Perth tackles challenge of facing abuse

Andrea Musulin

Leader and pioneer in child protection, Andrea Musulin, talks of dramatic changes taking place in the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth to face abuse head on and to minimise future opportunities of its reoccurence, reports the e-Record in the first of a two-part series.

In the midst of ongoing reports about child sexual abuse in the short history of the Australian Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Perth is breaking new ground nationally. In April, 2014, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe spoke to media of establishing Safeguarding Officers in each of the Archdiocese’s parishes.

“Much preparation work has been done since that time,” said the Archbishop. “I am pleased to say that we are now closer than ever to seeing two volunteer officers selected and trained for each parish.”

The recent appointment by Archbishop Costelloe of Andrea Musulin, an expert in child protection, is seeing the Catholic community across Perth establish itself as the first Diocese to embark upon appointing Safeguarding Officers into every parish.

Additionally, it aims to educate children in Catholics schools aged four years and upwards with age-appropriate knowledge about protective behaviours to reduce the opportunities for future abuse.

Musulin joined the Archdiocese of Perth with a background of 28 years of experience as a police officer specialising in child protection. She has provided services to children in metropolitan, rural and remote areas of Western Australia and has developed the first and only Child Protection Program for Rural and Remote Children.

She was inducted into Western Australia’s International Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011, being recognised as a leader and pioneer in the field of child protection. She is also highly experienced in educating children and youth in personal safety and abuse prevention.

Discussing her role to date, and her priorities over the coming months, Ms Musulin said things are moving forward. “We are looking carefully at each of the 12 Standards for a Child-Safe Organisation, as laid down by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“One of the standards we have chosen to take on board is to establish Safeguarding Officers in every parish. Parishes will very soon be receiving a short DVD and pamphlets inviting parishioners to give careful consideration to volunteering to become Safeguarding Officers.

“Under my leadership, they will be given the task of taking all of these national standards into the parish and ensuring that they are adhered to. That is the overarching goal of my work.

FULL STORY Perth leads the way on facing abuse

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