Child Safeguarding Policy Statement of the Constituent Members of the Catholic Church in Ireland
As a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland, we recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children, are committed to ensuring their safety and well-being, and will work in partnership with parents/guardians to do this. We recognise each child as a gift from God, and we value and encourage the participation of children in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
All Church personnel (including clergy, religious, staff, volunteers and any other Church personnel) have a responsibility to safeguard children through promoting their welfare, health and development in a safe and caring environment that supports their best interests and prevents abuse.
For the procedures to implement the Child Safeguarding Policy, the Diocese of Cork and Ross follows the guidance of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland available here https://www.safeguarding.ie/index.php/guidance
Director of Safeguarding
Ms. Cleo Yates is the Diocesan Director of Child Safeguarding and can be contacted on 021-430 1717 or 087-376 8599 or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diocesan Child Safeguarding Committee
In addition to the development of policy and monitoring its implementation, the Diocesan Child Safeguarding Committee ensures the organisation and delivery of training for all Church personell in the Diocese. The Diocese has three qualified trainers who provide ongoing training courses.
Cases of suspected or alleged child abuse are managed by the Director of Safeguarding and Diocesan Liaison Person, Ms. Cleo Yates. Advice in such cases is sought from the National Case Management Group, established by the National Board for Safeguarding Children.
Inter Agency Forum
In 2011, the Diocese established an Inter-Agency forum with the Garda Siochana and TUSLA, designed to improve cooperation between them in the management of allegations of abuse of children. Regular meetings are held with these agencies.
Parish Audits are carried out annually. This is to ensure that the policies and procedures laid out in the Diocesan Policy document are being implemented in every parish.
The Diocese offers therapeutic assistance and support to people who allege abuse by Church personnel, without prejudice to the truth or otherwise of the allegation. A number of support persons are available to both victims and perpetrators.
From time to time, anonymous complaints are also received. For the avoidance of doubt, it is the policy of the Diocese that the statutory authorities are notified of such complaints. However, the statutory authorities and the Diocese can be limited in the actions that are possible arising from anonymous complaints when the identity of the complainant and the alleged victim are not given. However, all complaints are notified and investigated.
Allegation against a volunteer or leader in a Parish
If any information is brought to the attention of the Diocese of an allegation against a volunteer or leader in a Parish then in the interests of child safeguarding the person concern should be asked by the Parish Priest to temporary step down from any duties in the parish, until the allegation has been investigated by statutory authorities.
If you have a Safeguarding concern and wish to report it directly to the statutory authorities, the contact details are as follows:
North Lee Community Services, Blackpool, Cork. Tel: 021/492 7000
South Lee Community Services, St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork. Tel: 021/492 3001
West Cork Community Services, Skibbereen. Tel: 028/40447/40456
An Garda Síochana
Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau: Tel: 01/6663430/01/6663435
Resources for Parishes
Safeguarding Children Policy:
National Board for Safeguarding Guidance:
1.1A Template 1- Recruitment and Selection Checklist
1.1A Template 2- Volunteer Application Form
1.1A Template 3- Confidential Declaration Form
1.2A Template 1- Sample Code of Behaviour for Adults
1.3A Template 1- Example Workshop on Creating a Code of Behaviour with Children
1.4A Template 1-Attendance Register for Large Groups
1.4A Template 2- Attendance Register for Sacristy
1.4A Template 3- Child and Guardian Joint Consent
1.4B Template 1- Form for Dealing with Accidents-Incidents
1.5A Template 1- Form for Use of Church Property by External Groups 21-08-2017
1.7A Template 1- Complaints Form
1.8A Template 1- Hazard Assessment Form
1.9A Template 1- Media Permission Form
5.1A Template 1- Agreement Form for All Church Personnel
Parish Reps Checklist 11/2017
Forms for Roles in the Parish
Appendix A – Roles in the Safeguarding Structure
Appendix B Recording and Storage of Information
Appendix C Definitions of Abuse & Child Pornography
Appendix D Contact Details of Statutory Authorities
Some Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Q. We have a parish halls in the parish, and I would like to understand does the policy expect that an ‘accident form’ is completed for general accidents, cuts and bruises? If we have organisations such as scouts / GAA and they have their own accident / incident forms, can they use their own format or do we have to still enforce our template form? What is the expectation for groups using the hall that do not have their own forms?
A.The incidents forms should be used for all incidents and accidents relating to children. For external groups they should have their own, if they don’t then it is their responsibility, this should be part of their child safeguarding procedures in any case. However you may want to check what the parish insurance states for hiring out the hall, as you might have to have a incident / accident book for general use.
Signed Agreement reference 5.1.A:
Q. Appreciate if you provide clarification on who needs to sign the agreement template 5.1.A as I note as part of this agreement, people are required to attend a full day training on safeguarding, so in this respect, I would like to understand if this agreement and associated training day must be completed by the following for example
- Choir Directors,
- Altar Server Parents who supervise the children,
- Parish Hall Group Leaders?
- Parish Hall Coordinator
A. Those who have direct contact with children, such as Altar Server parents, Sacristans, choir directors should sign this form and be given the code of behaviour for adults, at the bottom of the form it says about full day training and 2 hr info sessions training. They should attend one of these, as I point above.
Parish Hall leaders and coordinators, would only need to sign this form if they have contact with children.
Consent Forms for Children:
Q. We are clear about the requirement to have completed consent forms for children participating directly in Church activities such as Altar Servers / choir members etc., however, please advise the expectation to complete this requirement for organisations using the Parish Halls.
Is it acceptable that this is managed by the group leaders using the hall, e.g. Dance groups, Badminton groups, etc.
Is it sufficient for us to provide guidance that these groups need to obtain these forms if children participating in their groups? If so, is there a requirement to audit these forms? As you can imagine this would be quite onerous and a lot of work as members can join and leave these groups on a very frequent basis.
A. For any external groups as you mention above, we have no responsibility for them. We cannot give any advice or guidance. They MUST complete the renting of parish hall form 1.5A ( attached) any group that has children and not run by the Parish, can only use the hall if they complete that form stating they have insurance and a child safeguarding policy. We have been told by our insurers that we cannot obtain a copy of their safeguarding policy, so they just have to sign they have one. If they don’t, THEY CANNOT USE THE HALL.
So it is not the Parish’s responsibility to check etc. However if an activity is being run and you are concerned it is not safe, then you must contact PP and or myself and we will need to decide what needs to happen, i.e. Stop them using the hall.
Q. Is there training available outside the guidance provided in Section 1.8a, reps are trained on completing these assessments.
Can you advise what are the expectations of completing these Hazard assessments for those groups using the Parish Hall.
A. The Hazard Assessment is a new part of the policy. I will be looking at sending out more guidance. Really what you are looking at is for any areas that might cause problems, like no toilet facilities? were the nearest first aid box is kept? Are there emergency exits? The hazard assessment is a one-off for each group.
Q. If we were to organise an evening where we got all groups together, would someone on your team be willing to attend to speak to the importance of the Safeguarding program in the protection of children participating in Parish Life.
A. Yes, I would be more than happy to come out myself.
Pope Benedict’s Letter to Irish Catholics
Pope Benedict’s Pastoral Letter & Cardinal Sean Brady’s welcome address (2010)
Safeguarding Children – Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland (2009)
Irish Bishops’ Pastoral Letter for Lent 2005: “A Time for Healing”
Deals with the Church’s response to Child Sexual Abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response – Report Of The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Advisory Committee On Child Sexual Abuse By Priests And Religious
Published in 1996 by Veritas Publications.
Response to Review recommendations
In March 2012, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) conducted a Review of safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. The report on this Review, published in September 2012, contained a number of recommendations towards improving the safeguarding service in the Diocese.
To read these recommendations, see Cork and Ross Audit Report: Cork and Ross Audit Report_2012
The Diocese sent a progress report regarding implementation of these recommendations to the National Board in July 2013. Read that progress report together with a Pastoral Letter issued by Bishop Buckley.
In a reply to Bishop Buckley, dated September 6th 2013, Teresa Devlin, Director of Safeguarding at the National Board wrote:
“I am impressed with the work that is going on to ensure the recommendations are being implemented and more importantly that safeguarding children remains a high priority issue for you and for your diocesan personnel.”
The importance of having policies and procedures in place to guarantee a safe environment for children cannot be over-emphasised. In Cork and Ross, a Plan of Action for the coming years has recently been updated. This Plan addresses many aspects of safeguarding policy and procedures.
No plan can be acted upon without the enthusiasm and support of those charged with implementing it. The success of this plan will be down to the work of all those responsible for putting it into practice.
To read the Plan in detail, click here.
To read the Audit Compliance Document, click here.