Statement of Commitment to Safeguarding
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta
6 June 2022
The Diocese of Parramatta is committed to being a community of safeguarding that actively promotes the dignity and rights of children and of all persons, particularly those who may be vulnerable.
We have a zero-tolerance to abuse of any form. We are committed to ensuring that all children and adults are safe, respected, protected and supported whilst in our care.
The Diocese of Parramatta offers its unreserved and deepest apologies to survivors of abuse and their families for the hurt and suffering this abuse has caused throughout their lives. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that no child entrusted to our care is ever harmed again.
The Diocese acknowledges our past failings have led to irreversible harm being inflicted upon children. Whilst we seek to repair this fundamental breach of trust that was placed in us, we understand that trust is for some people perhaps broken forever.
Our past failings cannot be undone. However, we remain steadfast in our future commitments to ensure our current child-protection processes and procedures offer a safeguard from predatory behaviour.
In all of our works, ministries and activities, we respond to the call of the Gospel to protect those who are vulnerable by fostering culture, education, systems, processes and environments where the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable people are paramount.
- We commit to a culture of safeguarding where leaders at all levels put safeguarding first and where the best interests of children are always paramount.
- We commit to engaging and listening to the voices and experiences of survivors.
- We commit to ensuring all people engaged by the Diocese are suitable, supported and skilled for their role including robust screening processes, supervision, support and ongoing education and training.
- We commit to hearing the voices of our community, to making spaces to listen to children’s voices, to seeking input and feedback from families, the broader community and the rich diversity of the Diocese of Parramatta including those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and those with a disability.
- We commit to having regularly updated policies and procedures which document our safeguarding practices and are publicly available for transparency and accountability.
- We commit to a complaints management process and policy which is effective and accessible, with a focus on ensuring the complainant is supported through the process
- We commit to ensuring that all matters requiring a statutory report are reported in a timely manner and that our volunteers and staff are trained to recognise and respond appropriately to disclosures and potential signs of abuse.
- We commit to creating safe spaces, to ensuring our physical and online environments are safe, and seek ongoing input from children and communities about what makes them feel safe.
As part of the Diocese of Parramatta’s commitment to Safeguarding there is a ‘Prevention, Healing and Support’ service.
The Prevention arm of this service is to stay up to date with current and new resources, and research to ensure that the Diocese works towards best practice in its engagement in Safeguarding. Some of this work includes online and face to face training, training with Seminarians and the Safe Parishes Network.
The Healing and Support arm is designed to support survivors and family members of survivors. It is a person-centred, trauma-informed approach. The role of the team is to support, encourage and assist survivors and family members of survivors.
Additionally, the Diocese of Parramatta wanted to develop a statement from the community about what our beliefs and values on Safeguarding are.
In response to this, the “Parramatta Way” of Safeguarding was developed by the community for the community.
You can find the “Parramatta Way”, the Commitment Statement of the Diocese of Parramatta and all other information relating to Safeguarding at safeguarding.org.au.
This week the Diocese of Parramatta is marking Safe Parishes Week, where we highlight actions in the Diocese designed to create a safer Church for everyone.