This year marks the 30th anniversary of Child Protection Week (6-12 September). The theme for 2020, 'Putting Children First', was chosen by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) and underscores the need to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children in all aspects of our community and family life.
The occasion is of great significance for the Catholic Church in Australia as it emphasises the need for a continuous commitment to effectively safeguard children, young people, and vulnerable adults.
Partnered with the commitment to safeguard those most at risk, the Church also acknowledges the devastating harm caused by the sexual abuse of children by priests, religious and lay people within Catholic settings.
'Although the Pandemic has changed the way we are all living and working, it doesn’t change what is most important,’ said Archbishop Peter A Comensoli.
‘For Christians, the Lord Jesus shows us that at all times, the most vulnerable among us are those requiring our greatest care. Our priority is to ensure the safety and the protection of children at all times. I am sad and angered that the Church has not always been a place that has put children first. We continue to address the horror of abuse, and I will continue to meet with survivors of abuse, hearing and trusting them, and helping our Church be continually converted.’
In the lead up to and during Child Protection Week, the Professional Standards Unit of the Archdiocese will be offering some resources to ensure all of our local parishes and ministries can become places that support children and young people, and their right to be safe and feel safe.
To grow up well, children need to feel safe and loved, have a chance to play and explore, have a say in decisions that affect them, and access to essential things like food, shelter and healthcare. For children to thrive we need to come together as a community and put children’s needs first during National Child Protection Week and every week.
To mark the week locally, the Professional Standards Unit have made the following resources available for use in family or parish settings:
Each year, the Church in Australia marks Child Protection Sunday on the second Sunday of September (13 September). These resources have been prepared by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, in collaboration with Catholic Religious Australia, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, the Professional Standards Unit and the National Office for Liturgy:
We encourage families to make use of the prayer resources which could be included as part of a family liturgy or used as prayer before meals.
Melbourne Catholic23 December 2020
Catholic Education Melbourne18 December 2020