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. We believe therefore that all people should be valued, supported and protected 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 take all reasonable steps 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 adults at risk and responding robustly where concerns arise.
The term ‘child’ is used to include all children and young people up to the age of 18; that is, someone who has not yet had their 18th birthday. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children’s health and development;
- Ensuring that children are growing up with safe and effective care;
- Enabling children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.
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.
In the same way arrangements must be in place to respond to concerns about any form of abuse or maltreatment of an adult at risk. Statutory safeguarding duties apply to an adult who meets the following criteria:
- Has needs for care and support (whether or not a local authority is meeting any of these needs
- Is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- As a result of these care and support needs, is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.
- Actively promoting the empowerment and well-being of adults through the church;
- Recognising that everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse; and
- Recognising that adults have the right to be protected from harm and exploitation
Anyone who brings concerns or allegations to the notice of the Church will be responded to sensitively, respectfully and seriously. All concerns and allegations will be addressed using these national procedures and in a timely manner.
For more information on what constitutes abuse for children and adults, please access the information sheets below:
Abuse of Children
Abuse and neglect in Adults
Adult Safeguarding - 6 Key Principles
Trafficking and Modern Slavery
Protecting People from Radicalisation and PREVENT strategy