More than 25 members of Darwin’s Catholic community attended this week’s consultation workshop on the draft National Catholic Safeguarding Standards for children, which will be implemented across all Catholic institutions.

Held at the Darwin Convention Centre, clergy, religious, Catholic Education and St Vincent de Paul Society representatives travelled from all over the Northern Territory to hear how the new standards are being developed and how they will work in Catholic organisations.

Bishop Eugene Hurley, who attended the consultation, said even though there are many difficulties ahead, the Church needed best practice.

“A child safe church will help to build safer communities. The challenges in the Northern Territory are some of the hardest in the country,” he said.

The draft National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, which are being developed by Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL), set out 10 standards which provide the framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures and to advance the safety of children across the Catholic Church in Australia.

The draft Standards build on the guidance of the Royal Commission and the draft National Statement of Principles for Child Safe Organisations from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The draft Standards range across areas such as leadership; governance and culture; human resource and complaints management; education and training; communication with children and working with families, carers and communities.

Ms Kate Eversteyn, CPSL Director of Safeguarding, said if we can get safeguarding standards working well in the Northern Territory and creating a safer church for children then it will be a huge benefit for all.

“The Northern Territory, across many of its communities, faces some of the nation’s greatest challenges in protecting children.

“Working to implement new child safeguarding standards within Church organisations is a step in the right direction as we build safer parishes, schools, homes and other places. CPSL looks forward to supporting the Diocese of Darwin in this area,” she said.

The focus of the Darwin consultation was on the development of the safeguarding standards, the auditing approach, building capacity within Church organisations and training.

For further information or to register for other consultation sessions visit the CPSL website or contact CPSL at: or call 1300 603 411.

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