Code of Conduct

ARK Centre Code of Conduct


  1. Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this policy is to clearly set out expectations around behaviour from all parties entering and accessing ARK Centre either in person, on the phone or online. The intention is to ensure that each and every individual has a positive and safe experience at, and with, ARK Centre and that all persons engaged with ARK Centre are safe and protected at all times.

This code of conduct applies to all individuals engaging with ARK Centre including:

  • Staff;
  • Volunteers;
  • Members and Visitors here to participate in synagogue services, Centre events, activities, programs or meetings with staff.
  • Any individuals associated with Members and Visitors such as nannies and babysitters and those involved in leading activities or programs.

Volunteers, Members, Visitors and individuals associated with Members and Visitors are referred to as “Members and Visitors” in this Code of Conduct.

  1. Visiting ARK Centre

ARK Centre is open and inclusive of all individuals. It is important that every person who enters ARK Centre is treated with respect and, by extension, that every person entering ARK Centre treats others with respect.

It is requested that visits to ARK Centre are in line with services and events that have been advertised or as a result of a previously arranged appointment.

Where applicable, it is required that payment for the event or program has been received prior to the Member or Visitor attending unless other arrangements have been made.

When attending any service, event, activity or program it is imperative that all Members and Visitors listen respectfully to the individual(s) in charge – this is the Rabbi or other individual leading the service, madrich(im) leading a program, staff managing and event or activity or third parties leading an activity. All Staff, Members and Visitors will refrain from any language or behaviour that shows disrespect to the individual in charge or other participants. Staff, Members and Visitors will also refrain from any actions or behaviours that would prove disruptive to other participants enjoying or taking full advantage of the service, activity, event or program they are attending.

Bullying of any kind – verbal, physical or emotional – will not be tolerated by any person at any time.

Any activity that risks the emotional or physical health of Staff, Members or Visitors will not be tolerated. Such activities include inappropriate relationships, consumption of any illicit substances and carrying of weaponry.

The policies above include, but are not limited to, face-to-face interactions, phone calls, emails and online interactions.

  1. Child Safety

ARK Centre is committed to the protection and safety of all children that attend the Centre. All have the right to feel safe and feel comfortable whenever they are at ARK Centre.

3.1 Children’s Behaviour

Parents will take full responsibility for their children’s behaviour and activities. In the situation where there is an activity for children during a synagogue service parents are expected to participate in the activity alongside their children.

If at any time a Member or Visitor has an issue with a child that is not theirs they will not discipline or reprimand the child but rather notify the child’s parent / guardian. If a parent / guardian is not in attendance ARK Centre staff should be notified.

3.2 Reporting Misconduct

All Child Safety complaints from Staff, Members and Visitors must be reported to the General Manager or a member of the Board of Management of ARK Centre. Complaints and concerns are expected to be reported and documented in an appropriate manner. Staff, Members and Visitors will be pointed to this Code of Conduct to ensure they are aware of the Government’s Reportable Conduct Scheme.

In line with the State Government’s mandatory Reportable Conduct Scheme, allegations against Staff or Volunteers of child abuse and misconduct involving children must be reported to the Commission for Children and Young People.

Any allegations of criminal misconduct of any kind will be reported to Victoria Police.

The process of treating allegations of misconduct are outlined later in this document.

3.3 Responsibility of Ensuring a Safe Environment for Children

Staff, the Board of Management and Volunteers are responsible for the wellbeing of children by adhering to the following:

  • This Code of Conduct
  • Being appropriate role models in terms of conduct and behaviour
  • Ensuring all children and families regardless of age, gender, religion, cultural background or political viewpoints are treated with respect and are welcomed when at the Centre
  • Putting in place reasonable steps to protect children from abuse
  • Ensuring that any reports of historical abuse are treated with dignity and respect
  • Ensuring that children are made to feel respected and heard in cases of them reported an incident of misconduct. By extension, ensuring that children are not admonished for bringing matters to the attention of ARK Centre
  • Providing appropriate avenues and services for reporting matters of misconduct to authorities
  • Responding to children in an appropriate manner at all times
  • Working with children in an age-appropriate way
  • Ensuring adults are never in rooms with closed doors with children
  • Respecting every individuals’ right to privacy
  • Zero tolerance on inappropriate touching of children
  • Complying with State and Federal legislative requirements

ARK Centre Staff, Members and Visitors must not:

  • Put anyone of any age in a situation that may endanger their safety or put them at risk of any kind of abuse
  • Ignore reports, concerns, suspicions or disclosures of child abuse or misconduct
  • Use inappropriate language at any time – this includes threats, explicit terms, reference to matters of an adult nature, racist or intolerant remarks – in the presence of children
  • Use inappropriate gestures or show inappropriate images / footage / videos to children
  • Bully a child verbally, physically or emotionally
  • Discriminate on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, culture or vulnerability
  • Engage in any unnecessary physical contact with children including doing things for a child that he / she could do for his/herself such as changing clothes
  • Engaging in any behaviours that could be construed as ‘grooming’ such as giving gifts to a particular child, treating one child differently than the rest, paying inappropriate attention to a particular child
  • Provide or exchange personal contact details with a child
  • Engage in any contact with a child that is not authorised in advance by a parent / guardian
  1. Communication

ARK Centre is committed to ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for all Staff, Members and Visitors.  All communication is expected to be polite and respectful regardless of format or platform.

Any threatening or abusive language will not be tolerated by any party at any time. The use / publication of inappropriate imagery or photos will not be tolerated.

‘Communication’ refers to any and all platforms including face-to-face, telephone, email, text message, posts on social media and online platforms and also pertains to references to individuals and ARK Centre itself.

  1. Making a complaint

Members and Visitors have the right to raise issues concerning themselves, their children or a person in their care. Concerns should be made with the General Manager or a member of the Board of Management.

Anyone who reasonably suspects a Member of Staff, Board Member, Member, Visitor, Volunteer or Program Leader of misconduct – in particular violence or sexual abuse – is encouraged to report the suspected misconduct to the General Manager or a Board Member. Any such complaint will be treated with confidence and the details of the the person(s) reporting the allegation will be kept private and confidential to the greatest extent possible within the bounds of the law.

All complaints will be treated with respect. The appropriate course of action and follow up will be determined on a case by case basis. The exception is in the case of alleged criminal conduct in which case mandatory reporting laws apply.

Upon notification of an allegation of violence or sexual misconduct by a Member of Staff,  Board Member, Volunteer or person otherwise employed or engaged by ARK Centre, ARK Centre will:

  • Appoint a person independent to the allegation to investigate
  • In the case of suspected sexual misconduct, the person will be immediately suspended from duties pending the outcome of the investigation
  • In the event that the alleged is found guilty – either by internal review or legal course – the individual’s employment and duties will be immediately terminated
  • Notify the relevant authorities in a timely manner

6. Breaches of this Code of Conduct

Should a Member of Visitor be in violation of this Code of Conduct, or believe another person or member of Staff is in breach of this Code of Conduct, the individual is encouraged to notify the General Manager in writing with the specific concerns detailed. In the event that the breach is concerning the General Manager, a member of the Board of Management is to be notified. The General Manager and/or members of the Board of Management and/or the Rabbi will determine the appropriate course of action. Steps will be taken to rectify concerns and issues raised. In the case of sustained breaches of this Code and/or failure to satisfactorily resolve a conflict, ARK Centre reserves the right to terminate employment or membership and refuse entry to the Centre as a last resort.

7.  ARK Centre Staff

All ARK Centre Staff, Board Members, Volunteers and Program Leaders hold a current Working with Children’s Check

All potential staff members are interviewed prior to their appointment. A minimum of two references is required. Where possible, referees from two previous employers are required.

Any individual who has previously been convicted of serious misconduct, violence and/or sexual misconduct is prohibited from working at ARK Centre