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Eight of the nine members of the National Appeals and Review Panel (ACSL)

A meeting of the National Appeals and Review Panel, facilitated by Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd, has resulted in a greater focus on trauma-informed review processes for abuse complaints.

ACSL established the National Appeals and Review Panel to support the Church’s ongoing commitment to a fair and just complaints process. NARP is the mechanism through which parties to a complaint relating to the abuse of minors or adults at risk within a Catholic entity can request a review of an investigation process or finding, and/or complaints process or outcome.

The panel met in person on December 16 for the first time since its formal inception under ACSL. Chaired by former Federal Court judge Duncan Kerr, the panel comprises nine members experienced in law and investigations.

Speaking on the importance of the first in-person meeting of the panel, Mr Kerr said that a large focus of the discussion was on implementing a therapeutic jurisprudence approach, which involves considering mental health and wellbeing in conjunction with legal process and practice.

“To support this approach, the panel discussed at length how in our role we can better consider the wellbeing of both complainants and respondents through our review processes. We agreed that part of this is allowing reviewers, should the circumstances support it, to gather additional information to finalise the review rather than setting aside investigation findings and recommending the appointment of a new investigation,” Mr Kerr said.

“Historically reviews were conducted as a desk audit, and gathering further information was not considered to be part of the review process. With our newly agreed process, we hope that this can assist to reduce the time and financial impacts of the complaint and review processes, supporting a more trauma-informed approach for those involved.”

More information about the National Appeals and Review Panel is available on ACSL’s website


National Appeals and Review Panel: Tricia Kavanagh, left, Duncan Kerr (chair), Greg Barns, Karen Robinson-Iles, Jeffrey Hack, Andrew Kitchin, Ken Moroney, Matt Casey. Not pictured: Tim Unsworth.


First gathering of new National Appeals and Review Panel leads to increased focus on trauma-informed review processes (ACSL)