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
Mrs Mary McComish LLB, LLM

Mary McComish has a background in commercial law and human rights. She has degrees from the University of WA and London University.

Mary was the foundation Assistant Dean of the Law School at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle and served as Dean until 2008.

She was the Director of Daydawn Advocacy Centre from 2009 to 2013. She has been a Commissioner of the WA Gaming Commission and a Referee of the WA Small Claims Tribunal.

Since retirement Mary has been very involved in the governance of PJPs.


Current Appointments:

  • Trustee, St John of God Australia
  • Trustee, MercyCare WA
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
  • Board member, Catholic Social Services Australia
  • Board member, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies
  • Member, Ministerial Advisory Group (Youth Justice Custodial Facilities Work Group), Department of Justice & Community Safety (VIC)
  • Member, Expert Advisory Committee (Countering Violence Extremism), Department of Justice & Community Safety (VIC)
  • Ministerial Advisory Group – Department of Justice
  • Development of materials for Diploma of Safeguarding – Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
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
  • 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:

  • Deputy Chair, Catholic Social Services Australia Ltd
  • Professional Standards Consultative Group, Christian Brothers
  • Safeguarding Advisory Group, Good Samaritan Sisters
  • Member, Professional Standards Resource Group Victoria/Towards Healing
  • 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 Group
  • Director, SCS Super Pty Limited, trustee of the Australian Catholic Superannuation & Retirement Fund
  • Director, Catholic Schools NSW
  • Director, Screen Canberra
  • Board Member, Cultural Facilities Corporation
  • Member, Australian Catholic University Limited

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