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. 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 in the past; 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.
1. Who is responsible for safeguarding in the Catholic Church?
Everyone has a responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of vulnerable people. In England & Wales overall responsibility sits with the Bishops Conference and the Conference of Religious.
2. How does that work across the country?
Following the release of “Safeguarding with Confidence,” the report of the Cumberlege Commission in 2007, a National Catholic Safeguarding Commission was established. This reports directly to the Conference of Bishops and the Conference of Religious.
The Commission also oversees and manages the work of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service. This (CSAS) is the National Office with responsibility for developing and supporting the implementation of National Policies and Procedures. It has a primary role in supporting and advising Diocesan Safeguarding arrangements. The National Office meets regularly with Safeguarding Co-ordinators and Officers from the Dioceses in order to improve consistency of practice and identify learning and development needs.
3. How does it work in the Diocese?
The Bishop is responsible for safeguarding issues in his Diocese. He delegates responsibility via the Trustees to the Safeguarding Commission. The Safeguarding Commission, together with the Bishop, appoint a Safeguarding Co-ordinator, and Safeguarding Officer. The Commission is accountable to the Bishop and advise him on policy implementation and best practice. The Co-ordinator and Officer report to the Commission and are accountable to the Bishop via the Commission.
The Co-ordinator manages the safeguarding function within the Diocese. This includes management of the Safeguarding Officer. In smaller Dioceses there may not be a Safeguarding Officer in which case the Co-ordinator carries out the responsibilities listed for them.
The Parish Safeguarding Representative is responsible for: making sure the Parish is aware of the importance of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults; promoting good and safe practice, including what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour; with their Parish Priest and the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Officer decide how to administer the National Safeguarding Policies and Procedures within the Parish.
4. What should I do if I think a vulnerable person is at risk or is being abused?
If you are concerned about the safety of a child or vulnerable adult please report your concern to your local Police or Social Services. Then contact your parish Safeguarding Representative and/or Diocesan Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
5. Useful Numbers
Police Telephone: 101
Social Services Telephone:
Parish Safeguarding Representative
Name: Barbara Davies
Diocesan Safeguarding Co-ordinator
Name: Angela McGory
Telephone: 02392816396; 07554427064 or
Other Useful Numbers
Elder Abuse Response: 08088088141
For any matters relating to child or vulnerable adult protection which you need help with, contact either your parish or diocesan representative.