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The Adelaide Archdiocese’s commitment
to safeguarding children and responding
with care and compassion to victims and
adult survivors of child sexual abuse was
restated by Adelaide Vicar General Fr
Philip Marshall at a Blue Knot Day event
hosted by the SA Professional Standards
Office (SA PSO) in October.
Fr Marshall outlined the important
work of the Police Check Unit, Child
Protection Unit and SA PSO to a
gathering of Diocesan and Centacare
Catholic Family Services staff as part
of the national awareness-raising day
initiated by Adults Surviving Child Abuse
He also praised the work of ASCA
in highlighting that there were many
Australians who have been subjected to
childhood sexual, emotional, physical,
and spiritual abuse and neglect.
In 2013-14, the total number of
notifications across the nation was
304,097; of these 137,585 cases
(involving 99,210 children) of child abuse
were investigated and 54,438 cases
were substantiated (Australian Institute
of Health and Welfare, 2015).
“These statistics shed a deeply
disturbing light on how unsafe our
children really are in this society and
more needs to be done to ensure their
safety and hold accountable those who
harm them,” Fr Marshall said.
“We are determined to do everything we
can to ensure children in our care are
The Archdiocesan Police Check Unit
was initiated in October 2005 and
became fully operational in June 2007.
All clergy and Religious, employees,
volunteers and some contractors who
provide service in either a paid or
voluntary capacity must undergo police
The Child Protection Unit provides
regular child safe environment training to
clergy, Religious and employees of the
Archdiocese to ensure that they are clear
on their legal responsibilities to report
suspected child abuse and/or neglect.
Fr Marshall said another important part
of the Archdiocese’s work in this area
was the SA PSO which facilitates the
Church’s response to adult survivors of
child abuse under the Towards Healing
He said Towards Healing had been
subject to critique by the Royal
Commission into Institutional Responses
to Child Sexual Abuse and the SA PSO
was working hard to “respond actively”.
This included developing an easy-to-
read information brochure for those
interested in Towards Healing and
other resources and material that would
benefit both Church authorities and
“The SA PSO has committed to finalising
all matters that have been unresolved
to ensure people aren’t waiting
unreasonable periods to get through the
process,” Fr Marshall said.
“We continue to receive feedback from
people who have been through the
process to guide us in how to better
serve them. We have a long way to go
but we are committed to working hard
to get it right for those people who have
been subjected to abuse at the hands of
clergy and church personnel.
“I am humbled by survivors’ courage to
come forward and share the pain and
suffering they have experienced as a
result of our failure to protect them and
for which we hold great shame.”
South Australians are being
urged to download a new
app on their smart phones
to ensure help can be sent
as soon as possible in an
The Emergency Plus app
enables emergency services
to know your exact location
and also clearly displays the numbers to ring in
emergency and non-emergency situations.
Adelaide Vicar General Fr Philip Marshall said it
was important that as many people as possible
downloaded the app to ensure their own safety
and that of other people.
He said Catholic parishes and communities had
an important role to play in spreading the word
about this potentially life-saving tool.
The app can be downloaded through Windows
store, Google Play store and Apple App store or
by typing Emergency Plus in your search engine.
Endorsed by state and territory governments,
the app is free and is linked to the smart phone’s
GPS to pinpoint the user’s location.
It is available in English, Chinese (traditional and
simplified) and Japanese and meets accessibility
requirements for people with impaired vision.
In addition to the location function, the app
also encourages people in Australia to call the
correct number for help in emergency and non-
emergency situations, that is 000, 132 500 for
the State Emergency Service and 131 444 for the
Police Assistance Line.
New app the
An ecumenical Lenten resource has been
prepared by the SA Council of Churches.
Return to God: divine grace and human
struggle is grounded in the gospels that will be
proclaimed in Western and Orthodox Churches
each Sunday during Lent and the Great Lent
respectively. Each of the selected gospels is
followed by reflections from three different
perspectives – Roman Catholic, Orthodox and
Protestant. Icons and images are also included.
Ecumenical Lenten resources have been offered
every two years in South Australia for more than
40 years. They offer an opportunity for people
from different churches to gather in small groups
for prayer and reflection throughout Lent on the
journey together towards Easter.
Lent in Western Churches begins on Ash
Wednesday February 10 and March 14 in
Orthodox Churches. The resource is available at
Raising awareness of abuse crisis
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By Jenny Brinkworth
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