The Catholic Schools Office promotes an absolute commitment to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of all children, particularly those attending the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
Diocesan schools comply with a range of state legislation designed to protect children, including:
- The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
- The Ombudsman Act 1974 (Part 3A)
- The Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 and the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012
The Office of Safeguarding is the Diocesan Child Protection Unit, which oversees child protection practices in all Catholic schools in the Diocese and provides a range of preventative services and responds to allegations of abuse.
Prevention in Diocesan Schools
Any person who is the preferred candidate for employment in CSO schools is required to undertake a pre-employment screening process known as the Working with Children Background Check.
Any volunteer who is engaging in an activity with children in school, during which the volunteer may be unsupervised at any time, is required to make a statutory declaration known as the Student/Volunteer Declaration.
For further information relating to Child Protection, you can contact the Office of Safeguarding on 02 4979 1390.
All students have the right to be safe at school. If a student has received or observed inappropriate behaviour displayed toward them or others, they may report this to their Wellbeing and Engagement leader, Assistant Principal, Head of Campus or Principal.
All complaints are treated very seriously and will be evaluated and investigated. Complaints may be made verbally or in writing.
Disallowance of Corporal Punishment
The College does not use or support the use of corporal punishment.
Rights of the Child
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:
- be treated fairly no matter what
- have a say about decisions affecting them
- live and grow up healthy
- have people do what is best for them
- know who they are and where they come from
- believe what they want
- find out information and express themselves
- be safe
- be cared for and have a home
- education, play and cultural activities
- help and protection if they need it.
The Office of Safeguarding
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has an abiding commitment to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing 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.
Further information can be found here:
Information required to report abuse
The simplest amount of information required to make a report is:
Who did what to whom, when and where?
However, if you do not possess all the following information, you should still report your concerns.
Where to report abuse and find support
If a child is seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help, the child or you are being threatened, or you just witnessed a serious accident or crime — stay calm and ring 000.
If you believe a criminal offence has been committed against a child that does not warrant a 000 call, you should contact the local Police station. You can locate the local Police station online:
You may contact the Police Assistance Line:
P: 131 444 (available 24 hours, 7 days a week)
The Office of Safeguarding will report all allegations of child abuse offences to NSW Police.
Child Protection (Risk of Significant Harm):
If you suspect on reasonable grounds that a child is at risk of significant harm, contact the FaCS Helpline:
P: 132 111 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
If you are unsure whether the concerns you have constitutes risk of significant harm, assess the risks using the Mandatory Reporter Guide: www.reporter.childstory.nsw.gov.au/s/
Welfare and wellbeing
If concerns for a child or family do not constitute a risk of significant harm, there are a number of possible support services that may be of assistance to the child and their family, including:
The Family Referral Service (FRS), which brings together families, support services and community resources so that our children are safe and well. FRS works with all services to find the best supports for families and their children, and to improve its community resources:
The Human Services Network (HSNet) is a free website available to anyone looking for a service in NSW. The site is mobile-ready and works on any internet-enabled device including tablets and smartphones, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
Reporting alleged abuse to the Office of Safeguarding
If you believe a child has been the subject of abusive or neglectful conduct by one or more adults or the child’s peers, you can report it to the Police or Office of Safeguarding:
P: 02 4979 1390 available during office hours Monday to Friday