Pope’s sexual abuse reporting rules will be ‘fully implemented’ in NZ

sexual abuse

The president of the NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Patrick Dunn, has told the New Zealand Herald that the Motu Proprio on the reporting of sexual abuse cases will be studied to make sure that the recommendations it contains are fully implemented.

On 9 May Pope Francis issued the Motu Proprio making it mandatory for priests and nuns to report incidents of sexual abuse and cover-ups to church authorities.

Called “Vos Estis Lux Mundi”, meaning You Are the Light of the World, the 19-article decree covers not just children and adults, but the possession of child pornography as well.

Dunn said the New Zealand bishops believe that in general the protocols called for by Pope Francis have been in place in this country for some decades.

The church’s policy and documentation outlines are on the National Office for Professional Standards website. They include:

National Safeguarding Guidelines
These Guidelines were promulgated by the New Zealand Bishops’ Conference (NZCBC) and Congregational Leaders Conference Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ).

They apply to all diocese, religious congregation and Catholic organisations throughout the country.

The Guidelines form the basis for our Church’s commitment to respond with compassion to those who have suffered abuse and to ensure policies and practices are in place to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all. Updated October 2018

Integrity in Ministry
This document was approved in 2000 by the NZCBC as official guidelines on professional standards for clergy and religious congregations.

The purpose of the document is to provide positive guidelines for healthy lives among clergy and religious, and for the highest standards of pastoral practice.

Standards for Creating and Maintaining a Safeguarding Culture
These standards are designed to ensure best practice in all aspects of safeguarding in the creation and maintenance of safe environments for our children and vulnerable adults.

All dioceses, religious orders and Catholic organisations will be audited against these Safeguarding Culture Standards. Updated October 2018

Code of Conduct
This code of conduct sets expectations for the behaviour of all employees and volunteers in our Catholic organisations, including our parishes. Updated October 2018

A Path to Healing, Te Houhanga Rongo
The Church’s protocol for responding to complaints of sexual abuse against clergy and religious. Updated 2010

Safeguarding Policy
This is the overarching policy for all dioceses and religious orders – and sets the expectations for promoting an environment which respects and acknowledges the dignity of all, and where people feel valued and safe. All dioceses and religious orders are expected to adopt this policy. Updated October 2018

Safe Recruitment and Training Policy
This policy sets out the commitment to implement and maintain safe recruitment processes and training for all those who work with or provide ministry to children or vulnerable adults within our dioceses, religious orders and Catholic organisations. Updated October 2018

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference website contains the following statement:
Criminal, sexual or physical abuse is a matter for the police to investigate. If the victim or survivor chooses to report the abuse to Police, the Church will cooperate with the civil law processes and will provide the known facts to the authorities. The Church encourages the victim or survivor to report criminal allegations to Police and will support them in doing so.

The church acknowledged and apologised in 2000 for the abuse of children by clergy and had put in place its own protocols.

A national office was also set up to respond to abuse complaints.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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