PROGRESS ON CHILD PROTECTION 29th OCTOBER 2017
CHILD SAFETY POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
- We have Fr. Michael, Marli Kelly, Anne Huchison and Judith Steele on our Child Safety Team. We need some more members – urgently.
- We have regular meetings with Anne McIntosh (the Diocesan Child Safety Officer) who keeps us updated and resourced with information.
- Parish Child Safety Policy has been developed and signed off and is on display in the Church, Parish Office, Mercy Centre and Parish Hall.
- Parish Child Safety Code of Conduct has been developed and signed off and is on display in the Church, Parish Office, Mercy Centre and Parish Hall.
- The Child Safety Reporting Process has been updated and is also on prominent display within parish buildings.
- We are in the development process of providing training sessions for all volunteers.
- We are also in the process of providing all volunteers with a Code of Conduct to sign.
- We are also beginning to carry out a risk assessment of all buildings, rooms and roles within the parish.
We thank you for your co-operation and patience while we establish these new Child Safety Standards. As you can see, there is a large volume of work to be done. If anyone can offer assistance or has any good ideas it would be very much appreciated. Please contact the Parish Office.
CHILD PROTECTION 2017-10-08
On Wednesday 4th October 2017 the Diocesan Child Safety Officer came to Tatura for a meeting to establish our progress with the implementation of Child Safety regulations in the parish.
Anne talked to us about the Reportable Conduct Scheme (RCS) and how it differs from Child Safe Standards? The RCS is a Victorian Government initiative. It requires allegations of suspected criminal conduct to be reported to Victoria Police as the first priority and will maintain the primacy of an investigation by Victoria Police of any allegations of criminal misconduct. In all circumstances, allegations of criminal conduct must be reported to Victoria Police as the first priority.
Under the RCS, an organisation may be required to report the matter to Victoria Police at the same time as the Commission for Children and Young People. In Sacred Heart Parish an allegation of criminal misconduct must be reported:
- firstly to the police
- then to the Parish Child Safety Officer, Anne Hutchison
- who will report the allegation to the Parish Priest or the Bishop, whichever is appropriate.
Any action by the Parish and the RSC would generally be suspended while the Victoria Police investigate the matter. If Victoria Police has advised that they are not investigating the matter, a reportable conduct investigation by the organisation could proceed in consultation with Victoria Police, as required. Once Victoria Police has finished, an investigation by the organisation may be required to determine if the worker/volunteer can continue to work with the organisation.
The Commission for Children and Young People is an independent, statutory body which promotes the safety and wellbeing of children and provides oversight of services provided to vulnerable children and young people and plays an important role in improving the lives of children and young people.
The Child Safe Standards and the RCS complement each other. The standards require organisations that provide services for children, to adopt systems to prevent child abuse, which we are working very hard on at the moment.
The RCS focuses on individual conduct and how organisations investigate allegations. An organisation that is Child Safe Standard compliant will have systems and procedures in place systems to support the scheme’s requirements. For further information on the RCS please visit: <http:/www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/betrayal+of+trust+implementation>
All paid workers and the Parish Priest have Working with Children Checks. We are currently organising Working with Children Checks for parishioners who come in direct contact with children in the execution of their volunteer work e.g. Sacristans, etc. Very soon we will ask all volunteers (including those in groups and committees), to attend a workshop to go through a training course which clarifies the steps which need to be adhered to by us all in our duty of care to all children. More on this shortly.
This Child Safe Policy has been endorsed by the Parish Pastoral Council and was approved by Fr. Michael G Morley on 12th April 2017.
Our Parish is committed to child safety. All children who come to Sacred Heart Parish have a right to feel and be safe. The welfare of the children in our care will always be our first priority and we have a zero tolerance to child abuse. We aim to create a child safe and child friendly environment where children feel safe and have fun. This policy was developed in collaboration with our staff, volunteers, children who come to our parish and their parents and the Parish Pastoral Council. It applies to all staff, volunteers, children and individuals involved in our parish.
The Child Safe Policy has been amended slightly to include:
“Breach of Policy” (levels of disciplinary action taken if the policy is breached) and……