The Catholic Church’s new safeguarding body has released the draft National Catholic Safeguarding Standards which will be used to gauge the capacity of the Catholic Church to provide safe places for children and vulnerable adults.
The draft standards can be found on the new Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL) website.
Sheree Limbrick, CEO of CPSL, said the release and the broad consultation around the standards is an important development in strengthening child and vulnerable adult protections in the Catholic Church in Australia.
“It is also a significant step in implementing one of the Royal Commission’s key recommendations,” Limbrick said.
“This is the first time, anywhere in Australia and among just a handful of countries around the world, where the Catholic Church will be accountable for their adherence to consistent and measurable national standards for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
“This is a major development for CPSL and an important plank in our work to do all we can to ensure children are safe in Catholic parishes, churches, ministries, outreach, schools, hospitals and other places.
“These Standards incorporate statutory requirements that Church organisations which deal with children already need to adhere to,” Limbrick said.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards set out 10 Standards which provide the framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures and to advance the safety of children across the Catholic Church in Australia.
The Standards build on the guidance of the Royal Commission and the draft National Statement of Principles for Child Safe Organisations from the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The Standards range across areas such as leadership, governance and culture; human resource and complaints management; education and training; communication with children and working with families, carers and communities.
CPSL is calling on anyone interested in the development of the Standards to provide feedback. Written submissions can be made through the CPSL website.
Limbrick said consultations with Dioceses, Religious Orders and other Catholic organisations over the past six months have reinforced what the Royal Commission found.
“The levels of protections for children and vulnerable adults can vary widely from one Catholic diocese to another”, she said.
“That is unsustainable and dangerous.
“Every child and every vulnerable adult must be protected by the same standards regardless of where they live or what part of the Catholic Church they come in contact with.”
CPSL is a new independent company established by the Catholic Church in Australia in November 2016 to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities.
CPSL is functionally independent from the Church leadership and is a significant development in the Church’s approach to protecting children and vulnerable adults.
TJHC winds up with recommendation Catholic Church puts in place high level Royal Commission implementation group
The Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council has concluded its work on Monday 30 April after more than five years coordinating the Church’s response to the child sexual abuse Royal Commission.
Francis Sullivan, who was CEO of the TJHC, thanked the thousands of people who had contributed to the work of the Council and more broadly the Commission.
“The past five years have been a searing experience for most people inside the Catholic Church as they have for the many thousands of survivors who have told their stories of abuse.
“Like the Royal Commission, the Council was only ever commissioned to exist for the life of the Royal Commission.
“Many good things have been achieved over the past years; reforms to legal processes, improvement in child protection practises, changes to compensation and redress arrangements.
“But by far the greatest legacy of the Commission will be the increased awareness of the appalling damage of child sexual abuse and the heightened aware that will forever keep the protection and safety of children at the very forefront of all out thinking.
“The real test of the success or otherwise of the Commission will be when we look back in five years and see that there have been changes in the way the Catholic Church and other institutions have implemented the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” Sullivan said.
The Council, in one of its final acts, will this week deliver to the Church leadership the final of four reports: a final reflection on the Commission process with a number of recommendations for the Church; an analysis of the Royal Commission’s recommendations and TJHC response to each recommendation; an activity report which details the work of the Council over the past five years; and a report on reform measures implemented by Church authorities across formation, governance, legal and other issues up to 2016.
One of the key recommendations from Council is that the Church leadership establish an Implementation Advisory Group to assist the Church in addressing the Royal Commission’s final report. An announcement regarding this recommendation is expected shortly.
As of 1 May, 2018 all enquiries including media enquiries that would have previously come to the TJHC regarding the Royal Commission and the Catholic Church should be directed to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on 02 6201 9859.