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Responding to sexual abuse; Ensuring that children are safe

Thanks to presenters and to all who participated in our 12 July forum on ‘Responding to sexual abuse and its aftermath’.  Key messages from the day included:

Jenny Glare:
  The community will not respect any institution that doesn’t protect children.  The completion of the work of the Royal Commission is only the start of the real work we must continue.

Francis Sullivan:  For most people, the value of the Church is in what it does, and social services are to the fore in this.  We need to ask what it is about what we do and how we do it that can build a bridge into the community; and to build a culture that is healthy, engaged and relevant, that sends signals that the overall human project is that one of promotion of human flourishing, and not one of judgement.

Patricia Faulkner: Catholic Professional Standards will work to protect children and vulnerable people within all parts of the Church, through the setting of standards, auditing and reporting against them and naming non-compliance.

 

A report of the meeting is set out below. 

 

24 August training on building a child safe environment
The next step from Catholic Social Services Victoria is a training session for members on building a Child Safe Environment, on the morning of Thursday 24 August.   To be delivered by CatholicCare, this session is to assist member organisations to:
 
Learn about the new Victorian Child Safe Standards including new Victorian legislation emanating from the recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust Report.
 
Explore ways of developing and implementing Child Safe Standards in their organisation or practice.

Gain resources, skills and knowledge to build a culture that creates a child safe and child-friendly environment within the organisation.

Develop an action plan for their organisation.  
 

Click here for a flyer for this event.  Some details are:

Thursday 24 August 2017, 8.30am for 9.00 – 12.30; Cardinal Knox Centre, 383 Albert St, East Melbourne.

Cost: $25

Bookings:    www.trybooking.com/RDQC, by Monday 21 August

Member organisations are at varying stages of development in this work.  The day is designed primarily for those who don’t yet have a comprehensive best practice response in place, and for all to benefit from the wisdom of those that are far advanced in this work. We hope that you can join us. 

Report on the 12 July Forum on responding to abuse and its aftermath

Jenny Glare set the tone of the forum with the challenge to all to be very clear about our responsibility for the protection of children.  The community will not respect any institution that doesn’t protect children.  The completion of the work of the Royal Commission is only the start of the real work we must continue.

Francis Sullivan delved into how the final report will affect the Church—from the creation of Catholic Professional Standards, the culture and relevance of the Church, and financial implications such as the redress scheme. 

Cultural change was his key theme.  For most people, the value of the Church is in what it does, and social services are to the fore in this.  We need to ask what it is about what we do and how we do it that can build a bridge into the community; and to build a culture that is healthy, engaged and relevant, that sends signals that the overall human project is that one of promotion of human flourishing, and not one of judgement.

We need to build a contemporary, Spirit-filled spirituality.  Each part of the Church is called to apologise publicly, as we move to a new culture of engagement, to step up to the challenge of promotion of human flourishing, with new faces articulating a contemporary heart of the Church.

Click here for a video of the full presentation, including Jenny Glare’s introduction.

Patricia Faulkner followed, and explained the structure and purpose of Catholic Professional Standards – to protect children and vulnerable people within all parts of the Church.  The setting of standards, auditing and reporting against them, and naming non-compliance are key functions.  Consultation, efficiency and effectiveness will be hallmarks. 

Patricia noted that there will be scepticism of the project, but that the best response to that is to do the work well.  She and her fellow Directors are committed to the task, and will not accept barriers to the goals they have been set.  Click here for Patricia’s presentation.

Discussion at tables and in plenary explored and extended a number of these themes. 

Feedback and next steps

The resonse on the day were very positive.  85% of respondents to the evaluation rated the forum ‘very good’. 

Some quotes from the feedback sheets:

General comments

·         Speakers brought a refreshing openness, honesty and appropriate motivation to do a lot better in future.  How things have changed!

·         Not enough time for discussion and questions.  There were some elephants in the room we didn’t address.

·         Great to hear the insights of both Francis and Patricia and to hear a hope-filled view of Catholicism

·         Good to be in a discussion where open, honest views are welcomed and engaged

·         Good speakers, good process

·         Very well chaired [thanks Jenny Glare], excellent content

Key take away from forum

·         What is it about our culture that reflects human flourishing?

·         Energised to be more active as Chair of Board

·         Need of cultural change & acknowledge the place of the Spirit

·         The need for our organisation, which is independent from the Church but seen as Catholic to be more visible in addressing the need for healing and redress and in moving the Catholic Church forward

·         Hope

·         Our services are in response to the Spirit

·         Things are happening!  Well done.

·         Vagueness and uncertainty – watch this space.

What else would be useful?

·         Knowing what others are doing that can be a good model

·         Materials to assist enhancing practice of hearing voice of child

·         Continued opportunities such as this

·         Regular ‘workshops’ that discuss/negotiate/grapple with issues

·         Further discernment /opportunities for hospitals to respond well

·         More dialogue/discussion about the issues, and the future of the Church

·         How to facilitate real conversations with our people to support and educate them to move forward with cultural change

·         Training

·         Regular news items about he establishment of CPS and the development of standards

·         Conversations about being a Catholic organisation – gospel values and Holy Spirit

·         To be kept informed of developments

·         How do we spread these ideas to the broader Church?


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