Persons of concern
When a person wishes to participate in the life of the parish or congregation and their presence may constitute a risk of sexual abuse to people there, such as when they are a person convicted of a criminal sexual offence, a special process applies to their participation. This person is called a Person of Concern.
The Diocese of Bendigo has adopted the Safe Ministry to Children Canon 2017 and the standards of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia for safe ministry with a Person of Concern in a parish or congregation. These standards are the actions required to implement the process of 7 stages specified in section 5 of the General Synod Persons of Concern Policy.
The Kooyoora Director of Professional Standards must be involved in decisions about the participation of the Person of Concern in the life of the parish or congregation.
The Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards plays a pivotal role in assisting the Church to fulfil its commitment to the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of all people, including survivors of sexual abuse, who participate in the life of a parish or congregation.
Safe Ministry to Children Canon 2017, s8(1), Second schedule Part 4
Persons of Concern Policy tabled at the session of General Synod held in 2017
Participation in a parish or congregation
A Person of Concern can be invited to participate in the life of a parish or congregation provided the Director of Professional Standards, the Person of Concern and the Parish Council are willing to proceed with the Process of Assessment and the Person of Concern is willing to meet any requirements for a Safety Agreement, that are either agreed to or, in default of agreement, determined by the Professional Standards Board.
The process of assessment is outlined in stage 5 of the Persons of Concern Policy. The Bishop is to be kept informed of the progress of the matter.
The Professional Standards Board is empowered in dealing with a person who is or was at some stage a Church worker to recommend that they be required to enter into a Safety Agreement with the Church authority, failing which they be excluded from entry or access to premises or activities of the Church either generally or in a specified location or circumstances: s78(1)(g) of the Professional Standards Uniform Act 2016 (Bendigo).
The Church authority is empowered and must give effect to the substance of the recommendation: s119. The relevant Church authority for the purposes of the recommendation are–
- in a parish, the Rector and the Churchwardens;
- in the Cathedral, the Chapter;
- otherwise the Diocesan Bishop in Council
in each case by their duly authorised representative or representatives: s173(k).