A ‘game-changer’ in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

From left: Maria Hicks, Joe Cashman, Executive Manager QIP, Fr James Antony, Gary Smith, Chair of QIP and Helen Delahunty

Described as a ‘game-changer’, the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn has been selected to participate in a pilot accreditation program being conducted by Quality Innovation Performance Limited (QIP) against its draft Standards for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults.

Initially, the pilot will involve the Chancery and nominated parishes from Canberra and the South Coast. It will assess the Archdiocese against measurable standards based on the ten principles for child-safe organisations recommended in 2017 by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses for Child Sexual Abuse.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse said he is “delighted” that the Archdiocese has been selected to participate in the program.

“The scourge of child abuse in the Catholic church has left deep wounds; however, as Archbishop, I’m delighted to say, at the moment and in the future, we have committed ourselves now to a complete cultural change in protecting our children and vulnerable adults,” Archbishop Prowse said.

Archdiocesan Professional Standards and Safeguarding Manager Maria Hicks said that the QIP program would “elevate past efforts” by providing independent and internationally recognised accreditation for the Archdiocese.

“In our ever-changing world, it’s necessary that we are constantly vigilant and open to learning how best to safeguard children and vulnerable adults, including people with disabilities and those in aged care,” Mrs Hicks said. 

The Group Chief Executive (GCEO) of QIP, Dr Stephen Clark, said the Royal Commission’s ten principles were an important first step; however, frameworks of this kind remain static unless they are converted into a dynamic set of standards that are able to be independently measured and reported on’

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“Turning these principles into actual, independently measurable, and reportable standards is an enormously powerful way to prevent sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults,’’ Dr Clark said.

“QIP has worked with an expert advisory group including survivors of sexual abuse to develop standards that can be tested, evaluated, and then adopted globally to protect children and vulnerable adults.’’

QIP is accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) and is well known as one of Australia’s leading not-for-profit assessment and accreditation agencies, particularly in the health, community and disability sectors.







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  • Beth Gibson 2 years

    This is indeed good news that our Archdiocese will have the opportunity to be part of a pilot assessing the working out of Standards for Safeguarding. There is always much to learn and share when considering the whole area of safety for children and vulnerable adults. One aspect of the Church’s response to clergy child sexual abuse that I think we have yet to really grapple with is, how to support parishes and communities where the sexual abuse is historical but there has been no formal recognition of this or attempt to clearly inform the community of this history or offer any support. The fear that it might upset people can too often prevent open and transparent reaching out to the community, and those affected can continue to feel invisible and their experiences can feel unacknowledged. We need to find ways to do this much better!