At Deepdene & Balwyn and Camberwell Parishes, we believe that all children, as a fundamental right, are entitled to safety and protection from all forms of abuse and neglect.
Our parishes are committed to preventing child abuse, to identifying risks early, and to reducing or removing them. This commitment is drawn from and is inherent to the teaching and mission of Jesus Christ, with love, justice and the sanctity of each human person at the heart of the Gospel.
Creating and nurturing child-safe environments is a dynamic and shared responsibility. Every person who shares in the work of our parishes is responsible for promoting the inherent dignity of children and for upholding their fundamental right to be respected and nurtured in a safe environment.
Child Safe Professional Standards
At Deepdene & Balwyn and Camberwell Parishes, we are guided by and comply with child safe legislation (state and federal) and two key accountability frameworks:
In 2016, the Victorian Government introduced seven Child Safe Standards for all organisations that deliver services to children. The aim of these standards is to help protect children from all forms of abuse and to drive cultural change in organisations by strengthening their approaches to preventing and responding to abuse.
There are ten (10) Safeguarding Standards that provide a framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures and to prevent, respond to and report concerns regarding child abuse. The standards were introduced in 2018 and compliance with them is overseen by Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL). This is a national authority established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia. It operates independently of the Church.
Our Child Safe Practices and Organisational Arrangements
- All clergy, parish staff, contractors and parishioners involved in child-connected work require a valid and current Working with Children Check.
- Compulsory attendance at a Child Safety Induction Program is required for new clergy, parish staff and parishioners working in parish ministries.
- New clergy, parish staff and parishioners working in child-connected ministries are required to abide by (and sign) our Parishes’ Code of Conduct. (link) They are also expected to know and comply with our Parishes’ Child Safety Policy. (link)
- The Parish Office maintains up-to-date records of the status of Working with Children Checks, attendance at the Induction Program and signed Code of Conduct documentation. Yearly attendance at child safety training is also required.
We have a Child Safety Team that operates across our parishes. The Team’s responsibilities include:
- Overseeing and monitoring the implementation of the Parishes’ Child Safe Policy; (link)
- continuously reviewing and improving parish systems and practices for maintaining child safe environments;
- Monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Victorian Child Safe Standards and the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards;
- Taking prompt action when child safety and wellbeing concerns or allegations are raised, and ensuring they are appropriately referred and investigated;
- Providing children with the knowledge and skills to understand and maintain their own personal safety;
- Ensuring the application of robust human resources and recruitment practices for parish staff and contractors.