Children and people at risk were welcome and safe in the company of Jesus and should be welcome and safe in his Church. The safeguarding of children and adults is an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church and flows from the gospel.
“Our Safeguarding Principles”, National Safeguarding Guidelines for the prevention of and response to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand
The Diocese of Palmerston North, with all the dioceses in New Zealand, works with the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to implement the guidelines. NOPS is an agency of the Mixed Commission, a partnership between the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) and Congregation Leaders Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ). It sets out the strategic direction of the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policy for children, young people and adults at risk. It is also responsible for monitoring and auditing the compliance of dioceses and religious orders with these safeguarding principles and procedures. NOPS also responds to all complaints of abuse in the Church and manages complaints procedures. The national Safeguarding Guidelines for the prevention of and response to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Standards for Creating and Maintaining a Safeguarding Culture can be viewed or downloaded below or from the safeguarding website – www.safeguarding.catholic.org.nz :
A protocol for dealing with complaints of complaints of sexual abuse by Catholic Clergy and members of Catholic Religious Congregations was established by the NZ Catholic Bishops in 1993 (subsequently updated, reviewed, and revised) and is called A Path to Healing, Te Houhanga Rongo. The Diocese of Palmerston North has received and ratified for use in the Diocese the following policies released by NOPS:
NOPS has released a Code of Conduct for Employees and Volunteers. This document will be signed by all employees and volunteers when they start their role. This can can be viewed or downloaded below:
All the NOPS policies, procedures and codes are available on the safeguarding website – www.safeguarding.catholic.org.nz
The Diocese of Palmerston North has established Safe Recruitment Procedures that support the implementation of the Safe Recruitment and Training Policy. View or download below:
– Employment Form
– Volunteer Form
Other procedures will be developed in coming months. Vetting Process Vetting forms can be obtained by visiting the NZ Police Vetting Website and clicking on the section “Request and Consent Forms“. The Diocese of Palmerston North is an authorised agency for the vetting service. When the request and consent forms have been completed by the parish and the parish has verified the applicant’s identity please send the forms (in confidence) to:
Wendy Silver, Vetting Officer Diocese of Palmerston North PO Box 5279, Palmerston North 4441
Following the vetting process, Wendy will inform parishes of the results.
Our Safeguarding mission is to grow a culture of Safeguarding throughout the diocese. In this, everyone is expected to understand their right to a safe environment and the role they play in maintaining a safe environment for all other members of our community. Everyone must recognise risks and actively work to minimise them, and to be confident to follow the diocesan process for supporting someone in making a complaint of harm, or in making one yourself.
To this end, all people who do the work of the church, either paid or voluntary, are expected to undertake Safeguarding training. Trainings will be held in each pastoral area of the diocese throughout the year. If you have not had Safeguarding training in the last year, please contact the diocesan Safeguarding Officer, or keep an eye out for promoted events in your area.
Te Kupenga is now offering an academic course called Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand. This course is available to anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of the cultural and ecclesiastical basis for Safeguarding, and how the tenants of Safeguarding best practice have been developed. It is an expectation of the NZCBC that all clergy and key diocesan staff complete this course.
Youth & Young Adult Ministry Standards
In addition to the above, youth and young adult ministry follow a set of standards developed nationally in 2006 called Hikoi Tahi. These can be downloaded below:
For further information or assistance from the Diocese of Palmerston North contact:
Matthew Balm, Safeguarding Officer
06 354 1780
021 278 9567
For further information or assistance from the National Office for Professional Standards contact:
Virginia Noonan, Director
03 365 1993
If you, or someone you know has been abused by a Catholic priest or member of a religious congregation or by anyone involved in the Catholic Church, we urge you to seek counselling and healing.
You do not have to report the abuse to the Church, but if you do the Church will take your story seriously – even if you prefer to remain anonymous, and even if the abuse happened many years ago.
If you’d like to make a complaint please contact the National Office of Professional Standards:
0800 114 622 or [email protected] or www.safeguarding.catholic.org.nz
Your contact will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality.