The Society of the Divine Word, also known as the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD), is an international religious-missionary congregation of men and women with more than 8000 members worldwide. The Australia Province includes Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Myanmar. We are present in the following states of Australia: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
This document sets out essential policies and procedures to safeguard and protect all children, young people and vulnerable adults, who are under the care of, or who come into contact with, any members of the Divine Word Missionaries, their associates and employees, in the Australia Province.
Commitment to Child Safeguarding
The Australia Province of the Society of the Divine Word is resolutely committed to ensuring that all Province members and personnel comply with the child safeguarding laws and norms of the States, Territories, Dioceses and Archdioceses where we live and work. We commit to providing a safe environment for children and young people, especially their cultural safety and wellbeing, and proclaim Zero Tolerance for all forms of abuse and neglect, particularly of a sexual and/or physical nature.
As a religious congregation, we acknowledge the responsibility of safeguarding and protecting all persons entrusted to our care in the houses and communities where we live and work, and in the ministries in which we are involved. This responsibility and care is extended also to our confreres who are retired, receiving medical treatment, or who are living with a disability.
Aboriginal children. We commit to promoting cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and for children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD).
Children living with disabilities. We especially commit to the protection and inclusion of children living with a disability, and promote the social inclusion of such persons as a special consideration.
Healing and redress. The Province resolves to assist in all ways possible any persons who have suffered sexual, emotional or physical abuse through the wrongdoing of SVD Province members and personnel. The Province endorses the National Redress Scheme, and has already begun the process of joining the Scheme.
Purpose and Scope of this Policy
Upholding Article 34 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the overall purpose of our safeguarding policy is to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults who come in contact with the members of the Society of the Divine Word (the Divine Word Missionaries), their associates and employees, from harm and abuse of all kinds. This includes physical, mental and sexual abuse whether by intention, omission or neglect.
Our safeguarding policy achieves its purpose through protocols and procedures which ensure compliance with the childsafe legislative frameworks of Australian States and Territories, with the National Principles for Child Safe Organizations (2018), and with the Church standards set out by Catholic Professional Standards Limited (2019).
This policy applies to all members of the Society of the Divine Word in the Australia Province, to our employees, and to those who associate with us in our ministries and activities. The policy applies to students in formation, to SVD overseas visitors whether staying in one of our communities or living externally, and to those who are permanently or temporarily resident in our houses and communities.