Media Releases

16 September 2021 — Commitment to safeguarding in overseas ministries among significant findings of De La Salle Brothers safeguarding audit report

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL) has today published the safeguarding audit report of the De La Salle Brothers District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.

The audit found that the De La Salle Brothers (DLSB) have implemented 91 per cent of the indicators relevant to their operations under the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, a national framework for the protection and safety of children in Catholic organisations.

ACSL Chief Executive Officer Dr Ursula Stephens said that this is a particularly impressive result for a religious institute with complex and diverse ministries across Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.

“Through our audit procedures, which covered a sample of ministries across four countries and included interviews with 20 Brothers, we found a strong commitment to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk.”

“This was evident through the fact that key safeguarding documents have been distributed to all ministries, translated into local languages, and are required to be acknowledged and signed by all Brothers, staff and volunteers. Crucially, there is oversight of safeguarding activities across the four countries through the work of a dedicated safeguarding officer and safeguarding committee.”

“Within Australia, DLSB have governance over primary and secondary schools as well as the charity yourtown, which operates a range of services for children and young people, including Kids Helpline, Australia’s most prominent telephone and online counselling service for young people.”

“Given the Australian schools and yourtown are subject to existing regulation and external accreditation, we do not re-audit them under our framework. They were however required to provide declarations to us regarding the accreditation and audit processes that are in place, and were subject to extensive interview by our audit team.”

“The recognition and community standing of these services is an indication of the commitment of DLSB to child safeguarding.  Feedback on safeguarding practices is encouraged, monitored and any issues addressed.”

“We’ve also identified areas of improvement for DLSB and have provided tailored recommendations to strengthen child safeguarding practices throughout their operations.”

“For instance, despite the number of areas where DLSB are already implementing the Safeguarding Standards, they are yet to develop a formal Safeguarding Implementation Plan that is documented and actionable. From here, DLSB have committed to using the findings and recommendations of the report to create a Safeguarding Implementation Plan, which will include monitoring and self-audit processes,” Dr Stephens said.

The full safeguarding audit report of the De La Salle Brothers is available on the Church Reports page of ACSL’s website.


ACSL works with Catholic entities to promote and oversee a nationally consistent, comprehensive and sustainable framework for the protection of children and adults at risk within the Church in Australia. 

Media contact: Kat Beavis  0400 825 954

13 August 2021 — Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd publishes 20th and 21st Safeguarding Audit Reports of Australian Church entities

Friday, 13 August 2021

Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL) has today published safeguarding audit reports of the Marist Sisters Australian Unit (MSAU) and the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG).

The audit reports on Church entities’ progress in implementing the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, a national framework for the protection and safety of children in Catholic organisations.

These are the 20th and 21st safeguarding audit reports of Australian Catholic entities completed by ACSL and demonstrate the commitment of these religious institutions to ensuring a safe church for everyone.

ACSL CEO Dr Ursula Stephens said that safeguarding audits conducted by ACSL form part of the Catholic Church’s ongoing response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“The aim of our audit program is to help Church entities identify any risks in their safeguarding practices and then provide practical recommendations to improve child safety within the organisation.”

“Our audit process involves a detailed review of the policies and documentation of entities as well as interviews with key staff about safeguarding practices within the organisation.”

“We are delighted that the audit of the MSAU found that 99 per cent of the safeguarding requirements relevant to their activities under the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards have already been implemented or substantially progressed and congratulate the Sisters for their work in committing to the Standards.”

“The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG) achieved a 92 per cent rating for their progress in implementing their requirements under the Standards. Again, this is a very pleasing result, given that the Institute provides a diverse range of services, both here in Australia and in overseas missions.”

Dr Stephens said that these strong results are evidence of the commitment of both organisations to embedding child safe practices within their organisations.

“They have done a lot of work towards creating child safe organisations and are committed to continuous improvements in their safeguarding practices.”

“After almost three years of audits, and with findings of the Royal Commissions in Aged Care, and Disability Care, ACSL is reviewing its own audit framework to ensure it is risk-based and proportionate to Church entities’ engagement in ministry and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people. This is in line with our own commitment to continuous improvement,” Dr Stephens said.

The audit reports for MSAU and ISMAPNG are available on ACSL’s website.

ACSL CEO Dr Ursula Stephens is available for interview.


ACSL works with Catholic entities to promote and oversee a nationally consistent, comprehensive and sustainable framework for the protection of children and adults at risk within the Church in Australia. 

Media contact: Katherine Beavis  0400 825 954

 

 

 

 

 

30 April 2021 — Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd welcomes Dr Ursula Stephens as new CEO

Friday, 30 April 2021

Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL) has today announced the appointment of Dr Ursula Stephens as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Stephens, who is currently CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, replaces outgoing ACSL CEO Ms Sheree Limbrick.

Dr Stephens has previously worked as an educator, a senior NSW public servant, an Australian senator and been involved in numerous community-led initiatives to support community engagement and inclusion.  She brings with her a wealth of experience in advocacy, policy development and relationship building, alongside a depth of experience gained from being part of and working within numerous Catholic organisations.

Chair of ACSL’s Board Professor The Hon. Michael Lavarch said the appointment of Dr Stephens followed a thorough executive search process and was approved by representatives of the company’s members – the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia and the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons.

“The search process attracted a number of well qualified candidates from inside and outside Catholic organisations and ACSL is grateful for the interest and the support demonstrated for the company’s work. We believe Dr Stephen’s experience in public life, her extensive work on social justice issues and her good grounding in safeguarding will equip her well to lead ACSL,” Professor Lavarch said.

He said Dr Stephens joins ACSL at an important juncture as the company continues to reshape its focus on how to best assist the Church to ensure it provides a safe and nurturing environment for children and adults at risk.

“The Board is developing the company’s strategic plan and seeks to work with the diverse organisations within the Church to strengthen a culture of safeguarding that always has the interests of children and vulnerable people at the centre of Church activities. Dr Stephens has a strong track record of working across the Church and this skill will greatly assist ACSL.”

Professor Lavarch also paid tribute to outgoing CEO Sheree Limbrick.

“Ms Limbrick has done a wonderful job in establishing the company and having the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards accepted as the benchmark for good practice across the Church.  Sheree has put tremendous energy into equipping the Church to be a more capable and more transparent community when it comes to protecting children. The Board is enormously grateful for her leadership.”

 

Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL) was established in December 2020 and is a company limited by guarantee, owned by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia and the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons.  ACSL has responsibilities at a national level and brings together the work of two previous entities, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL) and the Australian Catholic Centre for Professional Standards (ACCPS).

ACSL works with the Catholic Church in Australia to support and foster a nationally consistent culture of safety and care throughout the Church.  ACSL provides a range of services to the Church to support their implementation of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, a framework for the protection and care of adults at risk and children.


Media contact : Katherine Beavis  0400 825 954

3 December 2020 — New national body to unify and strengthen safeguarding work of the Church

Thursday, 03 December 2020

‘Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd’ (ACSL) has today been launched as the Australian Catholic Church’s new national body for safeguarding, which will streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to create safe environments for children and adults at risk.  The announcement was made at the Annual General Meeting of Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL) earlier today.

Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd merges existing entities CPSL, the Australian Catholic Centre for Professional Standards and the Australian Catholic Ministry Register, bringing together national responsibilities for safeguarding into one entity.

ACSL is led by Board Chair Professor the Honourable Michael Lavarch AO, who previously served on the CPSL Board.

“’I am honoured to become the Chair of ACSL which will bring together critical work that assists the Church to be a safe and nurturing environment for all, particularly children and adults at risk,” Professor Lavarch said.

“I’m also pleased to announce ACSL’s Board, whose experience and credentials in child and adult safeguarding, professional standards, law, governance, Church administration, finance and management will be vital in guiding ACSL. I am pleased to welcome to the ACSL Board Dr Robyn Miller (who previously served on the CPSL Board), Mrs Mary McComish, Sr Kath Tierney RSM AO, Mr David Penny and Mr Julian Widdup.” (More information on Board Directors can be found here.)

“Supporting the Church to ensure the safety of children and adults at risk is the Board’s utmost priority. Over the coming months the Board will work swiftly to oversee the transition of the previous bodies into ACSL. During this period, the critical safeguarding work already being performed by the previous bodies, will continue as planned.”

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank CPSL’s outgoing Board Chair The Hon. Geoff Giudice AO and outgoing board members Patricia Faulkner AO, Dr Ruth Shean, Dr Kerrie Tuite and the Hon. John Watkins AM for their dedicated service during their term as CPSL directors,” Professor Lavarch said.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia and the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons are members of ACSL.

Media contact: Katherine Beavis 0400 825 954 / 1300 603 411 / katherine@cpsltd.org.au


Catholic Professional Standards Ltd is transitioning to the newly established Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd.

The former CPSL continues providing services and support to Catholic entities during this transition period.

For updates on the transition, please visit the CPSL website here.