Ms Sheree Limbrick, head of the Catholic Church’s new professional standards watchdog, met with senior church leaders in Darwin earlier this week to discuss the new standards setting, auditing and reporting agency recently established to strengthen child protection and safety for vulnerable people in Church organisations.

Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) is a new independent company established by the Catholic Church in Australia in November 2016 to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities.

CPSL is “functionally independent” from the Church leadership and is a significant development in the Church’s approach to protecting children and vulnerable adults. Over two days Ms Limbrick met with Darwin Bishop, Eugene Hurley and a wide range of staff from the Diocese including from Catholic Education and CatholicCare.

Ms Limbrick also met with the Safeguarding Coordinator for the Diocese, Professional Standards Director, other Diocesan staff, and the Executive Officer for St Vincent de Paul Society in the Territory.

Ms Limbrick told the meetings that CPSL would bring about new levels of transparency and accountability to the way Bishops and Congregational leaders manage their child protection and vulnerable adult services.

“Our mission is to promote the dignity and welfare of anyone who comes into contact with the Church and its work, especially the young and vulnerable,” she said.

“This could be in a parish, a Catholic school, welfare or health service or any one of the many other Catholic services and activities that reach into the community.

“At the very centre of our work is ensuring Church leaders are accountable for the safeguarding activities under their jurisdiction.”

Ms Limbrick said it is important to hear and see on the ground the work currently underway within the Diocese to improve awareness and protections for children and vulnerable people.

“The learnings from the visit to Darwin will help the CPSL team develop an understanding of the ongoing struggles and complexities of ministry and service in the Territory and other Church Authorities working in remote parts of our country,” she said.

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