Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

The diocese received a compliance score of 98 per cent in the safeguarding audit, conducted in September-December 2023 (Supplied)

A safeguarding audit report of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese published today by Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd has found the diocese is meeting key safeguarding requirements.

The audit assessed the implementation of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS), covering measures in place to safeguard children and adults at risk from abuse.

The diocese received a compliance score of 98 per cent, meaning that all but 2 per cent of the safeguarding indicators applicable to its operations have either been fully embedded or substantially progressed at the time of the audit, which was completed between September and December 2023.

The diocese was jointly audited by ACSL and Prolegis Lawyers, a specialist charity and not-for-profit law firm. 

ACSL chief executive Ursula Stephens said that it is a pleasing result for the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese.

“Our audit showed that the diocese is committed to the safety of children and adults at risk throughout its leadership and in the ministries it provides,” Dr Stephens said.

“The history of abuse and cover-up in the Newcastle region, which the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse shed light on, means that trauma very much exists in the community. 

“Our audit processes, focused on what the diocese is doing right now to create a safe community, showed that in 2024 there is a firm commitment to being trauma-informed in safeguarding.”

Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Kennedy commented positively on the audit experience.

“At the beginning of this process, I asked that the audit be particularly rigorous. I believed this was important given the history of our diocese and those survivors who have, and continue to, deal with trauma. 

“Extensive hours of work went into this process and I’m proud that the auditors found that we are successfully implementing and embedding a culture of safeguarding through our Diocese. 

“Our focus now is to maintain this momentum and continue improving our safeguarding structures, policies, practices and education so that the safeguarding of every child and vulnerable person is an intrinsic part of everything we do in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.”

The audit identified some areas for improvement, resulting in seven recommendations, including making stronger connections and engagement with adults at risk. 

View the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s audit report on ACSL’s website.


Audit shows key safeguarding requirements being met in Catholic Diocese of Maitland Newcastle (ACSL)