Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I write these thoughts at the beginning of National Child Protection Week as we join with communities from across the country to reaffirm our commitment as Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice tradition to guaranteeing the safety and nurturing of all young people. National Child Protection Week is an initiative of NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) and we are thankful for their work and advocacy in this area.
I recently read that over 42,000 young Australians are abused or neglected during any given year. That is one child every 13 minutes. This is an alarming and sobering statistic, which challenges us to total commitment to child protection.
Most often, the abuse or neglect of a child occurs in the home. As we know well, it can also happen in other locations, including schools. As a national family, we recently offered an Apology on behalf of Edmund Rice Education Australia to survivors and victims of sexual abuse in our schools. The primary aim of the Apology was to foster a process of healing and support for people whose lives have been deeply, and in some cases, irreparably affected by evil perpetrated in our schools. The response from victims and survivors to our National Apology was humbling and inspiring.
As educators, we are at the frontline of the protection of children. I am extremely proud of your commitment and professionalism to the safety and well-being of children in our schools. During this week, let us take time to recommit ourselves to the highest standards of this core area of our mission.
I thank you once again for all you do for our young people and the mission of your school and that of Edmund Rice education more broadly. this core part of our mission.