dealing with disclosures or incidents of abuse and
Adopted by Parish Council
This policy addresses the
issues of abuse and neglect, with an emphasis on children.
These procedures are to be read
in conjunction with Diocesan Council Policy 41:
Protocol for dealing with complains of sexual misconduct by
clergy and church workers, the Diocesan Council
Policy 40: Policy Guidelines for Child Protection,
and the Professional Standards Statute 2003 (these
are available in the Parish Office).
The Parish considers any
misconduct by a clergy person, church worker or church
volunteer, especially sexual misconduct, as very serious.
The Parish is committed to
support the victims and their families, the accused and
their families, the informant, and the wider community.
All persons involved in
situations where abuse is suspected or disclosed, whether of
a child or an adult, must treat the situation with
sensitivity, must observe appropriate
confidentialities, and have an obligation to ensure that
this information is kept secure.
is defined as maltreatment of a person under 18 years of
age. It is the result of action or inaction on the part of
an adult which results in harm or injury to a child or which
endangers or impairs a child's physical or emotional
well-being. Maltreatment includes: Physical abuse, Sexual
abuse, Emotional abuse, and Physical and emotional neglect.
In this Parish the ‘responsible
person’ is the Parish Priest, or in the priest’s
absence, the Rector’s Warden. The ‘responsible person’ is
responsible for the management of suspected or disclosed
incidents of abuse and neglect within the parish.
A person to whom a disclosure
is made (the informant) has a responsibility to report it.
The informant does not have an investigative role or a
responsibility to determine whether abuse or neglect has
occurred. Nor is it appropriate for the informant to
confront a suspected perpetrator or intervene with the
child's or person’s family. Other authorities are best
placed to undertake these onerous tasks at the appropriate
time. Investigation by an unauthorized person, including
clergy, may jeopardize the prospects of apprehending
offenders and expose an abused person to greater risk of
Those who have concerns that
abuse or neglect may be occurring should keep brief written,
dated records of their suspicions or observations and
keep the ‘responsible person’ informed.
Where there is a disclosure of
child abuse or strong concerns about the well-being of a
child, the informant must report the matter to the
relevant authority, namely:
Community Development – for child abuse originating
within families (ph 9223 1111 any time), or
Police (WA Police
Service Child Abuse Unit) – for child abuse
originating outside the family or abuse of adults
(ph 9492 5444; after hours contact 131444 or 9356
0555 (Family and Domestic Violence)
Where the disclosure concerns
any misconduct by a clergy person, church worker or church
volunteer, it is also necessary for the responsible officer
to advise the Director of Professional Standards and
their Regional Bishop.
The informant can
confidentially consult the Director of Professional
Standards on procedures. Church Office can arrange for legal
support or other support as necessary. The Professional
Standards Committee exists to assist those with complaints
It is important to note that
the safety and welfare of the child is all important
and this must always be the primary concern.
A copy of this policy is
available in our Parish Office.