Safeguarding is a responsibility shared by every parishioner, not just the Parish Priest and Parish Safeguarding Representative. We can all help to promote safeguarding by ensuring that we are familiar with what this means and act on this advice (please read the ‘creating a safer environment document’ below). We all share a responsibility to respond to and challenge inappropriate behaviour, either directly or by reporting it to your Parish Priest, Parish Safeguarding Representative or the Safeguarding Coordinator.
Within your Parish, Allegations or concerns might be shared about current events or something that happened in the past but is only now being reported. In either case, the allegation or concern will be treated with equal importance because events in the past may have current relevance to the safety of others that might need protecting.
The person hearing the disclosure or receiving the information must:
• Be calm and reassuring;
• Listen and acknowledge what is said without passing judgement or minimising the information;
• Not interrogate or put words into the person’s mouth;
• Be aware that the person’s ability to recount their concern or allegation will depend on age, level of understanding, culture, language and communication skills and disability;
• Explain what you will do next and who you need to contact;
• Not promise total confidentiality but explain that the information will only be shared appropriately with others who need to know;
• Make careful notes as soon as possible and include dates, times of the incident and when the recording was made, who was present and sign the notes. Also make sure the notes are kept securely;
• Provide the person with some means to contact you and be clear about how and when you will contact them to advise what will happen next;
• Ask an adult’s consent to take up their concerns and if they do not agree, consult the Safeguarding Coordinator;
• Encourage and support adults to share their information;
You can report allegations or concerns directly to the police (using the telephone number 999 in an emergency or 101 if not) or seek immediate advice from the Safeguarding Coordinator. All Priests and Parish Safeguarding Representatives already have the mobile telephone number to contact Simon, who is available at all times (including evenings and weekends).
If you are have a concern it is vital to report it immediately (this means within 30 minutes).