Pope Francis has laid out a clear message for the Church when it comes to the crucial question of safeguarding.
He puts it this way: “The Church loves all her children like a loving mother, but she protects with a special affection those who are smallest and defenceless. Now the duty that Christ himself entrusted to the Church is exactly this, the Church is especially vigilant in protecting children and vulnerable adults.”
These words drive our Safeguarding Strategy in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. This strategy sets our approach and our priorities around safeguarding until 2020. The strategy applies to all church personnel including bishops, clergy, religious, employees, contractors and volunteers across all the parishes, ministries, agencies and services. It’s for everyone.
Our safeguarding commitment is this:
- The Archdiocese of Brisbane holds that children and vulnerable adults are a gift from God with an intrinsic right to dignity of life, respect and protection from harm.
- The Archdiocese doesn’t tolerate abuse by Church personnel or others involved in its ministries and services.
Therefore, the Archdiocese of Brisbane is committed to:
- Protecting all involved in our ministries and services from abuse;
- Promoting the wellbeing and best interests of children and vulnerable adults in the delivery of all ministries and services;
- And responding effectively where disclosure, suspicion or allegations of abuse arise.
The safeguarding commitment is underpinned by our three Ps of safeguarding. We want safe PEOPLE, safe PRACTICES, safe PLACES.
Having safe people means that Church personnel are appropriately selected, recruited and trained in safeguarding and that they accept their safeguarding obligations.
Having safe practices means applying safeguards to all Archdiocesan activities, ministries and services in order to prevent abuse.
And, having safe places involves applying safeguards to all properties and locations in which Archdiocesan activities, ministries and services are conducted to minimise the risks of abuse occurring.
This Archdiocese has established an Office of Safeguarding Services.
And the Archdiocese works with the Australian Catholic Church’s new Catholic Professional Standards body. This body, set up following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has established National Catholic Safeguarding Standards.
These standards take into account the guidance of the Royal Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission. They provide an important basis for how our Archdiocese approaches safeguarding.
Our Safeguarding Strategy has a foundation principle – ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’. This principle serves as the foundation for safeguarding functions within the Archdiocese. It calls all Archdiocesan church personnel, regardless of their position, to embrace safeguarding and their duty to care for and protect others from abuse, but especially children and vulnerable adults.
Pope Francis has called for zero tolerance when it comes to sexual abuse. He’s right.
We have to do all we can to safeguard our smallest and our most defenceless. Our Archdiocesan Safeguarding Strategy aims to do just that. Now with your help, we can achieve this.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.