The safeguarding capability of adults in Catholic Church ministries: a global perspective
Prevention of child sexual abuse
Identification of child sexual abuse
Response to child sexual abuse
Research Topic areas
Drivers of child sexual abuse
Government & policy responses
Start: December 2023
End: January 2024
Young adults (18-25 years)Adults (25-65 years)Older adults (>65 years)
Douglas Russell, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University
Lottie Harris, University of Southern Queensland
Professor Daryl Higgins, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University
Global inquiries across multiple continents have identified instances of child sexual abuse and cover ups in the Catholic Church. In order to ensure children and young people are safe in the Church, including its schools, social care facilities and at ministry services it is imperative that policies are complemented with safeguarding training and skill development for all members of the Church. Interventions targeting gaps in capabilities is the most efficient and appropriate way to ensure priests, teachers and other professionals and community members can keep children safe from sexual abuse.
The purpose of the project is to investigate the safeguarding capabilities of Catholic priests, staff, students, and communities across multiple countries.
Quantitative data collection using the Safeguarding Capabilities Survey will be used in a cross sectional method.
Significance and Dissemination
The project will support the Church to understand trends in safeguarding capabilities across different countries but also across different roles within the Church (teachers, priests, seminarians, Religious Men and Women etc.). Understanding the gaps in capabilities can provide an opportunity for targeted interventions to support the safeguarding skills of everyone who can play their part in keeping children safe.
Funding body: Porticus
Australian Human Research Ethics Committee: This project is subject to ethical oversight by the Australian Catholic University Human Research Ethics Committee
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The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (National Centre) respectfully acknowledges and celebrates the many Traditional Owners of the lands throughout Australia and pay our respects to ancestors of this country and Elders past and present. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culture and lore have existed within Australia continuously for over 65,000 years.
We acknowledge the ongoing leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia and those who have and continue to work tirelessly to address inequalities and improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice outcomes for children and young people. The National Centre is committed to ensuring that the voices of those whose lives are affected by the decisions governments make should fundamentally inform those decisions. First Nations voices must be heard, raised and amplified through a Voice to Parliament. It is time for genuine and significant reform to progress healing through the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
We seek to honour the lived and living expertise of all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, harnessing all ages, cultures, abilities and backgrounds, and commit to substantially addressing the harm of child sexual abuse, now and well into the future. We recognise that there are children and young people today who are experiencing sexual abuse and dedicate ourselves to doing all we can to promote their effective protection and care.