Adelaide church workers get police checks - Archbishop included
All Adelaide church workers and volunteers will require police checks, the city's archdiocese has announced - and top church officials including Archbishop Philip Wilson will be among the first to undergo the checks.
The Advertiser reports that the Archdiocese of Adelaide will carry out the checks on all employees and volunteers from 1 June this year as part of the fight against child sex abuse.
Existing workers in the archdiocese will also be subject to the stringent new screening procedure, with top-level leaders going first.
Described as a "huge undertaking", the checks will take up to three years and could cost $500,000, but the church says it is an essential part of their commitment to child protection.
Msgr David Cappo - who, along with Archbishop Philip Wilson and Bishop Greg O'Kelly, will be among the first to undergo police checks - said that the move signalled a "huge change in culture".
"It's a signal Archbishop Wilson is giving that child protection is going to be a centrepiece in all our work," Msgr Cappo told the Advertiser.
"The child sex abuse issue has certainly had an effect on the credibility of the churches in the public mind.
"We are going to be on the front foot in terms of child protection," he said.
Child protection expert Freda Briggs said the checks would not provide complete protection for children but they could work as a deterrent.
Police checks for church workers (Adelaide Now, 30/4/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Adelaide | Archbishop Philip Wilson
Social Inclusion Board
Western culture open to Christianity, Wilson affirms (CathNews, 24/4/07)
Indigenous offenders missing school, Cappo claims (CathNews, 30/3/07)
Cappo committee in call for SA mental health revamp (CathNews, 21/2/07)
Adelaide Vicar General in new crime fighting initiative (CathNews, 5/2/07)
Adelaide Archbishop backs equal rights for gay couples (CathNews, 17/3/05)
Adelaide's Wilson elected as Bishops Conference President (CathNews, 8/5/06)
30 Apr 2007