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Bishops warned to stay vigilant

National

No matter how much better informed the community and the Church is as a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the danger has not passed.

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That was the warning of the Hon Geoff Giudice, chair of the Catholic Church’s new safeguarding body, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL), when he addressed the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Plenary Council in Sydney this week.

Mr Giudice told the bishops that one of the key challenges for the Church and for CPSL over the next few years was to maintain the momentum created by the Royal Commission.

“Evil will always exist,” he said.

“A sustained effort is needed to create and maintain a culture of safety and care. That realisation is central to CPSL’s operations.

“Two things in particular flow from this realisation.

“The first is that safeguarding of vulnerable people should be at the forefront of conversations within the Church at all levels and the second, because of the ever-present possibility of abuse and misconduct of other kinds, CPSL will be persistent and uncompromising in implementing the national standards.

“This means our default position is that audit reports will be publicly available and that stronger action could be taken against a Catholic entity which does not comply.

“Audit reports, positive and negative, will be of great practical and symbolic significance. When the child safeguarding standards have been approved later this year, CPSL will carry out its responsibility to implement them with perseverance, compassion and transparency.”

Ms Sheree Limbrick, CEO of CPSL, gave the Bishops a comprehensive presentation detailing the work which has already been done and the standards consultation process that is now underway.

“The draft standards are now on our website and we welcome feedback,” she said.

“We will soon also be starting an Australia-wide consultation process where we will visit every state to engage with survivors, family, advocates, religious leaders, educators, social services, disability and children services, government authorities and many others.”

To comment on the CPSL draft National Catholic Safeguarding Standards go to CPSL website

 

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