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Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards

25 January 2018
  1. Commitment to Safeguarding

Why is safeguarding important?

Safeguarding is the implementation of systems, processes and structures to prevent harm and to protect people’s well-being, health and human rights.

The Diocese of Parramatta offers rich and diverse ministries. In recent years, focus increased on safeguarding as a key element of the planning process regarding special events and standard forms of ministry. The current approach of ministry leaders is to consider how safeguarding principles and strategies are applied to enhance participants’ experience of ministry.

How is safeguarding achieved?

All ministry leaders in the Diocese of Parramatta undertake ongoing professional learning about safeguarding to acquire and increased understanding and enhanced skills in the area of safeguarding. Topics covered related to safeguarding include risk management, prevention, professional boundaries and access to resources and support.

While all leaders (including Chancery personnel, clergy, parish priests, school principals, and senior executives in all Diocesan agencies and ministries) commit to a minimum of 7 hours professional learning in the area of safeguarding, many complete more and demonstrate an ongoing, passionate and informed commitment to ensure the Diocese continues to apply safeguarding principles in the co-ordination of ministry.

 

  1. Putting Kids and Vulnerable Adults First

The following principles inform the work of the Office Safeguarding and Professional Standards:

  • An ongoing commitment to the development of proactive safeguarding initiatives to ensure the safety and well-being of people to whom ministry is delivered in the Diocese of Parramatta
  • Regular engagement with ministry and agency leaders, through education, communication and dialogue to empower them to exercise their leadership roles in a manner that gives priority to safeguarding.
  • Strengthening inter-agency collaboration throughout the Diocese
  • A readiness to respond to changes in law and policy
  • A commitment to outreach and support for those people who have been harmed in Church-related contexts

 

  1. A Strategic Approach

The strategic approach of the Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards includes:

  • Emphasis on risk assessment, risk management and preventative action-planning
  • Enhanced services in education and general advisory support for ministry leaders
  • Co-ordination of responses to professional standards complaints to ensure compassionate, just and timely outcomes
  • Robust screening processes to assess risk and to support effective recruitment
  • Enhanced record management processes

 

  1. Our work in 2017

Some key projects completed in 2017 include:

  • The development of a broad range of professional learning modules on topics related to safeguarding that are available to ministry and agency leaders
  • The development of a contemporary Diocesan-wide complaint management framework
  • Strategic and advisory support for major diocesan, national and international youth ministry events
  • The review and development of outreach and support services available to those people who have been harmed by the Church in the past
  • Contributing to the development of tertiary courses on safeguarding that are currently being introduced into course programs for future leaders
  • Engaging with other dioceses to exchange resources, explore expressions of best practice and attempt to work towards consistency of approach
  • Conducting research projects that enhance our understanding of prevention, risk management, screening processes and outreach
  • Strengthening of systems and structures that ensures that the Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards exercises independence and impartiality

 

We are very grateful for the generous support and advice offered by our Vicar for Professional Standards, Fr Peter Williams VG.

The services of our office are delivered by highly competent and passionate people who bring great care and wisdom to their work.

Our team consists of:

Ms Claire Pirola – Manager

Ms Asante Viswasam – Training and Compliance Officer

Ms Corrina Serrano – Executive Assistant and Records Manager

Ms Janette Crisafulli – Administration Assistant

Mr Paul Davis – Director

For more information, please visit: https://www.safeguarding.org.au

 

This article first appeared in the December 2017 print edition of Catholic Outlook.

At the request of Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Catholic Outlook was printed in December 2017 to connect the Diocese and showcase the good works across the Diocese’s many agencies and ministries. 

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