Pope Francis has made it clear he expects the Church, on every level, to implement whatever steps are necessary to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and to respond to their needs with fairness and mercy.
The aim of the New Zealand Diocese’s is to provide a consistent vision to create and foster a secure physical, emotional and spiritual culture in our faith communities, enabling everyone to enjoy the fullness of life in Jesus Christ.
Creating safe environments involves active participation and responsibility taken by all parishes. It requires collaboration, vigilance and a proactive approach through policies, procedures and practices. Visit the National Safeguarding website.
The “National Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand” prescribes the commitment of the Church to have safeguarding measures in place in our organisations. These guidelines have been approved by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congregational Leaders Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Diocese of Auckland, with all the Dioceses in New Zealand works with the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to implement the guidelines. NOPS is an agency of the Mixed Commission, a partnership between the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) and Congregation Leaders Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ). It sets out the strategic direction of the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policy for children, young people and adults at risk. It is also responsible for monitoring and auditing the compliance of Dioceses and Religious Orders and have designed Safeguarding Culture Standards to ensure best practice to create and maintain safe environments for our children, youth and vulnerable. NOPS also responds to all complaints about abuse in the Church and manages complaints procedures.
Please visit the Auckland Catholic website to view more information.
Attending safeguarding seminars is mandatory for all those who work with children, youth and vulnerable adults. If you are a involved in ministry as a volunteer/worker in any of your parish or ethnic communities, you need to complete the safeguarding requirements. You could be involved in any of the following ministries/roles:
- Altar Server Trainers
- Children’s Liturgy of the Word
- Choir Leaders – where children are included in the general choir and for children’s choir
- Crèche helpers
- Ministers of Holy Communion to the sick and housebound
- Pastoral Visitor
- Parent Helpers / Chaperons on camps
- Parish visitors (Legion of Mary etc)
- Prison ministry teams and visitors
- RCIA Catechists
- Sacramental Preparation
- Sunday School Teachers
- Youth Ministry Leaders
- Those involved in other pastoral work involving children, youth or vulnerable adults e.g. prayer groups
Parishes need to keep a record of all those who attend the safeguarding training sessions as part of their compliance requirements. You need to register your attendance due to the number of spaces available. Please register by emailing your name, your email address, your Parish name, your ministry role and the location/date you are attending to email@example.com.
Communities need to record the following information of their volunteers who have completed the safeguarding process. The diocese also need records of this information.
- Name of volunteer
- Volunteer area
- Date police vet clearance received
- Date of level one training (which is all they require).
Volunteers play a crucial role in the activities which occur throughout many church entities. It is important that volunteers are well supported in their role, that they know the boundaries of their role, and that they are fully aware of the safeguarding expectations of the church. As well as ensuring safe practices around children and vulnerable adults, it is important to acknowledge that when working with others, the volunteers themselves may be placed in a vulnerable situation. All measures must be taken to prevent this occurrence.
In addition to volunteers being subject to the referee checks, safety checking and police vetting process, there are two other key steps which must be followed:
1. A Volunteer Agreement is completed. In advance of the person being asked to sign the agreement, the person should be directed to where they can find a copy of the Church’s Safeguarding Policy.
2. The Code of Conduct is read, understood and signed by the person. A copy of this should be provided for the person to take away.
We will be assisting Parishes with the implementation of the National Safeguarding Framework and will keep you updated on upcoming information and training sessions.
Code of Conduct
A National Safeguarding Framework – Working Together for a Safe Church has been developed and released by NOPS and the Auckland Diocese, along with the Dioceses of NZ will be implementing these national policies and procedures.
The Safeguarding Framework includes a Code of Conduct for Employees & Volunteers. This document replaces the current “Standards for Volunteers & Employees in Ministry” and will be signed by all employees and volunteers when they start their role.
Core Safeguarding Practices have been created for Communities to follow throughout all usual activities, special events and programmes.
“…we acknowledge with deep sadness and regret that a number of clergy and religious have sexually abused children, adolescents and adults who have been in their pastoral care. To these victims we offer our sincere apology“ New Zealand Catholic Bishops, A Path to Healing – Te Houhanga Rongo.
A protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse was established by the bishops in 1993 called A Path to Healing, Te Houhanga Rongo.
The bishops and congregational leaders established the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to oversee the response to complaints of abuse.
Abuse can be sexual, physical or emotional. The Church takes all complaints of abuse seriously. Where the complaint of abuse appears to be of a criminal nature we encourage complainants to take the matter to the police, and will support them in doing so. If the alleged abuse is reported to the police, we will not protect the accused/offender from the processes of civil law nor hide the facts from those entitled to know.
To report a complaint of abuse by a member of the clergy or of a religious order, please contact:
The National Office of Professional Standards:
Phone: 0800 114 622/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Auckland Diocese Contact:
Sister Jane O’Carroll – Pastoral Assistant to the Bishop
Phone: 09 360 3003 / Email: email@example.com