Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults
The Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers, inspired by the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice, is characterised by four key values in relation to children:
- Children are reflective of God’s presence
- Children have inherent and irreducible worth.
- Every child is both a unique entity with unique fulfilment gifts and is a member of mutually inter-dependent communities.
- Children have the right to live within a caring, safe and protected environment.
The Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers, inspired by the charism of Edmund Rice, is characterised by two key values in relation to vulnerable adults:
- All adults have inherent worth and dignity irrespective of differences in gender, culture, physical and intellectual capacity, sexual orientation
- All adults who participate in or are associated with the receipt or provision of Edmund Rice services have a right to be cared for, to be safe, and to be protected.
The Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers recognises that children, due to their developmental dependency, are a group within society who have a higher risk of vulnerability to harm. As a consequence, the Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers recognises a whole-organisation responsibility to facilitate the care, safety and protection of children. The commitment of the Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers encompasses:
- Children who attend services provided by Edmund Rice Ministries and with whom staff, volunteers and Brothers interact.
- Children whom staff, volunteers and Brothers are made aware of and who are not attending an Edmund Rice ministry service but may be at-risk of harm or being harmed.
- Children with whom staff, volunteers and Brothers interact in non-service roles.
The Oceania Province recognises, although its predominant work is with children [inclusive of adolescents], that it also has a Duty of Care in relation to the care, safety and protection of vulnerable adults. The Oceania Province recognises that there are groups of adults who are vulnerable to harm through maltreatment and exploitation.
The Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers is committed to the establishment and maintenance of a child safe environment for children in receipt of Edmund Rice services.
- Children’s services provided by Oceania Province Ministries are to be provided at professional Best Practice Standards.
- Ministry services are required to ensure service programs are attentive to both preventive and responsive strategies to child care, safety and risk management.
- Staff, volunteers and Brothers are required to comply with the Code of Conduct in interactions with children at all times both within service roles and external to service roles.
- Staff and volunteers are required to respond appropriately to the Seven Care Needs of each child with whom they interact.
The care, safety and protection of vulnerable adults is based upon a preventative and responsive approach to adult vulnerability risk management as outlined:
- Preventative – Oceania Province puts in place organisational measures to eliminate or to reduce risk of adult vulnerability
- Responsive- Oceania Province when it is aware of concerns or allegations relating to adult vulnerability commits to undertake actions, which facilitate the immediate safety of the individual, investigating and responding to the concern or allegation appropriately.
The Professional Standards Office of the Christian Brothers Oceania Province is located in Melbourne and is staffed by experts skilled in handling all aspects of abuse matters.
They are available to provide advice including assistance in reporting incidents of abuse, helping individuals access important services such as professional counselling as well as working with individuals on redress including facilitation of mediation and management of civil claims.
Professional Standards Office
Christian Brothers Oceania
PO Box 851 (126 The Avenue)
Parkville VIC 3052 AUSTRALIA
P: (+61) 3 8359 0134
GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONDING TO CIVIL CLAIMS INVOLVING ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
NATIONAL (AUSTRALIAN) REDRESS SCHEME
The Commonwealth is commencing to accept applications to the National Redress Scheme from the 1st July 2018.
In February 2017 the Christian Brothers publicly stated at the Royal Commission our commitment to a national redress scheme that involved every state and territory. This has not changed.
Under the rules of the scheme, those seeking to make an application are only permitted to do so directly with the National Redress Scheme.
The scheme can be contacted through the Hotline on 1800 737 377 and more information about the scheme can be found on the dedicated website www.nationalredress.gov.au
For more than 20 years the Christian Brothers have been committed to providing avenues of acknowledgement, reconciliation and redress for those who have suffered abuse whilst in our care. Such assistance has included a direct personal apology, counselling and monetary payments.
These avenues will continue.
Our Professional Standards Office, which can provide expert advice and help, is contactable on 03 8359 0134.