Standard six

Effective complaints management

Processes for raising concerns and complaints are responsive, understood, accessible and used by children, families, carers, communities and Church personnel

6.1 The Church entity has a child-focused complaint-handling system that is understood by children, families, carers and Church personnel.

6.1.1    The Church entity has a complaints management system that is publicly available, accessible, age appropriate and child friendly.

6.2 The Church entity has an effective complaint-handling policy and procedure which clearly outlines roles and responsibilities, approaches to dealing with different types of complaints and obligations to act and report, including record keeping requirements.

6.2.1    There are clear procedures in the Church entity that provide step-by-step guidance on what action to take if there are allegations or suspicions of abuse of a child, be they historic or current.

6.2.2    A process is in place to record all complaints, incidents, allegations, suspicions and referrals. The system must be secure so that confidential information is stored, protected and retained indefinitely.

6.3 Complaints are taken seriously, responded to promptly and thoroughly and meet all reporting, privacy, employment and canon law obligations.

6.3.1    The complaints policy requires that, upon receiving a complaint of child abuse, an initial risk assessment is conducted to identify and minimise any risk to children.

6.3.2    The complaints policy requires that, if a complaint of child abuse against a person in religious or pastoral ministry is plausible, and there is a risk that the person may come into contact with children in the course of their current ministry, the person be stood down from ministry while the complaint is investigated.

6.4 The Church Authority ensures mechanisms are in place to care for all complainants.

6.4.1    Information, support and care is provided to those who have experienced or are alleging abuse.

6.5 The Church Authority ensures mechanisms are in place to support respondents facing allegations.

6.5.1    Appropriate support is provided to respondents facing complaints to promote resolution in a manner which does not compromise children’s safety.

6.5.2    The Church Authority ensures that where clergy or religious respondents are stood down (in accordance with 6.3.2), processes are in place to provide appropriate support.