Safeguarding

Safeguarding Statement

As a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland, we recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children, are committed to ensuring their safety and well-being, and will work in partnership with parents/guardians to do this. 

We recognise each child as a gift from God, and we value and encourage the participation of children in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development. All Church personnel (including clergy, religious, staff and volunteers) have a responsibility to safeguard children through promoting their welfare, health and development in a safe and caring environment that supports their best interests and prevents abuse.

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd Irish Province strives to create an environment in which children are safe and respected. We have developed and are implementing our Safeguarding Policy & Procedures which you can access here: Safeguarding Children - RGS Policy 2019.

Our policy seeks to incorporate best practice as found in the civil documents, Safeguarding Children Policy & Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland (2016) issued by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCII).

Our policy has been updated to take account of the Children First Act 2015, the Children First National Guidance for the Protection & Welfare of Children and other legislative provisions.

The Congregation is committed to: 

  • Implementing our policy and procedures.
  • Doing all in our power to create a safe environment for all to ensure that children/vulnerable persons’ welfare is paramount.
  • Co-operating fully with the civil authorities in all aspects of safeguarding.
  • Fully reporting all allegations, complaints, disclosures, suspicions, or concerns (current, historical, or anonymous) to the civil authorities without delay.
  • Welcoming, listening to and supporting anyone who presents with a report, concern, suspicion, allegation, complaint, disclosure (whether historical, current or anonymous).

Adults at Risk

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd is in the process of drafting a policy document entitled Safeguarding Adults in Need of Protection and/or at Risk of Harm. This document primarily aims to raise awareness of the possibility of harm or abuse in the lives of adults with whom we work and minister, and some of the steps we can take to respond to any concerns.

The document will be published on this website as soon as it becomes available.

Reporting any Suspicions, Concerns,
Knowledge or Allegation

Within the Irish Province we have clear reporting procedures. We have appointed a Designated Liaison Person (DLP), Avril Halley, whose role is to hear and respond to any concerns, knowledge, suspicion or allegation of abuse, current or historical. Contact details: 086 172 1736 or dlp@rgs.ie

The Congregation is committed to:

  • Hearing child protection concerns.
  • Passing on child protection concerns to the statutory authorities.
  • Managing cases and all associated documents.
  • Liaising with the support person, advisor and the Church authority.
  • Passing on child protection concerns to the NBSCCCI.
  • Conducting internal inquiries.
  • Contributing to upholding the seven standards in practice and behaviour.
  • Completing an annual report regarding compliance with Standards 2, 3 and 4 for the Church authority.
  • Monitoring respondents or, with the Church authority, appointing a suitable person to carry out this role.

Sr. Evelyn Fergus is the Deputy Designated Liaison Person who will implementthe reporting procedures in the DLP’s absence.

Reporting Procedure

Following receipt of an allegation, suspicion or if you are concerned about anindividual you should take the following steps:

1. You must refer the matter to Avril Halley, DLP. Contact details:  086 172 1736 or dlp@rgs.ie who will report the matter to:

  • Tusla/HSCNI (Social Services for Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, respectively)
  • An Garda Síochána/PSNI (Police)

2. If a child is at immediate risk, the person who has received the concern should report directly to the statutory authorities and inform the DLP at the earliest opportunity.

3. Some allegations need to be referred to other authorities with a legitimate interest. If the DLP is unsure about whether information can be shared, advice will be sought from TUSLA.

Further Helpful Information

You can also report your concern directly to:

National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCII)
Tel: (01) 505 3124
www.safeguarding.ie

An Garda Siochána – National Protective Services Bureau
Dublin (Harcourt Square), Tel: (01) 666 3430
Cork Tel: (021) 452 2000
Limerick Tel: (061) 21 2411
Waterford Tel: (051) 30 5300

Dedicated Freephone for the reporting of Child Sexual Abuse Tel: 1800 555 222Police

Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
Tel: (028) 9448 2633

TUSLA/HSE
Dublin South East Tel: (01) 629 9010
Dublin South Central -Tel: (01) 620 6078
Cork Tel: (021) 492 3503
Mid West (including Limerick) Tel: (061) 48 2792
Waterford and Wexford Tel: (051) 84 2880
Galway and Roscommon Tel: (091) 546 128

HSC Trusts NI – Health & Social Care Trusts Northern Ireland
Belfast Trust – Tel: (028)90 507 000
Northern Trust – Tel: 03001234333
Southern Trust - Tel: 08007837745
South Eastern Trust – Tel: 03001000300
Western Trust – Tel: (028) 71 314 090

We would also encourage anyone who has suffered abuse to contact:

Towards HealingCounselling and Support Service
www.towardshealing.ie
Freephone: 1800 303416 (ROI)
Freephone 0800 0963315 (Northern Ireland and UK)
Hearing impaired Text Line Number: +353 85 8022859

The Towards Healing Helpline is open from Monday to Thursday, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, and on Friday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Towards Peace - Spiritual Support for Survivors of Abuse by Church Personnel in Ireland
www.towardspeace.ie
Tel: + 353 (0) 1 5053028
Mobile: + 353 (0) 86 7710533
Email: towardspeace@iecon.ie
The service is available on Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Wednesday from 9:00 am to12:00 noon.

For out of office hours, please call us on 086 771 0533 and leave a message. We will respond to your call as soon as possible.

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