WelCom July 2019:
The Catholic Church’s National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS) has welcomed Pamela Arthurs as its new National Safeguarding Lead. Pamela is providing support to Catholic dioceses, congregations and organisations throughout New Zealand in the continued implementation of the NOPS safeguarding practices.
Bishop Steve Lowe of the National Committee for Professional Standards said, ‘all dioceses have confirmed adoption of a national safeguarding policy, which sets consistent expectations of how to develop and maintain safe environments in all of our Church entities.’
NOPS has been developing a range of support materials and resources to support parishes and others implement safeguarding practices. A series of safeguarding workshops is underway to support volunteers and employees carry out their roles safely and with confidence. Dioceses are at various stages of delivery of the first workshop for all those who work with or provide ministry to children and or vulnerable adults.
NOPS Director, Virginia Noonan, is overseeing the national safeguarding programme roll-out and has been meeting with people in every diocese to support this work.
NOPS is an office within the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. It sets the strategic direction for and ensures compliance of the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policy and procedures for children and vulnerable adults. The office is also responsible for responding to complaints of abuse in the Church and overseeing the investigation of complaints of sexual abuse against clergy and members of religious orders.
If you, or someone you know has been abused by a Catholic priest or member of a religious congregation, the Church urges you to seek counselling and healing. You do not have to report the abuse to the Church, but if you do the Church will take your story seriously – even if you prefer to remain anonymous, and even if the abuse happened many years ago. Your call will be taken with sensitivity and confidentiality. If you wish to make a complaint, please contact the National Office of Professional Standards on ph 0800 114 622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact NZ Police.
A protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse was established by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops in 1993, called A Path to Healing – Te Houhanga Rongo. The protocol is on the bishops’ website at www.catholic.org.nz/assets/Uploads/APTH-2007-with-2010-amendments-2.pdf or www.tinyurl.com/A-Path-to-Healing