Dear fellow parishioners
Our parishes are committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
There have been changes at the Archdiocesan level to ensure a more proactive approach to preventing child abuse. Our Parish Pastoral Councils and the Child Safety Team are now engaged in ensuring that our policies and practices meet these updated requirements.
Over the coming weeks, we will share with you policies and practices that should enable clergy, employees and volunteers to fulfil our responsibilities in safeguarding children and young people.
This week, we share an excerpt from the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy. This excerpt summarises the context of the changes we are addressing at our parish level.
The Child Safety Team will now be known as the Safeguarding Committee. We will work with the leadership of our parishes to promote the safety of children and young people.
Members of the Parishes’ Safeguarding Committee
Paul McCarthy, Christine Wakeling, Helen Overend, Trish Stabb, Mary Murtagh
CONTACT PHONE NO: 0410 715 267
Safeguarding children and young people within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM)
CAM acknowledges that preventing child abuse requires proactive approaches across policies, procedures and practices consistent with the requirements of the:
Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme (Commission for Children and Young People, Victoria)
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (Australian Human Rights Commission)
National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (Catholic Professional Standards Limited)
In fulfilling this responsibility, CAM has developed a comprehensive framework to guide the implementation of child safety policies, procedures and practices within parishes, agencies and entities with the aim of preventing child abuse, empowering children and young people, and responding to concerns, disclosures or allegations of child abuse or child-related misconduct.
This policy provides a broad overview of the framework and should be read in conjunction with supporting resources e.g. implementation guidelines, factsheets, templates.
The application of this policy extends to clergy, employee and volunteer behaviour within the context of their role within the Church: within the physical boundaries of CAM (e.g. churches, parish halls, presbyteries); beyond the physical boundaries including pastoral support, visitation or outreach on non-church property (e.g. hospitals, detention centres, prisons, homes), online or via digital environments and while travelling outside the Archdiocese whether locally, interstate or overseas.
Through the Professional Standards Unit, the Archbishop supports and assists parishes, agencies and entities to:
implement safeguarding practices and processes outlined in this policy
coordinate the response to allegations and reports of child safety related misconduct and child abuse in relation to clergy, employees and volunteers across the Archdiocese
monitor and continually improve safeguarding practices and processes.
CAM parish, agency and entity leadership is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and relevant procedures and practices within each parish, agency and entity to protect children and young people. The PSU will require the leadership of each parish, agency or entity with its Safeguarding Committee to summarise its compliance with the requirements of this policy on an annual basis.
The Safeguarding Committee established within each parish, agency or entity plays a central role in assisting the parish priest, or agency or entity leader with implementation of the requirements of this policy.
Further, as safeguarding children and young people is a collective responsibility; all persons in ministry, working or volunteering within CAM acknowledge their individual responsibility to comply with clear behavioural expectations to act in manner that is caring, respectful and safe toward children and young people.
Every member of the clergy, employee or volunteer within the Archdiocese has a moral, legal and ethical responsibility to care for, and promote the wellbeing of children and young people, and protect them from harm or abuse.
This applies to all those involved in Archdiocesan parishes, agencies and entities including:
clergy, including all canonical administrators of a parish (e.g. bishop, parish priest, assistant priest, migrant chaplains, visiting clergy, priests in residence, supply clergy, deacons)
Sisters, Brothers and Religious Priests holding an appointment from the Archbishop to undertake work in parish or Archdiocesan entities
employees (including casual employees)
lay ecclesiastical ministers including pastoral associates, those engaged in chaplaincy
persons residing at the presbytery or on the grounds of the parish, agency or entity
students on placement
contractors (where applicable)