As a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland, 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 Church personnel (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.
Nature of service and principles to safeguard children from harm
The Diocese of Killala as a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland exists to promote the teachings of the Catholic Church. This includes the following ministry with children, as defined in Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016:
• Sacramental preparation,
• Altar Servers in the churches of the diocese,
• Children’s Mass Groups,
• Young Peoples’ Mass Groups,
• Annual Retreats for children and young people
• Ballina Churches Together social outreach.
As outlined in the Safeguarding Children 2016 Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland we are committed to the following principles:
• 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 statutory authorities (apart from those received in the Sacrament of Reconciliation)
will be reported to the appropriate statutory authorities. 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 Church personnel, in addition to notifying the statutory authorities, the allegation must be reported to the Church authority. If the allegation relates to a cleric or religious, 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 cooperate with the statutory authorities in all cases.
In responding to complaints of child sexual abuse relating to clergy and all those in forms of consecrated life, Church authorities will act in accordance with the requirements of civil law and canon law, and so will respect the rights and uphold the safeguards afforded in these, both to the complainant and respondent.
• 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.
• Caring pastorally for respondents and other affected persons.
This 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 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 Church authority will be mindful of the need to provide support to members of families and communities affected by the respondent’s changed situation.
To view the Risk Assessment Table and Procedures, please click Safeguarding Statement
The Diocese of Killala is committed to safeguarding children through the implementation of Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016. This Child Safeguarding Statement and our practice supports our desire to keep children safe from harm while in our ministries. As part of our annual audit against the relevant indicators of the child safeguarding standards, we will review the effectiveness of our practice as outlined in this statement and will revise, as appropriate.
Signed: + John Fleming
Bishop of Killala
Date: 10th March 2018
For any queries relating to this statement please contact Mr John Cummins, at the Newman Institute, Ballina, Co Mayo on 096 72066.
As part of the commitment of the Diocese to the protection of children and vulnerable adults, Mr John Cummins has been appointed as Designated Liaison Person for the Diocese of Killala.
Anyone who has issues or concerns around the safety of children should contact:
Mr John Cummins
Child Protection Office
The Newman Institute
Confidential Helpline 087-1003554
The Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy is contained in Safeguarding Children Parish Handbook
We invite you to read this handbook to become familiar with the Killala Diocesan Policy for Child Safeguarding.
Diocesan Child Safeguarding Policy and Contacts contains the Policy on Safeguarding in Killala Diocese and all necessary contacts you need in this regard.
Code of Conduct for Staff & Volunteers working with Children/Young People in Parish and/or Diocesan Activities
Code of Behaviour for Children and Young People taking part in Parish and/or Diocesan Activities
Appendix of Forms: Guide of Reference (you can find these forms in the link on Child Safeguarding Parish handbook)
1. Form SG-01: Application form for work in church-related activities (page 64)
2. Form SG-02: Declaration of workers in church-related activities (page 67)
3. Form SG-03: Safeguarding agreement form (page 68)
4. Form SG-04: Child & parental/guardian joint consent form (page 69)
5. Form SG-05: Accidents/incidents form (page 71)
6. Form SG-06: Hazard assessment form (page 73)
7. Form SG-07: External groups using church property form (page 74)
8. Form SG-08: General complaints form (page 76)
9. Form SG-09: Child protection referral form (page 77)
10. Vetting Invitation form, Vetting Application Form (page 56-61)
External Websites regarding Child Safeguarding in Ireland
National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland
The NBSCCCI website is to be found at www.safeguarding.ie.
“TOWARDS HEALING” A counselling and support service for survivors of abuse by clergy.
Helpline can be called on Freefone 1800-303416.
“TOWARDS PEACE” A spiritual support for survivors of abuse.
Phone (01)5053028 or (086) 7710533