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Members of the Australian delegation including Fr Justin Glyn SJ, centre, who addressed the International Safeguarding Conference (ACSL)

Australia fielded a large delegation at the International Safeguarding Conference, held in Rome last month. Source: Australian Catholic Safeguarding Limited.

The conference, which took place from June 18-21, was themed “Safeguarding and Disability”.

Representatives from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, archdioceses and dioceses and religious institutes from across Australia attended, alongside Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd’s director of safeguarding and compliance David Treanor and director of professional standards Karen Mosley. Also attending was ACSL board member Robyn Miller in her capacity as Mackillop Family Services chief executive officer.

Conference attendee Bishop Greg Bennet, chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Professional Standards and Safeguarding, said he was “challenged” to “consider how we ensure that all people entrusted to our care have access and the support they require to ensure they truly belong.”

“We were challenged to consider how engagement at times ‘disables’ others from them truly experiencing a sense of belonging and accompaniment which is at the essence of the Church.”

Dr Treanor participated in a panel on Australian perspectives of safeguarding and disability, and spoke about the 2023 Disability Royal Commission findings into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation for people with disabilities and possible implications for the Catholic Church in Australia.

“Safeguarding and disability is an under-researched topic, so it was pleasing to see it receiving the focus it deserves at this global gathering.

“One thing I think we will all take away from this conference is attention to our communication styles with people who have disabilities, to ensure that people are not excluded from participation due to styles of language and our all-too-common reliance on the written word only.

“There is more we can all do in being patient, creative, attentive and active in employing different styles of communication.”

A declaration from the 2024 International Safeguarding Conference delegates has now been released, available here. 


Australia represented at the 2024 International Safeguarding Conference (ACSL)