SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
Who we are
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OLSC) was given effect by Pope Benedict XVI with the Decree of Erection, on 15 June 2012. This was the third Personal Ordinariate to be erected for former Anglicans (after the United Kingdom and the United States of America/Canada).
Although OLSC’s roots originate from the Anglican tradition, it is fully Catholic. Our primary mission is that of evangelisation. OLSC does not exist just for Anglicans who wish to become Catholic, as Pope Francis has broadened its mission to encompass any and all who wish to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. Of course, as any Catholic may worship in any Catholic parish, our doors are open to any and all within the Catholic Church.
OLSC in church law is comparable to a non-geographical Diocese. OLSC covers all of the territory of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) can also entrust communities outside of this territory to the care and jurisdiction of the OLSC. At present this includes communities in Japan and Guam (a US protectorate). The Ordinary of the OLSC is the Reverend Monsignor Carl Reid PA who was installed at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney on 27 August 2019. The Ordinary is a full member of ACBC.
Compliance with the relevant legislative requirements for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as stipulated by (i) Australian States and Territories or (ii) the laws and regulations which apply to OLSC’s communities outside of Australia is mandatory.
- Additional explanation of the OLSC’s role with vulnerable adults
- Statement of Principles
- Glossary of terms
POLICY STATEMENT – SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
INTRODUCTION, PURPOSE, AND POLICY CONTEXT OF SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS IN THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS
OLSC is committed to the safety, wellbeing, and welfare of children and vulnerable adults who are members of the OLSC community, and the wider community who associate directly or indirectly with OLSC for care and support. Unacceptable behaviour is not tolerated.
This Safeguarding Policy is a key component of the initiative taken by OLSC designed to provide a safe environment and activities that respect and acknowledge the inherent dignity of each human being.
This Safeguarding Policy applies to everyone who works in the pastoral structure of the OLSC. Nothing in the policy affects the expectations of Integrity in Ministry – a document of principles and standards for Catholic Clergy and Religious in Australia (June 2004).
This Safeguarding Policy applies to clergy, seminarians, religious, employees, students on placement and volunteers in parishes/communities and agencies of OLSC.
The purpose of this Safeguarding Policy is to facilitate a framework for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults who directly or indirectly associate with OLSC. It proposes to establish the professional practice standards necessary for clergy, seminarians, religious, students on placement, volunteers, visitors, parishes/communities, leaders, and contractors to ensure safe church practices and procedures by all its members. This Safeguarding Policy also outlines initiatives of OLSC to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and protect them from harm and to encourage the ideal that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. The processes put in place for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from abuse and maltreatment, preventing risk of harm, and addressing issues affecting children’s emotional health and development, will provide safe havens for both children and vulnerable adults, and achieve the best outcomes in our parishes/communities.
All members of OLSC who work with children and vulnerable adults must act in their best interests and take all reasonable steps to prevent their harm. Having safeguards in place within an organisation not only, and most importantly, protects and promotes the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, but also, because of sound processes and compliance, engenders confidence of all involved in leadership roles within OLSC. OLSC is wholly committed to promoting the protection of vulnerable adults from abuse and other types of exploitation while they associate with the OLSC.
OLSC is committed to supporting individuals in taking control over their lives and in making informed choices without coercion.
The intent of OLSC’s Safeguarding Policy is to provide a framework to promote ethical everyday conduct. It does not and cannot cover every situation that can arise in the parishes/communities and encourages the need for common sense in how members conduct themselves. In addition, OLSC embraces collaborative management of complaints relating to children and vulnerable adults with relevant State and Territory Government departments.
ADDITIONAL EXPLANTION OF THE OLCS’S ROLE WITH VULNERABLE ADULTS
OLSC’s role in safeguarding vulnerable adults includes:
- providing the vision and direction for their safety,
- ensuring that its policies and practices articulate its commitment to their protection,
- establishing clear and concise processes for their safeguarding,
- addressing poor practices, exploitation based on gender, age, and ethnicity,
- establishing safeguards for positive care and support,
- providing leadership in the prevention of further issues, and the protection and empowerment of vulnerable adults,
- providing the least intrusive responses appropriate to the circumstances.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults is everybody’s responsibility, with parishes/communities playing a part in promoting welfare, preventing abuse, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
OLSC upholds the following principles that underpin our commitment to the children and vulnerable adults in its parishes/communities. The principles listed below are based on OLSC’s belief that children and vulnerable adults have a right to live in an environment free from neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic and family violence.
OLSC commits to:
- the safety, welfare, and wellbeing of all children and vulnerable adults as being paramount.
- upholding the rights of children and vulnerable adults to be safe, nurtured and cared for.
- working in partnership with State and Territory child protection departments to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults.
- working in the best interests of children and vulnerable adults, underpinned by the ethos that protecting children and vulnerable adults is everyone’s responsibility.
- undertaking and promoting safe selection and recruitment processes to establish safeguarding practice for anyone involved in ministry or work with children and vulnerable adults.
- providing appropriate training programs for anyone involved in ministry or work with children and vulnerable adults as mandatory.
- establishing safeguarding practice standards for all who associate with OLSC.
- responding to all abuse risks, concerns, allegations and incidents promptly and effectively, conscientiously complying with all OLSC and legal reporting requirements.
Non-compliance with, or breaches of OLSC’s Safeguarding Policy and associated standards, legislation, procedures, practices or guidelines may constitute misconduct and result in action up to and including dismissal and/or referral to statutory authorities.
While upholding its duty of care, OLSC undertakes to oversee the implementation of safeguarding practices across our parishes/communities. OLSC is committed to establishing a child-focused, safe church environment to ensure ongoing safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.
- establish a fundamental understanding of the duty of care required towards those associated with parishes/communities.
- appoint a Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
- as much as is possible, work closely with and utilise the resources of the Professional Standards /Safeguarding offices of the Dioceses in the territory in which OLSC operates.
- establish risk mitigation processes and appropriate escalation processes at all levels. This may be achieved by establishing an OLSC Safeguarding Board to act as a review panel.
- commit to Safeguarding education and training provisions in parishes/communities, ensuring mandatory completion of appropriate training and competencies on child abuse and neglect, indicators, disclosure management, and mandatory reporting as a basic requirement to holding parish leadership roles.
- ensure all involved in ministry with children undergo a thorough recruitment check to determine suitability for ministry including: selection, screening, and appointment processes.
- develop additional policies, procedures, guidelines, and other relevant documents to support implementation of this policy in OLSC.
- monitor implementation of policies and practice standards in parishes/communities.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Child – A person below the age of 18 years.
Child abuse – There are different legal definitions of child abuse in Australia. Most commonly, the categories of child abuse include sexual, physical, psychological, neglect, ill-treatment, exploitation and exposure to family violence.
The following provides general definitions only. For specific legal definitions related to your State/Territory please go to: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/reportingabuse-and-neglect
Child abuse, when referenced throughout the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, includes:
- Physical abuse refers to any non-accidental physically aggressive act towards a child. Physical abuse may be intentional or may be the inadvertent result of physical punishment. Physically abusive behaviours include shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, biting, burning and kicking.
- Sexual abuse refers to a person who uses power, force or authority to involve a child in any form of unwanted or illegal sexual activity. This can involve touching or no contact at all. This may take the form of taking sexually explicit photographs or videos of children, forcing children to watch or take part in sexual acts and forcing or coercing children to have sex or engage in sexual acts with other children or adults.
- Grooming refers to a pattern of behaviour aimed at engaging a child as a precursor to sexual abuse. It includes establishing a ‘special’ friendship/relationship with the child. Grooming can include the conditioning of parents and other adults to think that the relationship with the child is ‘normal’ and positive. The process can take as little as a few days or as long as months or even years.
- Neglect refers to a failure by a caregiver to provide the basic requirements for meeting the physical and emotional developmental needs of a child. Physically neglectful behaviours include a failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, supervision, hygiene or medical attention.
- Psychological abuse refers to inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts and a failure to provide adequate non-physical nurture or emotional availability. Psychologically abusive behaviours include rejecting, ignoring, isolating, terrorising, corrupting, verbal abuse and belittlement. Exposure to family violence is generally considered to be a form of psychologically abusive behaviour, where a child is present (hearing or seeing) while a parent or sibling is subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse or psychological maltreatment, or is visually exposed to the damage caused to persons or property by a family member’s violent behaviour.
Child safeguarding policies and procedures – means any policies or procedures of the entity that address elements of child safety. For example, but not limited to: recruitment, risk management, complaint handling, and acceptable use (information and communication technology).
Complainant – means any person who makes a complaint that may include any allegation, suspicion, concern, or report of a breach of the entity’s code of conduct. It also includes disclosures made to an institution that may be about, or relate to, abuse in the entity’s context.
Ordinariate – means a non-geographical diocese, an example of which is the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross which is administered by an Ordinary.
Professional standards – The qualities essential for the ethical and safe practice of pastoral ministry.
Vulnerable adult – means any person aged 18 years and over who is at increased risk of abuse, such as those who:
- are elderly.
- have a disability.
- suffer from mental illness.
- have diminished capacity.
- have cognitive impairment.
- are experiencing transient risks, such as bereavement or relationship breakdown (or other such adversity).
- have any other impairment that makes it difficult for that person to protect themselves from abuse or exploitation.
OLSC acknowledges that we have reviewed and used information and themes from the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle and the Archdiocese of Brisbane to assist with the compilation of this Safeguarding Policy. The OLSC would like to thank these organisations for their work.
Enquiries & Contact
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross
Phone: (+61) 428 691 743
 National Catholic Safeguarding Standards Consultation Draft 2nd edition, July 2020, page 42.