A safeguarding audit report published this week by Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd has found an embedded culture of safeguarding evident throughout the Benedictine community of New Norcia.
The community of New Norcia is the only monastic town in Australia and is located 130 km north-east of Perth.
There are 10 monks associated with the monastery, of whom six reside at New Norcia. The community also has lay personnel who work and volunteer in various capacities throughout the town. The community runs guided tours for the public and there are several types of accommodation that can be hired for retreats or other occasions.
This is the second National Catholic Safeguarding Standards audit undertaken by the community of New Norcia.
ACSL chief executive Ursula Stephens said that through a review of the community’s safeguarding documentation on the NCSS Self-Assessment Portal and subsequent audit fieldwork, it was plain to see that a culture of safeguarding is embedded in the life and activities of the New Norcia community.
“Our audit and visit to the community this year was an affirming process, where we could see that work to respond to emerging and ongoing safeguarding risks has been made a priority by the community,” Dr Stephens said.
“We were also impressed to see the emphasis on restorative justice and a trauma-informed approach evident throughout community programs. For instance, there are numerous acknowledgements (for example, plaquettes) that individuals, families, and the community have been harmed and need restoration.
“These acknowledgements have been developed in close consultation with those affected, in keeping with the obligations held by the Benedictine community to make things right as much as possible. All New Norcia staff have received training to manage unintended responses or reactions to their programs and displays (such as re-traumatisation) that may be triggered when visitors tour the community.”
Dr Stephens said the community received a 100 per cent compliance result, with ACSL offering some additional safeguarding recommendations to further enhance the community’s safeguarding capacity into the future.