“The sexual abuse of minors by clergy and its poor handling by Church leaders has been one of the greatest challenges for the Church in our time. Many of you have committed your lives to this cause… The failure to act properly to halt this evil and to assist its victims has sullied our witness to God’s love. In the Confiteor, [prayer confessing sins] we ask forgiveness not only for the wrong we have done, but also for the good we have failed to do. It can be easy to forget sins of omission, for in a way they seem less real; yet in fact they are very real, and they hurt the community as much as others, if not more so.”
Opening address of Pope Francis to the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, 5 May 2023
As with all peoples, children have human rights across the full spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
Because children are recognised as having particular inherent needs and dependencies, they also have particular rights.
Both the Commonwealth of Australia and the Vatican (Holy See) ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1990, this is the central international instrument that underpins both Australia’s and the Church’s approach to safeguarding children.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s child friendly summary of children’s rights state that children have the right to:
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international human rights convention which sets out the fundamental human rights of people with disability.
The purpose of the United Nations CRPD is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
Australia ratified the CRPD in July 2008 and the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle supports the CRPD as a cornerstone for the safeguarding of vulnerable persons.
Click below to view a video describing the rights of persons with disabilities:
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has an abiding commitment to promote the safety, welfare and well being of children and vulnerable persons — particularly those who participate in the life of the Diocese as part of our faith communities in parishes, in our diocesan systemic schools, early education centres and out-of-school hours care service, as part of our welfare and community services through CatholicCare and other diocesan ministries.
The office of Director of Safeguarding has been established by decree, issued by the Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle.
The Office of Safeguarding is an integral part of the Diocese, reporting directly to the Bishop’s Office. The Office of Safeguarding is placed outside the Diocese’s services, programmes and parishes, overseeing their safeguarding standards in operation.
The Office of Safeguarding works with NSW Police, the Office of the Children’s Guardian, the Department of Community and Justice and other statutory authorities and specialist authorities within the Catholic Church in Australia to fulfil its responsibilities and maximise the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons.
The Office of Safeguarding supports the Diocese to promote and uphold the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as institution of the Catholic Church in Australia.
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