(only required for Church Bodies who have Ministry with Children in the Republic of Ireland)
Church bodies who have ministry with children in the Republic of Ireland are categorised as providing relevant services as defined in Schedule 1 of the Children First Act 2015. As a relevant service provider each Church body that has ministry with children, must produce a Child Safeguarding Statement. This is a written statement that specifies the service being provided and the principles and procedures to be observed in order to ensure, as far as practicable, that a child availing of the service is safe from harm. The definition of harm is outlined in section 2 of the Children First Act as:
(a)Assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or
(b) Sexual abuse of the child. Whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances or otherwise
The Child Safeguarding Statement should provide an overview of the measures that the Church body has in place to ensure that children are protected from harm. It should also include and refer to more local hazard assessment procedures which can be made available on request.
The statutory requirement to have a Child Safeguarding Statement does not eradicate the need for the Church body’s Child Safeguarding Policy and its associated procedures or guidance, but it should make reference to the Safeguarding Policy. All relevant Church bodies must make the child safeguarding statement publicly available this includes circulating it to all Church personnel, making it available to parents/guardians, Tusla and any member of the public upon request. A decision about how and where the statement is displayed must be made by each Church body.
The Children First Act 2015 requires that Tusla establishes and maintains a register of non-compliance of service providers who fail to provide a copy of the Child Safeguarding Statement to Tusla when requested. To assist with this task a template Child Safeguarding Statement has been written for the Catholic Church (Standard 6 -1.34) which can be adapted by each Church body.
The Safeguarding Statement for the Diocese of Meath is available at 4.50.
As part of the Children First Act 2015 each relevant organisation is required to appoint a relevant person which is defined in Part 2 Section 8 as ‘the person who is appointed by a provider of a relevant service to be the first point of contact in respect of the provider’s child safeguarding statement.’
The relevant person for the Diocese of Meath is Mr Alan Doran who may be contacted through the Diocesan Office via this link
S4.50 Child Safeguarding Statement of the Diocese of Meath
This statement has been prepared to comply with the requirements of the Children First Act 2015 and is derived from Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016.
The policy of the Catholic Church in Ireland is based on standards of practice which contain indicators that assist in reaching these standards. These indicators can be used in assessing and managing risk.
Name and contact details of the service provider
The Diocese of Meath, Diocesan Offices, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
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 and volunteers) 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.
Nature of service and principles to safeguard children from harm
The Diocese of Meath as a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland exists to promote the teachings of the Catholic Church. This includes the following ministry with children, as defined in Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016:
MINISTRIES WITH CHILDREN:
Altar Servers; Children’s choir; Children’s liturgy; Pre-Sacramental preparation; Ministers of the Word; Youth leaders/Parish youth teams; Youth pilgrimages; John Paul II Awards; Rainbows programme; Junior Pioneers; Junior Legion of Mary.
As outlined in the Safeguarding Children 2016 Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland we are committed to the following principles:
- Mandatory reporting.
Each of us has a duty to notify the statutory authorities of suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations that a child is being or has been abused:
- through neglect
Suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations may relate to possible abuse by a member of Church personnel, but they can also relate to incidents in the child’s family, or elsewhere in the community
- Caring for the welfare of all children and the adults who work with them.
Measures to create and maintain environments that are safe for children, that prevent abuse, and that create nurturing, caring conditions within the Church for children and the adults who work with them, will continue to be strengthened and reviewed. This will be done through training support, communications and quality assurance.
- Responding appropriately to child protection suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations.
Anyone who brings any suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or past abuse of a child to the notice of the Church will be responded to sensitively, respectfully, actively and in a timely manner, in line with statutory child protection procedures and Church requirements. All Church personnel have a responsibility to report suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations of child abuse that reach the threshold for reporting to the statutory authorities. The Designated Liaison Person can assist with this process. These reports will be made irrespective of the status of the person (lay, cleric or religious) who is suspected of having been abusive to a child.
If the allegation being reported relates to a lay member of Church personnel, in addition to notifying the statutory authorities, the allegation must be reported to the Church authority. If the allegation being reported relates to a cleric or religious, in addition to notifying the statutory authorities, the allegation must also be reported to the Church authority and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland
All Church personnel will cooperate with the statutory authorities in all cases
In responding to complaints of child sexual abuse relating to clergy and all those in forms of consecrated life, Church authorities will act in accordance with the requirements of civil law and canon law, and so will respect the rights and uphold the safeguards afforded in these, both to the complainant and respondent.
The table below sets out the identified risks to the safety of children involved in Church activities in the Diocese of Meath and the steps taken to minimise the risks of abuse.
Insert tables + from ps 26 +27 NBSC St 6