Safeguarding our community
Q- What is the Archdiocese and/or more importantly our parishes currently doing to keep children safe?
A – Our parishes continue to do significant work to keep our children safe and follow many of the same requirements as our schools and other institutions that provide services to children.
All employees and or volunteers working with children must have a WWVP in the ACT or a WWCC if in NSW. This is non-negotiable. In addition, referee checks are crucial when engaging employees and volunteers who have significant contact with children and young people.
Parishes are also required to provide a physical and online environment that is safe for children and young people. Templates for completing risk assessments when holding a parish activity involving children are available on the Archdiocese website as well as protocols and fact sheets regarding the use (or non-use) of alcohol and tobacco around children, photographing children and using technology and social media with children.
The same behaviour by an adult towards a child that is not tolerated in our schools is not tolerated in our parishes. Unacceptable behaviour includes derogatory comments, swearing, bullying, forming an exclusive relationship with a child or abuse. All employees and volunteers are expected to read and sign the Archdiocesan Child Protection Code of Conduct.
Q. What is the Archdiocese doing to ensure all clergy who work in the Archdiocese are suitable to work with children?
A. Like any employee or volunteer, our clergy are required to meet all legislative requirements for working with children. All active Archdiocesan clergy and staff who regularly work with children and/or young people across the Archdiocese are required to have both an ACT WWVP and a NSW WWCC. In addition, when clergy visit this Archdiocese, even if it is for a one hour family baptism, they are required to advise the IPSS of their arrival and departure date, provide evidence from their Church Authority that they are in good standing and have a current working with children clearance for their state/territory.
Existing clergy will be provided with access to professional supervision and are required to to access ongoing training on recognising the signs of child abuse and managing risks within parishes in order to keep children safe.
Q How can a person report a concern about a child in the ACT? What does mandatory reporting mean?
A; If you are concerned about a child in one of our parishes, if you have knowledge, a reasonable belief or even a suspicion that a child is being abused, let your Parish Priest or the IPSS Manager know as soon as possible. You could if you want make your own report. Don’t worry about “what if you am wrong” – think about – “what if I am right? “
In the ACT Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS) is responsible for investigating the wellbeing of children who may be at risk of abuse or neglect by a family member or guardian.
Child abuse and neglect are serious and complex problems that can occur in the lives of children. While CYPS is the ACT government agency responsible for child protection, it relies on:
- the community – to make voluntary reports of suspected child abuse or neglect
- mandated reporters – certain professionals who are required by law to report physical and sexual abuse. Recent legislation put to the ACT Legislative Assembly by the Attorney-General now includes religious clergy as mandated reporters.
CYPS receives, records and responds to all allegations of child abuse or neglect that occurs within a family. Such allegations are recorded in a Child Concern Report that can be made by anyone in the community. In making a report, you are not required to prove abuse or neglect has occurred, just that you have reasonable grounds for your belief.
Further details can be found at: