The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has an absolute and abiding commitment to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children. As a parent sending your child or children to a diocesan school, you should be aware of your rights and obligations in protecting your child and all children in our schools.
The Children and Young Person’s (Care and Protection) Act 1998
In NSW we are able to report certain information to Family and Community Services (FaCs). If we are concerned for one of more of the children in the school, we can discuss our concerns with a teacher, assistant principal or principal. We can report our concerns to the FaCS Child Protection Helpline (133 627, 24 hrs/7 days) if we have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm and our concerns are current. Risk of significant harm may occur from a single act or omission or to a series of acts or omissions.
It is better to be safe than sorry, so if we’re uncertain, talk to a staff member at the school.
Part 3A of the Ombudsman Act 1974
Part 3A Ombudsman Act 1974, defines diocesan schools as a “designated non-government agency” and as such we must have systems for preventing, reporting (to the Ombudsman) and investigating reportable conduct.
All staff and volunteers in diocesan schools fall within the scope of Part 3A and may be investigated for alleged “reportable conduct”, which includes sexual offences, misconduct, assault, ill-treatment, neglect and behaviour that causes psychological harm to children.
The Office of Safeguarding is the Diocese’s specialist child protection service. It works with the Ombudsman to ensure the Diocese meets its obligations under Part 3A.
As a parent, if you learn about a staff member or a volunteer working in the school without a clearance, you should talk with the principal or assistant principal as soon as possible. If you believe that nothing is being done about your concerns, you can contact the Office of Safeguarding
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Reporting Policy
As a parent you can report any concerns you have for a student, or group of students, to our principal, assistant principal or directly to the Office of Safeguarding (02) 4979 1390.
As parents you are entitled to contact the Office of Safeguarding about any concerns you have about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or if you are concerned that the school isn’t addressing allegations of reportable conduct or abuse.