The Diocesan Child Protection Unit (DCPU) has the responsibility to support the diocese to meet its legislative requirements and Church based obligations in the realm of child protection. The DCPU supports parishes, the Catholic Schools Office, Catholic systemic schools, CatholicCare and the Chancery.
Mandate for the DCPU
The DCPU has a specific legislated mandate, derived from the following acts and associated regulations and statutory guidelines:
The Manager of the DCPU is responsible for supporting the Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle in fulfilling his obligations as Head of Agency, imposed by Part 3A of the Ombudsman Act 1974 and ensuring the diocese fulfils its obligations under other civil and canonical law.
The Manager of the DCPU is delegated the 'day to day' responsibilities of the Head of Agency.
The DCPU is subject to, and assists the diocese in implementing:
- Towards Healing: Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia (2010)
- Integrity in Ministry: A Document of Principles and Standards for Catholic Clergy & Religious in Australia (2010)
- Integrity in the Service of the Church: A Resource Document of Principles and Standards for Lay Workers in the Catholic Church in Australia (2011).
The DCPU undertakes preventative and response functions, which includes the provision of the following services:
- Duty: providing professional advice, guidance and support in dealing with child protection matters for all diocesan personnel.
- Investigations: conducting inquiries into allegations of abusive conduct or breaches of professional standards against children by diocesan personnel
- Training: developing and delivering a range of child protection training to diocesan personnel
- Risk Management: conducting risk assessments for potential and existing diocesan personnel or children in receipt of a diocesan service and assisting in the management of individuals identified as posing an elevated risk
- Professional Services: assisting schools prepare for accreditation, oversighting the child protection elements of the schools accreditation process (SEVDEV) and undertaking complaint assessment and resolution processes on behalf of diocesan management
- Record Keeping: storing and managing relevant diocesan records relating to child protection matters, including investigations and volunteer declarations.