Community Information

COVID 19: GENERAL MESSAGES

♦  Public religious services are banned.
♦  Temples must be closed to the public.
♦  Services and essential rituals can be live-streamed. Only essential people can be present, and no public attendance.
♦  Weddings (5 people only) and funerals (10 people only) are permitted.
♦  Social distancing of 4 square metres per person must be maintained at all times.

PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS BY FOLLOWING THESE RULES

♦  Wash your hands regularly (soap or sanitizer)
♦  Stay home if you are sick
♦  Keep your distance: practice social (compassionate) distancing, self-isolation if showing symptoms
♦  Limit face to face meetings

For current information and updates visit Victorian Government’s coronavirus website for
www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/translations.  Call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 (24 hours). For translator support, call TIS National on 131 450.

 

 

COVID 19 Information Guide for Buddhist Organisations

A statement from the Multifaith Advisory Group in response to the coronavirus crisis: Unified leadership at this unprecedented time

 

The other items below contain information from government and public organisations are provided as a service to Buddhists and the general community. The views expressed in member organisation’s publications are their own, and no endorsement by the BCV is implied. Please send any new items to  administrator@bcv.org.au

New directions from the Chief Health Officer – 13 April 2020

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Doctor Brett Sutton, issued directions that took effect from midnight 7 April 2020. These Directions were updated on 13 April 2020 in line with the extended State of Emergency.

Public health multilingual campaign resources

Making sure every Victorian understands what they can do to reduce their risk of coronavirus, is key to slowing its spread. The Victorian Government have launched a communications campaign across multicultural and in-language radio, print and social media. They have also made the materials from this campaign available for community groups to share with their networks.

Download the resources below and share via email, social media or through messaging apps you use, like WhatsApp, WeChat and Messenger.

Support services during the coronavirus crisis: A list of support services to assist you, your family and neighbours during the coronavirus outbreak.

Buddhist Climate Change Action Kit

Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and religious and spiritual leaders have a key role to play in tackling this issue and spreading compassion and care for our environment with all the myriad of sentient beings dependent on a functioning healthy ecosystem. Inspired by the quest to see things how they really are, Buddhism equips its followers to accept the confronting science of climate change.

Download the Buddhist_Climate_Action_Kit

BCV Policy on Managing Sexual Abuse and Harassment

​The Buddhist Council of Victoria advises its member temples and centres that it is in their interests to adopt a policy to manage sexual harassment and child abuse. Buddhist  temples and centres need to be prepared to manage potential problems in an organised and planned way. The aim of the policy is to help to plan a response based on individual temple’s needs and circumstances and to think about the issues. The Council notes that sexual abuse and harassment are non-virtuous actions and in conflict with the Buddhist precept regarding sexual misconduct. The Buddhist Council advises all member organisations that they must comply with government requirements, such as the Working With Children Check. 

View on Assisted Dying Framework

In​ ​the​ ​teaching​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Buddha,​ ​human​ ​life​ ​is​ ​seen​ ​as​ ​both​ ​precious​ ​and​ ​rare.  Upon​ ​being​ ​born​ ​as​ ​human,​ ​due​ ​to​ ​causes​ ​and​ ​conditions,​ ​the​ ​teaching  encourages​ ​taking​ ​responsibility​ ​for​ ​one’s​ ​own​ ​actions.     To​ ​a​ ​great​ ​extent​ ​our​ ​actions​ ​in​ ​this​ ​very​ ​life​ ​are​ ​within​ ​our​ ​own​ ​control​ ​and  yet​ ​the​ ​life​ ​conditions​ ​encountered​ ​by​ ​an​ ​individual​ ​may​ ​not​ ​necessarily​ ​be  favourable​ ​or​ ​desirable.​ ​Grave​ ​illness​ ​and​ ​unbearable​ ​pain​ ​are​ ​such​ ​human  conditions,​ ​unique​ ​to​ ​each​ ​individual​ ​situation​ ​which​ ​effect​ ​human​ ​dignity  and​ ​life​ ​choices.      In​ ​addressing​ ​the​ ​question​ ​of​ ​an​ ​individual’s​ ​right​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​personal​ ​choice  to​ ​end​ ​life​ ​in​ ​such​ ​extreme​ ​situations,​ ​Buddhist​ ​teachings​ ​ideally​ ​point​ ​to  non​ ​violence,​ ​both​ ​towards​ ​one’s​ ​self​ ​and​ ​others.     Yet​ ​compassion​ ​is​ ​an​ ​essential​ ​theme​ ​in​ ​Buddhist​ ​philosophy.​ ​That​ ​leads​ ​us  to​ ​the​ ​question,​ ​“Is​ ​it​ ​an​ ​act​ ​of​ ​compassion​ ​to​ ​deny​ ​an​ ​individual​ ​the​ ​choice  to​ ​end​ ​life​ ​prompted​ ​by​ ​unbearable​ ​pain?”     The​ ​Buddhist​ ​view​ ​is​ ​sympathetic​ ​to​ ​the​ ​suffering​ ​of​ ​individuals​ ​yet​ ​holds  out​ ​the​ ​hope​ ​of​ ​a​ ​truth​ ​beyond​ ​suffering​ ​and​ ​calls​ ​for​ ​a​ ​greater  understanding​ ​of​ ​death.​ ​Such​ ​awareness​ ​of​ ​death​ ​may​ ​be​ ​brought​ ​about  through​ ​guidance​ ​and​ ​counselling.​ ​This​ ​process​ ​brings​ ​about​ ​peace​ ​with  surrounding​ ​conditions​ ​and​ ​impending​ ​death​ ​as​ ​opposed​ ​to​ ​facing​ ​an​ ​abrupt  end​ ​with​ ​confusion.    The​ ​Buddhist​ ​Council​ ​of​ ​Victoria​ ​is​ ​available​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​such​ ​guidance​ ​and  counselling​ ​to​ ​any​ ​concerned​ ​individual​ ​or​ ​their​ ​families​ ​as​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​our  community​ ​services​ ​beyond​ ​religious​ ​boundaries.

BCV Policy on Managing Sexual Abuse and Harassment

​The Buddhist Council of Victoria advises its member temples and centres that it is in their interests to adopt a policy to manage sexual harassment and child abuse. Buddhist  temples and centres need to be prepared to manage potential problems in an organised and planned way. The aim of the policy is to help to plan a response based on individual temple’s needs and circumstances and to think about the issues. The Council notes that sexual abuse and harassment are non-virtuous actions and in conflict with the Buddhist precept regarding sexual misconduct. The Buddhist Council advises all member organisations that they must comply with government requirements, such as the Working With Children Check. 
1. Definitions

  • Child abuse:

The age of consent in Victoria is 16, sexual contact with anyone under 16 is a criminal offence. (See Appendix 1.)
Abuse of children could occur at the hands of sangha members, teachers, volunteers, employees, members or others.

  • Sexual harassment:

Sexual harassment is harassment with a sexual basis, such as when a person makes unwelcome sexual advances, persistent, unwanted requests for sexual favours, unwanted physical intimacy such as touching and unwanted comments of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment may have occurred if a person feels uncomfortable, offended, humiliated, intimidated and or frightened.
 
2. Expectations

  • The core expectations of any responsible organisation include the treatment of all people with fairness and dignity and to care for those who are less powerful and in need of nurture and protection.
  • A temple or centre must be a place of refuge, a place of safety. This includes safety for vulnerable people. Vulnerable people include children, the aged, the disabled, those going through grief, divorce, loss of a job or who are in other difficult circumstances.

 
3. Procedure

  • Volunteers and workers must complete application forms, provide references, and undertake checks to show they are not precluded from working with children.
  • Persons convicted of violent crimes or sex offences cannot be engaged by the temple.
  • Staff must be trained in the policy.
  • It is recommended to work in pairs or with the presence of family when in contact with children.

3.1 Reporting Complaints

  • Abbots, abbesses, employees and volunteers must report reasonable suspicions or complaints of abuse.
  • An independent person will be appointed by senior management with the specific duty of dealing with any allegations of harm or abuse.
  • Details of reported abuse will be treated as confidential.
  • The temple must have a documented reporting process to handle allegations. Complaints should be made in writing and all steps made to address the complaint need to be documented.
  • If there is reasonable suspicion that a member has been or is suffering abuse, the police will be contacted immediately.
  • The police will also be notified if a member discloses an incident of abuse that has occurred outside the temple premises, such as on an outing.

 
3.2 On Hearing About an Incident of Sexual Abuse

  • Maintain appropriate pastoral care and treat the allegation seriously.
  • Do not attempt to run an investigation.
  • Reassure the victim they are understood.
  • Report the abuse to the police. Be aware that concealing crimes or failing to provide information may be criminal offences.
  • Do not contact the perpetrator.
  • Retain clothing of victim if abuse is recent.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Any disclosures by a member, reports of suspected abuse and all details of the subsequent investigation will be documented promptly and the documents will be held in a secure location where a breach of privacy cannot occur.
  • Where their identity is known victims must not be blamed or shamed and should be welcomed back into the community, but it is preferable that the identity of victims is not made known.
  • Support, counselling, and advocacy on behalf of the victim are required.
  • Brochures from health departments, counselling services or women’s advocacy services should be available from the temple.
  • Prevention is better than cure.

 
3.3 On Being Advised About Sexual Harassment by a Victim Another Person Should:

  • Request the harasser to stop.
  • After notification, and should harassment continue, the matter should be reported to temple officials.
  • Should temple officials fail to acknowledge the incident and act upon it immediately, the victim (or another person privy to the case), should refer the matter to police and/or The Equal Opportunity Commission.
  • Harassment may be considered a criminal offence, in which case it is a matter for the law. In this case see section 3.2.

 
3.4 Managing a Complaint of Sexual Abuse

  • If there is reasonable suspicion that a member has been or is suffering abuse, the police will be contacted immediately.
  • A person suspected of committing abuse will be suspended from work or other duties within the temple while under investigation for committing abuse.
  • A person found guilty of committing abuse, either by internal investigation or by a court, will have their employment or involvement with the temple terminated.

 
4. Conclusion
This policy is offered to temples where they have no policy but it is not compulsory. It could, for example, be replaced by an insurance policy required by an insurance company. However, temples are urged to adopt policies that take into account the principles and procedures listed above.
 
Appendix 1 – Generally the age of consent is 16, however sex is not a crime if the younger person was 15 and the older person is less than two years older and believed the younger one was 16. It is against the law for persons who are 16 or 17 years old to have sexual contact with a person who is caring or supervising them, such as a teacher, youth worker or foster carer, even if they agree. It is against the law for people to be forced to have sexual contact without consent. 

Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme Information Sessions

 

To further assist organisations to comply with Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the Commission is delivering workshops and  information sessions designed to support staff and build understanding.

The Child Safe Standards workshops include a presentation about the standards and the opportunity to participate in group discussions and activities. The session aims to help improve understanding of how the standards can be applied to your organisation.

The workshops are aimed at all Victorian organisations that are required to comply with the standards.

To attend a Child Safe Standards Workshop please follow one of the registration links below:

 The Reportable Conduct Scheme Information Sessions provide a general overview and information about the scheme, including the responsibilities of a Head of an organisation, what is reportable conduct and the investigation process.

 Check here to see if the scheme applies to your organisation.

 This session is targeted to all senior staff, such as CEOs, principal officers or human resources, governance and compliance managers who are currently in-scope (Phase 1 and 2  organisations) and Phase 3 organisations (in scope from 1 January 2019).

 

To attend a Reportable Conduct Scheme Information Session please follow one of the registration links below:

 

    19 September2pm–3.30pm Register

    17 October10am–11.30am Register

     1 November10am–11.30am Register

 

Certain early years providers are coming into scope for the Reportable Conduct Scheme from 1 January 2019. To register your interest for an Early Years Reportable Conduct Scheme Information Session, please complete the expression of interest form.

 

To find out about new information sessions, you can subscribe for updates or contact us

 

You can also find more information on the Commission’s website: www.ccyp.vic.gov.au

 

To download a copy of ‘A Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation’ to assist organisations to create a culture of child safety, click here.

 

If you need an interpreter, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact the Commission for Children and Young People on 03 8601 5281.

New and Update Information Sheets now available on the Reportable Conduct Scheme

To further assist organisations with the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the Commission for Children and Young People has published two new information sheets on sexual misconduct and physical violence under the scheme.

 

An updated reportable conduct information sheet has also been published setting out the five types of conduct that are reportable, while the new information sheets explain in detail the nature of physical violence and sexual misconduct that must be reported to the Commission.

 

The new physical violence information sheet includes helpful flow charts that guide you in deciding if the alleged conduct constitutes reportable physical violence against, with, or in the presence of a child. The new sexual misconduct information sheet gives guidance on conduct that may be reportable sexual misconduct against, with, or in the presence of, a child.

 

Organisations are encouraged to contact the Commission if they have questions about applying the guidance to current reportable allegations where an investigation is underway. The Commission can be contacted via contact@ccyp.vic.gov.au or by telephone on 1300 78 29 78.

 

The updated and new information sheets can be downloaded here:

Information Sheet 2: What is reportable conduct under the Reportable Conduct Scheme

Information Sheet 9: Sexual misconduct under the Reportable Conduct Scheme

Information Sheet 10: Physical violence under the Reportable Conduct Scheme

Should you have any feedback about the information sheets, or any other Commission guidance material, please feel free to contact the Commission. Your feedback will assist in continuing to develop our approach to supporting organisations to comply.

 

Reminder – Legislation changes

 

Changes to the Reportable Conduct Scheme and Child Safe Standards took effect on 27 February 2018.  The Commission previously published this explainer, which provides further useful background.

 

Updated Guidance on Investigation Findings

As part of the Reportable Conduct Scheme, heads of organisations must investigate allegations of reportable conduct. They can also authorise a regulator or independent investigator to investigate on behalf of the organisation.

 

At the end of an investigation into a reportable allegation, the organisation or investigator must make findings. They have to report to the Commission those findings and the reasons for those findings.

 

A new information sheet published today aims to guide organisations on the type of findings available.

Investigation findingsThe information sheet covers:

what a decision maker might consider in assessing the strength of different pieces of evidence

the standard of proof that must be applied when making a finding

the types of findings available

what information should be included when giving reasons for those findings

what actions might be required as a result of the findings that were made

the reporting obligations to the Commission.

Read the new information sheet: Investigation findings

 

About the Reportable Conduct SchemeThe scheme seeks to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct.

 

Heads of organisations are required to report to the Commission any reportable allegation made against a worker or volunteer in their organisation.

 

The organisation must ensure any reportable allegation is investigated and report its findings to the Commission.

 About the Reportable Conduct SchemeThe scheme seeks to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct.

 

Read more

Notify and update reportable allegations

Reportable Conduct Scheme form requirements.

Where to get helpThe Commission’s website has a range of supports available for organisations that need to comply with the scheme.

 

You can also contact us directly for clarification and guidance via:

 

Phone: (03) 8601 5281

Email: childsafestandards@ccyp.vic. gov.au

 

 

Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme Narrated Power Points

Since the introduction of Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the Commission has delivered over 35 information sessions to regulators, peak bodies and organisations to raise awareness of the schemes.

 

To further assist organisations to understand these two important schemes, the Commission has published two narrated PowerPoints that are available to view and share on our website.

 

The narrated PowerPoints are condensed versions of the Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme information sessions we have been delivering. They are designed for organisations to use to educate staff and aid implementation of the schemes.

 

Used in conjunction with the Commission’s ‘A Guide to Creating a Child Safe Organisation’, and the information sheets on the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the narrated PowerPoints will provide guidance and support to assist your organisation to develop appropriate systems to meet your regulatory requirements.

 

To order your copy of ‘A Guide to Creating a Child Safe Organisation’ to assist your organisation to create a culture of child safety, Click here to email the Commission.

 

To view the narrated PowerPoint presentations please click on the following links:

 

Child Safe Standards Narrated PowerPoint

Reportable Conduct Scheme Narrated PowerPoint

 

Please check our website for Reportable Conduct Scheme and Child Safe Standards information sessions or click here to receive Commission Updates and you will be notified of upcoming sessions.

 

For further information please contact the Commission for Children and Young People. Email us  Phone 03 8601 5281.

 

Victorian Child Safe Standards Faith Communities Tool Kit

To help you set up the Child Safe Standards (CSS), the Victorian Council of Churches had made available a “Toolkit”.

For more information to help your organisations implement CSS you can download the toolkit for your use.

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July_CSS_Newsletter.pdf

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June_CSS-Newsletter.pdf

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April_CSS_Newsletter_.pdf

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January_CSS-Newsletter_.pdf

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