What is Safeguarding?
“The Catholic Church in England and Wales is striving towards a culture of safeguarding where all are safe from harm and abuse and where every person is encouraged and enabled to enjoy the fullness of life in Jesus Christ through the prayerful, caring, nurturing, supportive and protective endeavours of the Catholic community, both individually and collectively.”.
(Towards a Culture of Safeguarding 2012).
The Bishop and Trustees are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church. Every human being has a value and dignity which we, as Catholics, recognise as coming directly from God’s creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. Therefore our parishes and communities must be safe places of welcome where we support and protect one another. We must take particular care of those who may be vulnerable due to age, illness, disability or current and past experiences in their lives and respond compassionately to their needs to help keep them safe from harm. How we approach this is to follow the guidance and principles of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Services (CSAS), promoting this approach in parishes and encouraging appropriate training for all.
In creating this safe culture, the parish priests, other clergy and the laity have a role to play. Clergy are aware of their responsibilities around safeguarding and a new programme of training updates is to be offered in 2016 to refresh their skills. There is also a network of parish safeguarding representatives, normally one in each parish, who have been recruited through appropriate procedures and trained to ensure they can play their part in creating a safer culture. Also other parish volunteers such as catechists and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are encouraged to undertake training appropriate to their role. From September 2015 there is an online safeguarding training resource, EduCare, which is available to all volunteers and members of the Catholic community.
In the Safeguarding Office
The staff in the Safeguarding Office have a key role to play in ensuring that the Diocesan policies and procedures are disseminated through the parishes and are in operation at all times. This includes safe recruitment of all volunteers in parishes, groups and organisations; managing criminal record check applications as the Diocesan counter signatory for the national registered body with the Disclosure & Barring Service; providing ongoing training and resources in child and vulnerable adult protection with clergy, lay individuals and groups across the diocese; safeguarding matters relating to the Diocesan annual Lourdes pilgrimage, including safe recruitment of youth group leaders and adult volunteers.
Safeguarding staff are also committed to promoting best practice and encouraging it in others. This includes contributing to national safeguarding policy developments through work with the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) and the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS), an agency of the Bishops’ Conference in England and Wales. In addition we maintain appropriate links with Local Safeguarding Children Boards and Local Safeguarding Adult Boards within the Diocese.
Wherever a child, young person or vulnerable adult is at risk or concerns are raised we have a duty to act to safeguard that individual and promote their welfare. We will work with statutory authorities in reporting allegations of abuse or in assisting investigations as required. If you have concerns you can contact your parish safeguarding representative, the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator, or, if there is immediate risk, the Police or Local Authority Children’s/Adult’s Social Services.