What is Safe Communities?
The Catholic Church in Tasmania has zero tolerance for the abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults and is committed to acting in their best interests.
Safe Communities is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Hobart designed to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect. Archbishop Julian Porteous formed the Safe Communities Office in 2016 to ensure that Safeguarding policies and practices are developed, maintained and readily available to organisations, individuals and the broader Tasmanian community. The Safe Communities: Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults Framework was developed in consultation with Archdiocese of Hobart Trust Agencies and organisations of Catholics. Since its initial development, the Safe Communities Office has progressed to adapt its policies and procedures to reflect the Catholic Professional Standards Limited Framework.
The Safe Communities objectives are to create a shared culture of safety for children and vulnerable adults, and:
- Establish systems and processes that provide a safe environment for all in our care
- Implement safe strategies and practices to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm
- Report, monitor and respond to disclosures or concerns of abuse throughout Tasmania.
- Conduct an annual audit and report on findings of the reviews to the community
Safeguarding requires the involvement of everyone in the Catholic Church within the Archdiocese of Hobart.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is child and vulnerable adult safety?
The safety of children and vulnerable people in organisations where they spend time is something that is often assumed and rarely questioned. However, it has been identified that children have been unsafe in organisations for generations and continue to be at risk today. In regards to vulnerable people, it can take many different forms. The most common forms are financial abuse and neglect.
The Archdiocese of Hobart is committed to ensuring all Church personnel (including volunteers) are well informed about their duty of care towards children and have knowledge of abuse indicators.
What is the difference between a Police Check and a Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Card?
Both are (sometimes) required because they have a different focus.
A WWVP application provides a national police history record for charges or convictions that show a risk to harm a child. A risk assessment is undertaken by the Regulator to determine if an applicant can be registered with a WWVP card.
A Police Check looks at the same national police records and shows all criminal convictions (such as drug convictions, fraud, theft, etc).
A WWVP card is like a licence and is current for three years, and a Police Check shows a person’s status at a point in time.
What if I refuse to obtain a WWVP Card or Police Check for my role as a paid employee or volunteer?
If you refuse to obtain a WWVP Card or a Police Check you will be unable to work or volunteer at the Archdiocese of Hobart and its parishes.
Safe Communities Committee
The Safe Communities Committee meets every fortnight to support the implementation of the Archbishop’s Safe Communities: Protecting Children and Vulnerable People Framework across all agencies, parishes and other associated entities of the Archdiocese. The Committee will also support the integration of CPSL’s National Catholic Safeguarding Standards and accompanying Audit process.
The Committee comprises Archdiocesan clergy & staff:
- Vicar General
- Executive Director, Administration & Finance
- General Manager, People & Culture
- Executive Business Support Officer (Safe Communities Officer)
National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS) were developed by Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) are designed to be implemented by all Catholic Entities, ministries and organisations across Australia.
The 10 National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are taken directly from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report, Volume 6.
1. Committed leadership, governance and culture
Child safeguarding is embedded in the entity’s leadership, governance and culture
2. Children are safe, informed and participate
Children are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
3. Partnering with families, carers and communities
Families, carers and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safeguarding
4. Equity is promoted, and diversity is respected
Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice
5. Robust human resource management
People working with children are suitable and supported to reflect child safeguarding values in practice
6. Effective complaints management
Processes for raising concerns and complaints are responsive, understood, accessible and used by children, families, carers, communities and personnel
7. Ongoing education and training
Personnel are equipped with knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through information, ongoing education and training
8. Safe physical and online environments
Physical and online environments promote safety and contain appropriate safeguards to minimise the opportunity for children to be harmed
9. Continuous improvement
Entities regularly review and improve implementation of their systems for keeping children safe
10. Policies and procedures support child safety
Policies and procedures document how the entity is safe for children