At Sacred Heart Preston we hold the care, safety and well being of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our parish. Our parish has zero tolerance of child abuse and all children are entitled to, as a fundamental right, safety and protection from all forms of abuse and neglect. We all have an obligation to do the best we can to keep children safe from harm and abuse. We are committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early and then reducing or removing them. 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.
In April 2012, the Victorian Government initiated a landmark inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-government organisations. The inquiry’s final report, Betrayal of Trust provided a range of recommendations. The Victorian Government’s response included the introduction of compulsory minimum Victorian Child Safe Standards. The aim of these standards is to help protect children from all forms of abuse by driving cultural change in organisations in order to strengthen their approaches to preventing and responding to abuse. The standards apply from January 2017 for organisations who provide services for children.
Victorian Child Safe Standards
To create and maintain a child safe organisation, an entity to which the standards apply must have:
- Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements.
- 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.
- Zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations as well as safety concerns.
- Commitment to cultural safety for Aboriginal children and those from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to provide a safe environment for children with a disability.