Safeguarding is embedded in everything the Archdiocese of Southwark does and the way in which we do it. All Clergy, Religious, volunteers, parishioners and staff follow the National and Archdiocese safeguarding policy, whatever part of the organisation they serve in. It is the responsibility of all adults to ensure that their behaviour is appropriate at all times, as laid out in the Pastoral Standards and Safe Practices in the Conduct of Ministry and the Archdiocese Code of Conduct for staff & volunteers.
It is the responsibility of all Clergy, Religious, volunteers, parishioners and staff to:
- Promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children, young people alongside Adults at Risk.
- Ensure that all reports of suspected or alleged abuse are taken seriously and are responded to and reported appropriately in line with the Archdiocese Safeguarding policy.
- Ensure children & adults are provided with opportunities to disclose any relevant details about their circumstances and that this information will be treated appropriately.
- Ensure that everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and will be provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children & Adults at Risk.
- Securely maintain the confidentiality of any records in accordance with GDPR of all Children & Adult at Risk safeguarding concerns.
- Ensure that all adults undertaking roles and responsibilities with children & Adults at Risk are appropriately vetted and checked as per the National Safer Recruitment Policy, including where they are engaged in Regulated Activity with children or with adults & undertaken the relevant disclosure check.
- prevent the participation of unsuitable individuals through the robust use of disclosure checking and the application of best practice in the safe recruitment for Clergy, Religious, staff and volunteers working with children, young people and Adults at Risk
- Ensure that robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation and address any failure to comply with the Archdiocese safeguarding policy.
Abuse and Exploitation (defined by Legislation or relevant Guidance)
Abuse is a form of maltreatment and can either be inflicted by others or self-inflicted. Abuse can take place at home, education or within any physical environment. It can also happen in an online or virtual environment such as social media or gaming apps. An abuser can be anyone, but they are often known by the child, young person or Adult at Risk. An abuser may make every effort to build a trusting relationship with the child, young person or Adult at Risk and will often befriend or seek to maintain the respect of family, friends and colleagues. This is grooming behaviour. Abuse can occur in any relationship at any time. It can occur within any community, culture or religion. It may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of the person subjected to abuse
Although children, young people and Adults at Risk can experience the same types of abuse and the causes are often similar, Adults at Risk may have a right to make a choice in regards to the action taken and may not wish for statutory agencies to be informed. Therefore concerns in regards to Adults at Risk that reach the safeguarding threshold must be referred into the safeguarding team and the team will assess the concern, liaise and take appropriate action. Where an adult has capacity, the safeguarding team will usually communicate with the individual prior to any statutory referral being made. 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. Where a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm, statutory agencies will be informed, whether the parents/carers are in agreement or not, in-line with Government legislation.
If any member of the Clergy, Religious, parishioner, volunteer or staff member has a safeguarding concern in regard to children, young people or Adults at Risk, their PSR or Parish Priest and/or the Archdiocese Safeguarding Team must be contacted for advice and guidance. The safeguarding team can be contacted on:
020 7261 1606 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Position of Trust
'Position of trust' is a legal term that refers to certain roles and settings where an adult has regular and direct contact with children. Presently Clergy, staff or volunteers working within a faith setting are not included within legislation (outside of education). As part of the proposed legislation within the Police, Crime and sentencing Bill 2021, the role of Position of Trust may be extended to include “Religious life.” It is yet to be established if this will extend beyond ordained clergy/ministers to include those that volunteer or work for within the Church. This new legislation will make it a criminal offence the abuse of anyone under 19 (or 18 if not within an educational setting) where sexual conduct occurs and the individual is identified as being in a position of trust due to their coaching, teachings or instructions for a religion. While not yet legally defined, it is important that all Clergy, volunteers and staff recognise the position of trust they have been placed in due to their position within the church and always act responsibly and appropriately towards all.