Does CPSL represent the Church?

No, CPSL has been established by the Catholic Church to operate as an independent entity with an independent Board of Directors. There are no clergy or religious on the CPSL board.

What type of company is CPSL?

CPSL is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee.

What are national professional standards?

CPSL has established the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards.

The Standards set out the approach, knowledge, practice and professional engagement needed to ensure the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults.

The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are designed to ensure that the safeguarding practices across the Catholic Church in Australia are consistent and appropriate.

How will the standards be developed?

The Standards developed by CPSL are based on the 10 standards identified by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which constitute a child safe organisation. These 10 standards are being adapted, as required, to address specific structures, relationships and processes within Church Authorities.

Where a Church organisation is subject to other statutory or regulatory requirements, these requirements will be maintained and the agency will need to demonstrate to CPSL that they have current accreditation or compliance with these requirements.

Will audit reports be made public?

Yes, CPSL will release public reports on each of the dioceses, religious institutes and other Catholic organisations it audits. These reports will indicate whether the leadership of that Church body has ensured that the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards are being met.

Does CPSL handle complaints and compensation claims?

No, if CPSL is approached by an individual with an allegation against a person within the Church, we refer them to appropriate authorities, including the police, but CPSL will not undertake any investigation of an individual complaint.

CPSL also refers people with complaints to support services appropriate to their circumstances. It is anticipated that compensation claims will be handled by the Commonwealth Government’s National Redress Scheme or through the usual legal processes.

Who pays for CPSL and the auditing and reporting process?

The cost of establishing CPSL was met by the two founding-member organisations - Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The cost of each audit and reporting process will be met by the Church Authority that is the subject of the review. CPSL will become a ‘user pays’ operation over time.

Are all Church Authorities subject to the National Standards?

Through the establishment of CPSL, the two founding members - Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference -  have formally acknowledged their commitment to the development of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards for implementation across the Catholic Church. It is expected that Church Authorities will enter into contractual arrangements with CPSL, agreeing to 1) comply with the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards and 2) be audited on their compliance with the Standards.

What happens if a Church Authority doesn’t pass an audit?

CPSL will work with a Church Authority who may not be fully compliant in order for them to meet the standards required. CPSL will work to build capacity in Church organisations to meet the standards, and to influence the organisational culture and capacity to implement appropriate safeguards to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Can CPSL force a Church Authority to make changes to the way it operates if it receives a negative audit report?

CPSL does not have the power to force any Church Authority to implement any recommendations. It will however have the resources, skills and expertise to assist in building capacity of Church Authorities to implement appropriate safeguards through training, support, policy development, sharing of good practice and dissemination of research.

When will CPSL publish a negative audit finding?

CPSL can and will publish audit reports on our website which will indicate whether a particular Church Authority has failed an audit. The influence CPSL will have over any Church Authority will be through public accountability.

Why should the community have any faith that CPSL, which has been set up by the Church, will be independent?

CPSL is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee. It has an independent Board of Directors comprised of lay people who operate the company independently from the Church. In its day-to-day operations it is functionally independent, reporting to the Members of the Company annually on progress and activities.

Who are the members of the company?

The Members of the Company are the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia and any other entity that is admitted as a Member, in accordance with the Company’s constitution.

How are CPSL Directors appointed?

A Nominations Committee has been formed, in accordance with the CPSL Constitution, comprising two CPSL Directors, a member of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and a member of Catholic Religious Australia. The Nominations Committee is responsible for identifying, screening and recommending new Board Directors.

How does CPSL relate to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse?

CPSL was established as a carefully considered response by the Catholic Church to what emerged during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Company has been established by the Church to put into action its determination to do all in its power to ensure that abuse, in any form, should never again occur in the Catholic Church in Australia.

What does it mean for lay Catholics?

CPSL will develop and audit compliance with the new National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, particularly where there are no current statutory standards in place. For lay Catholics, this means the Church will continue to focus on being a safe and respectful place for all.

Is this simply another layer of paperwork given the many mandatory statutory standards already in place?

No, if there is already a statutory standard in place, which deals with a particular issue, then CPSL will not replicate this.

In schools, hospitals and welfare services, for example, there are already many state or federal performance standards – these will not be replicated, but there may be elements of the CPSL National Catholic Safeguarding Standards that are not found in other regulatory requirements that will need to be met.  A Church Authority will need to demonstrate to CPSL that their diocese or organisation is compliant with the statutory requirement, as well as any additional standards set by CPSL.

What type of additional workload or requirements will be put on bishops and religious leaders as a result of CPSL?

Where a diocese, religious order or organisation is fully compliant with the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, there may be little additional workload or cost other than collating evidence of compliance and providing access to this evidence for audit.

In some areas of Church life where professional standards and audit is not currently present, such as seminaries, parishes and other activities unique to the Catholic Church, the relevant Church Authority will be required to make the necessary changes in order to meet the new Standards.

How is CPSL different to the Truth Justice and Healing Council or the National Committee for Professional Standards?

The protection and prevention responsibilities of the National Committee for Professional Standards (NCPS) were transferred to CPSL in March 2018.  These responsibilities include advice and training in relation to creating child safe organisations.

The state-based Professional Standards Offices do not come within the scope of CPSL.

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) was established for the duration of the Royal Commission and concluded its work in April 2018.

CPSL is a positive development for the Catholic Church in Australia, continuing the work of cultural change which has been promoted by the TJHC, the roots of which go back even further.

What is the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference?

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is a permanent institution of the Catholic Church in Australia and the forum used by the Catholic Bishops of Australia to act nationally and address issues of national significance.

What is Catholic Religious Australia?

Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) is the peak body for leaders of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life resident in Australia. The CRA membership comprises more than 130 congregations of Sisters, Brothers and Religious Priests living and working in all states and territories.

What is the Truth, Justice and Healing Council?

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia together established the Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) in recognition of the importance of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) and the imperative for the Church to address the past openly and honestly.

The TJHC was responsible for coordinating the Church’s legal representation before the Royal Commission, developing aspects of the Church’s reform agenda and speaking publicly on behalf of the Church in relation to Royal Commission issues.

How can people contact CPSL?

CPSL can be contacted by calling the office – 1300 603 411 (toll free), via email – or via the website –