Child abuse or child safety–related misconduct is defined as an act (or series of acts) that endangers a child or young person’s physical or emotional health or development and/or a failure to provide conditions to the extent that the health and development of the child or young person is significantly impaired or placed at risk.
Categories of abuse and maltreatment:
Clergy, employees and volunteers play a vital role in identifying child abuse or child safety–related misconduct. They are encouraged to be vigilant in responding to possible indicators or signs, disclosures, allegations and reports, and to take action to support a child or young person who is at risk of or experiencing harm.
Any person (such as a child, young person, adult, priest, employee or volunteer) can make a report in relation to current or historical child abuse or child safety–related misconduct.
All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to make a report if they have formed a ‘reasonable belief’ that a child or young person has experienced abuse, is experiencing abuse or is at risk of harm from child safety–related misconduct.
All concerns, allegations or complaints of current or historical abuse and child-safety related misconduct will be taken seriously, treated with sensitivity, and acted upon consistent with the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s moral, ethical and legal obligations.
The Safeguarding Unit of the Archdiocese receives complaints of current and historical abuse or child safety–related misconduct. The Safeguarding Unit liaises with Pathways Victoria to ensure that the appropriate statutory authorities are informed of reports, allegations and suspicions of abuse in line with the Archdiocese’s legal requirements and duty of care.
Pathways Victoria (which was established in 2022, replacing Melbourne Response and Towards Healing) offers therapeutic and pastoral support to victim-survivors of abuse and conducts independent investigations in line with trauma-informed processes. Complaints, allegations and suspicions of abuse can be reported directly to Pathways Victoria or to the Safeguarding Unit. For more information about Pathways Victoria, see www.pathwaysvictoria.com.
If a child or young person is in imminent danger, a report to Victoria Police must be made immediately (phone 000).
The Safeguarding Unit and Pathways Victoria are together responsible for coordinating reports of current and historical abuse or child-safety related misconduct and liaising with statutory authorities and regulatory bodies such as Victoria Police; Child Protection—Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH); and the Commission for Children and Young People (Reportable Conduct Scheme).
Pathways Victoria, in liaison with the Safeguarding Unit, will:
The Safeguarding Unit is open from Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm
Phone: (03) 9287 5564
The matter is reported to Child Protection—Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH):
After-hours and weekends: 13 12 78
(e.g. sexually harmful behaviour, aggression, violence, online exploitation)
The matter is reported to Child Protection—Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and/or the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) within Victoria Police: Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT)