(updated 7 Feb 2019)
POLICY ON SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND THE VULNERABLE
People from all walks of life with conscience and a heart for the vulnerable have in recent years watched with growing concern the scandals that have embroiled our Church in the area of child abuse. With this in mind our parish has decided to tackle matters and take some small but concrete steps to protect our children. This was discussed in our Parish Pastoral Council meeting in September 2018.
We have started on the 26th of January 2019 with an afternoon of talks on Child Protection Awareness. Members of all ministries that served children or youth were all invited to attend, such as Sunday School formators, Children’s Liturgy, All Children and Youth ministries, Altar servers, Boys Brigade and Girls’ Brigade and all those leading the various Choirs in the Parish. There were over a hundred participants with the talks being conducted by a team from the Sarawak Women for Women Association, comprising of Gill Rajah, Rose Bennet and Dr Angie Garet.
After the talks, members of all these ministries were required to sign a Declaration that they had not been involved in any or accused of any child abuse or molestation and a Pledge to love and care for those under their ward. Henceforth this will be a part of the practice for all those coming to serve children and youth in the parish.
As a follow up to this, there will be talks and sessions conducted for all primary school children in the Sunday school to help in their protection on the 24th of February 2019 followed by talks and sessions for Secondary school students on the 10th of March 2019.
All these are tentative steps towards providing and making a safer environment for our young which we hope to improve on with time and guidance from our local church authorities and Bishop.
In tandem with these initial steps, the Parish has also set up a Protem Committee for the Protection of Children. The committee will receive complaints and have appointed Assessors to collect relevant details of the complaints. With these, the committee will evaluate complaints and deliberate on necessary actions to comply with the civil law and with internal policies.
The Protem Committee will also be formulating and reviewing policies to safeguard children and the vulnerable. It would address the areas of prevention, handling complaints, and rehabilitation for victims.
The Laws applicable in this area are the following:
- The Penal Code
- Child (Amendment) Act 2001
- Child Amendment Act 2016 (Child Protectors)
- Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017
- Convention on the rights of the Child (Article 3)
Any queries may be referred to the following people:
- John Wong at 019 8590386
- Pauline Lim at 013 8307104
- Christina Eng at 016 8603312