As parishes resume activities after the pandemic, it is a good moment to review how children’s activities should be run for everyone’s safety. We were delighted to welcome clergy, parish safeguarding representatives, catechists, children’s liturgy and youth group leaders from every part of the diocese.
The training gave three key messages:
Firstly: that Safeguarding measures are not an additional burden for busy catechists and activity leaders. Embedding good Safeguarding practices into all Church activities is living the Gospel message. Safeguarding is what Christians do!
Secondly: everyone working on behalf of the Church with children and young people needs to follow the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency guidance ‘Creating a Safe Environment’ when planning and running classes and activities. The guidance covers activity ranging from the large diocesan pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Lisbon 2023 to a Children’s Liturgy session.
Thirdly: that people working with children on behalf of the Church should know how to respond to a concern about a child or adult at risk. The training included recent examples when parish catechists and Children’s Liturgy leaders had used the guidance to report their concerns about a child in their care.
These training events were the first events run as a partnership with the Diocesan Safeguarding Office, the Directorate of Youth Services and the Commission for Catechesis. Our work together strengthens our commitment to supporting peaceful, loving and safe Christian communities in which everybody, particularly young and vulnerable members, can confidently participate.
The ‘Creating a Safe Environment’ guidance and supporting forms are on a link on our diocesan website: https://www.rcdea.org.uk/youth/safeguarding-in-youth-ministry/