Diocesan Child Safeguarding Policy Statement.

1341561049Diocesan Child Safeguarding Policy Statement.
The Diocese of Cork and Ross recognises and upholds the dignity and rights of all children and is committed to ensuring their safety and well-being.
The Diocese values and encourages the participation of children and young people in the life of the Church, namely in all parish liturgies and in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
The Diocese recognises that while the safeguarding of children is everyone’s
responsibility, all involved in working with children and young people have a special duty of care towards them.
Developments.

Ms. Cleo Yates is the Diocesan Director of Child Safeguarding and can be contacted on 021-4301717 or 087-3768599 or on email at cleo.yates@corkandross.org. She is assisted by Rev. Liam O’Driscoll. 

Child Safeguarding Policy. 

A revised Child Safeguarding policy for the Diocese of Cork and Ross was published in Nov 2011.  This document is the work of the Diocesan Child Safeguarding Committee which was established in 2006 and whose role is supportive and developmental and is not related in any way to the management of cases of suspected or alleged abuse.  This new document has brought Diocesan policies and procedures into line with national principles and standards. This Committee monitors the implementation of Diocesan Policy in safeguarding matters. 
Click here to read or download the document as a PDF file.
Click here to read the Cork and Ross Whistleblowing Policyhttp://www.corkandross.org/Whistleblowing Policy.doc

In addition to the publication of the Diocesan Policy document, 10,000 copies of a basic information brochurewere printed and distributed throughout the Diocese in late 2011.  This brochure contains contact details for essential services in the area of Child Safeguarding.

Diocesan Child Safeguarding Committee.
The Diocesan Child Safeguarding Committee ensures the organisation and delivery of training for all Church personnel in the Diocese.  Since late 2007, the Diocese has had two qualified trainers.  One has now retired and has been replaced by two new trainers.  The team plans to provide training  for new Parish Representatives and other Church personnel (both voluntary and staff), beginning in the Autumn of 2012.

Diocesan Advisory Panel.

The Diocesan Advisory Panel has existed in the Diocese since 1992.  It’s function is to advise the Bishop in the management of allegations of child abuse made against Church personnel.  The membership of this Panel has been updated.  It now includes a retired Garda Superintendent, a Canon Lawyer, a Civil Lawyer, a childcare professional, the Designated Officers, a counsellor, a parent representative and a medical doctor.The Diocese also takes advice from the National Case Management Group established by the National Board for Safeguarding Children. 

Inter Agency Forum.

In 2011, the Diocese established an Inter-Agency forum with the Garda Siochana and the HSE, designed to improve cooperation between them in the management of allegations of abuse of children.  Regular meetings are held with these agencies. 


Operational Management Committee.
The Operational Management Committee meets regularly to oversee the various aspects of the Safeguarding Service.
Parish Audits.

Parish Audits are carried out annually.  This is to ensure that the policies and procedures laid out in the Diocesan Policy document are being implemented in every parish.

Garda Vetting.

The Diocese is authorized to process Garda vetting applications from Church personnel who work with children.
Assistance. 

The Diocese offer therapeutic assistance and support to people who allege abuse by Church personnel, without prejudice to the truth or otherwise of the allegation.  A number of support persons are available to both victims and perpetrators.

Notification.
In the past, it was the practice of the Diocese that persons making complaints of a child protection nature were met with by diocesan personnel to inform them of the need to report their allegation to the statutory authorities.  This was found to cause some delay in notifying the statutory authorities.  After a review in 2011, the Diocese now believes that this is not good practice.  Consequently, all complaints are notified to the Gardai and the H.S.E. without delay.  We will, of course, continue to work with and support the person making the complaint.  All victims are offered counselling and support.
Anonymous Complaints.
From time to time, anonymous complaints are also received.  For the avoidance of doubt, it is the policy of the Diocese that the statutory authorities are notified of such complaints.  However, the statutory authorities and the Diocese can be limited in the actions that are possible arising from anonymous complaints when the identity of the complainant and the alleged victim are not given.  However, all complaints are notified and investigated.
Allegation against a volunteer or leader in a Parish
If any information is brought to the attention of the Diocese of an allegation against a volunteer or leader in a Parish then in the interests of child safeguarding the person concern should be asked by the Parish Priest to temporary step down from any duties in the parish, until the allegation has been investigated by statutory authorities.
Concerns.
                                                                                                                              If you or anyone has a child protection concern or wishes to report an allegation directly to the statutory authorities, i.e. the local Health or Social Services (the Duty Social Worker) and the Garda Siochana, the contact details are:

 Health Services Executive
• North Lee Community Services, Social Work Servs, North Lee, Blackpool, Cork. Tel: 021-4927000.
• South Lee Community Services, St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Rd., Cork. Tel: 021-4923001.
• West Cork Community Services, Coolnagarrane, Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Tel: 028-40447/40456.

 An Garda Siochana
• Anglesea Street, Cork. Tel: 021-4522000.
• Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Tel: 023-8821570.
• Bantry, Co. Cork. Tel: 027-20860.