Find answers to common questions about safeguarding implementation in parishes, agencies and entitites within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. If you have a question that's not answered below, please send an email to psu@cam.org.au.

Safeguarding Essentials Online Training Module

Q: When I click on the URL provided to access the online training, I cannot see the Working with Children Check (WWCC) ID box where I am to sign in. How do I locate this?

A: It is likely the internet browser you are using is not up to date. You will need to download another browser (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari or Firefox).

Q: I want to better understand what my WWCC ID will be used for and how my privacy will be protected?

A: The WWCC ID is used to record who has registered and successfully completed the training. As explained on the registration page for the module, participants' privacy is protected in accordance with the CAM Privacy Policy.

Q: We are using the new PACEM system at our parish. How can I verify if any volunteers have completed the training?

A: There are two ways to do this:

  1. on the WWCC section of the individual contact record in PACEM, select the ‘Completed CAM Safeguarding Training’ check box.
  2. use a report called ‘WWCC’ in the ‘Contacts Reports’ folder in PACEM. This report lists all members of parish groups who are currently active and have a WWCC. There are check boxes that will show if the CAM Safeguarding Training has been completed. This report can also be exported into Excel, if needed.

Q: I can’t access my certificate of completion. What can I do?

A: After successfully completing the training module, a certificate of completion will be emailed to you. This certificate will also be accessible via the training module dashboard. To obtain the certificate via the dashboard, simply close the training window, which will have opened in a new browser tab when you commenced the module. You will then be returned to the original browser tab. Once you are back in your main training dashboard, click on the ‘Home’ menu and the blue print icon.

Q: What information do I need to record at a group session?

A: If your parish has been proactive and has already conducted one or more group sessions, we ask that your attendance records note the date the group session was held, the participants’ first and last names, and their WWCC ID numbers and expiry dates.

For all future group sessions, parishes are asked to record the following information for each participant:

  • first and last name
  • WWCC/VIT ID number and expiry date (all details should match exactly what is printed on the card)
  • an email address where reminder notifications can be sent (either the volunteer’s email, a care-of address or the parish email address)
  • the date on which the certification was obtained.

Those parishes who are using PACEM should send the PSU the information listed above for any volunteers who have satisfactorily completed the group training. The PSU will then work with IT to upload this information into the PACEM system.

Q: Is there a PowerPoint version of the training?

A: Yes, a PowerPoint version of the online training is now available for parishes to use. Please contact your regional safeguarding officer or psu@cam.org.au to obtain a copy.

Please note, the PowerPoint version does not include audio narration, and parishes will be required to facilitate the training.

The PowerPoint version can be saved as a PDF document and distributed to participants as a hard copy, if desired.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please contact the Professional Standards Unit at psu@cam.org.au and if required, we will liaise with the IT help desk on your behalf.

For all other general enquiries about the Safeguarding Essentials training module, please contact your parish and speak to a representative from the safeguarding committee.

Parish and Entity Child Safety Self-Assessment Tool

What is the Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool?

The Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool was released in November 2019 to provide parishes with an opportunity to assess and monitor their safeguarding efforts in relation to the requirements of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework, consistent with the requirements of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards and the Victorian Child Safe Standards.

This comprehensive assessment tool:

  • ensures that child safety is embedded within the culture and practices of the parish and that safeguarding is reflected in the way that parishes conduct their ministries.
  • lists the requirements of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (10 standards, 49 criteria and 111 indicators) and the Victorian Child Safe Standards (11 standards).
  • includes a range of indicators comprehensive enough to promote the safety of children and young people in an organisational context such as a parish
  • is intended to accompany parishes on their safeguarding journey, helping to ensure that a range of safeguarding elements are present and operational, ultimately creating the foundation for a safeguarding culture within a parish.

Our parish submitted a Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool last year. Do we need to do another one?

If your parish submitted an assessment tool last year, you do not need to fill in a new one. This previously submitted tool will be updated to reflect the things you have been working on throughout the year to build on your safeguarding efforts in a process of continuous improvement. The completion of the assessment tool is also necessary preparation for child safety audits to be conducted by the Commission for Children and Young People.

Our parish has not managed to address all 11 standards within the Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool. Does that matter?

We understand that parishes are at different stages of progress. We ask that parishes share their documentation, even if it is incomplete, as this will help provide a snapshot of safeguarding within your parish and help us to provide you with relevant advice, support and resources to build upon your progress. Rest assured that we are here to support your parish, no matter where you are on your safeguarding journey.

Previously there was a submission date of 30 November for the assessment tools? Is that no longer the case?

In light of the various factors affecting parishes over the last couple of years, rather than having a fixed submission date for the Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool, we are encouraging you to make a time with your safeguarding officer at any time from 1 October to come together for a progress meeting.

Will the Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool be simplified and condensed?

The PSU is grateful for the feedback we have received in relation to the Self-Assessment Tool and has begun to make revisions and improvements to the tool. The revised Self-Assessment Tool will also need to reflect the approved changes to the Victorian Child Safe Standards that came into effect from 1 July 2022, and making these revisions is an ongoing priority for the PSU. We will consult and work closely with the Parish Reference Group, comprising clergy and parish representatives, to make the necessary changes to the assessment tool.

Will the Self-Assessment Tool be updated to reflect the new Victorian Child Safe Standards (effective 1 July 2022) for the commencement of the following year?

As the PSU consults with the Parish Reference Group to review and improve the Self-Assessment Tool, it will also rely on guidance materials and updates from the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) to support this process. Parishes are encouraged to continue to use the existing Parish and Entity Child Safety Assessment Tool, along with the additional Self-Assessment Tool for Victorian Child Safe Standard 1.

As materials and updates are supplied by the CCYP, the PSU will communicate these to parishes and also incorporate them into any revisions to the Self-Assessment Tool. Parishes and entities within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne are well placed to meet any modified requirements, since the CAM Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework, developed by the PSU in 2018, incorporated the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (10 standards) as well as the current Victorian Child Safe Standards (seven standards) and the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (10 standards). This means the adjustments required to meet the new set of Victorian Child Safe Standards will be minor.

Working with Children and Police Checks 1

If a volunteer does not have any photo ID they must firstly apply for a Proof of Age Card (as they do not require any photo ID for this application). Then the next step would be to use that Proof of Age Card which qualifies as a photo ID, for a Keypass ID application. This can be done through Australia Post as this is recognised as a primary form of identification for a WWCC application.

Parishes can apply for a Community Volunteer Fee rate which would then see the cost reduced to $18.40. To apply as an authorised organisation for this please contact your Safeguarding Officer and we will send you the correct form required to be completed and returned to VIC Police.

In relation to traffic offenses appearing on your Police Check the Australian National Character Check Pty Ltd (who is just one provider of national police checks in Australia) have provided a clear explanation around this topic. They explain that there are two types of records for traffic offences that are recorded by most Australian police jurisdictions (exceptions may apply). They are:

  1. Records of all the demerit points you have incurred in the past while driving
  2. Records of all offences leading to licensing loss

However, the records of all the demerit points you incur in your driving (traffic) history are not displayed in your criminal record but in your traffic history. This traffic history, is protected and regulated by the Road Safety Act and Infringements Act and prevents them from being disclosed in a Police Check. Please note that the traffic history report, obtainable through VIC Roads for a fee, only contains details of any traffic offences incurred within the last five years.

Though this traffic history report is not a compulsory requirement under the CAM Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework, a parish may choose to request this from a volunteer who is performing driving responsibilities in addition to the standard Criminal History Record Check (Police Check), to assess whether they are unsuitable to perform the requirements of their role. To apply for a traffic history report visit the VIC Roads website.

Photography/videography consent within the parish

While it is normally accepted that in law, a deceased person has no privacy interests, it would be strongly advisable to contact the deceased person’s family to obtain written consent to use their photograph. This could be in the form of an email or written form.

There many reasons why large group photos may occur at a parish. All we have to do is consider the various liturgies, events, meetings and programs that parishes provide to see that there are many opportunities for photos to be taken. It is best practice, prior to the event/meeting beginning, to advise those gathered that photos will be taken for the purposes of the parish publication/newsletter/website/social media. It is also recommended that the photographer to make him or herself known to the crowd, so that anyone who does not wish to be included in the photo/s can advise the photographer accordingly. For large group photos, it is advisable for the photographer (or event organiser) to reiterate to the group where the photo will be published prior to taking the photo and seek verbal consent from those included in the photo. No individual consent forms would be required, if the parish clearly articulates where the photo will be used and those being photographed understand. The above recommendations are on the proviso that those being photographed are adults.

For any photographs or videos including children, a written consent form is strongly recommended from the parent or carer.

It is sometimes the case that a parish may wish to publish photos of an historical parish event/gathering/ministry. If consent was originally provided by the parishioner/s featured, then no further consent is required, as the photograph is owned by the parish.

However, it is always advisable to check with your local parish leadership or parish historical committee/s to seek their advice on featuring any parishioners who may no longer be a part of the parish.

If you are intending to take photographs or record video/s of children and young people, you must gather written consent from parents and carers through a photographic consent form authorising this activity and detailing how the images/footage will be used. For further information and guidance on this topic please refer to the following:

Alternatively, contact your regional Safeguarding Officer.

Note: It is worth considering the inclusion of a standard line on all
future event promotions (e.g. as part of booking forms) regarding any
photography/videography that will take place at the event. This could
be as simple as: “Please note: This [event] will be photographed and/
or recorded for parish documentation purposes. If you do not wish to
be included in the photos/videos, please advise the parish leadership
team/event organiser.”

Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP)

The CCYP has a range of legislative powers to enforce compliance including requesting information, conducting site visits, auditing, publishing the names of non-compliant organisations and initiating civil legal action. The CCYP’s audit and enforcement powers are outlined in the Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012 (Vic) and the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic).

The CCYP has not stipulated how they will select which parishes they will audit. However, they have requested from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne demographic information about parishes and the number of children and young people within them. It is possible that this information and data collected by the Reportable Conduct Scheme could inform the CCYP’s selection process.

The CCYP indicated that CAM and the parishes will receive 14 days notice.

The CCYP has indicated that they may select up to 15 parishes for auditing.

The CCYP indicated that Compliance Officers (consistent with previous question) could remain onsite at selected parishes for approximately two days.

No. Schools will not be audited as part of this process. The audit will focus on the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and parishes.

The CCYP indicated that if there is a joint Safeguarding Committee it might be necessary for the Compliance Officers to speak with representatives of both parish Committees during the audit.

All children have the right to feel safe and be safe all of the time. A safeguarding culture is something that must be cultivated, nurtured and continually worked on. This includes an attitude of continuous improvement and honest reflection. A safeguarding culture is promoted, developed and sustained through strong governance and leadership.

When assessing a child safe culture the CCYP may look at things such as:

  • Leadership and governance arrangements
  • Clear messaging of the importance of safeguarding
  • Zero tolerance to abuse and misconduct
  • Leaders driving and initiating change to embed a safeguarding culture
  • How the wider community are supported to know what indicators of abuse to look for and the reporting processes
  • Children and young people know where to go if they have a problem

The CCYP has A Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation to support organisations understand and embed the Child Safe Standards.

The processes for reporting child abuse and safety-related misconduct are listed in the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy as well as the Reporting Child Safety Misconduct and/or Child Abuse Information Sheet.

If a child or young person is in imminent danger, a report to Victoria Police must be made immediately (phone ‘000’).

The Professional Standards Unit (PSU) is responsible for coordinating child-safety related misconduct and child abuse reports in relation to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and liaising with statutory authorities.

The PSU will be guided by the recommendations of Victoria Police and/or Child Protection in relation to any action that may be required to promote the safety of those involved and the integrity of the investigation process.

CAM has a legal responsibility under the Reportable Conduct Scheme to notify current and historical incidents of suspected child abuse or misconduct of Clergy, employees and volunteers to the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP).

A copy of the reporting flowchart can be obtained here.