What is Safeguarding

What is Safeguarding

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 appropriately where concerns arise.
The main Government guidance outlining duties and responsibilities for all agencies and organisations who work with children and families is ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ which was published by the Department for Education and Skills in April, 2006. It provides guidance under the Children Acts 1989 and 2004.
‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ refers directly to faith communities and sets out the responsibilities and expectations of all churches and faith communities in safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
It recognises that churches provide a wide range of services for children and that religious leaders, staff and volunteers have an important role in safeguarding and supporting children and families.
Children may be in need of protection from abuse or maltreatment in their own home or in other environments including the church itself. Wherever a child is at risk or concerns are raised about a child, all adults have a duty to act to safeguard that child and promote his or her welfare.
The need to safeguard children is not confined to any particular age group or groups in the community and all concerns should be responded to equally, always bearing in mind that the welfare of the child is paramount.
All churches and faith communities are expected to have in place arrangements which include:
  • Procedures to respond to and report concerns
  • Codes of practice
  • Safe recruitment procedures
In the same way arrangements must be in place to respond to concerns about any form of abuse or maltreatment of a vulnerable adult.
Our Responsibilities

All churches and faith communities are expected to have in place arrangements which include:
·         Procedures to respond to and report concerns
·         Codes of practice
·         Safe recruitment procedures
·         In the same way arrangements must be in place to respond to concerns about any form of abuse or maltreatment of a vulnerable adult.

The principles contained in No Secrets (DoH 2000) and Safeguarding Adults: A National Framework for Good Practice (ADSS 2005) must be followed with the acknowledgement that the Catholic Church in England and Wales must not act alone but in partnership with all other agencies to combat the abuse of vulnerable adults.

What is Child Abuse?
The term “child” is used to include all children and young people up to the age of 18 (someone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday).
Child abuse involves acts of commission or omission, which result in harm to the child.  Abuse may occur in the family, community or institutions, e.g. school, or hospital, or in the street.
Definitions of Abuse [1]
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately caused ill-health to a child they are looking after.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child, such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or under-valued.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic psychological and/or physical needs, in such a way as to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Who is a vulnerable adult?
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or being exploited. This may be because of their circumstances; e.g. because of chronic illness, disability, advanced age, mental health issues or their lifestyle causes them to be at risk in some situations.
Definitions of Abuse [2]
Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, and inappropriate sanctions.
Sexual abuse includes rape and sexual assault and sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, or could not consent to or was pressured into consenting to.
Psychological abuse includes emotional abuse, threats of abandonment or harm, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, and isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
Financial or material abuse includes theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, and the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
Neglect and acts of omission include ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, and the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
Discriminatory abuse includes racism, sexism, harassment, slurs and treatment based on a person’s disability.
Any or all of these types of abuse may be perpetrated as a result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.

Protecting those we care for

Vulnerable adult(s) may be abused by a wide range of people, including relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers, other service users, neighbours, friends and associates, people who deliberately exploit vulnerable people and strangers.
Applying these definitions to different circumstances may not always be easy. Many situations may involve combinations of these elements. If there is difficulty in defining a situation this should be discussed with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator / Advisor.
Hurt by Abuse Leaflet to be included

[1] References:                        1974—Rehabilitation of Offenders Act   
                                                1989—Children Act
                                                2004—Every Child Matters, Department of Health
                                                2006—Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act
[2] References:                        2000—No Secrets (Department of Health)
                                                2005—Safeguarding Adults—A National Framework for Good Practice
                                               ADSS (Association of Directors of Social Services