The Catholic Church believes that every person has a value and dignity which derives directly from their creation in the image and likeness of God. This implies a duty to value all people and therefore to protect them from harm.

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 –  :

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 –



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 Private Bag 11012, Palmerston North 4442

Following the vetting process, Wendy will inform parishes of the results.


Safeguarding Training

It is expected that all volunteers and employees within the diocese will attend training about safeguarding practices. This is important so that we all understand how to eliminate or best manage risks that may put others or ourselves at risk. It also ensures that we are all clear about expectations.

The first round of trainings have now been completed for this year. Next year, we will be following up with those who missed the first round and also providing further training for those in leadership roles within the diocese.

A course in Safeguarding is also being provided from 2020 by Te Kupenga – Catholic Leadership Institute. This course will provide a deeper insight and understanding of both the theological as well as the practical aspects of safeguarding. While the course is open to anyone who wishes to undertake this, certain people within the diocese will be required to complete the 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
[email protected]
06 354 1780
021 278 9567

For further information or assistance from the National Office for Professional Standards contact:
Virginia Noonan, Director
[email protected]
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]

Your contact will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality.


Have a question? We can help. Get in touch with the Diocese.

Have a question?