Professional Standards


The Diocese of Adelaide does not tolerate harassment or abuse in its church community and is committed to ensuring a safe environment in all its ministries.  

Initiatives to ensure the church is a safe place include:

  • Safer Ministry requirements for ordination candidates, clergy, paid church workers and volunteers
  • Licensing of all people ministering to those under the age of 18 years.
  • Application of a Code of Conduct
  • Providing clergy, lay people engaged in ministry and lay employees with Safer Ministry Education, including mandatory notification
  • Publishing Guidelines for the Protection of Children involved in activities within the Diocese
  • Commissioning of independent status and compliance reports

Initiatives to ensure that the church is able to appropriately deal with complaints of abuse:

  • Establishment of a confidential complaint procedure
  • Commitment to resolve complaints in a pastoral manner
  • Establishment of the Healing Steps process to resolve complaints

Within the context of a pastoral relationship, the burden of responsibility for appropriate and helpful behaviour rests on the church worker, ordained or lay. People who come to a church worker for help are particularly vulnerable to abuse of power and trust. Within a pastoral relationship, it is always a breach of professional ethics for overt sexual activity or sexually suggestive behaviour to take place, no matter who initiates it and no matter how willing the participants say they are.

Sexual abuse or sexual misconduct by a church worker may also be a breach of the criminal law. Whether or not there has been a breach of the criminal law, if the ethics of a ministry relationship are breached, the church must respond.

Church workers are accountable for all their relationships whether directly related to their role in ministry or not. Always, the church worker's relationships must reflect the integrity between the church's relationship with all people and its witness to the Gospel.

In all instances of sexual abuse the church will respond with a concern for justice and for the healing of those affected by it.

The Adelaide Diocese has established an ordinance which outlines principles for the establishment and operations of a Professional Standards Committee and Director.

Guide to Resolving Grievances

Grievance issues can be terribly damaging to parish communities. Interpersonal disputes and conflict between members of a parish can fracture relationships and damage not just individuals but whole communities. The Diocesan Council has developed a Guide to Resolving Grievances which it hopes will assist members of church communities to resolve issues that do not specifically call into question a church worker’s fitness for office.