Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Safeguarding – News and Guidelines

Reporting abuse

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police, using 999 if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger.

It is the policy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to report all allegations of abuse to statutory authorities, regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, or whether the accused person is living or deceased.

If you are in any role within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, you must refer allegations directly to the Diocesan safeguarding office or religious congregation, or directly to the Police.

If you are a member of the public, please refer allegations directly to the police and also to the Diocesan safeguarding office by tel: 0191 243 3305 or by email: You can also contact CSAS by telephoning 0207 901 1920 or via email:

Safeguarding at the Heart of the Church

At the most recent meeting on the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), the Commission considered the Holy Father's 'Letter to the People of God' on the need for '…combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons'.

The NCSC reflected on the findings of the recent report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) on the Ampleforth and Downside hearings, as well as upcoming hearings which form part of IICSA's investigation into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Church.

The IICSA has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of its Truth Project, which has been set up to give victims and survivors of child sex abuse the opportunity to share their experiences and, thereby, frame the outcomes of the Inquiry.

If you wish to find out more, we encourage you to visit the Truth Project website to find out more information and more importantly how 'you can be heard'.

Bishop's Séamus' Pastoral Letter (September 2018) in response to the Pope's Letter can be read here. If you wish to discuss this with a member of the Diocesan Safeguarding team, please email them or tel: 0191 243 3305.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales has free access to accredited online safeguarding training:

If you have a role working with children, young people or adults who may be vulnerable, or if you are a parent who wants to understand on-line safety, we encourage you to read the e-learning safeguarding brochure below. This explains what programmes are available via e-learning and how to access the programmes that interest you.

H & N Towards a Culture of Safeguarding - C8

What do I do next?

Please email to register your interest and we will contact you to confirm access arrangements. Your email should include your name, address, the name of your parish/order/congregation and your role (for example priest, youth worker or parent/guardian).


Safeguarding Policy and Guidelines

The following Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and Guidelines should be understood and adhered to by all personnel in the Diocese (paid or unpaid). These policies are in line with National Safeguarding Policies and follow the Catholic Churches commitment for a ‘one church approach’.

Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Guidelines


The Catholic Church of England and Wales, the Bishops and Congregational Leaders are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church. We affirm the One Church approach to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults through the promotion of a sustained and sustainable culture of constant vigilance.

The Church recognises the personal dignity and rights of all Vulnerable People towards whom it has a special responsibility. The Church and individual members of it undertake to take all the appropriate steps to maintain a safe environment for all and to practice fully and positively Christ’s Ministry towards children, young people and vulnerable adults and to respond sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.

The Church authorities will liaise closely with statutory agencies to ensure that any allegations of abuse are promptly and properly investigated and where appropriate, survivors supported and perpetrators held to account.

The Church wishes to ensure that its parishes and Religious Congregations have the confidence to enable children, young people and vulnerable adults to have peace of mind, knowing they will be cared for and loved by their Christian community.

What is Safeguarding?

Every human being has a value and dignity which we as Catholics acknowledge as coming directly from God’s creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. This implies a duty to value all people and therefore to support them and protect them from harm.

In the Catholic Church this is demonstrated by the provision of carefully planned activities for children, young people and adults; supporting families under stress; caring for those hurt by abuse in the past; ministering to and managing those who have caused harm.

It is because of these varied ministries that we need to provide a safe environment for all which promotes and supports their wellbeing. This will include carefully selecting and appointing those who work with children, young people or vulnerable adults and responding robustly where concerns arise.

The main Government guidance setting out duties and responsibilities for all agencies and organisations who work with Children and Families is 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' which was published by the Department for Education and Skills in April 2006, revised in 2010 by the Department for Children, School and Families following a report by Lord Laming and further updated in 2013. It provides guidance under the Children Acts 1989 and 2004.

Working Together to Safeguard Children’ refers directly to Faith Communities and sets out the responsibilities and expectations of all churches and faith communities in safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.

It recognises that churches provide a wide range of services for children; and that religious leaders, staff and volunteers have an important role in safeguarding and supporting children and families.

Children may be in need of protection from abuse or maltreatment in their own home or in other environments including the church itself.  Wherever a child is at risk or concerns are raised about a child, all adults have a duty to act to safeguard that child and promote his or her welfare.

The need to safeguard children is not confined to any particular age group or groups in the community and all concerns should be responded to equally, always bearing in mind that the welfare of the child is paramount.

In all research and in reviews where a child has died or been seriously injured as a result of abuse, the same messages to all organisations come back time and again – namely, the importance of adults responding promptly to concerns, listening to children with respect and most importantly, communicating effectively with one another within and between organisations and agencies.

All churches and faith communities are expected to have in place arrangements which include:

  • Procedures to respond to and report concerns

  • Codes of practice

  • Safe recruitment procedures

In the same way arrangements must be in place to respond to concerns about any form of abuse or maltreatment of a vulnerable adult.

The principles contained in ‘No Secrets’ (Department of Health 2000) and ‘Safeguarding Adults: A National Framework for Good Practice (ADSS 2005)’ must be followed with the acknowledgement that the Catholic Church in England and Wales must not act alone but in partnership with all other agencies to combat the abuse of vulnerable adults

Diocesan Safeguarding Commission

The Diocese has a Safeguarding Commission chaired by an independent lay person with extensive safeguarding experience in working with children and vulnerable adults.

Other members of the Commission come from a range of relevant professional backgrounds in social care, health, family law, police, probations, criminal law and canon law.

The Commission guides the work of the Safeguarding Team and is accountable to the Bishop and Trustees.