Child safety must be 'centre of the Church's mission'

Sheree Limbrick (The Southern Cross)

The head of the Church’s new safeguarding body says protecting children from danger must be at the centre of the Church’s mission. Source: CPSL.

“If the safety of children and other vulnerable people is not at the very centre of the Catholic Church’s mission both here and in all other places around the world then something has gone very wrong in our Church,” Sheree Limbrick, chief of Catholic Professional Standard Ltd (CPSL) said yesterday.

Ms Limbrick spoke at a two-day conference, "Safeguarding the Vulnerable in our Community", near Toowoomba in Queensland, attended by more than 85 members of the Toowoomba diocese’s clergy, religious and lay leadership.

“The lack of consistent safeguarding standards across the varied works of the Church in Australia – from parishes to schools, social services, health and aged care services has the potential to leave vulnerable people and children at risk,” Ms Limbrick said.

“What we have seen through the royal commission and what we are hearing every day is that the levels of protections for children and vulnerable people from one diocese to the next can vary widely.

“In today’s Church that is unsustainable and dangerous.

“Every child and every vulnerable adult must be protected by the same rigorous standards regardless of where they live or what part of the Catholic Church they come in contact with.”

CPSL is a new independent company established by the Church in Australia in November 2016 to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities.

CPSL is “functionally independent” from the Church leadership and is a significant development in the Church’s approach to protecting children and vulnerable adults.

Within the next two months CPSL will be releasing the first of the new National Catholic Safeguarding Standards with a focus on the safeguarding of children. CPSL will also soon be releasing details on how and when a national consultation process will take place.

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Protecting children must be at the centre of Catholic Church’s mission(CPSL)

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