New Child Safe Standards
As you may be aware Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards come into effect from 1 July, following approval of the Child Wellbeing and Safety (Child Safe Standards Compliance and Enforcement) Act Amendment 2021 (Vic) introducing Ministerial Order No. 1359 Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the Risk of Child Abuse in Schools and School Boarding Premises (replacing Ministerial Order 870).
The 11 new Child Safe Standards will replace Victoria’s current seven standards and are more closely aligned with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. If you would like more detail about the 11 new standards and what is changing, you can read the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) Information Sheet, which can be found by clicking on this link.
This past week, all College staff spent time with the new standards, understanding the content of each standard and the implications for policy and practice at the College. There was a great sense that the College is already an inherently safe child safe organisation with the safety and wellbeing of our young people a priority for all staff members. There will be some amendments required to policy and procedure to reflect the new standards; this will certainly build on existing policy and practice at the College.
To ensure a smooth transition to the new standards, a new Child Safe Team has been established. Its members are:
- Rita Grima, Principal
- Brigitte McDonald, Deputy Principal
- Rebecca Spiteri, Acting Head of Students
- Nicole Mazzarella, Cater House Leader
- Oliviah Chitima, Student Counsellor
We look forward to the work which will continue to build on the culture of child safety and wellbeing that is already strong and resonant across the College.
It was a pleasure to spend two days of learning and companionship at the Staff Conference last Thursday and Friday. Our staff were inspired in their work as Catholic educators by three speakers, who were described by staff members as “prophets of our time”.
Fr Michael Trainor, spoke to us about the political, social, economic and religious context of the agrarian community that was Jesus’ world. We were led to understand the rich symbolism in the Gospels, particularly the parables, and what gave rise to Jesus’ prophetic response at the time. Fr Michael has a way of breaking open scripture that inspires and challenges us to reflect on the values inherent in Jesus’ message within our own lives.
Sr Cathy Meese, spoke about her vocation as a Sister of Charity and what people on the margins, who were the focus of her ministry, taught her about our response to human needs. Sr Cathy’s humility, gentleness and profound love for those with whom she worked touched hearts, and reminded us about the tradition of service and love we have inherited from the Sisters of Charity.
Dr Dan Fleming works as an ethicist with St Vincent’s Health Australia. He challenged us to bring values and action together – how we live is the key evidence for what we believe. Dan led us in reflecting on how we are attuned to God’s presence in our lives – the call is there all the time if we listen to it.
At this time when schools are facing heightened challenges, the opportunity to reconnect with our purpose was both timely and necessary and allowed for us to remember that as a Mary Aikenhead Ministries College, in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity, we embody a tradition that can give great goodness to the world.