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Audit reveals Archdiocese complying with safeguarding policy

The Archdiocese of Brisbane’s third independent audit into its safeguards for children and vulnerable adults has found its parishes to be complying with the safeguarding policy.

The Archdiocese has released the external audit of its Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Prevention and Protection Policy, carried out across the region from the NSW border, north to Hervey Bay and west to Gatton.

It comes at the end of the first year of the Archdiocese’s 2018-2020 Safeguarding and Professional Standards Strategy that aims to enhance safeguarding practices across the Archdiocese.

Hanrick Curran again carried out this year’s audit, selecting 13 parishes from the 97 across the Archdiocese to analyse compliance with the policy and safeguarding strategies.

The auditor’s report concluded that “The parishes of the Archdiocese have complied, in all material respects, with the requirements of the policy”. But, the auditors also identified “a degree of non-compliance with some of the safeguarding strategies”.

“These weaknesses do not indicate material systemic non-compliance with the Policy. Rather they indicate instances where elements of the Policy and its associated Strategies may not have been fully implemented across the Archdiocese.”

The Archdiocese will now work to address those needs identified by the auditors which included the need to ensure each parish appoints a safeguarding officer, improved training for volunteers, better risk assessments and more stringent screening of prospective employees and volunteers.

“Some of those needs were identified in our 2017 audit so we know that we still have work to do,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.

“While we’ve been told that we’re complying with the policy, the advantage of these audits is that we identify where we need to improve.”

“We have a very good team in the Office for Safeguarding Services who continue to support our parishes.”

The Archdiocese implemented its Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Prevention and Protection Policy in 2014. This year, the Archdiocese has:

  • Strengthened its Office for Safeguarding Services with three full-time employees to support implementation of the policy.
  • Launched its 2018-2020 Safeguarding and Professional Standards strategy.
  • Rolled out revised safeguarding training with more than 2700 people attending 53 face-to-face sessions
  • Conducted internal safeguarding audits in 35 parishes and faith communities.
  • Completed criminal history checks for all clergy.

“The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has provided great assistance for many institutions around the country,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“We continue to work on providing the safest environments possible for all of our people.”

The summary of the auditor’s report can be found here.

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