The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has an absolute and abiding commitment to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of all children and vulnerable persons, particularly for those who participate in the life of the Diocese.
As part of this commitment, the Diocese established the Office of Safeguarding (OoSG) to respond to allegations of diocesan workers’ inappropriate and abusive behaviour against children or vulnerable persons. This response may include conducting an inquiry into the alleged conduct.
Local diocesan leadership may conduct these inquiries, with OoSG staff overseeing the process, or an OoSG investigator may conduct the inquiry directly. If the allegation constitutes a ‘reportable allegation’, an administrative inquiry is conducted by the OoSG, under Part 4 Children’s Guardian Act.
Diocesan administrative inquiries are secondary to any statutory authority conducting an investigation. Law enforcement criminal inquiries have primacy, then statutory child protection services, then diocesan enquiries.
Diocesan inquiries prioritise the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and vulnerable persons.
OoSG inquiries may form the ‘preliminary investigation’ conducted in a canonical process.
Diocese-conducted inquiries are:
If you want more information about administrative inquiries conducted by the Diocese:
Children can be the alleged victim or a potential witness in an administrative inquiry. Particular procedures are followed when children become a part of an inquiry, particularly when an OoSG investigator conducts the inquiry. Children should feel safe and supported during the inquiry.
If you want more information as a child or parent of a child involved in an administrative inquiry conducted by the Diocese:
Vulnerable persons can be the alleged victim or a potential witness in an inquiry. Particular procedures are followed to ensure vulnerable persons give informed consent before participating in the inquiry. Vulnerable persons should feel safe and supported during the inquiry.
If you want more information as a vulnerable adult involved in an administrative inquiry:
The Diocese takes all allegations of misconduct seriously, but allegations are not accepted as fact. Any diocesan worker could be the subject of an administrative inquiry. All diocesan workers are entitled to due process and appropriate levels of support and advice during and after the inquiry.
If you want more information as a diocesan worker who is the subject of an administrative inquiry:
Diocesan workers may be potential witnesses in an administrative inquiry; or they may be aware a workmate or colleague is subject of an inquiry (the respondent); or they may be the supervisor of a diocesan worker who is the respondent.
If you want more information about what your obligations and responsibilities are as a diocesan worker involved in an administrative inquiry: