This section provides general guidance for adults who organise or conduct children’s activities or who are involved with children in their work in a Parish within the Catholic Diocese of Sale. It is also intended to communicate to parents and guardians the Diocese’s expectations for children’s activities.

The Code of Conduct is divided into three key areas:

  • Creating a positive environment.
  • Providing a safe environment.
  • Appropriate behaviour for adults.

The principles set out in this Code of Conduct are intended to support and underpin the pastoral care role of Parish Priests, religious brothers and sisters, pastoral associates, pastoral workers, employees, contractors, and the invaluable contribution of parishioners and other volunteers.

The principles aim to address perceptions of risk in interactions between children and adults and to provide guidance as to behaviours and practices that are beyond reproach. They are not intended to unnecessarily restrict the work of clergy, religious and lay people but to promote a transparent environment in which the dignity and safety of children is paramount.

You can download the full Code of Conduct for the Care, Protection and Safety of Children and VulnerableNote: this document is currently under review. 


Creating a positive environment

The protection and promotion of children’s wellbeing is a shared responsibility of all adults. Adults who are involved in children’s activities within the Catholic Diocese of Sale or a Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Sale are responsible for creating a harmonious, safe and nurturing environment. Children must be included in the process. Children should be seen and heard. They should ‘feel’ safe as well as ‘be’ safe.

In addition, the Catholic Diocese of Sale is committed to creating positive role models. Children’s encounters with adults in the Church have lasting consequences and it is important for children’s formation that such encounters create a positive experience of the Church. Adult behaviour that positively embraces Gospel beliefs and values is of paramount importance.


Creating a safe environment

Each parish/agency within the Diocese of Sale ensures that all adults who have contact with children are familiar with, understand and accepts the Code of Conduct. Prior to any activities the Code of Conduct must be sighted, signed and dated by every staff member, volunteer and contractor to illustrate their acceptance of each and every aspect of the code.

When planning an activity, the Diocese will consider the possible risks associated with the activity and how likely those risks are to eventuate. We encourage each parish to consider what actions can be taken and how to structure the activity to mitigate those risks and, if a situation should arise, to manage it effectively. Children and vulnerable adults in the care of our parishes/agencies are to be supervised at all times, and have achieved parental consent for all activities.

In addition, we stipulate each parish/agency is familiar with all emergency procedures. If an emergency happens, administer emergency first aid and/or dial triple zero (000).


Appropriate behaviour for adults

Whenever activities involve children, the Diocese of Sale ensures that more than one adult is present at the time. Any activity that would lead to a one-on-one encounter is required to be visible to other people.

Behaviours such as inappropriate comments, favouritism or singling out of any child are not to be tolerated in any parish/agency. Such matters will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Actions that involve violent/sexual or inappropriate physical contact are not tolerated in any dioceses parish/agency. Such actions will be reported in accordance with the Diocesan Reporting Process to Victoria Police and may result in the termination of employment or volunteer status.

Working with children while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will not be tolerated.

Abusive, derogatory or racist language and personal views on cultures, race or sexuality will not be tolerated in the presence of children.


Communication and photography

Exchange of personal contact details such as phone numbers, social networking sites or email addresses with a child, or their family, is unacceptable.

Electronic communication with children or their parents/guardian should only be conducted using a Parish or diocesan email address or telephone. Alternatively, a copy of the communication should be sent to the Parish Secretary for transmission.

Identifiable images of children involved in a diocesan or Parish activity must not appear in any publication without first gaining photographic consent from the child’s parents/guardians.