Adelaide Archdiocese has participated in a pilot audit of child protection policies and practices by the Church's new national safeguarding body. Source: The Southern Cross.
The Archdiocese is well advanced in aligning its safeguarding practices with the royal commission’s Child Safe Standards and compliance with mandatory reporting laws which was a key factor in the choice of Adelaide for the first pilot audit, according to Tania Stegemann, Director of Compliance, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL).
Speaking to The Southern Cross during her visit to Adelaide, Ms Stegemann said: “We wanted to see someone who has already been working in this space and dealing with the practical issues around compliance, so we’re not just starting with a blank page.”
“Adelaide Archdiocese has taken the initiative to engage and consult with its parishes, allowing it to establish good practices in key areas such as code of conduct, recruitment and induction and people management.”
CPSL has recently released draft national safeguarding standards and will be responsible for auditing Church entities to ensure compliance with the standards. CPSL is currently seeking feedback in relation to the draft standards prior to publishing them later this year.
The Adelaide Archdiocese’s Child Protection Unit manager Sally Wellington said the Archdiocese had an established program for safeguarding children and young people through the Safe Environments for All (SEFA) program.
“The SEFA program provides a framework which not only implements policy and procedures but also addresses gaps in practice and aims to enhance child abuse prevention initiatives through monitoring compliance to strengthen a culture which prioritises child safety,” she said.
“The program also has a strong focus on embedding the rights of children young people and seeks to ensure that they are listened to, responded to and empowered to be part of decisions which affect them. As such, the SEFA program aligns well with the newly released national standards.”
There will be four pilot audits in total, with the remaining three being conducted in July. Ms Stegemann said given the Safeguarding Standards had only just been released, the pilots were not full audits but focused on identifying best practices, assessing any gaps in existing processes, as well as informing requirements for training and support.
National body looks to Adelaide for safeguarding standards (The Southern Cross)