An important message to Cathedral Parishioners from Fr Tim
Safeguarding is something that has become a very important part of the life of the Catholic Church for reasons that need little explanation. But perhaps I can give you some background to how this is implemented today:
- Every parish is called to have a Parish Safeguarding Representative who has a role and who can be contacted independently of the Parish Priest. In this role, the Parish Safeguarding Representative meets with any adult who seeks to take a greater role in the life of the parish, which can include a DBS check. Our Safeguarding Rep is Mrs Margaret Harrold and you can find her contact details on the newsletter at all times.
- Every priest and deacon of the Archdiocese of Birmingham has a responsibility to fulfil safeguarding training every 3 years in a formal manner, but with regular updates on developments in safeguarding.
- We have a strong Safeguarding Department in the Diocese with people with expertise in policing, adult safeguarding and child protection. In its work, the Department seeks the advice and feedback of a Survivors Forum: those who have suffered abuse giving the Church real insight into how its work of Safeguarding is considered effective by people who matter most.
- In my own work as a Foundation Governor in two schools, I do a separate safeguarding training every year as well as further training on Safer Recruitment for the purposes of interviewing new staff.
- But I want to say this very clearly: every member of the Catholic Church has a responsibility for Safeguarding. If you see or experience anything when you come to Mass that gives you cause for concern, you are not so much invited to do something about it or speak to somebody. I would suggest that you have a responsibility to speak to somebody. That would normally be our Parish Safeguarding Representative. And you don’t have to have concerns. Safeguarding began as reactive, but building a culture of safeguarding requires talking about it, asking questions about it, deepening our understanding of the issues, and being clear that the issues change over time.
- I hope I don’t need to explain to anybody why – in the life of the Church – this is not something of the past, and the very nature of safeguarding is that if we ever stop thinking about it and talking about it, the problems arise.
- Please pray for and be active in fostering this ongoing and current culture of safeguarding. Let us not be afraid to talk about it, or allow it being an uncomfortable subject to avoid it. I don’t avoid it and I ask you not to avoid it. Children, young people and adults in vulnerable circumstances deserve the best of trust and safety and we are all responsible for it.