Church turns to child safety auditors

Church turns to child safety auditors

The Archdiocese of Brisbane will be the first in Australia to use independent auditors to assess its child protection measures.


External auditors will carry out the checks annually in a bid to prevent the kind of mistreatment of children that’s put the Catholic church front and centre at the sex abuse royal commission.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the audits and annual status reports, to be released publicly, should help ensure transparency and accountability.

“I am personally committed to ensuring the Archdiocese does everything it can to learn from the lessons of the past,” Archbishop Coleridge said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We need to teach our communities the truth of abuse and the truth of what its prevention requires.”

The external audits are a first for the Catholic church in Australia.

The first status report, released on Wednesday, details what the archdiocese has done since the start of 2014 to limit the risk of further abuse.

The archdiocese has revised its recruitment and selection practices, along with supervision policies for anyone working in church environments including contractors and volunteers.

A full-time officer tasked with overseeing child safety measures has also been appointed, and local representatives have been appointed in 45 of the 100 parishes to ensure safety polices are being followed.

All parishes will have such representatives within a year.

Staff at Centacare, a Catholic agency that provides community services in the areas of disability, work and family support, are also being trained in child protection, duty of care, intervention and prevention strategies.

Archbishop Coleridge said a focus on training and education was crucial to prevent any repeat of past mistakes.

“It will involve a change in the culture – a culture which has allowed abuse to happen and to be so badly mishandled when it came to light,” he said.