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safeguarding - frequently asked questions

 Frequently Asked questions

  • 2. Who is the Local Safeguarding Representative (LSR) for my community?
    As part of new volunteer inductions, contact details for all relevant contacts will be made available to you. The contact details for the LSR are available on the Purple Safeguarding Poster located in your Church or community common spaces. You can find a sample of this poster in the POSTERS section under RESOURCES on the HOMEPAGE of the safeguarding website. Alternatively contact the parish/community office to get contact details.
  • What Church Roles are required to be Police Vetted?
    All roles that include children or vulnerable adults. Examples of such ministries are: Liturgy of the Word with Children Youth Groups Childrens Groups Extraordinary Communion to the sick St Vincent de Paul visiting or delivering food or welfare parcels Any ministries to people in private homes or residential care facilities Children Choirs This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more Church ministries that include children and vulnerable adults.
  • 7. Why do I have to sign a Volunteer Agreement?
    A volunteer agreement is an important document that states the expectation of both parties-the church and the individual requesting to be a volunteer. It is a pre-requisite for forming a proper working relationship between both parties which includes the commitment to the Church Code of Conduct.
  • 9. I am not a volunteer in, why do I need to know about safeguarding?
    The Church's safeguarding programme raises awareness of the collective responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults as well as those in ministries serving the Church. This responsibility extends to "people in the pews" who are not volunteers, or part of a group aligned with the parish/community. It is the shared responsibility of everyone in the Church to have a culture of vigilance. To do so we have clear processes and procedures in safeguarding best practice for all people to follow. Safeguarding calls each of us to act so that we are showing care for each other. In sharing this responsibility, we all create a community of safety and security. Link below to an article in Inform on Safeguarding and why everyone in catholic communities are responsible to ensure the culture is upheld:
  • 14. Who is NOPS
    The National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) responds to complains of abuse involving clergy and members of religious congregations and oversees the Church's safeguarding policies and practices. Why do we do this? The Catholic Church believes that every person has a value and dignity which derives directly from their creation in the image and likeness of God. This implies a duty to value all people and therefore to protect them from harm. The gospel values of love, dignity and justice as demonstrated by Jesus remind us that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is an integral part of the life and ministry of the church. Safeguarding is promoting an environment within all of our faith communities which respects and acknowledges the dignity of everyone, and where people feel valued and safe. The Church has a zero tolerance for abuse or harm. An important aspect of safeguarding is responding to concerns of harm or abuse. For more information about the Church’s process for responding to complaints of harm or abuse, visit our page on Responding to Complaints & Concerns. To report abuse, visit our Report Abuse page.
  • 13. Are the safeguarding posters in different languages?
    Yes, for posters in other languages for your Church or community please follow this link Documents & Policies - National Office for Professional Standards
  • 4. What is the safeguarding workshop training about?
    Training exists to raise awareness of our policies for ensuring a safe church for all and to make individuals aware of their role and responsibilities in relation to recognising and reporting safeguarding concerns. We need to create and maintain a culture of informed vigilance to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults at risk, which can also include ourselves in our volunteer roles. Attending the safeguarding training workshops will give you: Awareness of what safeguarding is in our One Church approach. Empower you to make changes to what we do to keep each other safe. An understanding of your role in creating a culture of safeguarding. Guidelines on how to raise a concern – when things are not right. Insight into reviews and expectations of best practice. Understanding of “what safeguarding looks like in practice” from a practical perspective. Understanding around potential safeguarding risks in your role in the event you are vulnerable. Understand and be introduced to the Local Safeguarding Representatives in your faith community.
  • 6. Why do I have to sign a Code of Conduct?
    Setting expectations of behaviours and holding ourselves and each other to account is an important element of safeguarding. The Church has therefore adopted a Code of Conduct for all volunteers and employees. The “Code of Conduct for Employees and Volunteers” sets out these expectations of behaviour. All employees are asked to read and sign this Code of Conduct to acknowledge they understand and accept these standards of conduct. The skills and expertise that employees and volunteers bring to their role is vital to the life of the Church and is very much valued. All those who undertake work for the Church, whether paid or unpaid, are representing the Church and there are expectations for the way they perform their role.
  • 12. Our faith community is small and has very little involvement with children’s activities. Do the safeguarding requirements still apply?
    Yes. The requirements are not prescriptive. Communities vary in size and structure and provide an array of different of activities to children. The safeguarding standard encourages Churches to develop an approach to child and vulnerable adult safety that works for them and is commensurate with the risks associated with the work they do with children regardless of how regular or irregular this is.
  • 5. Does police vetting mean I have met all the Church safeguarding requirements?
    No. For roles which include children and vulnerable adults, more is needed than a police check. A police check may provide useful and relevant information, but it is just a starting point. Best practice and other background checking systems that reduce the risk of abuse are just one part of implementing a culture of safeguarding. Police vets’ detail criminal offences at a point in time at which the check is made. Safeguarding is about the whole picture of keeping each other safe from harm and it takes a whole community to embed a culture. It is a shared responsibility. Safe Recruitment practices for onboarding volunteers is a vital part of creating a safe and positive environment. These practices support the NZ Catholic One Church approach in the commitment to keeping children, vulnerable adults, volunteers and all who worship safe from harm.
  • 1. I am new to volunteering, what is safeguarding?
    Safeguarding is promoting an environment within our faith communities which respects and acknowledges the dignity of everyone, and where people feel valued and safe. The Church has a zero tolerance for abuse or harm. Faith based groups and places of worship play a major role in the lives of many children, young people, and vulnerable people. This means safeguarding must be a key consideration in all faith settings and activities. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Please watch this 5-minute safeguarding induction video for new volunteers: Safeguarding Induction Video - National Office for Professional Standards (
  • 8. What if someone comes to me with a disclosure of abuse or harm?
    It is key to our safeguarding culture that those working with children and vulnerable adults, are alert to the signs of possible harm and neglect and know who to talk to within their setting about any concerns that arise. 3 R’s - Recognise, Respond, Record Always look at the situation of disclosure through a ‘safeguarding lens’ ensuring that immediate risks are eliminated or minimised for others and you. Confidentiality is crucial. No information is to be passed on other than to those who need to know. Reporting in a timely manner is key. Assume that what is being told to you is the truth. Avoid asking questions, you are not there to assess the harm. Respect the persons dignity and show empathy. Options to reporting a concern: You can raise a concern by following the link here CONTACT | Safeguarding ( Or your faith community have a paper copy of a form titled “Reporting a Safeguarding Concern, Incident of Complaint” or you can download this form off the safeguarding website under Workshop Resources.
  • 10. Our parish is small; we don't have enough volunteers for the 'Two-Adult' practice.
    While this may cause some challenges for a lot of parishes and communities it is best practice to observe the ‘Two-Adult practice’. If you are in a ministry and the current practice is that you go alone to visit or minister to someone who is vulnerable, sick and elderly, talk to your priest or ministry leader about who you could invite to accompany you to ensure you are not made vulnerable.
  • 11. Our faith community hosts events that include children, but their parents / carers are always present. Do we still have to comply with the safeguarding requirement of police vetting the adults/parents who are involved in organising the event in the name of our faith community?
    Yes. If your community is under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch it must comply with the National Safeguarding Policies and Guidelines. The presence of parents / carers as leaders when you host events and activities with children does not remove the requirement for our Church to comply with the standards. This is because the presence of parents/carers does not eliminate the risk of abuse occurring, although it may reduce the risk.
  • 3. What safeguarding processes are volunteers required to follow?
    In addition to volunteers being subject to the referee checks, safety checking and police vetting processes (not all volunteer roles are required to be police vetted), there are three other key steps which must be followed: 1. All volunteers are required to attend a Safeguarding Workshop. This is a face to face 1.5-hour workshop. See website for Next Workshop dates. 2. The Code of Conduct is read, understood, and signed by the person. 3. A Volunteer Agreement is completed, and the Safeguarding Policy read.
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