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Culture of Safety

The Culture of Safety Unit works with people throughout the Church – whether in congregations, presbyteries or Synod – to make sure our Synod is a safe place for all.

Our special concern is to develop a culture and systems to encourage behaviour that helps church people – both ordained and lay – to consider the ethics and responsibilities required of them in their position.  We also ensure the Church has systems in place to help people recover if they have been harmed by other people’s unethical or unsafe behaviour.  Taken altogether, this is called Culture of Safety.

(Culture of Safety is not about trip hazards, fire extinguishers and safe electrical connections. For that important work, you need to visit Occupational Health and Safety.


Keeping Children SafeKeeping Children Safe policy

This policy (and its requirements) is our most visible piece of work and includes Working with Children Check (Vic), Working with Children and Vulnerable People Registration (Tas) and Safe Church Training. Click here for more information.


Code of Ethics and Ministry Practice

The Assembly Code of Ethics and Ministry Practice applies to all ministers and ministry agents, including retired ministers. All ministers in active ministry are required to attend Code of Ethics training twice a year.

Requirements for retired ministers can be found here.

If you are concerned that a minister or other ministry agent has breached the Code of Ethics, contact Sue Clarkson, our Ethical Standards Manager (details below).


Ministry supervision

This is required of all ministers in active ministry. For more information, click here.

A list of supervisors available to ministers requiring supervision is available by contacting our executive assistant Debra Penaluna at Debra.Penaluna@victas.uca.org.au


Reportable conduct

This is a legal requirement in Victoria only. For more information, click here.

If you are aware of an incident of Reportable Conduct, report it using this form or contact Sue Clarkson, our Ethical Standards Manager (details below).


Culture of Safety Unit staff

We are part of the General Secretary’s office, under the oversight of Associate General Secretary Isabel Thomas Dobson.


Sue Clarkson, Ethical Standards Manager

Sue is a minister of the Word who has a wide range of church experience. She is responsible for:

  • Advice about breaches of the Code of Ethics
  • Contact person for breaches of a sexual nature
  • Convenor of Advisers for the Synod Sexual Misconduct Complaints Committee
  • Assisting the Church to adopt outcomes from the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse
  • Contact person for Direct Personal Responses as part of the National Redress Scheme
  • Support of Reportable Conduct issues.

Sue can be contacted by phone 03 9251 5912, mobile 0437 072 231, or email sue.clarkson@victas.uca.org.au


Sharon Hollis, Resourcing Minister

Sharon is a Minister of the Word with and skills in adult education considerable knowledge of the Uniting Church structures and processes. She is responsible for:

  • Code of Ethics training and enquiries
  • Ministry supervision directory, standards and encouragement
  • Review, updating and developing Safe Church Training.

Sharon can be contacted by phone 03 9251 5270 or email sharon.hollis@victas.uca.org.au


Josh Tuhipa-Turner, Safe Church Coordinator

Josh is a social worker who has worked in child protection, restorative justice with young offenders and training.

Josh is responsible for:

  • Safe Church Training for implementation of safe church policies
  • Advice about the protection of children and vulnerable adults
  • Implementation and support of the Synod’s Person of Concern policy.
  • Advice about implementing safe church policies including Keeping Children Safe and Working with Children/Vulnerable People Check/Registration

Josh can be contacted Tuesday-Thursday on 03 9251 5288 or by email josh.tuhipa-turner@victas.uca.org.au


Pam Kretzschmar, Safe Church Administration Officer

Pam is responsible for:

  • Supporting the Synod’s Working with Children Check database and assisting congregations with this
  • Collecting and compiling data to assist with audit and compliance requirements
  • Providing general administration support.

Pam can be contacted on 03 9251 5245 or by email at pam.kretzschmar@victas.uca.org.au


Culture of Safety Steering Group

Our Steering Group helps us develop and furthers the culture of safety in members’ own workplaces.  It includes colleagues from the Bethel Pastoral Centre, congregational ministry, equipping Leadership for Mission, People and Culture, Occupational Health and Safety, and the Synod Sexual Misconduct Complaints Committee.


Bethel Pastoral Centre

The BPC works at arm’s length from the Synod and provides a gateway of healing for individuals and groups who have experienced abuse or a misuse of power within the Church.  Bethel can be contacted on 03 9859 8700 or by email:  support@bethelcentre.com.au


Contact Us

The Culture of Safety Unit is located at 130 Little Collins St, Melbourne.

For general enquiries, email us at cultureofsafetycontact@victas.uca.org.au

To learn more about Keeping Children Safe, go to https://ucavictas.org.au/keepingchildrensafe

For Working With Children/Vulnerable People Checks, visit wwccr@victas.uca.org.au