What is Safeguarding?
“Being loved and being kept safe go to the very core of the Church’s Ministry to children and vulnerable adults. The work of safeguarding has to be seen within the overall mission of the Church. As she seeks to protect the vulnerable and weak, the Church needs to ‘act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God’. (Micah 6:8). It is a ministry of love and healing and seeks justice for all”.
The Cumberlege Commission 2007
As Catholics, we recognise that every human being has a value and dignity which we 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, 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.
All volunteers and employees working with vulnerable groups must agree to adhere to the Catholic Church’s National Safeguarding Policies before they can be appointed. We are fortunate to have so many people willing and able to help up fulfil our ministry.
There is no doubt that revelations in recent years concerning abuse by those within the Church has caused shock, sadness and great pain to so many. The credibility of the Church in the wider community has been undermined.
The Church is committed to learning from past failures, to sharing best practice and to exploring ways of collaborating with others to ensure our Church is a community where all members will be kept safe and feel loved.
“As a Church we have a responsibility to ensure safe environments for all our children, young people and vulnerable adults. We have a duty and ministry to heal broken lives and give new hope to those who have been sinned against”.
Bishop Declan’s Pastoral letter 18th February 2012
Clifton Diocese is a member of the Anti-slavery Partnership, which is a multi-agency group jointly chaired by Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset Police and the charity Unseen.
The partnership helps prevent slavery and exploitation and supports victims by raising awareness, sharing information and referring people who have been trafficked for help. The Church is often one of the few places traffickers will allow their victims to attend and as such we are in a unique position to help identify victims, report such cases and offer pastoral support.
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