A RECENT audit has shown the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst to be fully compliant with nearly all of its standards to protect children from abuse, harm and neglect.
Results showed the diocese was 96 per cent compliant with its safeguarding requirements, meeting 99 out of 103 requirements. It was in the initial stages of meeting the four remaining.
Recommendations from the Australian Catholic Safeguarding authority included the diocese improving documentation from interviews with potential volunteers.
It also told the diocese make sure parishes publish details of child safety officers more broadly.
Parishes were also reminded to make sure personnel linked Working With Children Checks obtained through different organisations to parish activities.
Auditors also recommended the diocese keep its compliant records in a fire proof safe or cabinet, or upload them in a soft copy, for the required 50 years. The records were being stored in locked cupboards.
They also recommended the diocese implement more regular networking and information sessions for child safety officers to discuss safeguarding practices, initiatives and strategies.
Read the full report here:
Bishop Shane Mackinlay welcomed the report saying its results were an encouraging endorsement of safeguarding efforts undertaken over many years across the Sandhurst Diocese and its parishes.
Bishop Mackinlay said the report would give confidence to those involved in, or visiting parishes in the Sandhurst Dioecese.
"Safeguarding is a critical part of the response to what we have learned about the Catholic Church's failures to protect, believe and respond justly to children and vulnerable adults, and the consequent breaches of community trust," he said.
"I acknowledge the lifelong trauma of abuse victims, survivors and their families.
"We must do all in our power to prevent this, and a commitment to safeguarding will therefore remain an essential part of the Diocese's mission."
Auditing agency Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd is responsible for supporting and maintaining a safe church for all nationwide.
Church authorities undergo audits on a three-year cycle.
The audit included interviews, observation and enquiry, and assessment and testing of safeguarding controls.
The activities of Catholic Education Sandhurst and CatholicCare Sandhurst were out of the scope of the audit.
The Sandhurst Diocese covers much of central and northern Victoria, including Bendigo, but stretching as far as Corryong and Kerang.
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