SAFEGUARDING FOR CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS
How can your church, religious order or faith group improve its approach to safeguarding and protect you against potential allegations of abuse?
Churches, religious organisations and faith-based groups play a crucial role in the lives of children, young people and adults and offer vital support to the most vulnerable and most at risk people in our society.
However, recently we have seen a growing number of headlines covering high-profile inquiries into alleged instances of abuse involving members of various church denominations and faith groups, both in the UK and overseas.
As we all rightly expect religious orders to keep their communities safe, the idea that children, young people, and vulnerable adults could be at risk of abuse from someone in a faith-related role is unthinkable.
However, as it is unfortunately a reality, churches of every denomination and other faith groups must have everything in place both to keep their congregations safe and to respond to allegations of abuse in immediately, effectively, and compassionately.
This is where HL Safeguarding can help your church or religious order.
OUR HUGELY EXPERIENCED TEAM UNDERSTAND THE PARTICULAR SAFEGUARDING CHALLENGES CHURCHES AND OTHER RELIGIOUS ORDERS FACE.
- The trust people have in religious leaders means it is often very difficult for victims to be heard let alone believed.
- The enormous threat allegations of abuse against individuals pose to the overall reputation of the religious order they belong to.
- The risks associated with safeguarding the most vulnerable among a congregation during social events, pilgrimages, and other excursions.
- The leaders and volunteers charged with safeguarding will have variable knowledge of their responsibilities and the church’s protocols.
- Smaller churches, faith groups, and communities will probably have limited resources to invest in safeguarding which will leave potential gaps in their procedures and increase the levels of risk they are under.
- Many faith-based groups do not have the vetting and recruitment, or management, and training processes in place to ensure their members of staff or volunteers adhere to the required standards.
- Many faith-based groups do not have the support or experience they need in order to respond to allegations of abuse or manage the legal process so that the best interests of both the victim and the religious order are served.
We can help you address all these safeguarding issues.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOUR CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ORDER OR FAITH GROUP IMPROVE ITS APPROACH TO SAFEGUARDING?
Depending on your religious order’s safeguarding aims, objectives, and areas of operation HL Safeguarding’s experienced team will help you:
- Conduct thorough risk assessments to identify and address the safeguarding risks and issues that may impact on your work, whether that work is being done in the UK or further afield.
- Develop the policies and protocols you’ll need to introduce to mitigate these risks and help you with the roll-out.
- Review your current operational practices Review your current operational practices and suggest how these can be improved to better protect your faith leaders, volunteers, and congregation.
- Provide the training required to make sure everyone associated with your church or community familiar with their safeguarding responsibilities and understand how to adopt them.
- Help you introduce a more stringent safeguarding element to your recruitment and supervision both at home and abroad.
- Provide you with a framework you can use to respond to reports or accusations of abuse, exploitation, or neglect.
- Manage the legal response to criminal or civil action that may arise from a breach of any safeguarding policies or an allegation of abuse, exploitation, or neglect.
- Ensure the victims, their families and their local community have a clear path to the justice and accountability they deserve without intimidation or administrative or procedural delays.