Department for Safeguarding
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 and was revised in 2010 by the Department for Children, School and Families following a report by Lord Laming. 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.
Responding to Allegations or Concerns
Where information about a disclosure becomes known to a person within the Church (or you wish to speak to someone about your own personal circumstances), then action must be taken to ensure that children, young people or vulnerable adults are not put at continued risk and a proper investigation takes place.
You can speak to a member of the Safeguarding Team or, if there is immediate risk, to the police or local authority children’s or adult’s services. Contact details and additional links are provided below.
Diocesan Safeguarding Team
Telephone 0191 243 3305 Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
PAUL YOUNG - Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator
JULIA FREER - Safeguarding Administrator
MARIA ROBSON - Safeguarding Administrative Assistant
Catholic Safeguarding Advisory ServiceTel : 0121 237 3740
NSPCC Tel: 0800 800 500
ChildLine Tel: 0800 1111
Action on Elder Abuse Tel: 0808 808 8141
Age UK Tel: 0207 278 1114
Northumbria Police * Tel: 01661 872555
Durham Police * Tel: 0345 60 60 365
Cleveland Police * Tel: 01642 326326
* In an emergency ring 999
Contact numbers for the 10 Local Authority Children’s and Adult’s Services in our Diocese can be found in your local Phone Directory.
Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
Family Action 020 7254 6251