Safeguarding at All Saints and St Mary Magdalene Churches
As you are aware, the subject of abuse has been much in the news regarding the Church over the past few years, and so this Safeguarding focus is overdue. All in positions of authority in the Church are now having to carry out Safeguarding Training, and Churches must have a Safeguarding Officer. Julia Stevenson is our Safeguarding Officer, a very important role indeed as the C of E is committed to the safeguarding, care, and nurture of everyone within our church community.
Safeguarding covers the duty of care that there is to all the congregation. It also includes those that attend just the occasional service, i.e. Christmas, Easter, and Harvest. Safeguarding likewise includes those involved in organising and attending the associated Church outreach events, such as Church Fairs etc, whether fund raising or social.
The ministers and those in elected positions in our Churches are asked to take a Safeguarding Course. These vary in their aspect depending on the individual’s situation, and they focus on our duty of care.
We know that Jesus cared for the poor and the oppressed. In Luke 4:18 He said that He came to “liberate the oppressed.” Oppression is, of course, just another form of abuse.
The impact of abuse on both victims and survivors cannot be underestimated. Abuse perpetrated on one person can affect not only that individual’s physical, mental and emotional life and belief, but can also contaminate relationships outside of the immediate Church situation and spread like cancer among the victims family, friends and well beyond.
We all have insurance; this is to cover us for an unlikely event, but we all take care to lower any risk. We do not leave our home doors open or unlocked. We do not leave our cars unlocked and with keys in the ignition. We keep our wallet or purse in our control. Taking care in doing so makes our home, car, and money safe, and sends out a warning to any that are looking to take advantage of us.
This is the same situation with the Safeguarding measures that our Churches now have in place and are well publicised. They show that our Churches are a safe place for those at risk, and a hostile place for potential abusers.
If you then have now or at any time in the future, any questions, cause or concern relating to abuse, whether recent or in the distant past, in a Church context or not, please do not hesitate to contact Julia, Richard, or me. Our details are on the website and in the Parish Magazine.
Rev Peter Doodes