The National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) responds to complaints of abuse involving clergy and members of religious congregations, and oversees the Church’s safeguarding policies and practices.


Why do we do this?

The Catholic Church believes that every person has a value and dignity which derives directly from their creation in the image and likeness of God.

This implies a duty to value all people and therefore to protect them from harm. The gospel values of love, dignity and justice as demonstrated by Jesus remind us that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is an integral part of the life and ministry of the church.

Safeguarding is promoting an environment within all of our faith communities which respects and acknowledges the dignity of everyone, and where people feel valued and safe.

The Church has a zero tolerance for abuse or harm.

An important aspect of safeguarding is responding to concerns of harm or abuse.  For more information about the Church’s process for responding to complaints of harm or abuse, visit our page on Responding to Complaints & Concerns. To report abuse, visit our Report Abuse page.


Our response and documents

The New Zealand Bishops’ Conference (NZCBC) and Congregational Leaders Conference Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ) have promulgated the ‘National Safeguarding Guidelines’.

The Guidelines form the basis for our Church’s commitment to respond with compassion to those who have suffered abuse and to ensure policies and practices are in place to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all. They apply to all diocese, religious congregations and Catholic organisations throughout the country.

All dioceses, religious congregations/orders and Catholic organisations have also adopted a Safeguarding Policy.  This is the overarching policy for all dioceses, congregations/orders and Catholic organisations that sets the expectations for creating safe environments.

Setting expectations of behaviours and holding ourselves and each other to account is an important element of safeguarding. The Church has therefore adopted a Code of Conduct for all volunteers and employees.

The Standards for Creating and Maintaining A Safeguarding Culture are designed to ensure best practice in all aspects of safeguarding in the creation and maintenance of safe environments for our children and vulnerable adults.  All dioceses, religious congregations and Catholic organisations will be audited by the National Office for Professional Standards against these Safeguarding Culture Standards.

Click on any piece of the jigsaw or the list of titles to learn more and view documents related to that particular Safeguarding Standard.

Creating a culture of safeguarding through:

1. Communicating the Church’s Safeguarding Message

2. Safe Practices

3. Responding to Complaints or Concerns

4. Monitoring Compliance with National Policy

5. Formation and Training

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