Code of Conduct for Chaplains and Visiting Clergy



Central to the mission of Catholic Military Ordinariate is an unequivocal commitment to fostering the dignity, self-esteem and integrity of children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military Services is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all people in the ADF, our communities and our society. This is inclusive of those who are vulnerable in any aspect within our society. It is a responsibility and duty to live this principle of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, not only as Catholics in the spirit of Christ’s teachings, but also as citizens in our communities. As members of the Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military Services it is incumbent upon us to adhere to professional standards as set by our nation and the Church, as well as an obligation for uniformed personnel to perform their duties in accordance with Defence policies and regulations.


The Code of Conduct has a specific focus on safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults against sexual, physical, psychological, verbal and emotional abuse or neglect. It is intended to complement the various government-based child protection legislation and the Catholic Military Ordinariate Policy for working with children. All Chaplains, volunteers, and visiting clergy are expected to actively contribute to the culture that respects the dignity of its members and affirms the Gospel values of love and respect. All Chaplains, volunteers and visiting clergy are required to sign this Code of Conduct affirming their acceptance of the Diocesan Policy.


All Chaplains, volunteers, visiting clergy are responsible for supporting the safety of children by

  • Adhering to the Ordinariate’s Child Safe Policy and upholding the Statement of Commitment to child safety at all times.
  • Adhering to and upholding the policy and standards contained in the ADF Youth Policy Manual.
  • Taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse and harm.
  • Treating everyone within the community with respect and modelling this behaviour to promote respectful relationships.
  • Listening and responding to views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they have, or another child has, been abused or they fear for their safety.
  • Reporting any allegations of child abuse to the appropriate civilian and military authorities and to the police.
  • Understanding and complying with all reporting obligations as they relate to mandatory reporting.
  • Reporting any child safety concerns to the Vicar General of the Military Diocese.
  • If any allegation of child abuse is made, ensuring as quickly as possible that the child or children are safe.


Chaplains, volunteers and visiting clergy must not

  • Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse.
  • Develop any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism (e.g. offering gifts or special treatment for a specific child).
  • Exhibit behaviours with children that may be construed as unnecessarily physical (e.g. inappropriate sitting on laps).
  • Put children at risk of abuse, (e.g. by locking doors, or being alone with a child without parental or guardian prior knowledge and consent).
  • Express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of children.
  • Discriminate against any child because of age, gender, race, culture, sexuality, ethnicity or disability.
  • Have direct contact outside of pastoral duties associated with the person’s position in the community with a child or their family who is not socially related.
  • Have direct contact with a child via telephone, text, or any form of social media – including making or accepting a ‘friend-request’.
  • Photograph or video a child without the consent of the parent or guardian.
  • Photograph or video a child without the child’s consent.
  • Work with children while under the influence of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

The consequences of any breaches of the Code of Conduct can be found in paragraph 17 of the Diocesan Policy Statement.