S4.59: Example International Child Safeguarding Policy Child Safeguarding Policy Statement of [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] ministering in [INSERT NAME OF COUNTRY]
The [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] ministering in [INSERT COUNTRY] are involved with the following ministry with children [INSERT TYPE OF CHILDREN’S MINISTRY].
In carrying out this ministry 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 our members and those who volunteer and work with us under our authority (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.
Details of person to contact if you are concerned about the welfare and safety of a child.
Identified person within the Church body: _______________________
Police (if safe and appropriate): _______________________
Child protection and welfare Service: _______________________
In developing and implementing the Child Safeguarding Policy, this Church body is guided by the following foundations:
Children have a key place in the heart of Jesus who said: ‘Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it’ (Luke 18:17). This places a sacred obligation on the Church to ensure that children are welcomed, cherished and protected in a manner consistent with their central place in the life of the Church.
- Children’s Rights, National Law and Canon Law
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) outlines the forty-two fundamental rights to be implemented in national law by signatories to the Convention (this includes the Holy See and [INSERT NAME OF COUNTRY OF MINISTRY]. Full realisation of these rights will ensure that children will be ‘brought up in a spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity’, whilst respecting the cultural identity of each child. [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] as part of our charism [INSERT REFERENCE TO CHARISM OF THE CHURCH BODY] commits to upholding our obligations under the following: [INSERT RELEVANT CHILD CARE LEGILSATION, VETTING LEGISLATION, CRIMINAL JUSTICE LEGISLATION AND ASSOCIATIED GUIDANCE OF COUNRY OF MINISTRY]. [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] also recognises the requirements under canon law which states [INSERT RELEVANT CANON LAW INFORMATION].
Together with the Principles outlined above, this Church body, as part of the Catholic Church, commits to:
- 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 suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations that reach the threshold for reporting to the civil authorities (apart from those received in the Sacrament of Reconciliation1) will be reported through the appointed Church representative. This will be done irrespective of the status of the person (lay, cleric or religious) who is suspected of having been abusive to a child. If the allegation relates to a lay member of [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY], in addition to notifying the statutory authorities, the allegation must be reported to the lead person in the [INSERT NAME OF CONGREGATION]. If the allegation relates to a cleric or religious from Ireland, 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 co-operate with the statutory authorities in all cases.
- Caring pastorally for complainants and other affected persons
Those who have suffered child abuse by Church personnel will receive a compassionate and just response, and will be offered appropriate pastoral care, counselling, and support as they seek to rebuild their lives. An appropriate pastoral response to the family, parish, congregation or order and to the wider community will be provided, with due regard to the right of privacy of those directly involved, and to the administration of justice.
- The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason, Code of Canon Law, c.983.1, in Catholic Church (1983), The Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Edition (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America). standard 1 creating and maintaining safe environments guidance for indicator 1.10 sept 2018
- Caring pastorally for respondents and other affected persons
[INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] in its response to suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations of child sexual abuse will respect the rights under civil law and canon law of an accused cleric or religious or other Church personnel. A legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory and Church inquiry processes. As the processes develop, additional assessment, therapy and support services may be offered to the respondent. The [INSERT TITLE OF CHURCH AUTHORITY] will take responsibility for ensuring that any cleric or religious who is considered to constitute a danger to children is managed according to a risk management plan. All requisite steps will be taken to restore the good name and reputation of anyone who has been wrongly accused of abusing a child. Respondents belong to families and diocesan or religious communities. The [INSERT TITILE OF CHURCH AUTHORITY] will be mindful of the need to provide support to members of families and communities affected by the respondent’s changed situation.
Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all members, and those who work with [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] (lay staff and volunteers) who are required to comply with it.
Full understanding of and adherence to this policy should lead to a deepening in the understanding of, and respect for, the rights of children to participate as people of faith in the life of the Church. The care and protection of children involved in Church activities is the responsibility of the whole Church and is a requirement that applies regardless of the nature of the Church activities in which children are involved. Everyone who participates in the life of the Church has a role to play in creating an environment in which children can develop and be safe.
Putting the Policy into Action
The [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] will implement this policy by ensuring that all our ministry and activities comply with the following:
- Creating and Maintaining Safe Environments.
- Procedures for Responding to Child Protection Suspicions, Concerns, Knowledge or Allegations.
- Care and Support for the Complainant.
- Care and Management of the Respondent.
- Care and Support for others.
- Implementation of the Policy
Commitment by the Church Authority On behalf of [INSERT NAME OF CHURCH BODY] in [INSERT COUNTRY OF MINISTRY],
I commit to safeguarding children by agreeing to follow this Child Safeguarding Policy.
I will abide by and uphold the standards listed above in our entire ministry and contacts with children.
Church Authority Signature _________________________________