Catholic Education leaders and educators joined Safeguarding Officers from the Archdiocese of Perth and the dioceses of Bunbury and Geraldton, along with students, Bishops and dignitaries for the annual Archdiocese of Perth Child Protection Week Breakfast this week.
CEWA’s Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce, Archbishop of Perth, the Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe, and Safeguarding Program Director Andrea Musulin, all spoke on the importance of the Church and schools working together to champion child safety.
In her keynote address, Dr Sayce discussed the principles underpinning the CEWA Child Safe Framework, with Ms Musulin drawing parallels to the 12-part framework that is part of the Church’s own Safeguarding Program.
Part of Dr Sayce’s keynote was dedicated to hearing from student and parent representatives.
Siobhan Allen, Executive Director of Catholic School Parents WA, showed a short video on the Child Safe Framework, before speaking about the importance of the partnership between parents and carers, schools and parishes in achieving child safe environments.
Sophie Hansen, a Year 10 student from Prendiville Catholic College, spoke about positive experiences at her College, with an audience including her parents, Bishops, Commissioners, government representatives and many more.
Sophie shared examples of initiatives at Prendiville that sought the input and leadership of students in making environments and activities safer and more inclusive at school and beyond, including the college’s student-developed code of conduct, and an incursion with architects and town planners seeking input from young people on how to make the Ocean Reef Marina a child-safe space.
As well as serving as a platform for Church and Catholic Education leaders to speak about their work in child safety, the breakfast recognised the children and young people who were selected as winners in the Safeguarding Program’s Protection Week Competition.
Seven children from Year 1 through to Year 12 were presented with certificates and prizes for winning their age categories for each of the three dioceses, for their submissions combining art and writing to express their thoughts on safety.