National Response Protocol

The National Response Protocol is a framework for Catholic entities across Australia to respond consistently to people raising concerns or allegations of child abuse. The National Response Protocol outlines principles and procedures to offer a consistent response to children and adults who have been subjected to abuse by Church personnel.

The National Response Protocol was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and came into effect for all dioceses and ACBC member entities from 1 February 2021.

The National Response Protocol replaces Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, which ceased to be effective as of 1 January 2022.

In May 2022 the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference adopted Version 2 of the National Response Protocol. Version 2 makes minor changes to the National Response Protocol to expand the scope to include abuse against vulnerable adults and implements referencing for ease of application.

ACSL will provide support and resources to assist Church Authorities implement the National Response Protocol.

For information and advice about the National Response Protocol, please contact us at

View the National Response Protocol
View the National Response Framework

Historical protocols used in the management of complaints

Towards Healing: Towards Healing was first introduced in 1996 to provide guidance about how to manage and respond to complaints of abuse by clergy and religious. It is being replaced by the National Response Protocol from 2022. View Towards Healing.

The Melbourne Response: The Melbourne Response was developed by the Archdiocese of Melbourne and introduced in 1996. It is being replaced by the National Response Protocol from 2022. Find out more about The Melbourne Response.