are in the front seat of the vehicle.

· Two children/youth are in the vehicle with one driver.

· Written or verbal permission is obtained from parent/guardian when it not possible for another individual to be present in the vehicle and child/youth will be alone with the transporting adult.

Appendix I – Electronic Communication Best Practice Policy

The use of electronic devices and various social media platforms has become an increasingly popular method for communicating with others, especially amongst the younger generations. There are various different interpretations and perceptions of what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to communicating words, sounds, and images electronically. The following guidelines are intended to help individuals create healthy boundaries when communicating with others in the digital age we find ourselves living in.

Recommendations:

It is impossible to create a complete list of “do’s and don’ts” to cover every possible scenario that may arise when communicating electronically. Many situations simply require the use of common sense and the golden rule “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Below are some areas of guidance to help you discern how best to interact with others.

1. Principles of Good Practice:

a. Integrity – whatever words, images and sounds you share with others online, whether publicly or privately should be consistent with your faith and biblical teaching.

b. Transparency – remember that you are responsible for your actions electronically just as much as you are for those that occur in person.

c. Privacy – be aware of what information you are sharing online and who it is accessible to.

d. Sensitivity and Confidentiality – when telling a story about a situation involving others, always ask yourself: is this my story to share? Would it cause distress, inconvenience, upset or embarrassment to others?

e. When in doubt, don’t.

2. Core Values:

a. Be selective – use the right medium for your message.

b. Be responsible – you should be willing to accept the consequences of whatever you publish.

c. Be smart – what you write becomes public domain and will remain accessible to others for a long time.

d. Be identified – use real identity opposed to anonymous posts/comments.

e. Respect the privacy of others – do not publish personal information or photographs/videos without written permission of individual.

f. Be respectful – if you disagree with another person do so with civility – express your views with appropriate language.

g. Be trustworthy – respect the confidentiality of matters shared with you in confidence.

3. Checklist before using social media:

a. WHO:

i. Who is your target audience?

ii. Who can see the information posted?

iii. Who is identified in the communication?

iv. Whose consent is required before posting? (Parental consent must be obtained for those under the age of 18.)

b. WHAT:

i. What information do you want to capture, store, transmit, communicate or use?

ii. What is the purpose of using this social media?

iii. What privacy settings and controls are in place?

c. WHERE:

i. Where is the best place to communicate your thoughts/feelings – electronically or in-person?

d. WHEN:

i. When is the best time to share information?

e. WHY:

i. Why did you choose this particular type of media?

f. HOW:

i. How will you obtain consent if required?

ii. How might others interpret the information?

4. Other Suggestions

a. THINK acronym:

i. True – post knowledgably, accurately and use appropriate professionalism

ii. Helpful – add value to the conversation

iii. Inspiring

iv. Necessary

v. Kind – do not use ethnic slurs, insults, obscenities, etc.

b. Be quick to correct your own mistakes and admit when you are wrong.

c. If you are identifying yourself as a member of an organization, make sure that what you are posting is consistent with and does not undermine the mission and values of that organization

d. When possible do not text, chat, email back and forth with others when you wouldn’t normally call their home phone line (before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.).

5. Live Streaming of Service:

a. Let attendees know that all services are live streamed by posting signs on entrance into sanctuary, PowerPoint announcements, and a statement in the bulletin.

b. Establish and make congregants aware of no-video zones within the sanctuary.

c. If children/youth will be participating in the service, whether it is through Sunday school participation, performances or images on screen, permission from parent/guardian must be obtained.

d. Avoid using last names when presenting personal prayer requests and health updates and only stream this portion of the service with the consent of the individual(s) in question. Exceptions are death announcements and Pastor’s full names.

e. Inform and remind all congregants that any individual participating in the church service at the front of the sanctuary will be within the live stream video zone.

Appendix J – Guidelines for Specific Programs

Guidelines Applying to all Programs:

1. Discipline Policy applies. (See Appendix G)

2. Transportation Policy applies. (See Appendix H)

3. Electronic Communication Best Practice Policy applies. (See Appendix I)

4. If any accident or injury occurs during a program while the parents are NOT present, the incident is to be documented on the incident form (Appendix L), and then signed by the parent or guardian of the child/youth when picked up.

5. Any volunteer who has concerns about the safety or welfare of children/youth being cared for in their program should notify their program coordinator or a member of the Safe Church Committee.

6. Attendance records, including names of volunteers, must be completed each week and kept for the duration of the program.

7. A minimum of two non-related persons is required for the supervision of youth, children and vulnerable adults.

Nursery (including Coffee Break)

1. When dropping off their child(ren), parents or guardians should sign their child(ren) in on the sign-in sheets including all information as indicated. Only a child’s parent or person authorized by the child’s parents may take a child from the nursery. Any person not picking up the child(ren) or working as a volunteer may not be in the nursery.

2. There will be at least two unrelated volunteers, including one adult in the nursery at all times. Adult volunteers are 18 years and older. Youth volunteers are 12 to 17 years old. A volunteer to child ratio of at least 1:5 will be maintained. If there are more than 3 infants (0-1 years old) per volunteer, additional help should be sought.

3. Diapers will be changed on the nursery change table. The table must always be located in full view. Bathroom use in the nursery will be monitored by an adult volunteer. The door to the bathroom will remain ajar when volunteer is assisting a child.

4. Only scheduled volunteers or approved substitutes will attend the nursery. A list of approved volunteers will be available in the nursery.

5. If a child cries uncontrollably and cannot be comforted, the parent must be called.

6. Nursery attendants may not take children out of the nursery.

Sunday School

1. At least one non-related adult and helper should teach each class. A designated monitor (usher or Sunday School Coordinator) will circulate periodically from room to room for surveillance and protection.

2. Bathroom use by Sunday School children must be supervised by the volunteer, helper or designated monitor.

a. The outside washroom door should be propped open. Volunteer to remain outside the washroom door and wait for the child to escort them back to the classroom. Call the child’s name if they are taking longer than seems necessary.

b. If child needs assistance with elimination routines, the washroom cubicle must remain open.

3. Children must remain in their classroom until picked up by their parent, guardian or authorized individual.

Gems and Cadets

1. Written permission of a parent or legal guardian is required when taking Gems or Cadets off the church site. Parents should be notified when off-site events are taking place.

2. A counselor may not meet privately with a Gem or Cadet except with the prior consent of the parent(s) or legal guardian and the knowledge of the head counselor. This meeting will take place where they are visible to others (i.e. Tim Horton’s, at the Church premises with the door open when others are present).

3. Head counselor or designate should be available to assist the other counselor and make periodic checks of the rooms, hallways and bathrooms.

Young Peoples

1. A group leader may not meet privately with a group member except with the prior consent of the parent(s) or legal guardian and the knowledge of the Program Supervisor. This meeting will take place where they are visible to others (i.e. Tim Horton’s, at the church with the door open when others are present).

2. An adult leader and a member of the youth group may not date or become involved in a romantic relationship (regardless of the ages involved). If this occurs, the leader will be removed from the program.

Friendship Circle

1. A leader may not meet privately with a group member except with the prior consent of the parent(s) or legal guardian and the knowledge of the Program Supervisor. This meeting will take place where they are visible to others (i.e. Tim Horton’s, at the church with the door open when others are present).

2. For friends that require bathroom assistance, leaders/volunteers will assist with the primary bathroom door ajar. For those that do not require bathroom assistance, leaders/volunteers will remain outside the bathroom cubicle. Friends will be assisted by leaders/volunteers of the same gender as themselves.

3. A minimum of 2 leaders must stay until all the group members are picked up to go home.

Appendix K - Recommendations for Pastoral/Council Visitation

1. Leaders who engage in pastoral visitation are responsible for establishing appropriate boundaries in their interpersonal relationships.

2. Prudence should be used when scheduling one-to-one visits and counselling appointments with members of the opposite gender. Consider conducting appointments within daytime hours, or at the church or a community location when others are present. Acknowledge the risk of meeting alone in a congregant’s home; either the pastoral visitor or the congregant may wish to have another person present.

3. Limit visits to a reasonable length of time.

4. Care should be taken in the content of pastoral visitation. It may not be appropriate to counsel any person alone on sexual or other sensitive personal matters.

5. Given the imbalance in the relationship, a congregant participating in pastoral visitation with a pastor, office bearer, or leader/volunteer cannot be said to consent to sexual activity with the pastoral visitor.

6. Consider adopting other safeguards to boundary violations. These may include accountability to a peer or spouse; maintaining attention to spiritual, emotional, and physical health and well-being; and conscious use of office to promote the spiritual and interpersonal growth of others.

Appendix L – Ebenezer CRC Incident Report

Date: _________________________

Name of person making the report: _______________________________

Phone #: _______________________

Incident was:

ÿ reported to me

ÿ witnessed by me (and if others):______________________________________

Persons involved: _______________________________________________________

When (day, date, time of day): _____________________________________________

Describe incident:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Action taken:

Was Council notified?

ÿ No

ÿ Yes Name: ________________________________________

Were Authorities called?

ÿ No

ÿ Yes

o 911 (Ambulance, Fire, Police)

o CAS

o Parent/Caregiver

o Other _____________________________________________

Next Steps:

All program coordinators need to notify the Chair or Vice-Chair of ECRC Council. Please return this form to the Safe Church Committee for filing.

Signature of person making report

Appendix M

EBENEZER CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH

Workplace Violence Incident Report

To be completed by the individual involved in Incident. Return completed form within 2 days following incident to the Personnel Committee Attach witness statements to this form.

Report submitted by:

Date:

General Description:

Telephone:


Date of Incident:

Time:

Address/Location of Incident:


Individuals involved in the incident (use additional sheet(s) if necessary)

Name:

Name:

Victim

Assailant

Title:

Title:

Company Name:

Company Name:

Phone:

Phone:

Immediate Supervisor:

Immediate Supervisor:

Assailant Relationship to Employee

Co-worker

Former Employee

Other (specify)


Possible Reason for Incident: (If known, check all that apply)

Conflict with co-worker(s)/former co-worker

Receiving corrective action

Conflict with management

Other (specify)

Nature of Incident

Stalking

Engaging in actions intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress

Destruction of Property

Physical Assault - Hitting, fighting, pushing, or shoving

Armed Assault - Use of object as weapon (specify)

Armed Assault - Use of weapon such as gun, knife, etc. (specify)

Verbal Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Other (specify)

Victim Injury (Check all that apply)

Physical injury

Physical Injury - Medical care required

Initial Response or Follow up Activity: (Check all that apply)

Situation defused

Occupational Medicine notified

Law Enforcement notified

If Yes, Name of Agency and Report Number:

Other (specify)

Employee Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP) referral


Describe Incident in Detail (Include what happened, where, who was involved, what you heard, saw, etc.)

List Names of Other Witnesses

Signature Date

Person Receiving Witness Statement Date

Attach witness statements to this form.

Report submitted by:

Date:

General Description:

Telephone:


Date of Incident:

Time:

Address/Location of Incident:


Individuals involved in the incident (use additional sheet(s) if necessary)

Name:

Name:

Victim

Assailant

Title:

Title:

Company Name:

Company Name:

Phone:

Phone:

Immediate Supervisor:

Immediate Supervisor:

Assailant Relationship to Employee

Co-worker

Former Employee

Other (specify)


Possible Reason for Incident: (If known, check all that apply)

Conflict with co-worker(s)/former co-worker

Receiving corrective action

Conflict with management

Other (specify)

Nature of Incident

Stalking

Engaging in actions intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress

Destruction of Property

Physical Assault - Hitting, fighting, pushing, or shoving

Armed Assault - Use of object as weapon (specify)

Armed Assault - Use of weapon such as gun, knife, etc. (specify)

Verbal Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Other (specify)

Victim Injury (Check all that apply)

Physical injury

Physical Injury - Medical care required

Initial Response or Follow up Activity: (Check all that apply)

Situation defused

Occupational Medicine notified

Law Enforcement notified

If Yes, Name of Agency and Report Number:

Other (specify)

Employee Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP) referral


Describe Incident in Detail (Include what happened, where, who was involved, what you heard, saw, etc.)

List Names of Other Witnesses

Signature

Date

Person Receiving Witness Statement

Date

Appendix N - Abuse Response Flow Chart

Victim of Alleged Abuse

Child


Adult


Church Volunteer/Employee


Children’s Aid Society

Program Coordinator

Safe Church Committee

Personnel Committee


Council


Safe Church Team


If alleged abuser is a volunteer/employee, action to be taken regarding abuser’s position in church