ACSL is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).


ACSL is a company limited by guarantee that operates to promote a nationally consistent approach to safeguarding children and adults at risk.

There are three members of the company — the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia, and the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons.

We are governed in accordance with our Constitution.

Read our constitution

Board of Directors

Our Board oversees the governance of ACSL.

Our directors have experience and credentials in child and adult safeguarding, professional standards, law, governance, Church administration, and finance and management.

Chair — Professor The Honourable Michael Lavarch AO (August 2017) LLB

Professor Michael Lavarch has had extensive involvement in Australian public life, serving in local government before being elected to Federal Parliament in 1987, serving as attorney general in the Keating Government from 1993-1996.

Since leaving Parliament in 1996, Michael has been the secretary general of the Law Council of Australia, dean of Law at QUT and, since 2012, Deputy Chief Commissioner and Commissioner, Risk, Intelligence and Regulatory Support at the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Michael has worked with organisations supporting child welfare programs including the Forde Foundation which was established by the Queensland Government in response to the findings into the abuse of children in Queensland institutions.

Michael is currently Chair of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Ltd and Chief Adjudicator with the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Adjudication Panel.

Current Appointments:

  • Chair, Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Ltd
  • Chief Adjudicator, Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Adjudication Panel
  • Chair, Way Forward Debt Solutions Ltd
  • Member, Queensland Treaty Advancement Committee
Ms Audrey Brown BADipEd, MEd, GradCertRE GradDipArts(Theol) GradCertEdLawMEdSLead MProfStTheol, FACEL, MAICD

A Trustee of Kildare Ministries, and an experienced nfp company director, Audrey provides consultancy services in leadership, professional supervision and governance.

As a former Director of Catholic Education in Ballarat, Audrey provided leadership in education policy, governance, professional standards and child protection and is a skilled facilitator in staff training and formation.

She holds formal qualifications in leadership, theology education and governance.


Current Appointments:

  • Trustee – Kildare Ministries (and Chair of Safeguarding Committee)
  • Company Secretary and Professional Officer – CRMV Ltd
  • Member – Catholic Theological College Senate
  • Professional Officer – Trustees of Edmund Rice Education Australia
  • Company Member of the MSC Education
Professor Maria Harries AM PhD GAICD

Professor Maria Harries AM is Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in Social Work and Social Policy in the School of Population Health at The University of Western Australia.Maria has a long history in governance roles in health, aged care and welfare services.

Her 45-year professional career has been dedicated to assisting children and families, particularly in relation to mental health and trauma associated with their experiences of abuse and violence.

Maria served as a member of the Trust, Justice and Healing Council established by the Catholic Church in recognition of the importance of the Royal Commission and the imperative for the Church to address the past openly and honestly.

Current Appointments:

  • Chair: Brave Foundation 
  • Company Director: Ferret Consulting 
Dr Robyn Miller (August 2017) PhD, MFT, GradDipFT, BSocSc (Social Work)

Dr Robyn Miller brings over 30 years’ experience in community services, local government and child protection sectors, and has practised in both the public and private sectors as a therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant and lecturer.

From 2006-15 Robyn provided professional leadership as the chief practitioner within the Department of Human Services in Victoria, was a member of the Victorian Child Death Review Committee for 10 years and worked as a consultant with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Since 2016, Robyn has been the CEO of MacKillop Family Services, which provides specialist services to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and their families in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.

Current Appointments:

  • Chief Executive Officer, MacKillop Family Services
  • Member Roadmap Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group 
  • Board member, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies
  • Member, Expert Advisory Committee (Countering Violence Extremism), Department of Justice & Community Safety (VIC)
  • Member – SA Ministerial Advisory Committee in relation to Child Protection 
  • Member – ACT Government Child and Family Reform Ministerial Advisory Council 
Mr David Penny BHS (Management), MB (General), MA (Pastoral Theology), Cert IV (Assessment and Training)

David is currently Executive Leader Operations ISMAPNG (The Institute of Sisters of Mercy Australia and Papua New Guinea). Prior to this David held executive roles within the Diocese of Broken Bay and Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.

He has significant experience in the management and governance of the not-for-profit organisations including the Centre for Christian Spirituality, Broken Bay Institute and Calvary Health Care. David is currently a Trustee Director of Calvary Ministries.

In 2017 David was the project manager of the task force which established Catholic Schools NSW.

David holds degrees and diplomas in Health Science and Administration.  He completed the Intensive Executive Management Program for Non-Profit Leaders at Stanford University, CA, USA in 2004. David has a Master’s degree in Management and a Masters degree in Pastoral Theology at Heythrop College, London University, UK.

Current Appointments:

  • Executive Director, ISMAPNG
  • Director, AMPJP
  • Director – Edmund Rice Education Australia  
  • Trustee/Director, Calvary Ministries
Sr Kath Tierney rsm AO B Bus.

Sr Kath Tierney rsm AO has been a Sister of Mercy for 45 years and during this time was in ministry in Child and Family Welfare for 19 years.  Following roles in the welfare sector, Kath was elected to the position of Congregation Leader for the Sisters of Mercy, Melbourne Congregation, and served two terms (12 years), concluding in this position in December, 2011.

From 2012-2014, Kath was engaged by the Catholic Education Office, Melbourne and worked in the area of Professional Standards, Conduct, Ethics and Investigation. From 2014-2019, Kath was engaged by the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne as Senior Advisor to the Vicar General.

Kath has also been engaged in consultancy roles in professional standards, education, health and welfare and currently serves on a number of Boards, Advisory Boards and Committees within the Catholic sector.

Current Appointments:

  • Professional Standards Consultative Group, Christian Brothers
  • Safeguarding Advisory Group, Good Samaritan Sisters
  • Pallotti College Advisory Board, Pallottines
  • Archdiocesan Finance Council, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
  • Child Safety, Audit & Risk Committee, Diocese of Sandhurst
  • Senior Advisor, Safeguarding, ISMAPNG
Mr Julian Widdup BEc, MBA, FAICD, FIAA

Julian Widdup has been a director of ASX-listed, international and unlisted Australian companies in various industries including airports, power utilities, port corporations, financial services, superannuation, healthcare, education and the public sector.

Julian has a strong background in finance and risk management, having held executive leadership roles with Palisade Investment Partners, Access Capital Advisers and previously worked with the Australian Government.

Julian is a fully qualified actuary, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a Bachelor of Economics and Master of Business Administration from ANU.


Current Appointments:

  • Director, Rural Funds Management Limited
  • Director, Together Trustees Pty Ltd (trustee of the Equipsuper) and related entities
  • Director and Member, Australian Catholic University Limited
  • Director, Catholic Schools NSW
  • Director, Australian Catholic Redress Limited
  • Director, Screen Canberra
  • Audit Committee Member, Cultural Facilities Corporation
  • Director, FPL Partnership Pty Limited, FPL Strategies Pty Limited
  • Sessional academic, Australian National University
  • Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Fellow, Actuaries Institute (Australia)
  • Fellow, Institute and Faculties of Actuaries (UK)  

Whistleblowing at ACSL

Our Whistleblower Policy has been developed to enhance good governance at ACSL.

Our Whistleblower Policy is an important tool for helping us to identify wrongdoing or misconduct that may not otherwise be detected.  It provides a convenient and safe reporting mechanism and protection for people who make serious wrongdoing disclosures.

Read our Whistleblower Policy here

Privacy Policy

We are committed to upholding the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). This Privacy Policy sets out how we manage your personal information and protect your privacy. It describes ways in which we collect, store, use and dispose of personal information. Our polices applies when personal information is collected and/or used by ACSL.

You can also access our Privacy Information Collection Statement below.

Read our Privacy Policy
Privacy Information Collection Statement