The role of Western Australian Professional Standards Office (WAPSO) is to exercise functional independence to run the church-based complaint process. 

Since its establishment in 1996, the Western Australian Professional Standards Office (WAPSO) has been responsible for receiving and managing all historical complaints of sexual, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse against clergy, religious, and those working for the Catholic Church within Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton, and Broome dioceses. 

The Western Australian dioceses, which include Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton and Perth are committed to protecting children and adults from abuse or harm.

In addition, WAPSO also:

  • Operates under the National Response Protocol which is the Catholic Church's response to complaints of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse against clergy and religious. 
  • Responds pastorally to survivors of abuse and manages the process that seeks to bring them to a place of healing, wholeness, and hope.
  • Manages the National Response Protocol (NRP), Integrity In Our Common Mission investigations and assists with Vos Estis Lux Mundi (VELM) all of which are church-based processes.

For further information please contact:

Provincial Director:     Mrs Saxon Gee

Address:                          29 Victoria Square PERTH WA 6000 

Phone:                             (08) 9221 7762 

Email:                              director.wapso@perthcatholic.org.au

The pathways available for reporting abuse:

  • CRIMINAL - Notify Police - You can report the abuse to the Western Australia Police Force (WAPOL) by calling 13 44 44.
  • FINANCIAL COMPENSATION - National Redress Scheme – You can submit an application to the National Redress Scheme. For further information please call 1800 737 377
  • CIVIL - Court ordered compensation – You can speak with a lawyer on how to take civil action against the responsible institution or Church Entity.
  • PASTORAL - Direct Church Based Approach – You can contact the Provincial Professional Standards Office (WAPSO) and submit a signed statement of complaint. Your nearest Diocesan Safeguarding Office or a Parish or Agency Safeguarding Officer may also be able to assist you.

The National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

All four Western Australian dioceses voluntarily joined the National Redress Scheme (The Scheme). Their participation is an important step towards enabling and encouraging people who may have experienced abuse to consider applying for redress.

The Scheme is set up as an alternative to court-ordered compensation and enables the WA Dioceses to provide redress to people who experienced child sexual abuse at any of the relevant institutions they were responsible for.

Applications to the Scheme can be made via an online or paper form.

The Scheme was launched on 1 July 2018.  It is intended to operate for 10 years and applications can be made any time before 30 June 2027.

Through the Scheme, people who have experienced child sexual abuse can get access to:

  • counselling
  • a redress payment, and
  • a direct personal response from the institution (e.g. an apology).

Click here to view the National Redress Scheme

Pastoral Direct Church Based Approach - National Response Protocol

If you need to report an allegation or concern about a matter pertaining to a Catholic entity, whether it be a diocese or a religious institute, you can contact either the WA Professional Standards Office or the Safeguarding Program Office. 

The National Response Protocol (NRP) is the framework employed by all Catholic Church Authorities in Australia to respond to concerns and allegations of contemporary or historical child abuse.

The main purpose of the NRP is to provide a framework for Church entities to offer a consistent response to children and adults who have been subjected to child abuse by Church personnel. Church personnel include clerics and religious, employees and volunteers, currently or previously associated, with a Church Authority or entity. The implementation of the NRP from 1st February 2021 prompts the phasing out of the previous Towards Healing protocol that had been in operation since 1996. 

Click here to view the National Response Protocol.

The implementation and continuous review of the NRP is now the responsibility of Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL).  Their role is to help Catholic entities and organisations create and maintain a safe and nurturing environment for all who engage with the Catholic Church in Australia. ACSL do this by providing a range of professional services and resources.

For further information please visit: Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd

Code of Conduct - Integrity in Our Common Mission 

All forms of professional misconduct or unprofessional behaviour that fall outside of the scope of child abuse are covered by the Code of Canon Law,

Safeguarding policies and procedures, and National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS). This may include adults at risk, reporting pastoral incompetence or financial improprieties, adults who may have been subjected to professional misconduct, adult boundary violations or breaches of the National Code of Conduct.  

Our Common Mission is for everyone involved in Catholic ministry and service.

Click here to view Our Common Mission - is grounded in a strengths-based approach to safeguarding and integrity. Published October 2022

Click here to view Integrity in Our Common Mission - National Code of Conduct for those exercising pastoral ministry in the dioceses of the Catholic Church in Australia  Published on November 2023

For further information on professional standards and how the Church is responding, you can also follow or subscribe to Catholic News by visiting CATHNEWS

 

Child sexual abuse is a crime. The appropriate people to deal with crimes are the police. In an emergency call Triple Zero (000)

There are crisis support, sexual assault and survivor and victim information and advocacy services that can support you.

If you need immediate assistance, please contact:

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 13

Yarn: 13 92 76

Lifeline: 13 11 14 1800

Respect: 1800 737 732

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

MensLine: 1300 78 99 78