The safeguarding policy statement is approved by Bishop Michael McKenna for mandatory implementation across the Diocese and its agencies. To view the policy detail please visit our policies page here.
A message from Bishop Michael McKenna
Looking forward to a better future
Dear Friends in Christ,
In my Lenten Message of 2017, I asked for our local church to become a community ready to listen to, accompany and assist those among us who suffered childhood sexual abuse in our schools, orphanages and parishes.
We cannot undo the past: we can only do our best in the present, for a better future.
May I invite anyone who has been living with these painful memories and now feels ready to talk about them to begin by contacting our Professional Standards Office on 02 9287 1542. There is also a complaints line on 1300 369 977. They will respect your privacy and the pace at which you wish to proceed.
This invitation is also for those who have engaged with this process in the past, but would like to reconnect, as healing can be a life-long journey.
I understand that some survivors feel so betrayed by church people and institutions that it would be difficult, even impossible, for them to trust us again. I do understand, and can only offer a humble prayer that they would find another way that leads to healing and hope.
Bishop of Bathurst
In NSW, mandatory reporting obligations have been extended to people in religious ministry and people providing religious based activities to children. This means that clergy and many agency and parish personnel who work with children are now mandatory reporters.
- WHAT KIND OF CONDUCT? A mandatory reporter must make a report when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm.
- WHO ARE MANDATORY REPORTERS? In NSW, mandatory reporters include persons who deliver services wholly or partly to children as part of their professional work or other paid employment and those in management positions in organisations that deliver those services. It also includes persons in religious ministry or persons providing religious based activities to children in both paid and unpaid child related roles.
- HOW TO REPORT: Mandatory reporters are required to report to the Department of Communities and Justice via the Child Protection Helpline 132 111 or through the ChildStory Reporter website: https://reporter.childstory.nsw.gov.au/s/. You must also contact the relevant agency Safeguarding Officer. For support in making a report, contact a Safeguarding Officer:
p: 02 6334 6400
p: 02 6338 3000
Professional Social Services:
p: 02 6331 8944
Safe Church Awareness Training
A safe church is everyone’s responsibility. The protection of children and vulnerable people matters in our Christian community, because they matter to God. Compassion and desire for justice are part of God’s character. God has a special concern for the poor, the marginalised and the oppressed and Jesus identifies especially with the little ones (Mt 25:40).
A focus has been placed on parish training, with the National Council of Churches’ Safe Church Awareness Workshops being rolled out across the Diocese. Each parish has had at least one workshop run in their parish. These are timed to allow those in ministry in parishes to be involved. Workshops have been attended by all priests, deacons and seminarians in active ministry and also by lay people. To date, over 160 people have completed the one-day workshops, totalling over 1,000 hours of training.
Safe Church Awareness Workshops includes:
- Framework of a Safe Church
- Safe People
- Safe Leaders
- Safe Environments
This training is open to individuals of all denominations from across the Diocese. Those who are involved in ministry and child-related activities are encouraged to attend.
To register for a Safe Church Awareness training session, please complete this registration form.
The cost for this workshop is $35 for face to face sessions. For members of our parishes, this cost has been covered by the parish and Diocese. For members of other churches, the payment can be made via the registration form. Morning tea will be provided. Please provide your own lunch or dinner if required.
Workbooks will be provided (hard copy or soft copy).
For further information contact the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst via email: email@example.com or phone: 02 6334 6400.
Information about the National Council of Churches Australia Safe Church Program can be found here.
The commitment to safeguarding, and the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission, is a priority for the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.
Bishop McKenna established a safeguarding committee from all agencies of the Diocese, to assist in the implementation and development of best practice child protection strategies in parishes, schools, Centacare and all other Diocesan entities.
A focus has been placed on parish training, with the National Council of Churches’ Safe Church Awareness Workshops being rolled out across the Diocese. Each parish has had at least one workshop run in their parish. These are timed to allow those in ministry in parishes to be involved.
Workshops have been attended by all priests, deacons and seminarians in active ministry and also by lay people. To date, over 160 people have completed the one-day workshops, totalling over 1,000 hours of training.
In our parishes and agencies, there is an on-going process of training and development. Schools complete annual training in this area, and our active clergy have completed a session on Child Protection and Schools.
As we maintain our work to protect the young and vulnerable, it is important to continue to live each day, the vision of care and responsibility given to us by Jesus, and guided by state and national bodies.
Working with Children
Under NSW Legislation, those who work in child-related roles and are over 18 years of age are required to hold a Working With Children Check (WWCC) that has been verified as cleared by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst. This includes those who work in a voluntary capacity.
This includes the following ministries:
- clergy and religious (who are in active ministry)
- SRE teachers
- SRE helpers
- sacramental coordinators
- altar server coordinators
- ministry to the sick and housebound (they may be entering houses where children are present)
- music ministry (if involved in a children’s choir or band)
- children’s liturgy leaders (unless they are exempt because their children attend)
- senior altar servers (who are over 18)
- youth ministry volunteers
- sacramental preparation volunteers
- family pastoral care team members
If you are unsure if you need a WWCC for your ministry, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I get a WWCC
You can obtain a Working With Children Check (WWCC) number from the Office of the Children’s Guardian check online or visit a ServiceNSW centre or motor registry.
Visiting Clergy and Religious
All clergy and religious from outside the Diocese who wish to provide a ministry and/or religious services within the Diocese are required to complete an online form, submit the required documentation at least 14 days before visiting the Diocese, and receive confirmation of clearance prior to providing any ministry and/or religious service. To begin the process please fill out the required forms on our Visiting Clergy and Religious page.