PYNSW Policy and Values

Presbyterian Youth NSW (PYNSW), as an organisation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in the State of New South Wales, believes that the ethical conduct and manner of life of all our leaders should be consistent with the Christian gospel and shaped by the teaching of God’s Word. Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5: 2-3 (NIV) Therefore, as leaders of PY we adopt the following Code of Conduct as a statement of what we expect of ourselves and others who are given the responsibility of ministry within our organisation:

  1. We commit ourselves to respect other people’s minds, emotions and bodies.
  2. We expect our leaders and employed workers to display Christ-like and Christ-honouring behaviour and to act as spiritual role models for those under their care.
  3. We acknowledge and accept the extraordinary amount of trust granted to us by those who are taking part in PY activities, their families and the wider community.
  4. We do not condone nor tolerate any acts of abuse towards children or adults and will actively seek to prevent its occurrence.
  5. We are committed to dealing with reports of abuse in a fair and just manner, as required by the Church and the Law.
  6. We believe that PY activities ought to be places of safety and refuge for children and others, that they should be and feel safe from any threat when in the care of Christian people, and that PY activities should be a place where people can disclose abuse and have it dealt with effectively.

PYNSW Statement of Faith

  • The divine inspiration and infallibility of Holy Scripture, as originally given and its supreme authority in all matter of faith and conduct.
  • The unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
  • The universal sinfulness and guilt of human nature since the fall, rendering man subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.
  • The conception of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and His birth of the Virgin Mary.
  • Redemption from the guilt, penalty and power of sin, only through the sacrificial death, as our representative and substitute, of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
  • The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
  • The necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit to make the death of Christ effective in the individual sinner, granting them repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Faith, love and hope are the signs of the indwelling and work of the Holy Spirit.
  • The expectation of the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The individual election of believers by God’s free grace, in Christ, from before creation.


  • The information contained in this application is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • I authorise any referees or churches listed in this application to give you any information they may have regarding my character and fitness for children/youth work.
  • I release all such referees from liability for any damage that may result from furnishing such evaluations to you, and I waive any right that I may have to inspect references provided on my behalf.
  • I have read the PYNSW Policy and Values, the Code of Conduct and the Statement of Faith documents of Presbyterian Youth NSW and agree to abide by them and to refrain from any unscriptural conduct in the performance of my ministry on behalf of the church.
  • Should my application be accepted, I agree to be bound by the Constitution, by-laws and policies of the Presbyterian Church of Australia (in NSW) in my service on behalf of the Church.
  • I have read the Job Description for my role on camp and accept its responsibilities.

Code of Conduct for PYNSW

The following constitutes PYNSW’s Code of Conduct for behaviour for a person in a position of authority within PYNSW:As a person in a position of authority within PYNSW you must always be concerned about the integrity of your position, likely perceptions of the church and the wider community, and the need to acknowledge the real or perceived power given to you as a result of holding this position. You should avoid situations where you are vulnerable to temptation or where your conduct may be construed to be a breach of this Code of Conduct. You will make yourself familiar with the provisions of PYNSW Safe Ministry Policy & Procedure.

  1. You must not fail take action to prevent to the best of your ability, and report as required, the following:
    • child abuse,
    • a child or young person at risk of significant harm,
    • sexual misconduct, and/or
    • conduct that breaches the PYNSW Safe Ministry Policy & Procedure Code of Conduct.
  2. Sexualised behaviour is any behaviour that may reasonably be perceived to be of a sexual nature according to the standards of the time by the person to whom it is directed. Sexualised behaviour is only permitted as set out in the Word of God. Except with one’s own marriage partner, all sexualised behaviour is forbidden. If you are not married you must abstain from all sexual or sexualised behaviour.
  3. You must not engage in or condone any behaviour that could be considered to be:
    • child abuse,
    • putting a child or young person at risk of significant harm, and/or
    • conduct that breaches this PYNSW Safe Ministry Policy & Procedure Code of Conduct.
  4. You must not engage in or condone any behaviour that could be considered to be sexual misconduct, understanding that sexual misconduct is contact or invitation, via any means, of a sexual nature which is inconsistent with the integrity of a person in a position of authority within PYNSW. Sexual misconduct includes any behaviour that could be reasonably considered to be sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, coercion or grooming of an adult or a child or young person.
  5. Sexual exploitation refers to any form of sexualised behaviour with an adult, child or young person, whether or not there is consent and regardless of who initiated the behaviour, where that behaviour is contrary to the Word of God. Therefore, you will not among other things engage in or condone any of the following:
    • behaviour or a pattern of behaviour aimed at the involvement of others in sexual acts, including but not limited to coercion or grooming behaviour,
    • sexualised behaviour with a person below the age of consent,
    • sexualised behaviour with a person with whom there is a supervisory, pastoral care, or counselling relationship,
    • the production, distribution, possession of or accessing of pornographic material of any kind,
    • taking advantage of the conscious or unconscious use of sexually provocative behaviour that some victims of abuse display,
    • engaging the services of a prostitute, or soliciting or providing such services,
    • visiting, without legitimate reason, a brothel or any place maintained for the abuse-of-sex industry,
    • viewing or reading, in print or otherwise, material of a sexually explicit nature, except for a legitimate purpose,
    • participating in sexually explicit conversation via social media, chat rooms, gaming or any other means, and
    • asking, without legitimate reason, any questions about the intimate details of a person’s sexual life or providing details of your own sexual life.
  6. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexualised behaviour, whether intended or not, in relation to an adult, child or young person where that person reasonably feels in all circumstances offended, belittled or threatened. Such behaviour may consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time. Therefore, you will not, among other things engage in or condone:
    • implicit or explicit demands or suggestions for sexual activities,
    • making any gesture, action or comment of a sexual nature to a person or about a person in their presence,
    • making jokes containing sexual references or innuendo using any form of communication,
    • exposure to any form of sexually explicit or suggestive material, including but not limited to pornography of any kind,
    • physical contact that is inappropriate to the situation or uncomfortable or confusing for the receiver, including kissing, hugging, touching, pinching, patting or aggressive physical conduct,
    • touching any sexual part of the body, including the “only kidding” or accidental occasions of sexual touch,
    • generating or participating in inappropriate personal correspondence (including electronic communication) in respect of sexual or romantic feelings or in breach of the Code of Conduct,
    • inappropriate giving of gifts, including those of a sexual, suggestive or romantic nature that is in breach of the Code of Conduct,
    • inappropriate or unnecessary discussion of, or inquiry about, personal matters of a sexual nature,
    • inappropriate intrusion of personal space or physical privacy, including being alone in a bedroom or bathroom or allowing inappropriate exposure during activities that require dressing or changing clothes,
    • voyeurism, and
    • persistent following or stalking.
  7. Coercion or grooming behaviour refers to physical or psychological actions intrinsic to initiating or hiding abusive behaviour, which involved the manipulative cultivation of relationships with vulnerable adults, children and/or young people, their carers and others in authority. You will not exhibit any behaviour that could be considered to be coercion or grooming behaviour.
  8. With regard to children and young people:
    • You will not visit a child or young person in their own home unless a parent is present or you visit with another person in a position of authority within PYNSW with parental permission.
    • PYNSW will not provide any form of accommodation for any reason where there is not strict segregation by sex, with the exception of married couples and families. Supervision of children and/or young people will be provided by a person of the same sex. You will uphold PYNSW’s accommodation rules at all times.
    • You will ensure that any activity involving children and/or young people is open to observation by parents and other adults with a legitimate interest
  9. With regard to adults, children and young people, you will not condone or participate in bullying behaviour. Bullying is the repeated seeking out or targeting of an adult, child or young person to cause them distress and humiliation or to exploit them, including exclusion from a peer group, intimidation and extortion. If another person indicates by their words or actions that they feel bullied or harassed by you, review your conduct. If in doubt, cease the conduct and seek advice. When teaching, admonishing or exercising discipline as part of your pastoral ministry, be sure you do it respectfully.
  10. With regard to adults, children and young people:
    • You will not participate in or allow nude swimming or other such activities.
    • You will not participate in or allow initiations and secret ceremonies.
  11. With regard to adults, children and young people, you will not harass another person. Harassment means unwelcome conduct, whether intended or not, in relation to another person where the person feels with good reason in all the circumstances offended, belittled or threatened. Such behaviour may consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time. It includes:
    • physical contact;
    • gestures or language (overt or implied) including continual and unwarranted shouting;
    • unjustified or unnecessary comments about a person’s capacities or attributes;
    • openly displayed pictures, posters, graffiti or written materials;
    • communications in any form (for example, phone calls, email, text messages); and
    • following or stalking.
  12. With regard to disciplining children and young people, when a child or young person’s behaviour requires correction, either for the safety and welfare of themselves or the group, you will:
    • ensure a warning precedes any discipline, where the situation permits;
    • explain the discipline to the child or young person;
    • give the child or young person an opportunity to explain;
    • make sure the discipline is appropriate to the occasion and age of the child or young person;
    • never use corporal punishment or otherwise abusive forms of discipline;
    • never use isolation as a form of discipline;
    • only use physical restraint to protect children or young people from harm or to avoid an accident; and
    • when physical restraint is used, immediately advise the General Manager, PYNSW who will keep a record that identifies the restraint used, the persons involved and any witnesses, and sets out the incident’s circumstances and inform the child or young person’s parent or carer.
  13. With regard physical contact with adults, children and young people, in general (excluding circumstances such as immediate physical danger or medical emergency) physical contact should be initiated by the child or young person or occur with their permission. When you make physical contact with a child or young person, you will be very careful that you respect the child or young person’s feelings and privacy. Ensure that any physical contact you have with children or young people is of a non-sexual nature and appropriate to the situation. Avoid any physical contact that is sexually stimulating, or that may be construed as sexually stimulating. Children and young people may or may not be aware of creating such situations. It is your responsibility to be alert for such situations and to cease any inappropriate physical contact immediately.
    • Appropriate contact includes:
      • bending down to a child’s eye level, speaking kindly and listening attentively;
      • gaining permission before hugging a child or young person and respecting their right to refuse;
      • taking a child’s hand and leading them to an activity;
      • comforting a child or young person by placing an arm around their shoulder and giving a gentle squeeze from the side;
      • praising or welcoming a child or young person by holding their two hands in yours;
      • patting the child on the hand, back or shoulder in affirmation; and
      • holding a preschool child who is crying, provided that they want to be held.
    • Inappropriate contact includes contact set out in this Code of Conduct and:
      • kissing or coaxing a child or young person to kiss you;
      • extended hugging or tickling;
      • touching any area of the body normally covered by a swimming costume, specifically the buttocks, thighs, breasts or groin areas; and
      • carrying older children or young people, sitting them on your lap or having them rub up next to you.
  14. With regard to adults, children and young people, you will take care to ensure an appropriate balance of transparency and confidentiality so that the private concerns of others are not disclosed or revealed improperly. In ordinary circumstances, when you are providing pastoral care to, or working with members of the opposite sex, you will strive to do so in an environment that allows visual surveillance and, where reasonable, have other people within hearing distance.
  15. You will not drive a child or young person unaccompanied. Where specified provisions cannot be followed in an emergency, the circumstances of the emergency and the actions taken should be reported to and approved by the General Manager, PYNSW. Where the actions taken are not approved they will be considered to be a breach of the Code of Conduct. Any breaches of this Code of Conduct for any reason will be reported to the General Manager PYNSW as soon as possible. The General Manager will then report the matter to the CPU.

Within this Code of Conduct words have a specific meaning. You can find these in your copy of the PYNSW Safe Ministry Policy & Procedure. Some that you may need include:

  • Child abuse: Includes neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence.
  • Notifiable circumstance: The CPU must be advised of all notifiable circumstances, including:
    • any fact, circumstance, allegation, notification, knowledge of, verbal advice of, direct or indirect connection to, or attempt of abuse, and
    • all allegations, complaints, reportable allegations and allegations – reportable conduct.

A notifiable circumstance may identify someone who is currently or has been a member of the church, someone who is currently or has been a person in a position of authority within the church, a current or ex- employee, a current or ex-student, a current or ex-volunteer and/or a current or ex-third party.

Risk of significant harm: At risk of significant harm is a term used by Community Services for situations where a reasonable person has current concerns about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person. Conduct putting a child or young person at risk of significant harm may also be reportable conduct and is a notifiable circumstance. 


Contact the PYNSW Office on 02 9690 9375 or