Hello Hunter is committed to the safety of volunteers, staff and every person who reaches out for assistance. We are committed to preventing harm and abuse and understand that we are responsible and accountable under State and Federal law to protect children and vulnerable people.
Key Safeguards are,
Staff and Volunteer Screening
Staff and Volunteer Training.
Staff and Volunteers Programme Protocols & Code of Conduct.
Appropriate Response to Concerns and Complaints
Hello Hunter partners with Christian Churches and Organisations.
Volunteers are recruited by the local Church.
Volunteers relate to, are supported by, and are the responsibility of the local Church.
While the programme partners with a network of churches it works with all people in need, regardless of their faith background, commitment, or other social standing or identity. The Hello Hunter governing body CityServe INC1500348 is not a religious organisation and exists to provide direct benevolent relief to people in necessitous circumstances.
To protect every person and volunteer partnering in the programme the following checks and due diligence must be provided by volunteers.
Volunteers must provide a National or NSW Police Check. This requirement forms part of our commitment to make all possible efforts to protect all persons participating in the programme. People who may be elderly or have a disability. There is also a driving duty component to the volunteer role, delivering essentials. The cost of the volunteer police check ($29.90) is the volunteers responsibility.
Volunteers must provide a written personal reference from their local Church minister.
Volunteers must register and complete the volunteer application form and online training package. They are responsible for providing the service delivery as described by that training. Any other assistance requested or provided that falls outside that described by the volunteer training is the responsibility of the volunteer and their local Church.
Volunteers have access to the support and guidance of their local minister and pastoral team.
Volunteers have access to the programme complaints procedure. We are committed to responding to every concern and responding appropriately.
NOTE: The programme does not provide services for under 18s and does not involve being face to face with children. Any contact with children would be incidental to the programme. The programme does not require volunteers to have a Working with Children Check.
To protect every person and church partnering in the programme the following checks and due diligence must be provided by participating churches.
A certificate of currency for their volunteer liability insurance. Churches are advised to check their insurance for the inclusion of the activity in their cover.
The volunteer must be known by the minister (or pastoral team) and be provided with a written personal reference.
A point leader from their congregation who will be the contact person for the programme.
A commitment to supporting their volunteers as per the programme training and protocols.
If a Church is approached by a community person wanting to volunteer it is at the discretion of the local church as to whether they include them as part of their team. The community volunteer must be known by the minister and be provided with a personal reference from that minister. They must fulfill all other volunteer requirements of the programme.
To ensure consistency with the programmes commitment to the protection of vulnerable persons a copy Churches Vulnerable Persons Policy is requested.
NOTE: Participating Churches and Christian organisations are ‘Religious Services’ responsible for maintaining their own verified working with children checks as per legislative requirements and their own child safe policies. The programme is not providing a child service however participating churches are encouraged to ensure all legislative and policy requirements of a Religious Service are fulfilled.
VULNERABLE PERSON SAFE
The programme does not provide a child service. Programme Volunteers must have a Police Check, Personal Reference from a Minister, Complete the Volunteer Training and sign a Code of Conduct that stipulates that there is no engagement with children.
Participating Churches and Christian organisations are responsible for maintaining their volunteer checks as per the requirements of a Religious Service under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, related legislative supplements, the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian and their own child safe policies.
If a volunteer suspects a child might be at significant risk of harm a report must be made to the FACS Child Protection Hotline: 132 111 or the police.
DOMESTIC, DISABILITY OR ELDER ABUSE
Volunteers in this programme are offering a friendly chat. It is not an advice or counselling line. If an adult share information that indicates domestic violence, elder or any form of abuse the volunteer training directs the following actions.
If the person is at immediate risk of serious harm call 000 and make a police report. If the person is not at immediate risk of serious harm, let them know that what they have said is important and thank them for sharing. They will then provide referral information to connect them with an appropriate service. The person will be offered a follow up call from a minister or programme leader to check on how they are doing.
Read more about Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence at the following links.
MENTAL HEALTH SAFE
If a person shares information with a volunteer that indicates suicidal thoughts the volunteer training directs the following. If they have a plan to take their life the volunteer is to inform them that they will let someone else know who will come and assist them immediately, call 000.
If the volunteer does not suspect immediate risk of harm, thank them for sharing and let them know what they have said is important. The volunteer is to let them know that they are not a counselor or trained in how to manage this kind of situation and refer them to Lifeline 11 13 14 or Beyond Blue 1800 512 348
The person will be offered a follow up call from their minister or programme leader to check on how they are doing.
During the COVID-19 period all those participating are responsible for maintaining social distancing and hygiene requirements as directed by the Australian Federal Government, NSW State Government and NSW Health. Detailed direction is provided in the Volunteer Training Module for each aspect of the programmes service delivery in a COVID-19 environment.
The protocol directs that volunteers have no direct physical contact with those being assisted.
Volunteers and staff are required to keep personal information confidential. Details about calls must not be shared other volunteer, friends, family or other services without permission, aside from special circumstances as required by the law. These include,
where the law requires that a report is made to a government agency, such as in the case of suspected child abuse, or to notify infectious diseases.
It is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person’s health or welfare.
There is evidence that an offence may have been committed, and the disclosure is necessary to the functions of a law enforcement agency.
It is necessary to find a missing person or a court order such as a warrant or subpoena is issued.
If the volunteer needs guidance or to debrief they can talk their supervisor (minister or Hub Leader) who is bound by the same confidentiality requirements.
Persons assisted by the programme can phone the Call Centre or provide feedback via an online feedback form. Complaints can be made anonymously.
All complaints will be investigated, and the confidentiality of the complainant protected. Outcomes of the investigation will be reported to the complainant where they have provided their contact information.
Volunteers are supported by their local Church and can access their organisations complaint procedures. If no Church complaint procedure exists or if the complainant prefers to bring their Complaint to the programme, then the following Complaint Policy applies.
We are committed to seeking and receiving feedback and complaints about any aspect of the programme.
Any concerns raised will be dealt with within a reasonable time frame.
Persons making complaints will be provided with information about the complaint handling process and how to access it.
Persons making a complaint are to be listened to, treated with respect by staff and actively involved in the complaint process where possible and appropriate, and provided with reasons for decision/s and any options for redress or review.
We will protect the identity of persons making complaints where this is practical and appropriate. Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed as permitted under the relevant privacy laws, secrecy provisions and any relevant confidentiality obligations.
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people making complaints are not adversely affected because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.
We accept anonymous complaints and will carry out a confidential investigation of the issues raised where there is enough information provided.
 Throughout this document the word ‘Church’ refers to Christian Churches and Christian Organisations.