Safe Church

Safe Church Policies

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, North Billerica MA

March 2021

Mission – St. Anne’s seeks to be led by the spirit to understand God’s purpose for the world with our mission being to respond through Christ in worship, education, fellowship, and service.

Purpose – To create a safe and welcoming space for all people in our community, especially for youth and children, from sexual abuse or harassment of any kind.

Policy Statement – The Priest in Charge, Wardens, Vestry, and all leaders should understand this policy and adhere to the best practices for creating a safe space.  All leadership must review the Safe Church Modules designated as Required every 3 years and all members of the congregation are encouraged to review the Safe Church Modules designated as Suggested.  The modules are located on the MA Episcopal Website. The link is http://www.safeguardingonline.org/ Username & Password will be provided by designated IT management. Please email safechurch@stannes-billerica.org.

Safe Church audits will be done internally once a year.

Rules of Prevention for the safety of Children and Youth

  • Child:  Anyone under the age of 12 years
  • Youth:  Anyone who is at least 12, but not yet 18 or is greater than 18 and is still in high school

Two Adults

At least two adults should be present with children at all times. If unable to do this, then one adult should be in the hearing of another adult.  In a Sunday School Class, if two adults are not possible, one adult and a high school age youth is permissible.

At least two adults must accompany groups of youth or children taken off church premises and permission from the child’s parent or guardian is required.

Any adult should never drive alone with a single minor without written permission from a parent or guardian.

Open Door

When possible, doors should be left open.  If not possible, the door shall have a window.  Parents and guardians are welcome to stop in at any time.

Obtaining Permission

In addition to what is stated under two adults, written permission forms are required for any trip and for all overnight programs, both at the church or off site.

When a private meeting or session is required between one or more adults and one youth or child, obtain verbal permission from parent or guardian.

Avoiding Compromising Situations

Do not meet children in an unplanned way or in a secluded area.  Do not single out a child or youth for gift giving unless permission is obtained from parent or guardian.

Other Precautions for children and youth

  • Use caution and good judgement with any movies or other media.
  • Never show any material that could be considered pornographic.
  • Alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs are not allowed or consumed during church activity for child or youth.
  • No one is to strike, hit or physically threaten or harm anyone at any time.
  • Bullying of any kind by anyone is prohibited.
  • Weapons of any kind are prohibited.

Screening and Training of Volunteers

All Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, and pastoral care volunteers working with children or youths are required to do the following:

  • Take the Diocese of MA online Safe Church training within 3 months of volunteering.
  • Authorize a CORI check.
  • Be an active member of this congregation for at least 6 months before serving in a leadership role.
  • Overnight trip volunteers for youth and children are required to show a valid driver’s license and authorize a CORI Check.  Drivers must be at least 25 years old with a safe driving record.

Questions & Reporting

If you have questions or concerns about abuse or neglect of any child, elder, disabled person or any other member of our congregation please call the Priest in Charge or one of the Wardens.  If you have any questions about our Safe Church Policy, please contact any of the following individuals:

  • Director of Sunday School – Brenda Komarinski – (978-663-0874)
  • Priest in Charge – The Rev. Jennifer Beal (413-427-5876)
  • Co-Wardens

o   Ed Giroux – (978-667-0521)

o   Mike Hopkins – (603-882-2030)

  • Bishop’s Office – (617-482-4826 x 205)

Reporting Abuse or neglect of any Child

Reports or questions about the abuse or neglect of any child may be made through the Child-At-Risk hot line 1-800-792-5200

Reporting Abuse or Neglect of the Elderly & Disabled

  • Elder:  60 years or older
  • Disabled:  18-59 years with intellectual, developmental, mental, or physical limitations

All parish members should be mindful of harmful conduct against the elderly and disabled.  These two populations may be vulnerable to mistreatment.  The statues of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts covering protection for the elderly & disabled are MGL, Chapter 19A and 19C, respectively.

Any sign or evidence of abuse or neglect against the elderly or disabled should be reported to:

  • Elderly Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275
  • Disabled Persons at 1-800-426-9009 or 1-888-822-0350 TTY