Safeguarding Children and Young People
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility
At Camberwell, Balwyn Deepdene and Surrey Hills Wattle Park Parishes we hold the care, safety and well being of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our parishes.
Our parishes are committed to preventing child abuse, to identifying risks early, and to reducing or removing them. This commitment is drawn from and 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.
We are committed to creating and nurturing environments where children and young people are respected, where their voices are heard, and where they feel safe and are safe. Every person who shares in the work of our parishes is responsible for promoting the inherent dignity of children and for upholding their right to be respected and nurtured in a safe environment.
Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework
The leadership of each parish, agency and entity is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and relevant procedures and practices to promote the safety of children and young people.
At Camberwell, Balwyn Deepdene and Surrey Hills Wattle Park Parishes we acknowledge 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).
National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
The 10 National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are designed to be implemented by all Catholic entities, ministries and organisations across Australia. The standards outline the requirements for Catholic entities to promote the safety of children through the implementation of policies and activities to prevent, respond to and report concerns regarding child abuse. They are designed to drive cultural change, promote accountability and transparency and demonstrate in effective leadership and governance arrangements across the parishes.
Our Safeguarding Practices
Selection, Recruitment and Screening
Recruitment and screening procedures must reflect the parishes commitment to providing safe and enriching interactions with children and young people.
Working with Children Check requirements (WWCC)
All clergy, employees and volunteers over the age of 18 involved in parish ministries are required to maintain a current WWCC linked to the parish. Employment in a paid or voluntary capacity is subject to and conditional upon a satisfactory WWCC.
Induction, Education and Supervison
All new clergy, employees and volunteers are required to participate in ongoing education on the Parish Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and Code of Conduct, including reporting obligations. All roles require a clear job description, including expectations under the policy and Code of Conduct, and ongoing support, mentoring and supervision to those undertaking parish roles.
Policy and Code of Conduct
All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to read and agree to abide by the Parish Code of Conduct Declaration and know and comply with the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy.
The Parish Office maintains up-to-date records of the status of Working with Children Checks, attendance at induction and ongoing training programs, and up-to-date Code of Conduct Declarations.
Risk assessments are to be conducted to identify and assess risks associated with activities and programs involving children and young people to minimise opportunities for harm to occur.
Responding to and Reporting Child Abuse
All clergy, employees and volunteers have a duty of care to protect children and young people from harm and a moral, legal and ethical duty to effectively respond to and report all concerns, allegations or complaints of child-safety related misconduct and/or child abuse.
Any person (for example, a child, young person, parent, priest, employee, volunteer, parishioner) can make a report in relation to child-safety related misconduct and/or child abuse.
It is a requirement of the Parish Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy that clergy, employees and volunteers make a report if they have formed a reasonable belief that a child or young person has experienced abuse, is experiencing abuse or is at risk of harm (even if others do not hold a reasonable belief or do not believe a report should be made). Not reporting child safety concerns, complaints or allegations or preventing, influencing or coercing a person from making a report is a breach of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and may result in disciplinary action and/or possible legal action.
Making a child abuse report involves notifying statutory authorities and the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in a timely manner (as soon as practicable after forming a reasonable belief, unless the child or young person is in imminent danger).
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has a legal responsibility under the Reportable Conduct Scheme to notify current and historical incidents of suspected child abuse or misconduct of clergy, employees and volunteers to the Commission for Children and Young People.
The Professional Standards Unit (PSU) is responsible for coordinating child-safety related misconduct and/or child abuse reports in relation to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and liaising with statutory authorities e.g. Victoria Police, Reportable Conduct Scheme – Commission for Children and Young People.
For more information:
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM) – Reporting child safety related misconduct and/or child abuse
Catholic Professional Standards (CPSL) – Raise a concern, and seek advice and support in Victoria
The safety of children and young people is paramount. All concerns, allegations or complaints of child abuse will be taken seriously, and acted upon consistent with the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s moral, ethical and legal obligations to safeguard children and young people.
The Parish Safeguarding Team across the parishes and school has been allocated roles and responsibilities for child safety. The team comprises:
Parish Safeguarding Officers
Our Lady of Good Counsel Primary School
Any of these leaders should be approached for any concerns about child safety in our school and parishes.