AN INTRODUCTION TO
THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING STANDARDS
Compilation and added comments by Tony Lawless
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are, clearly, the result of a serious commitment on the part of the bishops and other leaders. They manifest an enormous investment in serious work, the engagement of a highly competent team of experienced and independent professionals, and a very large investment of money and of dedicated work.
A framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures
They are designed to be implemented by all Catholic entities, ministries and organisations across Australia.
They constitute a framework which articulates the requirements for Catholic entities to promote the safety of children through the implementation of policies and activities to prevent, respond to and reportconcerns regarding child abuse.
They are designed to drive cultural and behavioural change and promote accountability and transparency of Catholic Church leaders and their ministries and entities.
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.
The Standards work together and ensure each entity, ministry and organisation across the Catholic Church place child safety at the core of how they plan, think and act.
The first phase of development of the Standards focuses on safeguarding practices for the protection of children. The Standards will subsequently be extended to include safeguarding practices relating to vulnerable adults.
Some Key Documents published by the CPSL
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards provide a framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures. National Catholic Safeguarding Standards Edition 1 2019
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards – Implementation Guide Standards 1-10
A ‘how-to’ guide for engaging children and young people in conversations about safeguarding
Audit Report Ballarat
Newsletters are important source:
NEW STANDARDS FOR A CHILD-SAFE CHURCH
"Preventing child abuse, in any form, must be at the core of the Church's mission."
Sheree Limbrick, CEO of Catholic Professional Standards Limited
Eureka Street. 30 May 2019
Eighteen months after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its groundbreaking report, and nine months after the bishops and religious leaders responded to that report, Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) has published the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (Safeguarding Standards).
Together, the ten standards published today provide the framework for each Catholic entity, ministry and organisation across the Catholic Church in Australia to place child safety at the core of how it plans, thinks and acts.
The royal commission in its final report outlined ten child safe standards for organisations. This work has been built upon by the Australian Human Rights Commission in its articulation of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, which were adopted by COAG in February of this year.
The Safeguarding Standards released today for the Catholic Church take the National Principles and apply them in a practical sense to the operations of the Church, as well as adopting many specific recommendations from the royal commission to the Catholic Church.
The royal commission exposed many gaps in church activities. These gaps were especially evident at a local level, in parishes for example, and in ministries where there has been no external oversight or there has been poor understanding or implementation of what is needed in an organisation to protect children.
The establishment of CPSL in 2016 signalled a concrete and practical response by the Catholic Church to the revelations of the royal commission and it provides an international blueprint for reform of the Church's approach to safeguarding. The specific brief for CPSL is to develop nationally consistent standards that increase accountability and transparency, to audit the performance of church authorities against those standards and to publish the results.
CPSL is functionally independent of Church leadership, we speak with our own voice, we make our own decisions and we act as we see fit and in the best interests of children and vulnerable adults.
* * * * *
Protecting children and vulnerable adults in an organisational context is multi-faceted and requires active commitment and constant vigilance. Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility and requires that each individual in an organisation understands why safeguarding is important, how the organisation goes about it, what their individual responsibilities are to act and speak up, and how the organisation will respond when something is raised.
A child safe organisation consciously and publicly commits to putting the safety and wellbeing of children at the centre of values, thoughts and actions. To be effective, safeguarding requires genuine engagement with, listening, valuing and responding to children — respecting and upholding their rights and inherent dignity. The Safeguarding Standards strive to embed these practices within the Catholic Church. CPSL is about building capacity, ensuring vigilance and maintaining the Church's focus on the rights of children.
After nearly two years in this role listening to and engaging with all sorts of organisations across the Catholic Church, I have seen and heard evidence of great work, significant change and deep understanding and commitment in some areas. I have also sadly seen and heard people and organisations who are hesitant, resistant, denying, minimising and struggling to make the change of heart and mind required to drive changes that are needed. As a Church community, and indeed as an Australian community, we must always put the best interests and safety of children at the forefront of considerations and actions. Preventing child abuse, in any form, must be at the core of the Church's mission.
In addition to the Safeguarding Standards, CPSL is rolling out a comprehensive learning and development strategy to assist leaders to better understand and implement their responsibilities to safeguard. The CPSL audit approach has been developed to promote accountability and transparency. It focuses not just on compliance, but also culture change, capacity building and knowledge sharing so that Catholic entities are best-placed and supported to improve practices for the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Data gathered from the audits will assist CPSL to highlight systemic risks, identify new and emerging areas of risk, and support the treatment of these risks through capacity building, targeted resources and support.
The first audits against the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are underway. It is anticipated the first audit reports will be published around the middle of this year.
Our next steps include continuing to work closely with church leaders and organisations to ensure the standards are understood and are applied as intended, work closely with state, territory and national regulators and other organisations to champion the safety and wellbeing of all children, as well as commencing work to broaden the current framework to cover the safeguarding of vulnerable adults.
With the release of the Safeguarding Standards today, the foundation has been laid for a more diligent, evidence-based approach to safeguarding the children who come into contact with the Catholic Church through its many ministries and services.
CHILD SAFETY REFORMS STILL PROGRESSING SLOWLY
Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University
Eureka Street, 14 October 2019
Twelve months has passed since the national apology to survivors and victims of institutional child abuse. Such national and other official apologies for a variety of social calamities are now so common that it makes this anniversary easier to overlook because it is just one among many milestones. It also contained an important symbolic element. Nevertheless, the significance of what Senator Mathias Cormann described as a 'collective systemic national failure' demands that it not to be forgotten.
The national apology was delivered by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 22 October 2018. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also addressed the guests and the substantial matters were subsequently legislated in the Senate and the House of Representatives on 25 October and 12 November 2018. It followed extensive consultation with an independent survivor-focused reference group and with the wider community between May-July 2018.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, created by the Gillard government in 2013, had reported in December 2017 and the National Redress Scheme had begun operation from 1 July 2018. The apology contained an acknowledgement, an apology and a set of aspirations, including building community awareness, strengthening systems to promote children's safety across Australia, and committing to ensuring that 'all our institutions are child-safe'.
These aspirations signal the enormity of the task because they are clearly beyond the scope of the Commonwealth government alone. Eliminating institutional child sexual abuse is a task not just for the Commonwealth government and parliament but also for state and territory governments and thousands of non-government organisations. This enormous task parallels Bob Hawke's ill-fated promise to eliminate child poverty or Kevin Rudd's undeliverable promise to eliminate homelessness.
The Commonwealth government coordinated the redress scheme, and in seeking to implement the recommendations of the royal commission promised to create a National Office for Child Safety, to coordinate a national database and to eliminate the ability of child sex offenders to travel overseas without passports. The Commonwealth parliament also created a select parliamentary committee to provide oversight.
Much relevant action took place at the state level through relevant law reform. State governments were tasked with signing up to the national redress scheme and they all eventually did so. State law reform included removing time limits on the prosecution of offenders and overturning previously signed deeds of release between offending institutions and victims. Most controversially several states undertook to demand that the Catholic Church, the main offender, remove its confessional seal where child sexual abuse was involved.
If this was not enough the national apology overlapped other controversies. The redress scheme was itself controversial as critics believed it cut across the right of survivors to sue the offending institutions at a time when those rights were being reassessed by state parliaments. The maximum level of redress, which had been pegged at $150,000 pp rather than the $200,000 recommended by the royal commission, was also strongly queried and the subsequent report of the parliamentary committee not only called for the cap to be lifted to $200,000 but for the whole scheme to be entirely revised.
Progress was slow because institutions were given until July 2020 to voluntarily sign up to the redress scheme. Some, including about 40 Catholic institutions, have yet to do so, though almost all will meet the deadline. This was one reason for the slow progress in processing claims through the Department of Human Services. By July 2019 from 40,000 calls there had been 4100 applications, 229 payments and 85 offers made. Many more applications were expected, although thousands of victims, notably in Victoria, were choosing civil action rather than the redress scheme.
Several issues have also dogged the momentum of the national apology by taking clear air away from its concerns. Throughout 2018 Cardinal George Pell's committal hearing and then trial was a major news story, despite a media blackout. The announcement of his conviction, unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court and now his appeal to the High Court has run throughout the 12 months since the apology. The Pell case was itself expected to encourage more applications to the redress scheme and more civil cases.
The period has also been interrupted by the May 2019 federal election campaign as well as the intensely divisive debate about freedom of religion. This debate has not just taken public attention way from other church-state issues, but it has attracted huge amounts of the energy and resources of some major non-government institutions like the Catholic Church. So too have public debates about law reform regarding abortion and euthanasia.
The church itself was already committed to its own program of making its institutions child safe through Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL), funded by the ACBC and Catholic Religious Australia, which operates as an independent body with its own board at arms-length from the official church. CPSL has the responsibility of holding all Catholic institutions, including schools, welfare agencies and aged care bodies but particularly parishes, dioceses, orders and congregations, to account for maintaining child safe systems.
This task has itself been controversial, and therefore subject to review, at a time when the church is suffering severe financial pressures. The whole church, just one element of the massive non-government and government institutional structure, is striving to make Australia child-safe, in the aspirational words of the Prime Minister, by allocating significant resources.
Over much the same period the Catholic Church has invested considerable time and energy in preparations for the Plenary Council 2020. This effort is not unrelated to the aspirations of the Prime Minister's national apology as it raises questions about the continuing general awareness, priorities, and disposition of resources of the largest church community in Australia. The royal commission concluded that child safety, in all its organisational ramifications, raised questions of culture and governance for the church. If the PC2020 doesn't take such issues seriously then it will be one indicator that the momentum around the official national apology has slowed.
Measurement of progress following any national apology is fraught with difficulty. The ultimate measures in the matter of national child safety in institutions are that the issue is kept alive in the minds of the public and that the mechanisms in place are effective and efficient as well as redressing as far as possible the enormous harm done to survivors and victims.
At the time of the national apology, despite a lengthy royal commission, so much was still unresolved for survivors and victims. The experience of the past 12 months shows that it is still too early to judge progress on a matter which may take decades to resolve. Not only are there inherent difficulties to address, but the institutional child safety issue shows how the consistently focused attention of the public, the political class and big institutions, including the Catholic Church, is difficult to maintain.
See CSS Victoria as used in school setting here: ttps://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/health/childprotection/Pages/safeenviro.aspx
Brief introduction to the Ten Standards
Framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures
The Ten Standards in skeletal form:
1 LEADERSHIP, GOVERNANCE AND CULTURE: Child safeguarding is embedded
2. CHILDREN: In formed and taken seriously
3 FAMILIES/CARERS AND COMMUNITIES: Informed and involved
4 EQUITY AND DIVERSITY: Equity is upheld, different needs respected
5 RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: People/staff suitable and supported
6 COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT: Processes are responsive, understood, accessible
7 EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Knowledge, skills, awareness; ongoing education and training
8 PHYSICAL AND ONLINE ENVIRONMENTS: Promote safety, with safeguards
9 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: Regular reviews
10 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: Documentation of policies and procedures
What they are:
We might also call this a campaign, like Road Safety Campaigns – focussed, varied, limited, repeated. This child safety campaign will be reviewed every three years, and hopefully repeated and repeated. It takes generations to change behaviour patterns.
The goal is expressed as “to change the culture”. A lot of new rules alone will not keep children safe, but repeated campaigns over many generations will eventually instil a culture of caring.
They are labelled “Standards”. They are not laws to be obeyed but strategies – campaign strategies – steps to take – things to put in place to achieve the goal of safer communities.
They are a framework of ten items required to produce a real change throughout the institution. They cover the whole area and address all the problems - hopefully.
In each item, under each Standard, several criteria are listed. These criteria are expressed as basic requirements to make a church safer for children. (Parallel criteria in a Road Safety campaign would be good roads, safe vehicles, competent drivers, appropriate speeds...)
For each of the criteria, indicators spell out in detail what is needed. (In Road Safety campaigns 'indicators' would be 'to care for road surfaces, to install signs, to inspect of vehicles, to train and test of drivers...)
Improvement comes gradually, over decades, but total safety is never achieved. Hence the review after three years when the campaign will be refocused and different strategies may be introduced (as Road Safety: speed cameras, breathalyser tests, spot checks, fines, mandatory sentencing...).
What they are not:
These ten standards do not cover care for the victim of an assault. They are strategies to protect against assaults happening, while the care of a child who does suffer an assault needs a different approach.
They are about achieving safety in the ordinary situation, not about healing, compensation, justice.
They have nothing to say about fixing the past, but focus on prevention, improving safety.
A particular concern for us would be to press for equally good local policy standards on how victims are treated, which would include care, counselling and compensation.
While we continue our particular work of supporting victims and families and healing the community, we can also assist in the gradual process of embedding these standards in the parish, especially in raising awareness and developing hope in the community.
The whole enormous enterprise gives no guarantee of success of itself. Now that the planning has been done, there's a lot of work for the parish leadership team in setting it up. But success in making this parish safer for children will be achieved only to the extent that people get involved.
How effective will the Standards be?
The key to an effective campaign is to have clear goals and pay attention to details.
Ten essential requirements or “Standards” are identified.
Each standard is expanded by various Criteria (49 in all). Details are spelled out in 111 Indicators.
The next step, as the campaign is rolled out, is to engage the people's interest and enthusiasm. There can be no greater goal for a parish community than to keep our children safe.
Hence, for each one of us, we can be leaders by co-operating with the parish team, by sharing information among our family and friends, by showing our enthusiasm with confidence. Always the motivation comes from the goal: TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE.
The strength of the whole program lies in its insistence on professional supervision. There are specific requirements for various people to be under supervision. Engagement with children must always be in public where they can be seen. Reporting of risks is a thread running through the fabric.
Auditing on a three-year cycle is intended not only to keep everyone on their toes, but to identify and correct gaps and failures. A time limit is set for remediation of defects. Reports are published.
The Audit: what does it entail?
Basically every parish has to go through the 111 indicators and declare where they are up to with each one: Not addressed > Initial/Ad-hoc > Defined & developed > Managed and measurable.
Where an element is missing, not started, or malfunctioning, this goes into the report published on the CPSL website. Time limits are set for remediation of every deficiency.
This triennial review would entail a good deal of work and may well need volunteers to help.
In short, to achieve a culture where children are safe in this parish many hours of voluntary work will be necessary, on top of the good will and enthusiastic involvement of everyone in the parish.
What are they to us?
Our primary concern is for the actual victims of abuse, to support them, visit them, advocate for them.
This must include to contribute to what victims want more than anything in the world: to make sure it doesn't happen to other kids, i.e., to establish a safe community.
Success of the standards will depend on acceptance and involvement of the whole community.
On the community level:
making Child Safety a common topic of conversation. Talking a lot. As there is a culture of secrecy - “See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.”, so there is a culture of openness, with honest free-flowing yet respectful, conversation.
Supporting the parish team in word and action. Setting an example of willing cooperation to displace the general distrust and withdrawal.
Helping those in denial to face the reality of this danger to their kids. This entirely personal exercise needs reflection, and sometimes we need to talk over the issue with a trusted friend.
On the individual level:
Listening to the children for anxiety, complaints or revelations and responding properly.
Sharing our own experience is one way to help someone to open up their thinking.
Being knowledgeable about the problem in general, and familiar with these Standards to be able to discuss them with anyone at any opportunity.
As a group, while maintaining our independence when we cooperate with the parish team, we can work on investigating strategies and programs to suggest, or to implement in our own name.
In all this the children come first, before parish development, re-evangelisation, worship, saving the Church – before everything. In whatever we do, first we must make sure the children are safe.
EIGHT CORE CHILD SAFEGUARDING CAPABILITIES
We have identified eight core child safeguarding capabilities to assist Church personnel in the effective implementation of the Standards:
Understand that leadership and culture are integral to keeping children safe.
Understand the rights and dignity of children.
Understand the nature and impact of abuse and risk factors.
Apply strategies that place emphasis on genuine engagement with children, carers, families and communities.
Develop policies and procedures that embed safeguarding practice.
Implement effective strategies that identify, assess and minimise risk of child abuse in Church entities.
Respond in a timely manner to any concerns, disclosures, allegations of child abuse.
Monitor and review performance to identify opportunities for improvement in safeguarding.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
The Catholic Church leadership established CPSL in response to issues emerging from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Under its Constitution Catholic Professional Standards Ltd is required to establish national standards for the protection of children, to assist Church entities in implementing the standards, to audit compliance and to publicly report the results. This is a unique development in the Catholic Church in Australia and internationally.
While much good work has been done by Church authorities in response to the Royal Commission's revelations and findings, the need for a clear and consistent set of national Standards is an obvious and pressing one.
In early 2018 CPSL developed draft Standards, then set out to test and refine the draft by engaging with Church authorities and survivors, their families and representatives in a broad consultation process.
The draft Standards were also carefully checked against state legislation, the Royal Commission's recommendations, draft national standards being considered by the federal and state governments, and overseas experience. The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, which are the result of nearly 18 months' work, represent best child safeguarding practice for Church Authorities to apply in parishes, schools, welfare services and other services and activities.
The Standards sometimes exceed current regulatory and legislative requirements and sometimes fill gaps in areas where there is currently no regulation. While they are the result of a rigorous drafting process improvement is always possible.
After a period of operation, the Standards will be reviewed in light of experience and, if necessary, changes will be made.
By establishing CPSL and giving it responsibility for implementing and auditing national standards, the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have acknowledged past failures in leadership and made a commitment to the creation of a Church culture within which children are as safe as they can possibly be.
Adoption of the Standards and the associated audit process will be a practical demonstration of the strength of that commitment for all Church authorities – bishops, religious leaders, and trustees.
The Hon. Geoffrey Giudice AO
The following pages (10-13) are slightly simplified versions of the official presentation under the headings: What are the Standards? <> Applying the Standards <> What can you expect from an Audit?
WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS?
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are designed to be implemented by all Catholic entities, ministries and organisations across Australia.
They constitute a framework which articulates 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 and behavioural change and promote accountability and transparency of Catholic Church leaders and their ministries and entities.
The standards require that Catholic entities, ministries and organisations have:
strategies to embed an organisational culture of safeguarding, through effective leadership and governance;
strategies to ensure children are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously;
strategies to ensure families, carers and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safeguarding;
strategies to ensure equity is upheld and diverse needs of children are respected;
recruitment, screening, supervision, support and other human resource practices which reduce the risk of child abuse and ensure people working with children are suitable and supported to implement child safeguarding values in practice;
processes for raising concerns and complaints which are responsive, accessible and used by children, families, carers and communities;
training and education which equips personnel with knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe;
strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks in both physical and online environments;
processes for regularly reviewing and improving safeguarding systems and practices;
policies and procedures which underpin and articulate safeguarding across the entity.
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. The ten Standards work together and ensure each entity, ministry and organisation across the Catholic Church place child safety at the core of how they plan, think and act.
Each of the 10 Standards are then broken down into criteria. The criteria articulate critical elements within a ministry or entity that contribute to realisation of the related Standard. The majority of the criteria in the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are taken from the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
Of a total of 49 criteria, 42 are taken directly from the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. Seven additional criteria have been developed in response to specific recommendations from the Royal Commission and from consultations across the Catholic Church.
Each criterion is further broken down into a number of indicators which provide more detail of actions required to demonstrate implementation of the criterion and the Standard. There are a total of 111 indicators supporting the criteria.
APPLYING THE STANDARDS
Categorisation for entities
The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are to be applied to all Catholic entities, ministries and organisations. Catholic entities, ministries and organisations vary, not only in terms of their structures and governance, but also their level of engagement with and focus on ministry with children.
In recognition of this variance across entities, CPSL has developed a three-tiered categorisation approach to the application of the Standards. The categorisation applies at the Church Authority level, not at an individual ministry or activity level.
Category One - Working with Children All Criteria and Indicators Apply
The Church Authority has governance responsibilities for activities and/or ministries that work with children.
Work with children means being engaged in activities and/or ministries with children where contact would be reasonably expected as a normal part of the activity and/or ministry and the contact is not incidental to the activity. “Work” includes an activity and/or ministry undertaken by all types of Church personnel - clergy, seminarians, deacons, candidates for religious life, religious, employees, volunteers, contractors and unpaid workers.
This category includes, but is not limited to, activities such as children’s liturgy; education activities for children including playgroups, parent support groups, pre-school programs, primary and secondary schools; recreational activities including children’s clubs, camps or sporting activities involving children; youth ministry and volunteers under 18 years of age assisting with activities or events.
Category Two - Contact with Children Orange and Purple Criteria and Indicators Apply
The Church Authority has governance responsibilities for activities and/or ministries that involve contact with children
Contact with children means being engaged in activities and/or ministries that involve, or may involve, contact with children which would be described as incidental to the activity. “Incidental” includes where contact with children is not core to the activity.
This category includes but is not limited to activities such as home visiting where the purpose of the visit is to engage with adults but children may be present; providing adult-focused services and/or activities where parents may bring their children on occasions and advocacy campaigns where images of children are used.
Category Three - No Contact with Children Purple Criteria and Indicators Apply
The Church Authority has no governance responsibility nor engagement in activities and/or ministries that work or have contact with children.
Category one: WORKING WITH CHILDREN - 10 Standards; 49 Criteria; 111 Indicators
Category two: CONTACT WITH CHILDREN - 7 Standards; 33 Criteria; 84 Indicators
Category three: NO CONTACT WITH CHILDREN - 7 Standards; 29 Criteria; 56 Indicators
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM AN AUDIT?
The audit approach will be tailored for organisations depending on the nature of activities and the depth, breadth, complexity and geographic spread of their ministries.
1. Preparing for an Audit
There is a range of tools which entities can use to track their progress of implementing the Standards and to prepare for an audit.
The Self-Assessment of Compliance is required to be completed by all entities participating in the audit program. The Self-Assessment provides an opportunity for entities to describe what they have in place to meet a particular element of the National Child Safety Standards. They can also provide examples of practices, policies, training plans or other actions and can self-assess the entity's own progress in the implementation of the Standards.[...]
The Assessment Scale has been developed to recognise that no two entities will be at the same point in implementing and maintaining the requirements set out in the Standards.
Each indicator in the Standards will be assessed during the audit on a four-point scale:
Not addressed <> Initial/Ad-hoc <> Defined & developed <> Managed & measurable.
Church entities can use the assessment scale during their self assessment process to rate their own compliance level, prior to the audit.
Entities also need to develop a Safeguarding Implementation Plan which is required under criterion 9.1 of the Standards.
2. Pre-audit Contact
The Church Authority submits to CPSL a range of information...
3. Understand All Activities
CPSL will work with the Church Authority to understand the governance, activities, ministries and structures...
4. Confirm Audit Scope
CPSL will confirm the audit scope, associated fees and timing of the audit [and] to organise logistics, arrange meetings and request specific documents for CPSL to review in advance.
5. Opening Meeting
An opening meeting will be held … to set expectations, clarify questions or concerns and exchange necessary information.
6. Audit Fieldwork CPSL will conduct audit activities ... including interviews with key stakeholders, document review and testing of processes, policies and procedures. Approximately 25% of sites/locations will be visited.
A debrief meeting will occur at the end of fieldwork to discuss audit observations and preliminary audit findings.
7. Closing Meeting
The formal closing meeting … approximately 10-20 days after the end of fieldwork - during this time, entities will have the opportunity to remediate any audit issues. Such remediation actions will still be noted in the audit report for full transparency.
The draft audit report, including all audit findings and recommendations, will be discussed with the Church Authority leadership team and key safeguarding personnel at the closing meeting. During the closing meeting, CPSL will seek to confirm with the Church Authority any outstanding management actions and target dates for remediation.
The audit report will be finalised and provided to the Church Authority. Reports will be published on the CPSL website, in groups, at regular intervals. The agreed management actions with timeframes as discussed during the closing meeting will be included for each recommendation and will be published in the audit report to promote accountability.
9. Attestation of agreed management actions
The Church Authority will attest to CPSL that agreed management actions have been implemented by the target dates.
The implementation of actions and the accuracy of attestations will be reviewed at the next audit. CPSL reserves the right to re-audit relevant areas of the Church Authority prior to the next three-yearly audit where significant non-compliances were noted or where remediation actions have not been appropriately addressed.
Note: the first audit report of a diocese was published on the CPSL website in September 2019 at
THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Highlights of the Convention
• Every child has the inherent right to life, and states shall ensure to the maximum extent possible child survival and development.
• Every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth.
• Children shall not be separated from their parents, except by competent authorities for their wellbeing.
• States shall facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories.
• Parents have the primary responsibility for a child’s upbringing, but states shall provide them with appropriate assistance and develop childcare institutions.
• States shall protect children from physical and mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.
• States shall provide parentless children with suitable alternative care. The adoption process shall be carefully regulated and international agreements should be sought to provide safeguards and assure legal validity if and when adoptive parents intend to move a child from his or her country of birth.
• Children with disability shall have the right to special treatment, education and care.
• Children are entitled to the highest attainable standard of health. States shall ensure that health care is provided to all children, placing emphasis on preventative measures, health education and reduction of infant mortality.
• Primary education shall be free and compulsory. Discipline in schools shall respect the child’s dignity. Education should prepare the child for life in a spirit of understanding, peace and tolerance.
• Children shall have time to rest and play, and shall have equal opportunities for cultural and artistic activities.
• States shall protect children from economic exploitation and from work that may interfere with their education or be harmful to their health or wellbeing.
• States shall protect children from the illegal use of drugs and involvement in drug production or trafficking.
• All efforts shall be made to eliminate the abduction and trafficking of children.
• Capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before age 18.
• Children in detention shall be separated from adults; they must not be tortured or suffer cruel or degrading treatment.
• No child under the age of 15 shall take any part in hostilities; children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection.
• Children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own culture, religion and language.
• Children who have suffered mistreatment, neglect or exploitation shall receive appropriate treatment or training for recovery and rehabilitation.
• Children involved in infringements of the penal law shall be treated in a way that promotes their sense of dignity and worth and aims at reintegrating them into society.
• States shall make the rights set out in the Convention widely known to both adults and children.