Commission Shows Progress in Protecting English Youth

5th Annual Report Highlights Positive Developments, Says There's Still Work To Do

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The fifth Annual Report outlining the work of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) and the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS) was launched on 25 July 2013.

This report reflects the work of the Commission and the CSAS. It highlights the many positive developments in the safeguarding ministry in the Catholic Church in England and Wales whilst acknowledging that there is still work to be done and the need to remain vigilant in the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

NCSC DEVELOPMENTS 2012 – 2013

In 2010 the NCSC identified that its main areas of work would be to:

Develop a more sensitive and pastoral response to victims and survivors of abuse

Ensure that safeguarding standards are maintained throughout the Church

Seek solutions to support the religious in their safeguarding endeavours.

The report describes the progress in these areas in 2012/2013 including:

Encouragement – The production of a leaflet “Hurt by Abuse” which will be made available in parishes encouraging any person affected by abuse to come forward.

First Contact – At least one person in every safeguarding office has training and experience in responding sensitively to victims of abuse.

Immediate support – A pilot scheme offering immediate support to victims is in progress. After evaluation we intend to commission this support nationally in collaboration with an independent organisation such as a survivor support organisation.

Additional Support – We are planning to address current shortfalls in the coming year.

An information pack is now available to anyone who is the subject of an allegation, clearly setting out the process followed by the Church.

There has also been good progress in the work towards the “One Church” approach as set out in the Cumberlege Report in 2007. We are pleased to report that the new national arrangements to support safeguarding in the Religious Congregations came into effect on 1st April this year.

All Religious Congregations have either:

Aligned with a Safeguarding Commission in a Diocese

Established or decided to maintain their own Commission

Combined with other Religious Congregations to establish a shared Commission.

The NCSC was pleased to welcome two new Lay Members in 2012, Denise Moultrie, who is now a Lay Vice Chair of the NCSC, and Peter Houghton. Both have a wealth of experience in safeguarding. We also welcomed Rev Dr Brendan Killeen, an experienced Canon Lawyer and Parish Priest.

CSAS DEVELOPMENTS 2012 – 2013

During the last year the CSAS has supported the NCSC in achieving its strategic priorities and has also undertaken a number of other key activities across the Church in England and Wales. These include:

Meeting the standards set out in “Towards a Culture of Safeguarding”.

From January 2013 all Safeguarding Commissions and Safeguarding Offices have been expected to meet the standards set out, in terms of post and role holders.

Induction packs for both Commission Members and Safeguarding Reps have been developed and introduced.

National training modules for Ordained Ministers and Safeguarding Reps have been developed. These were piloted in 3 dioceses (Plymouth, Hallam and Brentwood).

Following the successful pilots the modules have been made available to all Dioceses and Religious Congregations.

Responding to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 involved a complete re-write of our national safer recruitment procedures in response to phase one. Further changes are anticipated when phase two is released.

We recognise that the work of the NCSC and the CSAS must be seen in the context of the immense contributions of the safeguarding teams in the dioceses, parishes and religious congregations across England and Wales. The report gives examples of this work.