Guidelines for Work or Service with Minors & Vulnerable Adults


Guidelines for Work or Service with Minors & Vulnerable Adults.


Work or service with minors includes any ministry that serves young children, youth or vulnerable adults in any manner, including any religious or social functions where minors are typically present.

The Catholic Church values children as an important part of Parish life. We also value and respect that parents are their first teachers of the faith to their own child(ren) and protectors of their children.

Any behaviour that is deemed inappropriate or criminal will be reported to the police by this Parish.

The Mooroolbark Parish is therefore presenting this Policy as a means of supporting both the Church’s teachings and the parents’ love and care of their children.

Supervision of Programs that Involve Minors

  1. Children should never be left alone at the Presbytery. If parents require the priest to see their child(ren), parents should be present at all times, unless the children are related to the Priest and it is done with the knowledge and consent of the parents.
  2. Parents have a right to observe programs and activities in which their children are involved. However, parents who desire to participate in, or have continuous ongoing contact with their child’s programs in the Church, which may involve other children, are required to have a current Working with Children Check.
  3. Programs for minors shall be supervised by an adult(s) with a current Working with Children Check.
  4. All school activities are governed by DEET Guidelines.
  5. Minors may be released only to parents, legal guardians, or other persons designated by parents or legal guardians at the close of services or activities. When there is a question about the propriety of releasing a minor, the immediate supervisor should be contacted before releasing the child.
  6. Inappropriate behaviour of minors or vulnerable adults should be reported immediately to parents.

Standards for Interaction with Minors & Vulnerable Adults

Appropriate & Acceptable
The following positive social behaviours are regarded as appropriate and acceptable.

  • Pats on the shoulder or back.
  • Hand-shakes.
  • “high-fives” and Hand slapping.
  • Verbal praise (not relating to physique or body development).
  • Touching hands, faces, heads, shoulders and arms of minors.
  • Arms around shoulders.
  • Holding hands while walking with small children.
  • Sitting beside small children.
  • Kneeling or bending down for hugs with small children.
  • Holding hands during prayer.

Inappropriate & Prohibited
The following forms of contact are regarded as inappropriate and prohibited.

  • inappropriate embraces
  • kisses on the mouth
  • inappropriately holding minors over four years old on the lap
  • touching buttocks, chests or genital areas
  • showing affection in isolated areas such as bedrooms, closets, staff-only areas or other private rooms
  • being on a bed with a minor
  • wrestling with minors
  • tickling minors
  • piggyback rides
  • any type of massage given by minor to adult
  • any type of massage given by adult to minor
  • any form of unwanted affection
  • compliments that relate to physique or body development.

All other forms of physical contact are considered inappropriate and unacceptable.

Prohibited Behaviour

      1.  The use of physical discipline in any way for behaviour management of minors is prohibited.
      2.  Abuse and neglect of minors are contrary to the teachings of the Church and are prohibited. Those that serve in the parish or who are present at any Parish activity or function have a responsibility to protect minors from all forms of abuse, physical, sexual or emotional, and/or neglect and are prohibited from –
        • speaking to minors in a way that is harsh, threatening, intimidating, shaming, derogatory, demeaning or humiliating;
        • swearing at a minor;
        • physically abusing a minor;
        • sexually abusing a minor;
        • neglecting a minor;
        • encouraging a minor to violate the law;
        • offering alcohol or illegal drugs;
        • offering pornography to anyone
      3. Furthermore, when in the presence of minors, those that serve or who are present at any activity or function in the Parish are prohibited from –
        • swearing or using vulgar language;
        • abusing alcohol
        • using, possessing or being under the influence of illegal drugs;
        • discussing their own sexual activities;
        • possessing or displaying sexually oriented or morally inappropriate printed or electronic materials (eg magazines, cards, videos, films, clothing, internet sites, etc);
        • engaging in any sexually oriented conversations with minors unless the conversations are part of a legitimate lesson and discussion regarding human sexuality issues (on such occasions, the lesson will convey the Church’s teachings on these topics. Any further questions not answered or addressed by their individual teachers, they should be referred to their parents or guardians for clarification or counselling);
        • undressing or being nude
        • taking a shower;
        • sleeping in the same bed, or sleeping bag with a minor
        • or any other activity which a reasonable person would deem inappropriate in the circumstances.

Guidelines for Use of Emerging Communication Technologies

The use of electronic contact between minors and adults serving in ministry with minors is permitted for legitimate school and church sponsored purposes only. To ensure adequate monitoring of such contacts, emails sent to minors should be copied to parents or guardians, phone calls should be made to a family home number.

This policy will be reviewed on a continual basis to ensure that it is relevant to current trends and standards. Please address to Parish Pastoral Council any written comments and recommendations regarding this police document. All comments and recommendations will be taken into consideration during the policy review.


All individuals who serve or participate in any ceremony, meeting or function in the parish shall –

  • exhibit the highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity.
  • conduct themselves in a moral manner that is consistent with the discipline, norms and teachings of the Catholic church.
  • provide a professional work environment that is free from harassment.
  • not take advantage of a counselling, supervisory or authoritative relationship for their own benefit.
  • not act in an abusive or neglectful manner.
  • share concerns about suspicious or inappropriate behaviours with a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, their priest, their school principal, the Vicar General, the Catholic Education Office, or the Bishop.
  • adhere to the requirements of the State and federal Laws regarding the reporting of any suspected abuse of a minor.
  • accept their personal responsibility in the protection of minors from all forms of abuse.
  • recognise that it is a shared and collective responsibility of all adults to prevent child exploitation.

Note -
Any person known to have a history of inappropriate behaviour or criminal history with minors may be requested to not attend or leave any Parish activity, religious or social, if their presence or conduct may bring discredit or suspicion upon them or the Parish.

The Mooroolbark Parish would like to acknowledge the assistance of St. Patrick’s Lilydale in the preparation of this document.