At Catholic Chinese Community of Melbourne (CCCM), we hold the care, safety and well-being of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our community. Our parish has zero tolerance of child abuse and all children are entitled to, as a fundamental right, safety and protection from all forms of abuse and neglect. We all have an obligation to do the best we can to keep children safe from harm and abuse. We are committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early and then reducing or removing them. We are also committed to treat all people involved in situations, where harm is suspected or disclosed, with sensitivity, dignity and respect. Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained with information being provided to those who have a right or a need to be informed either legally or pastorally.
Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework
The leadership of each parish, agency and entity is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and relevant procedures and practices to promote the safety of children and young people.
At CCCM, we acknowledge that preventing child abuse requires proactive approaches across policies, procedures and practices consistent with the requirements of the:
- Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme (Commission for Children and Young People, Victoria)
- National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (Australian Human Rights Commission)
- National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (Catholic Professional Standards Limited)
National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
The 10 National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are designed to be implemented by all Catholic entities, ministries and organisations across Australia. The standards outline the 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 change, promote accountability and transparency and demonstrate in effective leadership and governance arrangements across the parishes.
Our Safeguarding Practices
Selection, Recruitment and Screening
Recruitment and screening procedures must reflect the community commitment to providing safe and enriching interactions with children and young people.
Working with Children Check requirements (WWCC)
All clergy, employees and volunteers over the age of 18 are required to maintain a current WWCC throughout their involvement in the community. Employment in a paid or voluntary capacity is subject to and conditional upon a satisfactory WWCC (with exception of short-term or one-off volunteers).
Policy and Code of Conduct
All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to abide by (and sign) the Parish Code of Conduct (The Parish Code of Conduct hyperlinks to SHWP parish Code of Conduct) and know and comply with the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy.
Our office maintains up-to-date records of the status of Working with Children Checks, attendance at induction and ongoing training programs, and signed Code of Conduct documentation.
Risk assessments are to be conducted to identify and assess risks associated with activities and programs involving children and young people to minimise opportunities for harm to occur.
Responding to and Reporting Child Abuse
All clergy, employees and volunteers have a duty of care to protect children and young people from harm and a moral, legal and ethical duty to effectively respond to and report all concerns, allegations or complaints of child-safety related misconduct and/or child abuse.
Any person (for example, a child, young person, parent, priest, employee, volunteer, parishioner) can make a report in relation to child-safety related misconduct and/or child abuse.
It is a requirement of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy that clergy, employees and volunteers make a report if they have formed a reasonable belief that a child or young person has experienced abuse, is experiencing abuse or is at risk of harm (even if others do not hold a reasonable belief or do not believe a report should be made). Not reporting child safety concerns, complaints or allegations or preventing, influencing or coercing a person from making a report is a breach of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and may result in disciplinary action and/or possible legal action.
Making a child abuse report involves notifying statutory authorities and the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in a timely manner (as soon as practicable after forming a reasonable belief, unless the child or young person is in imminent danger).
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has a legal responsibility under the Reportable Conduct Scheme to notify current and historical incidents of suspected child abuse or misconduct of clergy, employees and volunteers to the Commission for Children and Young People.
The Professional Standards Unit (PSU) is responsible for coordinating child-safety related misconduct and/or child abuse reports in relation to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and liaising with statutory authorities e.g. Victoria Police, Reportable Conduct Scheme – Commission for Children and Young People.
For more information:
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM) – Reporting child safety related misconduct and/or child abuse
Catholic Professional Standards (CPSL) – Raise a concern, and seek advice and support in Victoria
e-Safety Commissioner – https://www.esafety.gov.au/
In order to facilitate the compliance and implementation and of our Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy, we have established a Safeguarding Committee which works collaboratively with our clergy, leadership team, volunteers and other entity to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
At CCCM, our Safeguarding Committee consists of representatives from our Executive Committee members, Sunday School Young Shoots group, Teenage Subjects of God group, Youth group and an independent parishioner.