The Archdiocese of Singapore has put in place a Professional Standards Office (PSO) for the purpose of fostering a safe environment for children and young persons and protecting them from sexual abuse and harassment.

The primary focus of the PSO, which was set up on Oct 1, 2011, is to safeguard children.

The archdiocese recently promulgated two documents with guidelines to a safe environment for our children and young persons.

Entitled “Keeping Communion” and “Restoring Communion”, the documents are to assist all Catholic clergy, Religious as well as employees and volunteers of the Church, to adopt principles and behavioural standards for conduct when dealing with children and young persons.

“Restoring Communion” is also a document of principles and procedures in responding to complaints of sexual abuse or harassment of a minor. It seeks to ensure a fair, accountable and transparent process to address any serious complaint.

The guidelines promulgated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia are to ensure that everyone who participates in ministry in the Church can be helped to ensure a safe environment for our children.

The guidelines include behavioural guides and principles for code of conduct as well as protocols for receiving complaints, if any.

Work on developing guidelines for nurturing a safe environment began about one and half years ago and was further validated seven months ago when the Vatican asked bishops’ conferences around the world to submit guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The role of the PSO will be to assist all clergy, Religious, employees and volunteers in our parishes and diocesan organisations to provide safeguarding for our children. Protecting our children is the concern and responsibility of everyone in the Church and the PSO will help in the systematic implementation of the guidelines and promote them through education, training and briefings.

Related Links:
Keeping Communion: http://www.pso.org.sg/pdf/KeepingCommunion.pdf
Restoring Communion: http://www.pso.org.sg/pdf/RestoringCommunion.pdf

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