Apply the screening standards
All screening standards must be applied equitably and consistently. Don’t lower the standards, and don’t skip steps. It’s the nature of the position, not the nature of the person holding it, that determines the standard. The organizational leadership (bishop, churchwardens, director, incumbent, priest-in-charge) is responsible for making sure screening standards are implemented in the parish or organization.
Make a selection decision based on the screening information
To make the selection decision:
- Review the documented material.
- List the screening standards and where concerns were raised, if any.
- Obtain more information, if needed (e.g. a second interview).
- Assess the information based on the nature of the ministry, services and activities provided; the degree of vulnerability of the participant; the relevant ethical and spiritual principles associated with the ministry; and the potential risk for harm.
- Assess the information objectively and consistently.
- Determine suitability by exercising “best judgement.”
If the information obtained through the screening procedures doesn’t raise any concerns, the applicant can be accepted into the ministry position (Appendix N, Sample Acceptance Letter). If a decision is made not to accept the person for a ministry position, they must be informed (Appendix O, Sample Refusal Letter).
Those implementing the screening process and making the selection decisions may be the churchwardens, incumbent, organizational leader or individual who directly oversees the ministry. Don’t communicate the selection decision to the individual being screened until the incumbent or organizational leader approves the decision and signs the Screening Checklist. If there are concerns raised in the screening process, the incumbent or organizational leader should be consulted.
Signing the Screening Checklist is the responsibility of the incumbent or organizational leader. They may delegate all other screening responsibilities to another person as long as the governing advisory board or committee ratifies this appointment.
The diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy requires that: “Persons who have been found in a criminal proceeding to have committed sexual abuse of a child shall under no circumstances be given duties where they may be in contact with children. In the case of acquittal of a person charged with sexual abuse of a child (or where charges have not been proceeded with), the Diocese reserves the right to make an independent determination of the facts and the potential risks posed by the respondent based on a standard of the balance of probabilities, and erring on the side of protection of children and vulnerable persons.”
According to the Ontario Child and Family Services Act and the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy, the parish will make sure all reasonable suspicions of sexual offence against children and vulnerable adults are reported to the police, Children’s Aid Society and the Canon Pastor.