Key National Catholic Safeguarding Documents

Integrity in Ministry

Integrity in Ministry has been compiled to serve as a resource for those preparing for ministry in the Catholic Church and as a code of conduct and guide for reflection for those already involved in ministry. It sets out behaviour for clergy and religious to integrate into their day-to-day ministry and serves as a check-list against which they can review the quality of the ministerial activities in which they engage. It is likewise a valuable resource for those whose particular ministry is the formation of men and women preparing for ministry.

Integrity in the service of the Church

This Document outlines principles of conduct for any lay person who performs paid or unpaid work in the service of the Church (Church Worker). Church Workers, along with clergy and religious, contribute to the mission of the Church. This document deals with the behavioural standards expected of them in their work. The principles and standards in this document, with due distinction, parallel those for religious and clergy found in Integrity in Ministry

National Response Protocol

The Catholic Church in Australia established the National Response Protocol (the Protocol), adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2021. It is a nationally-consistent approach for handling concerns and allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct.

The implementation of the National Response Protocol means that Towards Healing will be phased out, however, Church entities that have matters already being managed under Towards Healing can continue to use those processes until the matter is resolved. Towards Healing continues to be valid until the end of 2021 while Church authorities implement the National Response Protocol locally.

The National Response Protocol will be monitored regularly to allow for ongoing refinement and improvement.

Vos Estis Lux Mundi

Vos Estis Lux Mundi (VELM) – The Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio by the Supreme Pontiff Francis on 7 May 2019 became universal law operative as from 1 June 2019.   VELM norms apply to reports received by clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life regarding crimes of sexual abuse by clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the concealing of crimes of sexual abuse by Bishops and their equivalents

An updated version of the Motu Proprio came into force on 30 April 2023. It replaces the 2019 version and confirms the Church’s desire to combat crimes of sexual abuse.

The most significant change introduced in the new version of the normative text concerns the provisions in “Title II” which lay out the responsibilities of bishops, religious superiors, and clerics in charge of a particular Church or Prelature.

The updated text specifies that “the lay faithful who are or have been moderators of international associations of the faithful recognized or created by the Apostolic See [are responsible] for acts committed” while they were in office.

Another  notable modification regards the inclusion of “vulnerable” adults in the normative text.

The previous version referred to “sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person”. However, the updated text speaks of “a crime against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue committed with a minor, or with a person who habitually has an imperfect use of reason, or with a vulnerable adult.”

Another change concerns the protection of the person who submits a report of alleged abuse. Whereas the earlier text stated that no constraint of silence may be imposed on the person who reports alleged abuse, this protection has now been extended to “the person who claims to have been offended and those who were witnesses.”

Additionally, the text strengthens calls to safeguard “the legitimate protection of the good name and privacy of all persons involved,” as well as the presumption of innocence for those who are under investigation during the period in which determinations of responsibility are underway.

The updated version of Vos estis lux mundi also specifies that dioceses and eparchies must operate an “organisation or office” (the earlier version spoke in general about a “stable system”) which is easily accessible to the public in order to receive reports of cases of abuse. It also clarifies that the task of proceeding with the investigation lies under the responsibility of the bishop or Ordinary of the place where the reported events allegedly took place.


Please contact the IPSS Manager at if you have any questions on any of the above documents.