The seven-member board of the Catholic Church’s new child and vulnerable person standards setting, auditing and reporting organisation is now in place and busy developing a major new approach to the way the Church ensures everyone who comes into contact with its ministries is as safe as possible.
The Chair of CPSL, The Hon Geoff Giudice (pictured, left), said following the appointments of Queensland education specialist Dr Kerrie Tuite and WA governance expert Dr Ruth Shean this month, the board is now made up of members with a wide range of skills and expertise.
“We now have people of the highest integrity, calibre and expertise on the board,” Mr Giudice said.
“With experts in child protection, education, disability, social services, governance, law, regulation and cultural change, this board is set to make a very significant impact on the way the Church operates its professional standards and child protection services.
“And working alongside a group of dedicated staff led by Sheree Limbrick, we are all confident that the work and the mission of CPSL will achieve great things for the most vulnerable people who come in contact with the Church and for the Catholic and broader community.”
CPSL has been established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in the wake of Royal Commission revelations of institutional failure in the management and response to child sexual abuse claims in Catholic organisations including schools, parishes and homes.
CPSL will develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities. It represents a new national Church approach to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people.
CPSL is already undertaking consultation on the development of new standards having recently visited Adelaide and Darwin. It expects to be releasing the first draft of its new standards in the coming months. They will be based extensively on the Royal Commission’s findings on the Key elements of a child-safe organisations.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has backed Malcolm Turnbull’s call for the states and territories to join the proposed national redress scheme for child sexual abuse survivors.
In a speech to Parliament last week, the Prime Minister warned the states and territories to act quickly so a national redress scheme could be set up by July 1, saying, "We owe it to survivors not to squander this moment”.
Francis Sullivan, chief executive of the Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, said that now is the time for the state and territory leaders to act.
“The royal commission’s recommendations for a redress scheme have been with all governments for well over two years,” Mr Sullivan said.
“Survivors of abuse have been waiting too long for the scheme to get up and running. Many have died never receiving the apologies and the redress that should have been theirs many years ago.
“Catholic Church leaders are on the record saying they will join the commission’s recommended national scheme, now it is time for the states and territories to also sign up.”
See the full statement from CPSL here.
See statement from the Truth, Justice and Healing Commission here.
Photo: Chair of CPSL, The Hon Geoff Giudice AO (Source, cpsltd.org.au)