Catholic Professional Standards Limited has released its National Catholic Safeguarding Standards in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
CPSL chief Sheree Limbrick said that during the royal commission, Catholic leaders committed to establishing nationally consistent standards and to the audit and public reporting of the compliance of Church authorities with those standards.
“The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards and their supporting criteria build on the royal commission’s child safe standards and harmonise with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations,” Ms Limbrick said.
“In addition, the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards include seven further criteria unique to the Catholic Church in response to specific royal commission recommendations and in light of consultations leading to the development of the standards," she said.
“CPSL has commenced auditing and we will release our first public reports on those audits around mid-year.
“While the royal commission praised the approach of entities including Catholic education and Catholic social services which are already heavily regulated, it also exposed many gaps in Church activities, especially at a local level and in ministries where there has been no external oversight or there has been poor understanding or implementation of what is needed in an organisation to protect children.
“By establishing CPSL the Church leadership has acknowledged past failures in leadership and committed to a radical change in Church culture, including clearer accountability and transparency.
“Adoption of the Standards, auditing and reporting processes is a practical demonstration of the strength of that commitment by bishops and religious leaders and we’ll be posting a list of participating Church authorities on the CPSL website.”
In a statement released this morning, the presidents of Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said the adoption of the standards marked the latest milestone in the Church’s ongoing response to child sexual abuse.
CRA president Monica Cavanagh RSJ said: “The standards will allow Catholic entities and the public to have additional confidence in the Church’s approach to addressing the tragedy of abuse and to building a culture of safety for all, especially for the young and the vulnerable.”
Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Bishops Conference, said the Church is pushing forward with its implementation of the relevant recommendations of the royal commission.
“In December, the Church outlined in our submission to the National Office for Child Safety that much has already been achieved. But more work remains to be done and we are committed to making the changes required.”
Read the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards.