What role can Religious Communities play?

RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES PLAY THEIR PART TO PROTECT AND CARE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY BY SUPPORTING FAMILIES AND PROMOTING CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

Be a positive role model. Children and young people learn from the people that they spend time with, so make your influence positive.

Facilitate a youth friendly environment by creating opportunities for children and young people to engage in and be heard. This could include providing a youth space, holding a community event to showcase children’s achievements, or developing a youth action network.

Become informed on the indicators and risks of child abuse and neglect as well as preventative measures. This will increase your awareness of how to support families in your community and prevent such harm from happening.

Develop means for family networking and support groups through your communication channels such as notice boards, newsletters, online and social media or offering practical support. Reach out to families who are isolated. Be available and approachable.

Develop child related policies and procedures. Child Protection Policies should promote wellbeing and early intervention practices and be consistent with state/territory mandatory reporting legislation. A code of conduct for working with children and young people is another practical tool for promoting clear and consistent roles and behaviour. Ensure that all staff and volunteers engaged in child related work hold a valid Working With Children Check. When implemented and supported consistently, these policies work to protect children, workers and the organisation.

Support Schools in their promotion of children and young people’s safety and wellbeing. Openly encourage reviews of pastoral care systems to ensure they are meeting the needs of staff and students.

Consider the impact on children / young people when making service delivery decisions.

Be open to making connections with any child, young person or community member who needs your support regardless of cultural background or religious beliefs, to further perpetuate an environment of acceptance and tolerance.

Think about safe and respectful ways to be an active bystander if you see an adult being inappropriate towards a child or young person.

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ISMAIL DAVIDS : GLOBAL ISLAMIC YOUTH CENTRE

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO “PLAY YOUR PART” TO PROTECT AND CARE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

Our centre revolves around youth from the Muslim community, engaging with and providing a safe haven for them, while allowing them see the part they play as members in the bigger society and how being Muslim does not mean they are not Australian. This helps them to become positive contributors to the overall Australian community and to be good role models at school.

All our events are aimed at getting the youth more involved in a positive and productive environment that occupies their time doing good, wholesome activities and also allows them to build relationships in a fun and welcoming environment. Our mentoring and educational activities are aimed at making them understand the importance of a good education and the benefits it has in future employment opportunities.

We run a series of events and regular activities throughout the year to cater for the wellbeing of children and families generally. Activities include: Lectures on parenting, religious classes, social events, mother and daughter boat cruises, school holiday sport and craft days as well as a playgroup. We also have a charity branch that oversees refuge homes and regular charity activities that cater for the many in our community who live below average standards and are regularly in need of help and support. We also provide family and youth counselling services.

YIANNA PATERAKIS : CATHOLICCARE (NT)

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO “PLAY YOUR PART” TO PROTECT AND CARE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

Every time I go to church I light a candle for the young people I work with. I have been raised a Greek Orthodox and able to practice my beliefs through the work I do at CatholiCare NT. I work with young people everyday providing counselling and support. Young people amaze me, the energy they have and the way they can laugh from within their soul. When I am working with young people I acknowledge their strength and praise their achievements. I want them to know their potential and help them come up with dreams and goals that they can reach for. Sometimes when things are really really tough for my clients I pray to Saint Basil, he is the patron Saint for the protection of children, I pray that their lives are always safe and they find right ways to tackle the problems they have to face.