AN audit into safety standards of diocese catholic churches has found more work must be done to ensure children know they have a right to be safe.
The audit into the Ballarat Diocese by Catholic Professional Standards found the diocese had "initial or ad-hoc compliance with ensuring children were made aware of their rights", including their right to be safe from abuse and whether they knew who to contact if they had concerns about their safety or the safety of their peers.
"The diocese also had initial or ad-hoc compliance with personnel having knowledge, skills and awareness to identify potential signs of harm and actively support children to raise concerns," the report stated.
The audit found the diocese had fully implemented or substantially progressed 73 per cent of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards.
The report stated the diocese was made up of 40 parishes which extended from Mildura to Warrnambool to Nhill.
It has 49 active and retired clergy and overall the audit found the diocese had a strong and public commitment to the safeguarding of children and had a dedicated coordinator of professional standards.
It stated the diocese was providing information on safeguarding children in parish bulletins, at specific sermons during mass and participating in Child Protection Week.
Ballarat Diocese coordinator of professional standards Michael Myers said the results were pleasing but not perfect.
He said there was only one way to improve and that was to have greater awareness and to ensure that children had confidence in reporting abuse.
"Documents won't fix everything," he said.
The audit found the diocese had strong practices to select candidates for seminary programs and support services for newly ordained priests. The diocese was praised for its complaints handling policy which the audit found "understood the barriers that prevent children from disclosing abuse and the barriers for adults recognising and responding to disclosures," the report stated.
It also found the diocese had procedures and practices that ensured all mandatory reporting obligations were met and had a managed and measurable compliance with the complaints handling system which prioritised the safety and well-being of children.
It found the diocese had conducted significant work to establish clear and structured procedures for complaints handling, including a strong pastoral approach in the handling of active complaints and formal risk management practices to address potential incidents or concerns.
Catholic Professional Standards was established in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.