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About the Office of Safeguarding

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The ecclesiastical office of Director of Safeguarding

The office of Director of Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Persons (“Director of Safeguarding”) was established by the decree of William Wright, the Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, on 24 May 2019.

Decree establishing the ecclesiastical office of Director of Safeguarding

Provision (mandate and powers) of the ecclesiastical office of Director of Safeguarding

Placement, reporting and oversight

The Office of Safeguarding was officially launched on 2 September 2019, as part of National Child Protection Week.

It is the logical evolution of Zimmerman Services with a significant increase in its resources to support the Director of Safeguarding in fulfilling the provisions of the Director’s decree.  The Office of Safeguarding is the structural expression of the Diocese’s commitment to demonstrate the highest standards of recognising and upholding the dignity and rights of all children.

The Office of Safeguarding is responsible for overseeing the safeguarding of all children and vulnerable persons who participate in the life of the Diocese as part of our faith communities in parishes, in our diocesan systemic schools and early education centres, as part of our welfare and community services through CatholicCare, out-of-school hours care, and other diocesan ministries. To reinforce the Office of Safeguarding’s autonomy, it is structurally placed outside other agencies and programs of the Diocese, whilst working closely with them to promote the precepts of safeguarding.

The following chart, showing the structure and reporting lines within the Diocesan Curia demonstrates the Office of Safeguarding’s autonomy from other operational services in the Diocese.

The Director of Safeguarding reports to the Diocesan Administrator, who is supported with independent advice from the Standing Committee for the Oversight of the Office of Safeguarding, (“Standing Committee”). The Standing Committee draws its mandate from the Diocesan Protection and Safety Council, which is a peak advisory body for the Diocese, providing guidance on a broad range of issues relating to safeguarding and the Diocese.

For more information on the Diocesan Protection and Safety Council:

Internal structure

The Office of Safeguarding is a small but important office consisting of two internal leaders and a team of dedicated staff with particular specialist expertise who work collaboratively to fulfill the mandate of the office of Director of Safeguarding and are committed to promoting the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and vulnerable persons across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The Director of Safeguarding is responsible for fulfilling the obligations and rights of the ecclesiastical office.

The Director has particular focus and ongoing personal responsibilities, including:

  • the recruitment, development and retention of high-quality, professional personnel in the Office of Safeguarding
  • the effective and efficient functioning of the Office of Safeguarding in its support for and leadership in the Diocese in relation to safeguarding issues
  • ensuring the costs of the Office of Safeguarding are within budget
  • strategic development of a safeguarding culture across the Diocese
  • overseeing diocesan compliance with state and federal statutory safeguarding obligations
  • leading diocesan-wide implementation of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
  • managing uninsured claims brought against the Diocese by persons alleging to have suffered harm as a consequence of being the victim of historic child sexual abuse committed in the Diocese
    Read More – Redress
  • managing the Diocese’s relationships with key statutory and church-based safeguarding authorities
  • managing complaints against Office of Safeguarding personnel (other than where a conflict of interest is identified).