New safe parishes online training an ethical responsibility

By Mary Brazell, 7 June 2021
A screenshot of the Introduction to Safeguarding module on the Points Build training program run by the Office for Safeguarding. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Parishioners who work and volunteer in parishes across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains are learning how to be safeguarding advocates through new online training. It’s a vital step in ensuring our parishes stay safe.

Related story: Diocese of Parramatta launches first Safe Parishes Week.

Related story: Corpus Christi and the Feast of the Sacred Heart set the example for safe parishes

Points Build, designed by the Diocese of Parramatta’s Office for Safeguarding, is a one-stop catalogue full of short courses for people active in various ministries and responsibilities in parishes and agencies across the Diocese.

John Portelli, Business and Projects Manager at Holy Cross Parish, Granville, recently participated in a trial version of the training. He told Catholic Outlook he felt learning more about safeguarding was his ethical responsibility.

“The focus on safeguarding both by dioceses and governments highlights the importance and need for all of us to be educated in these matters,” he said.

“As a point of contact to enquiries both within and outside the parish, I feel that safeguarding is extremely important.

“It is important to my role that I am aware of the legal and Church safeguarding standards to ensure that I have the required tools I need to guarantee I am doing everything I can to contribute to our parish being a safe parish.”

In John’s role as Business Manager, he has already completed three compulsory sessions, which, he says each took between 45 minutes to an hour to complete. He found online learning convenient and easy.

“With online learning, you have the flexibility of time to be able to complete the training when it best suits you.

“If you are short on time, the courses can then be picked up where you left off based on your availability.

“I personally find that I gain a better understanding by reading and watching the videos provided in an online setting.

“Plus, you have the advantage of being able to revisit the course as many times as you like,” he said.

John intends to do more courses and recommends others complete them as well.

“The courses provide realistic scenarios and explains processes in a simple, yet effective way, providing clear instructions on actions individuals may need to take and highlights the support network available both in-parish and at the diocesan level.”

John encourages people to ask questions if they find something in the training they don’t understand.

“Ask questions where you are unsure, and remember there is support available, and if ever in doubt, contact the safeguarding team.”

Online training showed John that a safe parish is an ongoing process, with the need for awareness and regular discussion.

“The safeguarding training doesn’t simply end with completing the modules; discussions and dialogue need to continue with the Office of Safeguarding in the Diocese and within our parish ministries,” he said.

About Points Build

All parishes in the Diocese can now contact the Office of Safeguarding to enrol in Points Build, the online course for everyone involved in parish life in a paid or volunteer capacity.

All staff and volunteers of the Diocese (including Parishes, Chaplaincies, Deanery and Diocesan ministries and councils) who work with children and adults at risk are required to complete mandatory Safeguarding Training to a value of 6 points. Leaders and Coordinators are required to complete a total of 10 points in training every two years.

All courses have a Points Value of 2 (two). Mandatory training must be completed first followed with additional training to reach the point allocation for each role.

The three mandatory training courses are:

  • Introduction to Safeguarding
  • Understanding Child Abuse and Reportable Conduct
  • Safeguarding Adults at Risk

Training for all roles must be completed within a calendar year and updated every two years.

Points Build will be officially launched by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta on Wednesday 9 June at 10.30am. You are invited to watch the launch through this link here.

People who work or volunteer for their parishes can find out how many points they need by viewing The Safeguarding Points Training Guide.

Find out more about Points Build here.

If you require any further information, please contact the Diocese of Parramatta Office for Safeguarding Community Engagement and Education Officer on (02) 8838 3400 or email


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