Safeguarding: Children, Young People and Vulnerable Persons

SAFEGUARDING SUNDAY 2023 THIS WEEKEND: The Catholic Church in Australia marks Safeguarding Sunday (formerly Child Protection Sunday) on the second Sunday of September each year at the conclusion of National Child Protection Week. In 2023, Safeguarding Sunday falls on September 10. Safeguarding Sunday seeks to acknowledge the immense damage caused by the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults within Catholic contexts. It makes a commitment to practices and protocols that create and maintain safe environments for all people. It invites people to pray for those harmed by abuse, both directly and indirectly.

Safeguarding Sunday 2023 prayer card A4 02 2

At Saint Timothy Catholic Parish Forest Hill we are committed to a safe and nurturing culture for all children and vulnerable persons in our Church. Saint Timothy's Catholic Parish Forest Hill holds the care, safety, well-being of children and vulnerable persons as central and fundamental responsibilities of the Church. This commitment is drawn from and inherent to the teaching and mission of Jesus Christ, with love, justice and the sanctity of each human person at the heart of the Gospel.

We adhere to the Victorian Government's Child Safe Standards and follow the Archdiocesan Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct. A copy of this document is available for viewing below.

Safeguarding Lens:

How can parishes monitor their compliance for safeguarding? The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework has been informed by the following organisational child safety frameworks.

• Victorian Child Safe Standards
• National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
• National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

A comparison of the requirements of each of the organisational child safety frameworks can be found in the Information sheet - Organisational Frameworks for Safeguarding Children and Young People

The Parish Child Safety Assessment Tool (located here) enables parishes to self-assess their compliance with the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework noted above. This tool can be useful to facilitate your parish’s readiness to be audited by the Victorian Government Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP).

Child Protection Guidelines

The parish takes the safety, well-being and inclusion of all children very seriously and has policies and procedures in place to maintain a Child Safe environment.​

Members of the Parish Safeguarding Committee are: Theresa Nguyen, Mary Italiano and
Fr Gerard (Contact details)

Reporting and Responding

We work to ensure all children, families and staff know what to do and who to tell if they observe abuse or a victim, or if they notice inappropriate behaviour. Our Parish’s reporting policy is detailed in the Reporting child safety related misconduct and/or child abuse document available below and provides guidance on how to make a report when there is a reasonable belief that a child in our parish environment is in need of protection or if a criminal offence has been committed.

Our Parish records any child safety complaints, disclosures or breaches of the Archdiocesan Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct and stores the records in accordance with security and privacy requirements.

pdf Information Sheet Safeguarding Responsiblities V1 1 (280 KB)

pdf Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct (331 KB)

pdf Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct Declaration (265 KB)

COVID 19 Online Safety for Parents and Children

Safeguarding Information is available from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in the following languages: Arabic, Burmese, Croatian, Italian, Malayalam, Polish, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, VietnameseView here

20210830 1 Reporting abuse or safety related misconduct A4 Poster 1

Policies Attachments:

Media Release Pathways Victoria

Archdiocese Safeguarding

Archdiocesan Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy

pdf Parish Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy - July 2020 (310 KB)

pdf Reporting child safety related misconduct and/or child abuse (777 KB)

pdf Reporting Abuse or Safety-Related Misconduct (84 KB)

pdf Expansion of mandatory reporter groups – fact sheet People in religious ministry – commencing early 2020 (755 KB)

Protecting God's Children ~ A Resource for Parents

As children’s first and most enduring educators, parents are best placed to begin conversations with their children in an age and developmentally appropriate way. Protecting God’s Children Parent Resource: A Catholic Parent’s Guide to Keeping Their Kids Safe is a protective behaviours resource aimed at supporting Catholic parents of children aged 5-12 years old. The resource helps parents teach children a range of important personal safety skills, supports the development of emotional intelligence skills and promotes a child’s understanding of the right to feel safe through engaging activities and storybooks. Using the concept of "basket fillers", the resource begins by exploring the theme, “God gave all children the right to feel safe at all times” and sequentially builds on:

  • children’s understanding of safety
  • awareness of their feelings and early warning signs
  • body awareness
  • helping seeking strategies
  • empowering children to say no in unsafe situations
  • reinforcing the concept of personal space, and
  • importantly the theme of “Nothing is so awful that we can’t talk with someone about it”.

Whilst we maintain that adults are ultimately responsible for maintaining safe environments for children, it is just as important to empower children to recognise when they are feeling unsafe and to tell a trusted adult (or adults) so that action is taken to help them be safe and feel safe.

Developed by Andrea Musulin (Director of Safeguarding, Catholic Archdiocese of Perth), this resource has been adapted by our Professional Standards Unit (PSU) for use by families within the Melbourne Archdiocese. We also thank Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB (Archbishop of Perth) for making the resource available to us. Protecting God's Children Parent Resource.

Psalms and readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, and Mass readings

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