Safe Environments for All
The Safe Environments for All program not only establishes a framework for protecting children and young people but also creates a process by which the Child Protection Unit can review practice across the Archdiocese and engage directly with children, young people and the parish community.
This program recognises that there may be a gap between an organisations' policy framework and what happens in practice. Therefore the SEFA program has an integrated approach to child protection which supports compliance via community engagement.
The program has five key Strategic Goals which are;
Goal 1: Empowerment of children and young people
Children and young people are made aware of their rights, have a say in decisions that impact on them, are encouraged to participate in church life, and are valued and respected. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is promoted in our Archdiocese as a key document, as well as resources developed by the Child Protection Unit which promote the rights of children.
Goal 2: Organisational structures
Our physical environments and governance structures both work to minimize risk and encourage safety and wellbeing. Built environments are easily monitored, are welcoming to children and are not hazardous. Governance structures ensure that recruitment considers child safeguarding, that procedures to report abuse are clear and accessible to all, and that Archdiocesan and parish cultures prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
Goal 3: Procedures to respond to child protection allegations
Across the Archdiocese, clergy, religious, employees and volunteers understand and act on their responsibilities with respect to child protection reporting processes. Reporting any concerns is encouraged and the procedure to do so is widely known and is accessible and easy. All allegations of organizational abuse that are of a criminal nature are promptly reported to statutory authorities.
Goal 4: Information and Communication
Across the Archdiocese, child protection policy and procedure is clearly communicated and accessible to all. Policy documents and resources are made available not just to leadership, but also to volunteers, parents and children where relevant. All child protection policy documents and resources are publically available on our website.
Goal 5: Education/Training
Across the Archdiocese, training is facilitated regularly to ensure that Clergy, Religious, Employees and Volunteers have the knowledge and competency needed to implement policy, procedures and safeguarding initiatives, and to create an Archdiocesan culture which values and supports the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Our regular training program includes accredited mandated notifier training (Child Safe Environments) for all who have roles with children and young people, and training in implementing the Safe Environments for All program. Special training events are run on other topics relevant to Safeguarding, to widen the knowledge and skill base of our clergy, religious and other personnel working with children and young people.
The Safe Environments for All program sits alongside and complements the ten standards for a safe church set out by the Catholic Professional standards Office.
National Catholic Safeguarding Standards & National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are designed to be implemented by all Catholic entities, ministries and organisations across Australia. They constitute a framework which articulates requirements for Catholic entities to promote the safety of children through the implementation of policies and activities to prevent, respond to and report concerns regarding child abuse. They are designed to drive cultural and behavioural change and promote accountability and transparency of Catholic Church leaders and their ministries and entities.
You can find the 10 National Catholic Safeguarding Standards on the ACSL website on this link: acsltd.org.au
There are also National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, endorsed by members of the Council of Australian Governments in 2019. The National Principles aim to provide a nationally consistent approach to creating organisational cultures that foster child safety and wellbeing across all sectors. This will help to keep children and young people safe and reduce future harm in organisational settings. You can access the National Principles and information at https://childsafe.humanrights.gov.au/national-principles