Keeping our community safe
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 Victorian Child Safe Standards are compulsory minimum standards that apply to organisations that provide services for children in order to help protect children from all forms of abuse.
Further information on the Child Safe Standards, including a range of advice, resources and templates and information on the scope of the Child Safe Standards is available from the Child Safe Standards web page of the Commission for Children and Young People.
The 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 Catholic Church values children as an important part of its life and teaches of the need to respect their dignity. Children’s encounters with adults in the Church can have lasting consequences. It is important for the formation of children that our encounters with them affirm them and create a positive experience of the Church.
The Code 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 is paramount.
The purpose of this policy is to demonstrate the strong commitment of Sacred Heart & St Columba Parish 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.
This policy applies 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.
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 2019 weekend is 7 / 8 September and will focus on ‘A Safe Home for all our Hearts’.