Professor Daryl Higgins, James McDougall, Alex Cahill, Jacqui Stewart, Anna Medvedeva: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University; Professor Michele Riondino, Faculty of Law and Business, Australian Catholic University; Professor Susan Dann, Peter Faber Business School, Australian Catholic University

Funding Source

Australian Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church and Catholic Religious Australia


The Australian Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church and Catholic Religious Australia commissioned a review of the needs of the Catholic Church in Australia regarding the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable persons.

ICPS undertook a mapping exercise and designed a national safeguarding operational model for the project. We reviewed existing safeguarding regulatory obligations and the needs, opportunities and challenges in providing safeguarding services within the Church. While many Catholic Entities had developed systems and processes designed to prevent and respond to abuse, consulted stakeholders wanted more targeted guidance and support to ensure a consistent approach to the prevention of and response to abuse.

The design of the national safeguarding operational model was informed by stakeholder consultations and an analysis of the recommendations of the 2013 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Our proposed operational model emerged as a national office. The office would oversee and coordinate the consistency, quality, efficacy and coverage of safeguarding and professional standard services across the Church. It would equip and support Church Authorities to continue their safeguarding journey and drive culture change within their members/entities.

The national office would build on existing foundations. It would assume and extend on the tasks and responsibilities of existing national safeguarding bodies within the Church. The office would support the implementation of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS) through ongoing collaboration, capacity building, monitoring and auditing. It would help Catholic Entities prepare for and respond to (in complementary ways) the overarching civil regulatory obligations for institutions (including the Church) to meet child safety standards at the state and federal level.


Higgins, D., Stewart, J., Cahill, A., McDougall, J., & Medvedeva, A. (2020). Catholic Safeguarding Australia: A national office for oversight and coordination of safeguarding and professional standards for the Catholic Church in Australia (A report to the Safeguarding Steering Committee of the Australian Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church and Catholic Religious Australia)Canberra: ACU Institute of Child Protection Studies. ICPS Main Investigator

Professor Daryl Higgins


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