At Sacred Heart & St Columba Parish we hold the care, safety and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults as a central and fundamental responsibility of our parish. Our commitment is drawn from and inherent in the teaching and mission of Jesus Christ, with love, justice and the sanctity of each human person at the heart of the gospel.
The Church’s social doctrine constantly points out the need to respect the dignity of children. ‘In the family, which is a community of persons, special attention must be devoted to the children by developing a profound esteem for their personal dignity, and a great respect and generous concern for their rights’ (Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, 26).
Indeed it was Jesus who, when his disciples were arguing among themselves about who was the greatest, directed his attention to a little child and said to his disciples, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me’ (Mark 9.37).
Following the Victorian Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations, Child Safe Standards have been introduced into a wide range of organisations including schools and churches. Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, National Safeguarding Standards were introduced in February 2019. Our Safeguarding Committee of Fr John Petrulis, Christine Mitchell, Daniella Maddalena, India Mitchell-Fletcher and Jane Hearnes continues to work to embed the safety of children, young peopld and vulnerable adults into our culture and to ensure our Parish meets the National Safeguarding Standards.
Materials will be available on this website and the CAM website, at our churches and parish house. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any further information or clarifications.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards set out 10 Standards, providing the framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures and to advance the safety of children across the Catholic Church in Australia.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards take into account the guidance of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations adopted by the Council of Australian Governments (Feb 2019).
Further information on the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, including a range of advice, resources and templates and information on the scope of the Standards is available from the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards section of the Catholic Professional Standards Ltd web page.
The Victorian Commission for Children and Young People provides additional information and resources that underpin our commitment to Safeguarding.
A plain language summary of Victoria's Child Safe Standards is available here.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has a dedicated Safeguarding Unit and provides numerous resources to support parishes with safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Please visit https://melbournecatholic.org/safeguarding for more information.
Our Parish has adopted the Archdiocesan
The purpose of this policy is to demonstrate our strong commitment to the care, safety and wellbeing of all children in our parish. It provides an outline of the policies, procedures and strategies developed to keep children safe from harm, including all forms of abuse in our parish environment, on site, online and in other locations used by the parish.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Archdiocese enacts its strong commitment to proactively protect the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
The Policy is for all those who work or volunteer with children within an agency or parish of the Archdiocese and is intended to support and underpin the pastoral role of priests, religious, pastoral associates, pastoral workers, parishioners and other volunteers and promote an environment in which the dignity and safety of children and young people is paramount.
Our Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Statement of Commitment has been signed by all members of the PLDT and all staff. Volunteers will also need to sign this Code. Working with Children Checks and are also required of all staff and volunteers and Police Checks are required by some staff. Please contact the office for further details.
The Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct and Declaration was updated in November 2021 and has been signed by our Leadership Teams to confirm their ongoing commitment to a culture of Safeguarding in our Parish.
These documents apply to all parish personnel, including parish employees, volunteers, contractors and clergy.
Our school and parish have adopted The Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme as of 1 July 2017. The Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme seeks to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and neglect by their workers and volunteers. The scheme is established by the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (the Act). The Commission for Children and Young People is responsible for administering the scheme.
Our role includes:
supporting and guiding organisations that receive allegations in order to promote fair, effective, timely and appropriate responses
independently overseeing, monitoring and, where appropriate, making recommendations to improve the responses of those organisations.
Our Safeguarding Committee
The key purpose of the Safeguarding Committee is to work collaboratively with our Parish Leadership and Development Team (PLDT) to promote the safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Our Safeguarding Committee comprises Fr John Petrulis, Christine Mitchell, Daniella Maddalena and Jane Hearnes.
Fr John Petrulis
St Columba's Principal
Child Safe Training
Our Parish is committed to providing updated information and appropriate training to all involved. We conducted our first Child Safe Weekend on 3/4 March 2018 and are committed to undertaking this yearly. The 2022 weekend was 10/11 September and parishioners committed again to our Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct.
The Professional Standards Unit launched the Safeguarding Essentials online training module for clergy, staff and volunteers in September 2022.
The Safeguarding Essentials online training is a 30-minute training module for clergy, staff and volunteers within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM).
The purpose of this training is to provide our clergy, staff and volunteers with:
foundational knowledge that will help them to perform their roles
a clear understanding of their duty of care and of expectations with regards to safeguarding children, young people and adults from all forms of abuse and harm
This will be:
an annual requirement for clergy and staff
a 3 yearly requirement for all volunteers
possible to complete individually online