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Integrated child protection for Maitland-Newcastle Diocese

Bishop Michael Malone has announced that the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will establish a diocesan-wide child protection unit that will address the problem that there are many agencies, groups and individuals with different needs and varying resources.

"The area of child protection is extremely complex," Bishop Malone told the Aurora diocesan newspaper, "and the effects of child protection issues are far-reaching.

"I am very conscious that there is a need to develop and preserve high levels of trust in all of our dealings with children. It's one of the fundamentals of the church's mission; it affects all areas."

Bishop Malone acknowledged that breaches of trust on the part of individuals have a devastating effect on victims, families and communities and have set back the mission of the church immeasurably.

"The diocese is a very complex organisation," he stressed. "Over recent months I have been discussing the importance of establishing an integrated diocesan-wide approach to child protection with the heads of our diocesan agencies.

"Until now child protection matters involving Catholic schools or Catholic welfare have been managed and resourced well by their respective agencies, the Catholics Schools Office and Centacare Newcastle. But there are areas within the diocese where systems can be improved.

"We realise that because the diocese did not have the systems and resources to draw on in the past we may not have made the best decisions in child protection matters," he said.

Bishop Malone indicated that the exact structure, responsibilities and policies of the diocesan unit are yet to be determined but a Project Manager has been appointed to work on these tasks in close collaboration with members of the already established Catholic Schools Office Child Protection Unit and staff from Centacare Newcastle.

New diocesan-wide approach to child protection (Aurora Feb-Mar 2005)

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

3 Mar 2005