More than 130 principals, teachers and administrators from Catholic schools across Queensland met in Brisbane last Friday to discuss child protection issues such as reporting sex abuse to police, sexting and ensuring children are heard.
The Queensland Catholic Education Commission Child Protection In-service Day is part of an ongoing program designed to build on existing policies and procedures and develop proactive approaches to student protection.
QCEC Executive Director Mike Byrne said the safety of children in Catholic schools is paramount.
“Not only must our child protection policies and procedures be continuously improved, but staff must be absolutely confident in their ability to implement them.
“This training day brings together some of the pre-eminent experts in the field to work with our staff,” Mike Byrne said.
Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council addressed the conference and provided an update of the work of the Council and the progress of the Royal Commission into institutional response to child sexual abuse.
The high-level meeting was addressed by Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner Australian Human Rights Commission, who is one of Australia’s leading advocates for the rights of children.
Ms Mitchell told the meeting about what is being done and what needs to be done to help ensure that their voices are heard by decision-makers and the community.
Dr Kath Albury, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Media, at the University of New South Wales spoke about the issues of ‘sexting’ including the ethical implications, the law, sexting in the workplace and their implications for Catholic school communities.
Mr David Eljiz from the Professional Services Unit at the Catholic Education Office in Sydney spoke to the complexities of sexualized behaviours in schools and the legal responsibilities of schools, safety of students and the impact on their education.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brett Barber, from the Queensland Police Service’s Child and Sexual Crime Unit, spoke about the importance of constantly strengthening the relationship between the Queensland Police and the Catholic Education Sector at state and local levels and the areas of focus in 2014.