The Safeguarding Program is responsible for promoting the safety of children and young people within the confines of the Catholic Church across the Archdiocese of Perth. It aims to educate the Catholic community on child protection and protective behaviours. Under its initial title, the ‘Safeguarding Project’, the Program was launched in 2015 by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Program is led by the Safeguarding Coordinator, Andrea Musulin, who has worked as a police officer in the area of child abuse and protection for over 25 years. Andrea brings specialist experience and uncompromising insight to her role.
A key aspect of the Program has been the establishment of Safeguarding Officers within Perth’s parishes, who are responsible for implementing child-safe practices within the designated parish. Our Lady of Lourdes Nollamara has three established Safeguarding Officers: Anne Totten, Chris Lin, and Grace Adam. We bring a diverse array of professional backgrounds to our roles that include the secondary education, University, and corporate banking sectors. More importantly, we bring our commitment to the idea that all children have the right to feel safe at all times.
Safeguarding Officers – Responsibilities
As Safeguarding Officers, we will:
- Be the first point of contact for children, vulnerable adults, and other members of the parish regarding suspicions of abuse and other safeguarding concerns.
- Respond to all safeguarding concerns in line with the Archdiocese’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures manual, and report these concerns to the Safeguarding Program Coordinator and other authorities as needed.
- Keep the Parish Priest informed of all concerns, responses, and activities relating to safeguarding children and other members of the parish.
- Raise the profile of safeguarding in the parish, ensuring that it remains a high priority, and provide updates of all future developments on the implementation of the safeguarding policy and procedures.
- Coordinate and promote age-appropriate training workshops such as Protective Behaviours for children, parents, and the parish community.
- Ensure all statutory requirements are met within parishes in respect to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.
If you or anyone you know have any concerns in relation to the safety of a child or vulnerable adult, please contact one of the Safeguarding Officers immediately. Our contact details are listed below.
What Our Lady of Lourdes has achieved so far
Standardization of child-related activities – Since September 2015, we have worked with Father Stan Bendkowski to standardize all child-related activities at Our Lady of Lourdes to comply with the Safeguarding policy and procedures. We have been working to ensure the compliance of our volunteers with child protection legislation, which includes valid Working with Children Checks and Safeguarding forms.
Protective Behaviours Workshop for Parents – We hosted our first parent workshop on 26 June 2016, which was attended by 30 parishioners and aimed to educate parents on protective strategies. In addressing the statistics and risks associated with child sexual abuse, as well as strategies that parents and caretakers can use when educating children about these topics, the session was an eye-opening experience for those of us who attended.
Child Protection Week 2016 – Our parish also hosted our first Child Protection Week in September 2016. The event was a success, which included a special Children’s Liturgy and Colouring and Poetry competitions for children.
Children’s Liturgy workshops – Instilling age-appropriate education of these topics among children is a core priority. The Safeguarding Officers hosted our first children’s Protective Behaviours workshop during the Children’s Liturgy in April 2017. Utilising a variety of children’s books and online videos, the children participated in activities that reflected on core aspects of protective behaviours: identifying a network of supportive family and friends, recognising uncomfortable warning signals and learning how to react in these situations, and affirming ownership of their bodies.
We are keen to develop further initiatives and events that cultivate a greater understanding of – and conversations around – child protection among parents, children, and the parish community. We’d like to thank Father Stan and our parish volunteers who have worked with us on this Program. If you have any questions or concerns about Safeguarding matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the Safeguarding Officers.
We look forward to continue working with you to make the protection of children a priority in our parish.
Chris, Anne & Grace
Safeguarding Officers, Our Lady of Lourdes Nollamara
Anne – 0414 329 981
Chris – 0431 873 982
Grace – 0407 370 213
Safeguarding Officer Biographies
Anne was born in Northern Ireland and migrated to Perth in July 1981 with her husband and two sons. Her family has now grown to include, two daughters-in-law and four young grandsons, all less than 6 years old. She has been involved with OLOL Parish since her arrival in Perth.
Anne recently retired from a career in the banking sector which spanned 31 years.
Being the sixth of seven children, Anne is from a large family circle where the welfare of children is paramount. As a mother and grandmother, she brings experience, wisdom and maturity to the role of a Safeguarding Officer. In addition, her career in the corporate world stands her in good stead for the compliance, statutory requirements, procedures and policies within the organized framework of the Safeguarding Program.
I have been a part of OLOL Parish since January 1994 when I migrated to Perth from Myanmar. I have over 7 years of experience in the university sector, having occupied positions as a teacher, lecturer, and academic program coordinator. I am currently working in curriculum management at The University of Western Australia.
It is my passion for teaching and working with young people, as well as my deep conviction that the Catholic Church requires a proactive institution-wide response to its history of child abuse, that first drew me to the Safeguarding Program.
Having worked across a variety of teaching and student pastoral care roles, I am particularly driven towards promoting the welfare of young people. These values, coupled with my experience in project management, administration, and workshop facilitation renders me well equipped to meet the responsibilities of the Safeguarding Program.
I am a mother of three lovely children and I have been happily married for 24 years to Graham Adam. I have been part of the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish for eighteen years and my children went to Our Lady of Lourdes Primary. I am a teacher and have been for 30 years and am very proud to be part of a wonderful profession. I love the work I do with students, staff and parents. I am very passionate when it comes to children and ensuring their safety and educating others how to protect our children. I am proud to say that in Australia we are heading on the right path with the Safeguarding Program. I have been nominated as one of the Safeguarding Officers in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and look forward to a brighter future for our children.
A focus of the Safeguarding Program is to protect children, but empowering children with knowledge is imperative. We cannot keep this from them. If we want to protect children, we need to educate them. Instilling knowledge to parents is also part of our long-term plan. Through Protective Behaviours WA we want to roll out future workshops for parents. Let us work together for the betterment of our children.