The CEO of the Catholic Church’s new child protection standards organisation, Catholic Professional Standards (CPSL), Ms Sheree Limbrick, has welcomed the announcement over the weekend that child sexual abuse survivors will have a greater say on the Pope’s Pontifical Commission on clergy sexual abuse.

According to a Vatican statement issued on February 17 discussions have been underway for some months with a view to creating an “International Survivor Advisory Panel” (ISAP).

The ISAP is a new structure shaped by the voices of survivors and building on the experience of the Survivor Advisory Panel of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission in England and Wales.

Plans for the ISAP will be at the centre of the Commission’s April plenary meeting and will include studying abuse prevention from the survivor’s perspective and being pro-active in awareness raising of the need for healing and care for everyone hurt by abuse, the Vatican statement read.

Ms Limbrick said one of the primary tasks of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is to advise Pope Francis on best practice initiatives for protecting minors from the crime of sexual abuse.

“The Commission is also there to promote local Church responsibility for the protection of all children and young people. The establishment of the International Survivor Advisory Panel is an encouraging development and one we will be watching and learning from.

“These are both the key objectives and greatest challenges of CPSL as we start to consult and develop new child safe standards for the Church in Australia,” Ms Limbrick said.

CPSL has been established by the leadership of the Australian Catholic Church in the wake of Royal Commission revelations of institutional failure in the management and response to child sexual abuse claims in Catholic organisations including schools, parishes and homes.

CPSL will develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities. It represents a new national Church approach to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people.

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