CREATING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in England and Wales
Safeguarding and the practice of love, honesty, respect, support and accountability are essential parts of our Catholic ministry and mission.
Every human being has a value which we acknowledge as coming directly from God's creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. We believe therefore that all people should be valued, supported and protected from harm and we recognise the personal dignity and rights of vulnerable people towards whom the church has a special responsibility.
The Catholic Church and its individual members will undertake appropriate steps to maintain a safe environment for all, by practising fully and positively Christ's Ministry towards children, young people and adults and responding sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.
This is demonstrated by the provision of carefully planned activities for children, young people and adults, caring for those hurt by abuse and robustly managing and ministering to those who have caused harm.
Reference: National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Policy Statement February 2016
WHAT DOES CREATING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT MEAN?
In the Diocese of Westminster, we aim to create a safe environment in parishes according to CSSA guidance. This involves the following:
- Ensure every person, on paid and voluntary role, involved in regulated activities with children, young people, and vulnerable adults have been formally interviewed, DBS checked or have an up to date DBS and references are taken.
- Code of conduct for all clergy document: Caring Safely for others
- Parish Safeguarding Representatives (PSRs) to routinely receive/request Parish DBS reports to review the DBS status of all volunteers and update the 3-year check on volunteers.
- Parishes to provide information on how to refer concerns and allegations to Parishioners and public members using church premises. Parishes and parish centres should have Safeguarding posters displayed on the Parish notice board with the PSR name and the safeguarding diocesan email account.
- PSRs must ACCESS their PSR RCDOW email account at least ONCE A WEEK to ensure every query is responded to promptly.
- A Safeguarding Corner should be created in the Parish by the Parish priest and PSR where all relevant Safeguarding information must be displayed, e.g. helplines, posters and leaflets. The public must also be informed about sources and websites where these materials can be consulted. Leaflets can also be downloaded, printed, and shared on your RCDOW parish microsites.
- The National Safeguarding Policy should be available and understood by everybody to encourage anyone with serious concern to raise them without fear of victimization, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage. (please download the document on Whistleblowing)
CHURCH PREMISES AND ACTIVITIES TO BE SECURE, ACCESSIBLE AND WELCOMING
All the below can be found in Creating a Safer environment - guidance of the CSSA website
- Creating a safer environment - guidance: Risk Assessment (see page 5) - when planning a new activity or reviewing one that either takes place on or away from church premises, the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and adults at risk.
- Creating a safer environment - guidance: Supervision and Adult: Child Ratios (see page 8/9) - a general guide for minimum supervision ratios and factors to take into consideration.
- Creating a safer environment - guidance: Photography and Filming (see page 31/35) - use of photography and filming must be followed, considering data protection requirements.
- Creating a safer environment - guidance: Use of Social Media (see page 26/30) - guidance on the appropriate use of personal social media accounts, phone numbers or email addresses to contact children and young people.
- Creating a safer environment - guidance: Live Streaming of the Mass (see page 36) - congregations should be told in advance (notice board and announcements) to address potential safeguarding issues.
- Templates: Code of Conduct for Leaders and Helpers - scope of expectations that can be amended according to your Parish setting/activity.
- Templates: Code of Conduct for Children and Young People - to help create a positive experience for children and young people, learn and grow in faithfulness in a safe and positive environment.
- Parish Priest and parish administrators to be familiar with - Hall Rental Agreement for parishes - March 2022
- Parish risk assessments to be carried out for any potential hazards - these should be run to identify any risks that may cause accidents or injuries, and steps must be taken to control and avoid them.
RCDOW PARISH ACTIVITIES GUIDANCE
Parent & Baby/Toddler Club Guidance :
Diocesan Parish CCTV policy:
More forms such as the ones here below can be found here.
- CASE 1 – Written Agreement for Volunteers
- CASE 2 – Application for Approval of Events
- CASE 4 – Parental Consent for an Activity
- CASE 6 - Incident Report Form
- PHOTO 1 – Consent to the Safe Use of Images
- Video Conferencing Consent Form
Throughout our section, you will find links to external websites. Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly and ensure these links are accurate, up to date, and relevant. However, the Safeguarding Department cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.
If you come across any external links that do not work, we would be grateful if you could report them to the web content team or at firstname.lastname@example.org