A safeguarding audit report of the Darwin Diocese published today by Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd has identified committed leadership and efforts to embrace diversity as key safeguarding strengths.
The audit, completed in September 2023, assessed the diocese’s implementation of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS), a framework to promote the safety of children in Catholic organisations.
The Diocese undertook an NCSS Audit in 2019 and was assessed as having either fully implemented or substantially progressed in the implementation of 89 per cent of the indicators relevant to their ministries.
In the 2023 audit, which again concentrated on implementation of the child-focused NCSS, the diocese has further progressed its implementation to reach a 100 per cent NCSS compliance rating.
ACSL chief executive Ursula Stephens said that in this second audit it was pleasing to see that the 13 recommendations from the 2019 audit had all been addressed and that safeguarding processes had overall been strengthened.
“From our review and testing of policies and procedures, our audit site visits to parishes, ministries and the chancery office, and in our interviews with key leadership personnel as well as those working in parishes, we found that a safeguarding culture has been well-established across the diocese,” Dr Stephens said.
“Of particular note is the strong framework around risk management the diocese has put in place, with risk assessments now being completed by all parishes for their key activities, and a diocesan risk register which is regularly updated.
“We also observed good practice in efforts to make safeguarding materials accessible to the diverse range of communities who make up the diocese.”
Dr Stephens said ACSL provided five recommendations to the diocese to enhance and support existing practices.
View the Diocese of Darwin’s audit report on ACSL’s website.