Standard Five

Robust human resource management

People working with children are suitable and supported to reflect child safeguarding values in practice

5.1 Recruitment, including advertising, interview questions, referee checks and pre-employment screening, emphasises child safeguarding.

5.1.1 The entity emphasises its commitment to child safeguarding and zero-tolerance approach to child abuse in all aspects of its advertising, screening and recruitment for personnel.

5.1.2 The entity documents its child safeguarding approach in recruitment and screening procedures and processes.

5.1.3 Positions are assessed for the expected level of contact with children and appropriate child safeguarding recruitment procedures are implemented.

5.1.4 Position descriptions, selection criteria, referee checks and interview questions articulate:

  • that children are valued and respected;
  • the commitment of the entity to child safeguarding; and
  • where appropriate to the role [refer Indicator 5.1.3], an understanding of children’s developmental needs and culturally safe practices.
5.2 Relevant personnel (including all seminarians, clergy and religious) have current working with children checks or equivalent background checks.

5.2.1 The entity has a policy which is implemented that ensures:

  • personnel have a current working with children check as required by legislation prior to working with children; and
  • where a working with children check is not required by legislation, other background checks for personnel are conducted prior to working with children.

5.2.2 The entity keeps records and monitors the status of working with children checks and/or background checks for all personnel.

5.3 Personnel receive an appropriate induction and are aware of their child safeguarding responsibilities, including reporting obligations.

5.3.1 All personnel participate in a safeguarding induction program, which occurs as soon as possible after commencement.

5.3.2 All Church Authorities (along with members of their leadership team) who are signatories to the Catholic Professional Standards Ltd Service Agreement participate in the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards Introductory Session for Leaders within four months of commencement.

5.4 Ongoing supervision and people management is focused on child safeguarding.

5.4.1 Support, mentoring, oversight and professional supervision processes for personnel include child safeguarding [refer to Indicator 5.5.3].

5.4.2 Annual performance reviews for personnel include child safeguarding responsibilities relevant to their role [refer to Indicator 5.5.4].

5.5 Robust processes exist for screening candidates before and during seminary and religious formation. Robust processes are implemented for ongoing formation, support and supervision of clergy and religious.

NOTE: Criteria 5.5 – 5.8 apply to Church Authorities and related entities with seminarians, clergy and those in formation with, or members of, religious institutes.

5.5.1 The Church Authority draws upon broad-ranging professional advice in its decision-making relating to candidates for seminary/formation programs and ordination/profession of vows. This includes a positive duty to disclose to other Church Authorities where an applicant or candidate for seminary/formation programs does not continue through to ordination/profession of vows.

5.5.2 Seminary and initial formation programs have robust screening processes for candidates, including external psychological and psychosexual assessments.

5.5.3 The entity promotes as normative the participation of all bishops, leaders of religious institutes, clergy and religious in active ministry in no less than six hours of professional/pastoral supervision per year [refer to Indicator 5.4.1].

5.5.4 The entity promotes as normative, all clergy and religious in active ministry, for the sake of proper accountability, are offered and access both ongoing professional development and annual performance appraisals [refer to Indicator 5.4.2].

5.5.5 All newly ordained clergy and newly professed religious are supported with a suitable mentor for at least five years post ordination or final profession.

5.6 Seminary and formation programs for clergy and religious have curriculum to build the knowledge and skills of candidates to understand and lead child safeguarding initiatives.

5.6.1 Seminary and initial formation programs have appropriate curriculum throughout the formation program which builds candidates’ knowledge and skills in a range of areas to support child safeguarding.

5.6.2 Seminary and initial formation programs ensure promotion of pastoral responses to victims/survivors of sexual abuse.

5.6.3 Seminary and initial formation programs are delivered in such a way as to prevent the development and/or reinforcement of clericalist attitudes and behaviours.

5.7 Credentialing and movement of seminarians, clergy and religious is appropriately managed.

5.7.1 The entity implements a system to assess the safeguarding credentials and manage the movement of all seminarians, clergy and religious moving between different seminaries, formation programs and Church jurisdictions.

5.8 Entities which receive overseas clergy and religious for work in religious or pastoral ministry have targeted programs for the screening, induction, professional supervision and development of individuals.

5.8.1 Selection and screening procedures for overseas clergy and religious are targeted, thorough and follow, as far as practicable, the same processes as for Australian personnel. This includes the Australian Church Authority obtaining screening information from the international Church Authority.

5.8.2 All overseas clergy and religious participate in a safeguarding induction program, documented by the entity, before work with children begins.

5.8.3 Overseas clergy and religious are supported with a suitable mentor for at least the first two years of their time in Australia.

5.8.4 The entity promotes as normative the participation of all overseas clergy and religious in active ministry in no less than 6 hours of professional/pastoral supervision per year [refer to Indicators 5.4.1 and 5.5.3].

Find definitions of key terms used throughout the Standards in our glossary