All Clergy, Religious, volunteers, staff and parishioners will respect children, young people and Adults at Risk. They will establish a culture where they prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and Adults at Risk to provide supportive and safe spaces for everyone involved. The Archdiocese will strive to support the creation and maintenance of environments which are safe for everyone who has dealings with them. The arrangements below detail some of the Archdiocese of Southwark’s provisions to ensure the highest standards of safeguarding are maintained.

Creating safer spaces / Planning events involving children and/or Adults at Risk.

The Archdiocese is committed to:

  • observing the rules established for the safety and security of children, young people and Adults at Risk, and that they are kept safe from harm whilst involved in any event or activities, while promoting and prioritising their safety and wellbeing.
  • recognising the position of trust in which individuals have been placed
  • referring all significant concerns about an individual’s suitability to work with children, young people or Adults at Risk, or if we have had to remove an individual from their role within the Archdiocese, to statutory agencies in line with the “Working Together to Safeguard Children” guidance.
  • following strict guidelines for ALL electronic communication between adults and young people, so that we don’t place anyone at risk of harm. There must be no individual electronic/Social Media communication between an adult and a young person. All such communication should be within a group, age appropriate and with more than one adult engaged within the communication. (See electronic media guidance for further details)
  • ensuring that children, young people and Adults at Risk, have access to adults that they trust and are clear on how to report their concerns.
  • ensuring all adults working with children, young people and Adults at Risk, familiarise themselves with all of the safeguarding and associated policies & procedures (which are updated when required), and those involved in activities run by or for the Catholic Church have read and understood CSSA national guidance on creating a safe environment- Download here.
  • ensuring that all children, young people, Adults at Risk and parents/carers have all the information they need to make an informed decision before participating in any event and activity.
  • ensuring when working with partner organisations, a term of our agreement will be that the third-party state: “We confirm that we have read and understood the Archdiocese of Southwark’s Safeguarding Policy and agree to abide by it.

Code of Conduct

It is imperative that all adults who minister or represent the Catholic Church, paid or volunteer, understand the position of trust that they have been placed. Therefore, all behaviour when ministering or working with children and Adults at Risk, must be of the highest standard. The Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales (CBCEW) have set “Caring Safely for Others: Pastoral Standards and Safe Practices in the Conduct of Ministry” for all ordained ministers. While these guidelines have been written specifically for ordained ministers, the guidance can be followed by all adults who represent the Catholic Church in any other role whether as a volunteer or paid role. For a copy of “Caring Safely for Others: Pastoral Standards and Safe Practices in the Conduct of Ministry” Click Here: for the complete text of “Caring Safely for Others: 

The Archdiocese of Southwark has a code of conduct for all staff and volunteers- Click here for details

CSSA have a code of conduct for leaders and helpers that should be utilised by all adults volunteering or working with young people within any context of the Catholic Church. Follow the below link for details

Lone working with adults

 It is an important safeguarding principle when working with children, young people or Adults at Risk, to ensure that another adult is always present. There are some roles, in particular chaplaincy, where the nature of the role, necessitates working alone with adults, who may be vulnerable or at risk. If any role involves lone working with children, contact must be made with the Archdiocese safeguarding team for advice, prior to the commencement. If a role may involve lone working with adults, there are potential risks and therefore a written risk assessment should be completed which considers the following:

  • Who knows where you are?
  • Can you be seen by others?
  • How would you raise an alarm?
  • Are you in regular contact with your supervisor?
  • Who has access to your diary?
  • How do you keep yourself safe?
  • How do you mitigate any risk?
  • How do you ensure that the person you are working with feels safe?
  • How do you minimise an allegation being made against you

Lone workers should also be able to complete dynamic risk assessments that assess the environment, the client and the individual’s perception of the situation. Lone workers must always be able to withdraw from any situation if they feel unsafe and must report this to their line manager as soon as they are able to. 

For more information on lone working please follow below link

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Everyone should be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a way that affords both protection and privacy for both the individual and the confessor. There is a variety of means that can be adopted to achieve this goal, including;

  • use of the traditional confessional box where there is a fixed grill or a separate entrance for the Priest and penitent;
  • an area where either the penitent or the Priest is within sight, although not within hearing of others;
  • behind a "frosted" screen, in a location where other adults are present,
  • when a deaf child is celebrating the Sacrament, no screen for the penitent and the Priest can be in place. Therefore, other measures should be in place to ensure the integrity of the sacrament and satisfy safeguarding.

Reporting concerning behaviour towards Ordained Ministers and Religious

The Archdiocese of Southwark recognises that the public platform and position of Clergy or Religious, may make them vulnerable to behaviours or attack that is unwarranted and harmful.  If any individual subjects Clergy or Religious to any harmful or sustained inappropriate behaviours or any act which is or may be unlawful, the safeguarding team would encourage the matter to be reported into the team and where appropriate, report the matter to statutory authorities or assist in the management of the behaviour. All reports will be dealt with in full collaboration with the complainant and managed sensitively and considerately.



More to explore

Contact details of the Safeguarding Team

Continue reading

Introduction to Safeguarding

Continue reading

Safeguarding Sub-committee

Continue reading

Guidance on Safeguarding within the Archdiocese of Southwark

Continue reading

Responding to Allegations or Concerns

Continue reading

Supporting those that have been harmed by abuse

Continue reading

Creating Safer Environments

Continue reading

Promoting a Culture of Safeguarding

Continue reading

Guidance on electronic media use

Continue reading

Safer Recruitment and DBS

Continue reading

Reporting a Concern

Continue reading

Resources and Links

Continue reading