Frequently Asked Questions about Safe Ministry Training
General Training Questions
Are school teachers exempt from doing Safe Ministry training as they do equivalent training about vulnerable people for their workplace?
The Parish Administration Ordinance requires all people working with children (under 18 year olds) to complete our Safe Ministry Training (or an equivalent course under the Safe Churches Training Agreement).
Because courses related to other professions are all structured differently, and do not teach from a gospel perspective or cover the church environment, we cannot accept that training. However, when Safe Ministry Training becomes available online, people with such profession-based training will be able to fast-forward through sections of material that they have already covered (eg: signs of abuse).
We are in a state of change with Safe Ministry Training as we develop Safe Ministry Training Online.
This information will change as our systems change, but is correct as of March 2017
There are three main ways Safe Ministry training can be delivered to those in your church or ministry:
- Safe Ministry Events:
The PSU holds Safe Ministry training events through the year on various dates and at a variety of locations. The training is provided by a qualified Senior Safe Ministry Trainer. Click here to view all upcoming Safe Ministry Weeks.
- In-house training:
Youthworks can train a Local Safe Ministry Trainer from your church, giving you flexibility to conduct training at a convenient time and location.
- Private Group Training:
Safe Ministry training is also available on request with a minimum of 10 participants. To find out more, contact the Safe Ministry Training Consultant on (02) 9265 1547 or via email here
If you have never done any Safe Ministry Training you must do Safe Ministry Essentials.
If you have completed Safe Ministry Training, you must do the Safe Ministry Refresher every 3 years.
If your training has expired – ie: it is more than 3 years and 30 days since your last Safe Ministry Training, you must do the Essentials course again.
If you are under 16, we recommend you do the Safe Ministry Junior Leader’s module. Please note, the Junior course is not mandatory but junior leaders should never be left alone with children.
Although participants from all denominations can attend training with the PSU, the Sydney Anglican Diocese subsidises costs for those from Sydney Anglican churches.
Safe Ministry Essentials:
- Sydney Anglicans: $50
- All others: $60
Safe Ministry Refresher:
- Sydney Anglicans: $25
- All others: $30
For all Safe Ministry training conducted outside Safe Ministry Week (i.e. on request), the above costs apply with minimum 10 participants.
For parishes with Local Safe Ministry Trainers, there is usually no cost for members of that church to attend training.
To clarify the training requirements for Junior Leaders, the Safe Ministry Board approved the following at it’s December 2016 meeting:
- A junior leader is a person who has been appointed to a leadership role in children’s or youth ministry in a parish who is under 18 years of age.
- In general it is more appropriate for a Junior Leader to complete the Safe Ministry Junior Leader Training Module instead of the Essentials course as a part of their training for their role.
- However, once a person who has been a junior leader attains 18 years of age they must complete the Essentials course unless it was previously completed.
- At the discretion of the rector or his delegate, a junior leader who is 16 or 17 years old but has greater leadership responsibilities than a junior leader would usually have (e.g. has some teaching responsibilities or has the maturity to be included in leader to child ratios), then that leader should complete the Essentials course.
As always, please contact Safe Ministry Training Support for any clarification.
The policy for when Safe Ministry training needs to be done is as follows:
- When someone starts working with children for the first time, they have 3 months in which to complete Essentials.nIf they do not complete that course within that time, they must stand down until they do.
- When someone’s training is approaching expiry (ie: three years after the last training), they must complete the Refresher course within 30 days of that expiry date. If they fail to do that, they must stand down until they complete Essentials again.
If you have someone join your church from another denomination, how should you treat their equivalent Safe Ministry training?
The National Council of Churches in Australia have established a network of member churches across Australia who agree to accept each others training in Safe Ministry. You can see a current list of those churches/denominations here: http://www.ncca.org.au/scta/scta-members Scroll down to view the training partners.
The agreement is called the Safe Church Training Agreement (SCTA)
So if someone joins your church and presents proof of current training from an approved SCTA training partner (church or organisation), then it is accepted as being equivalent to our training until the expiry of that training. You should enter the details of the training and its source and expiry date into your Safe Ministry Records.
When the expiry of that training approaches, that person will then need to take our Refresher course before their current training expires, just as our own trainees do.
If someone presents training credentials from an organisation that is NOT on the SCTA list, that training cannot be accepted and they must complete Essentials before commencing ministry with children or youth.
UPDATED December 8th 2016
Safe ministry Training lasts for three years.
The first time someone engages in work (volunteer or paid) with <18 year olds, they must complete 'Essentials‘ training before they commence the work. If there are extraordinary circumstances*, there may be a grace period applied to allow them to complete the training as soon as possible, and definitely within three months of commencing work.
However, when the Safe Ministry Training expiry for an existing worker in your church (volunteer or paid) approaches expiry, they should:
- Make every effort to complete the Refresher course BEFORE the expiry date.
- If this is impossible to comply with, they should complete the Refresher course within 30 days of the expiry date.
If a Refresher course is not completed within 30 days of the expiry of their training, then they should step down from the ministry role(s), and they must do the ‘Essentials‘ course again before resuming the role.
*If there are very unusual circumstances such as serious medical reasons or the person is overseas, some leniency should be offered, but before doing so, the Safe Ministry Rep or Minister should contact the Safe Ministry Representative Liaison person to discuss the details.
The Safe Ministry Board clarified and confirmed the above details as policy their December 2016 meeting. This underscores the importance for all church workers keeping track of their training dates.
All clergy and lay ministers have the same requirements as anyone who is working with children in your church or ministry.
- they must have a verified WWCC and
- they must be current in their Safe Ministry training – even if their role does not involve them directly working with children.
Things to check for if you are a Safe Ministry Representative:
- Make sure you have all clergy staff members give you their WWCC details (for recording in your Safe Ministry Records and verifying), and their Safe Ministry Training details (evidence of date of last training, and preferably name of trainer, etc)
- It’s easy for ministers to forget about renewing their WWCC or Safe Ministry training, so you will be doing them a big favour if you remind them in plenty of time when those dates are coming up.
- In the past, clergy and lay ministers who hold a license from the Archbishop have gained credit for Safe Ministry training by attending the Faithfulness in Service Conference held every three years. But from 2017 that training credit will no longer exist, so all clergy and lay ministers will need to complete a Safe Ministry ‘Refresher’ course BEFORE June 2017 in to stay current with their training.
Managing Junior Leaders (those under 18 years old) needs as much care as we give the process with adult leaders. Here are the main points:
- Working with Children Check (WWCC) – Under 18 year olds cannot obtain a WWCC, so they and their parents/guardian must complete this declaration which must then be securely stored with other safe ministry documents. Note: A Junior Leader must have a verified WWCC as soon as they turn 18. This transition is helped by the fact that they can apply from 17 years 9 months of age.
- Screening – We should be as vigilant with our screening of Junior Leaders as we are with adults (a high percentage of sexual abuse of children is peer-to-peer abuse). So every church should use a comprehensive screening policy such as found in this document.
- Safe Ministry Training – All Junior Leaders should be current in their Safe ministry Training – just as adult leaders are expected to be.
The Junior version of the Safe Ministry Training course is designed for Junior Leaders (under 18 years). However, with such a variation in maturity levels of teenagers, some 16-17 year olds would be capable of completing the Essentials course. It also may be be best practice in some circumstances due to the responsibilities that are part of their leadership role. This should always be managed on a case by case basis with close consultation with the Junior Leader’s parents and the senior minister.
Note that the Junior Leaders course is not offered as part of the Safe Ministry Team (PSU) regional training events, so a Junior Leader may attend such a course at any nearby church whose Local Safe Ministry Trainer is running it.
Any further questions: please contact your local church Safe Ministry Representative or the Safe Ministry Parish Consultant.
Once attendance at the final module of the course (a live webinar) is confirmed, users will be able to log into the training site and download their certificate within 3 business days.
The cost of Refresher Online is $10 for members of Anglican churches (any Diocese) and $12 for other denominations.
Essentials when available will be $12 for Anglicans and $17 for other denominations.
Churches can option to bulk-pay for their members to do training. Contact the office for details.
That partly depends on the individual and how fast they read, absorb and interact with the information. But in general, they will probably take a similar amount of time as the face to face training has done – 2.5 hours for Refresher and 5 hours for Essentials. Remember that the online courses can be done in modules, meaning that you do not have to complete them in one sitting.
Local Safe Ministry Trainers have been a vital part of the face-to-face teaching model for a considerable time. We are very thankful to God and them for their hard work over the years.
When the Essentials course goes online (very early 2018), all local training will cease. From that point on there will be three ways that Safe Ministry Training will happen:
- Online – 24/7 anywhere that there is an internet connection.
- Online assisted – tailored for those without internet access or with low levels of computer literacy (more info on this soon).
- F2F training (Face to face training) – provided in regions from early 2018
We plan to have the Refresher course available by Synod 2017 (October), and Essentials following soon after and by early 2018 at the latest.
The Junior Leaders course will be available online around the time of Essentials.
There will be regular updates about our progress on this web site.
We are thinking through how best to run this course and any online components of it and will provide further updates as this progresses.
Whether provided online or face to face, training of this nature can be confronting.
Online participants have the ability to pace their own learning and take a break without others looking on. Online there will also be a ‘self care’ component, explaining the range of emotions or experiences that participants may have in relation to the training which can impact them.
There are also multiple of channels to directly reach the Safe Ministry Team (the PSU) (including email and telephone) which participants can access if they feel they need help.
There are a number of reasons why online training is valuable in light of the Royal Commission:
These reasons include that:
- The training can be consistently provided across the diocese;
- It enhances participation for those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds (CALD) who have found face to face training difficult. This is made possible through the use of ‘ReadSpeaker’ software that reads the material out to a participant at a speed that they are comfortable as well as the course content being made available in languages spoken within the diocese in the future;
- Accurate reporting is available on those who have participated in training, when training for participants is due, as well as reminders and updates being sent to participants; and
- Additional groups such as Wardens and Safe Ministry Reps will be able to receive training specific for their roles in the future equipping them further.
Is there accessibility for training for those without internet connectivity particularly our ageing population?
There are a number of ways that training may be offered for those without internet connectivity.
For example an ‘online assisted’ approach may be possible, where a local trainer assists a small group to carry out their training.
This may happen at the local church or in a home, so long as there is connectivity.
Face-to-face training will continue to be offered around the diocese.
For a schedule on this training please visit https://safeministry.training/training-events
Does having the Online Safe Ministry course remove the opportunity to share experiences and have “real discussions”
Online training encourages and facilitates a range of ways for participants to interact including reflection segments, webinars, at the local parish level or directly with the Safe Ministry team (the PSU). Some examples of these methods are:
- Webinars – Short for Web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web using video conferencing software. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements: the ability to give, receive and discuss information in real-time.
- Local parish level – Participants are encouraged to look more closely into their Safe Ministry practices in their parish. This may require participants to talk with people from within their ministry area, other ministries, or with their Rectors or Parish Council. Everyone is involved in creating a community where we practice Safe Ministry and we encourage this to be discussed throughout the life of the parish regularly.
- Opportunity for direct access to the Safe Ministry Training Team (the PSU) – our team is here to serve you with any matters you have relating with Safe Ministry. Throughout the course the participant has different opportunities to connect with an appropriate person in the team.
There are more Frequently Asked Questions about other areas of Safe Ministry on the main web site.
Got a question that is not listed here? Use this form to submit it and we will either answer it privately or post it here with an answer.