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Covenant of Care – Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol

Annual General Meeting Report, April 16, 2013

The information in this report comes from the actual Covenant of Care and Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol document and from Blake Sittler, Diocesan Coordinator of Care.

In our society and indeed in the church itself, experience has shown the need for vigilance and awareness to ensure that all, especially the most vulnerable, may feel and be at peace in a safe environment.

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The Covenant of Care is a code of conduct designed to create safe and respectful church communities and healthy ministerial relationships, and to protect people from abuse and the harm that results. The Covenant of Care protocol strives to provide proactive protection for children, youth and vulnerable adults, and those who minister, including clergy, employees and church volunteers.

The Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol is designed to ensure that all allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct are handled responsibly, transparently and with all due care and attention.

Together these two parts form the Covenant of Care and Sexual Abuse Misconduct Protocol, the present version of which is dated October 31, 2012, providing authoritative directives for all who minister within and on behalf of the Diocese of Saskatoon.

The Diocese of Saskatoon expects that all who minister in the name of the church or under church auspices will exhibit a profound respect for all. By first respecting the law of the Gospel, this diocese also respects and abides by the laws of our civil society. Our goal is the prevention of actual abuse, misconduct, compromising and scandalous circumstances, and false accusations.

While trusting in the good will of all, this protocol shall apply to all persons involved in service to children, youth and other vulnerable adults. It will be the responsibility of the pastors, parish life directors and heads of diocesan offices to inform all clergy, employees and volunteers of this protocol. They are to ensure that this protocol is put into effect in their particular parishes and ministries.

The Pastor (and Parish Life Director, if applicable), ideally with Parish Council, will appoint a lay person as Parish Coordinator of Care, and publicize this appointment within the parish.

The role of the PCC is to receive reports and/or allegations of breaches of the Covenant of Care in the event that someone is unable or unwilling to make their report to the Pastor and/ or Parish Life Director. The PCC may also assist in the implementation and maintenance of the Covenant of Care and Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol.

We are asked "to not over interpret the protocol. This document was put together by lay people for lay people. It is not a "black and white, right and wrong" document; it needs to be interpreted in light of the many pastoral situations we all encounter".

"The scandal of abuse by the leadership and volunteers in our Church has radically affected society's trust of us. Our attempts to protect the vulnerable in our Church calls for greater transparency and more effort on our part". "Reduction of Risk" vs. "Creating a Caring Community". The "reduction of risk for vulnerable persons" is insurance language. Our ministry is about more than "reducing risk". Our ministry is about going to those most alone and bringing them into our community and bringing our community to them.

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