Church Safeguarding Everyone’s Responsibility23 November, 2021
This year the Professional Standards and Safeguarding Office (PSSO) of the Diocese of Rockhampton, led by Judy Pidcock, PSSO Manager, has trained over 690 volunteers equipping them with the training needed to ensure the Church is an environment where its clergy, paid employees and volunteers are equipped to keep our children safe and ensure the culture of safeguarding is a key priority.
Professional Standards and Safeguarding Team (l-r), PSS Manager Judy Pidcock, PSS Pastoral Response Coordinator Kate Moore and PSS Administration Officer Jan Mussig
Bishop Michael remarked that from the day he was installed as the Bishop of the Diocese of Rockhampton in 2014, ‘my focus has been on safeguarding and ensuring that we follow the Holy Father’s words to make our Diocese a safe place for all’. After establishing the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Pope Francis relayed these words, ‘Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children. They should also know that they have every right to turn to the Church with full confidence for it is a safe and secure home’.
Judy Pidcock’s passion and commitment to safeguarding are evident when you meet her, ‘The Rockhampton Diocese has a real emphasis on keeping children and young people safe in our parishes. Our Church community is becoming more aware of safeguarding and the importance of valuing children and young people in our lives. We are truly blessed that each of our Parishes has a designated Safeguarding Representative; their role is to ensure that the Parish community is aware of safeguarding and to assist with any inquiries from parishioners’.
The Diocesan training program is in its fourth year. This year has seen Judy’s team deliver training on safeguarding best practices in the following towns throughout Central Queensland: Walkerston, North & South Mackay, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Rockhampton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Blackwater, Clermont, Moranbah, Emerald, Bundaberg, Biloela and Monto.
Diocesan Safeguarding Pastoral Response Coordinator and trainer, Kate Moore, reflected on the participants they’ve trained this year, ‘the response from the participants makes me proud! It is clear that our Church community wants to provide a safe and secure environment for everybody, particularly our children, and have made our motto “safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility” come to life!
Jan Mussig, PSSO Senior Administration Officer, also delivers the training. She said, ‘The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” seems relevant when I think about our Diocese’s focus on Safeguarding training. As we train up staff and volunteers, I see it is like a ripple effect, and skills and knowledge gained is relevant for our Parishes, Churches and Schools, and impacts the places where those same staff and volunteers spend their leisure and family time’.
In this way, the training not only plays a crucial role in the Diocese, but also ensures a safer environment in the wider society. It is seeing the Church play a vital role in the grassroots training of Central Queenslanders and helping to provide better foundations for our children and the future of a society whose citizens learn, ‘Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’.