Safeguarding in the Diocese in Europe
The Church of England is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has.
(From ‘Promoting a Safer Church’, The Church of England’s Safeguarding Policy Statement)
Chaplaincy or parish
Whilst we mostly use the term ‘Chaplaincy’ in the Diocese in Europe, there are congregations in the Diocese who refer to themselves as a ‘Parish’. For those parishes, throughout this Policy please read ‘Chaplaincy’ as ‘Parish’.
Occasional Helpers who work with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults will need to complete a Safeguarding Check to include vetting checks for all countries visited (as a total of all visits above one month in duration) within the last ten years.
‘Occasional’ refers to a role that is undertaken for less than three days in a thirty-day period and does not include any overnight (between 2am and 6am) activities with the opportunity for face-to-face contact.
‘Helpers’ are defined as those who assist in activities (e.g. Sunday School), but they do not have direct responsibility for children, young people and/or vulnerable adults, and who are under the supervision of an activity leader.
The term “vulnerable adult” refers to a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability, illness, old age, emotional fragility, distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinitely impaired.
Please note that some adults may not consider themselves vulnerable but may be vulnerable to being abused by individuals in positions of leadership and responsibility. As adults are not inherently vulnerable and in need of protection it is important to recognise that the factors described below do not, of themselves, mean that a person is vulnerable. It is a combination of these factors and the circumstances that a person finds him/herself in that can make an individual vulnerable to abuse or neglect.
Some factors that increase vulnerability include:
- A mental illness, chronic or acute.
- A sensory or physical disability or impairment.
- A learning disability.
- A physical illness.
- An addiction to alcohol or drugs.
- Failing faculties of old age.
- Those who are homeless.
- Refugee families or individuals (including those seeking asylum).
- Victims/survivors of domestic abuse – direct violence and/or significant emotional coercion.
- Those who have suffered historic abuse in childhood.
- A permanent or temporary reduction in physical, mental or emotional capacity brought about by life events; for example, bereavement, abuse or trauma.
These factors may not exist in isolation; for example, a drinking problem may mask underlying dementia or a frail housebound elderly person may also have symptoms of depression.
Message from Archbishop Justin Welby
A message from the Most Revd. and Rt. Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Safeguarding is at the heart of our Christian faith. We are all made unique and in the image of God. Jesus came that we might have life and have it in abundance (see John chapter 10 verse 10).
‘Safeguarding’ means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture in all our churches. In order to achieve this, we need to do a lot of hard work. We will promote the welfare of children, young people and adults. We will work to prevent abuse from occurring. We will seek to protect those that are at risk of being abused and respond well to those that have been abused. We will take care to identify where a person may present a risk to others and offer support to them whilst taking steps to mitigate such risks.
The Church will take appropriate steps to maintain a safer environment for all. In order to do this, we must be obedient to Christ who placed a child in the midst of his disciples and encourages us all to be childlike in our faith (see Matthew chapter 18 verses 1 – 5). So, we must practice fully and positively a ministry to all children, young people and adults; to respond sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.
I hold in my prayers all who are directly involved in this crucial work and let us all pray that we may strive to be a safe church for all.
Yours in Christ's fellowship,
Archbishop Justin Welby
Message from Bishop Robert Innes
A message from the Right Reverend Dr Robert Innes, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe
Our Diocese first issued a formal policy on Safeguarding in 2012. We produced a major update to the policy in 2015, which brought us up to date with the best advice available at that time. But safeguarding knowledge and practice continues to develop. And we have been able to learn from the practical experience of applying our own protocol across our Chaplaincies. So I am now pleased that we are able to set out policy and practice which is consistent with revised Church of England guidelines as at 2019 in a form that is accessible and easier to use.
The requirements set out in this document, together with the linked guidance, are based on current best practice across the Church of England. The requirements are there to help make sure our churches and communities are safe spaces and safe places.
I am well aware that the priority given to safeguarding matters varies from one country to another. But that is not an excuse for doing safeguarding less well where custom and practice is less rigorous or sensitivity less heightened. For me, safeguarding is a theological priority that is integral to the mission of the church. It is an area where the church should lead and not just follow.
Diocesan safeguarding operates with proper care for personal data in line with the EU’s GDPR legislation*. If your chaplaincy is in a territory outside the scope of GDPR where safeguarding data transfer is problematic then you must seek specific guidance from the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. Operating in countries with different legal frameworks is not a reason for departure from the principle of doing safeguarding well.
Safeguarding continues to be a top priority for me – and I expect this to be the case across our Diocese. We have a duty before our Lord to enable the church to be a safe and secure place for all vulnerable groups. This document sets the standards and guidelines to which are all required to work.
Thank you for your co-operation and commitment to working with me in making our diocese a safe space.
Robert Gibraltar in Europe
Message from Grace Fagan, Head of Safeguarding
Message from Grace Fagan, Head of Safeguarding
It is with pleasure I commenced work in the Diocese in Europe on 6th November 2019 and have continued to enjoy the role along with its challenges. Since my arrival, the Diocesan Safeguarding Team (DST), have been welcoming. They have engaged with me refocusing on our primary tasks. Also, the team has recently been restructured to cater for the increased demands in training and efficient communications. To this end, we have also strengthened our training offers.
My initial impressions have led me to understand that safeguarding in the Diocese in Europe is highly involved with many cultural, legal challenges to be absorbed and manoeuvred within Europe. I and the DST are committed to supporting all chaplaincies in their efforts in providing a safe church. Excitingly, there is a willingness across the diocese, to engage with the safeguarding agenda and associated training. However, it is noticeable that the number of cases reported could be improved upon, which I know we are all collectively working towards achieving.
The safeguarding service continues to be available to assist you in achieving the best for all in the diocese.
Head of Safeguarding
Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Committee (DSAC)
The primary role of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Committee (DSAC) is to provide independent and impartial advice to the Diocese on all matters relating to the development and implementation of the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and practice.
DSAC membership is made up of:
- An independent Chair (an independent lay person with relevant current or recent child protection or adult safeguarding experience at a senior level in a statutory, voluntary or private organisation)
- The Diocesan Bishop
- The Suffragan Bishop (as The Bishop’s nominated Safeguarding Lead)
- An Archdeacon
- The Chief Operating Officer (Diocesan Secretary)
- The Diocesan Head of Communications
- The Head of Safeguarding (HoS)
- Chaplaincy representatives
- Independent Members (at least three and no more than eight with relevant current or recent child protection or adult safeguarding experience at a senior level in a statutory, voluntary or private organisation)
Case Management Groups
A Case Management Group is convened to manage an allegation against a church officer who has a role with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults. The Head of Safeguarding (HoS) should convene a core group within 48 hours of becoming aware of the safeguarding concern or allegation. If it is impossible to meet face-to-face, a virtual meeting should be set up. The Case Management Group advise and oversee management of the process for the duration of the case, meeting as required. All information should be made available to the group to support decision-making. The Case Management Group membership will usually include the HoS (or a relevant member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team), the Diocesan Head of Communications, the relevant archdeacon and other individuals relevant to the case. It is also the role of the Case Management Group to establish lessons learnt at the end of a case.