Professional Standards for Child Safety
Building and Promoting a Child Safe Environment
Our Commitment as a Parish
At St John's Parish we hold the safety, care and well being of our children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our parish community. This commitment is based on the teachings of Jesus and the sacredness and dignity of each human being which is the essence of our Gospel. We all have an obligation to identify risks early and reduce or remove them and to do what we can to keep children safe from harm and abuse.
Victorian Child Safe Standards
In April 2012 the Victorian Government initiated an inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-government organisations. The final report "Betrayal of Trust" provided a range of recommendations, this included the introduction of the compulsory minimum Victorian Child Safe Standards. These standards apply for organisations who provide services to children and must have:
1) Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including effective leadership arrangements.
2) Zero tolerance of child abuse.
3) Commitment to ensuring that all those engaged in the Church promote the inherent dignity of children and young people and their fundamental right to be respected and nurtured in a safe environment. This includes children with a disability, Aboriginal children and those from culturally diverse backgrounds.
All clergy, staff, contractors and parishioners involved with children related activities or using the premises during school hours require a current Working With Children Check and may need a Police Check. The Parish Office is required to keep up to date records of WWCC checks and signed Code of Conduct documentation. The Code of Conduct can also be found on our parish website Child Safety Code of Conduct or hard copies available from the Parish Office. Attendance at formation sessions on Child Safety is also required.
Reporting and Responding to Child Abuse
You may believe that a child in our parish is in need of protection, or a criminal offence has taken place. You should always report circumstances that concern you. The welfare and best interests of children are of utmost importance and where there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger then Police should be called on 000.
A disclosure made to you by a child.
Being present and witnessing such an event.
Observing events that cause you to believe that a child is at risk of being abused or is being abused.
Child abuse includes:
Sexual offences, grooming, physical violence, serious emotional or psychological harm, serious neglect, family violence or exposure to family violence.
Child Safety Team
A Child Safety Team has been established and has completed the formation required by the Archdiocese. The is the first point of contact for reporting any concerns and any questions parishioners may have regarding Child Safety. The Team consists of:
Andrew Buchanan (Child Safety Co-ordinator)
Fr Dispin John - Parish Priest
Maree O'Keefe - Pastoral Associate
Beth Barclay - Parish Leadership Team
Elisa Kelesidis - Parish Office