Child Safeguarding Statement
Child Safeguarding Statement of the Order of Carmelites (O.Carm.)
This statement has been prepared to comply with the requirements of the Children First Act 2015 and is supported by Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016 and Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.
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, ordained and non ordained, staff and volunteers) have a responsibility to safeguard children and young people through promoting their welfare, health and development in a safe and caring environment that supports their best interests and prevents abuse.
Under the Child Care Act 1991, a child is someone under the age of 18 years who is not or has not been married.
Nature of service
The Order of Carmelites (O.Carm.) as a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland exists to promote the teachings of the Catholic Church. This includes the following ministry with children and young people:
- Attendance by children and young people at Church services and in the preparation for Church services;
- Participation in sacramental preparation;
- Participation by children and young people in various roles within Churches and our Communities including altar servers, choirs, Ministers of the Word, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, catechists in youth programmes, children’s liturgy;
- Participation in youth groups/youth ministries ;
- Participation in retreats and pilgrimages;
(Note this list is not exhaustive)
Principles to Safeguard Children from Harm
As outlined in the Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016 and Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 we are committed to the following principles:
- Mandatory reporting.
- Each of us has a duty to notify the statutory authorities of suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations that a child is being or has been abused:
- through neglect
- Suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations may relate to possible abuse by a member of Church personnel, but they can also relate to incidents in the child’s family, or elsewhere in the community.
- Caring for the welfare of all children and the adults who work with them. Measures to create and maintain environments that are safe for children, that prevent abuse, and that create nurturing, caring conditions within the Church for children and the adults who work with them, will continue to be strengthened and reviewed. This will be done through training support, communications and quality assurance.
- Responding appropriately to child protection suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations. Anyone who brings any suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or past abuse of a child to the notice of the Church will be responded to sensitively, respectfully, actively and in a timely manner, in line with statutory child protection procedures and Church requirements.
- All suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations that reach the threshold for reporting to the statutory authorities will be reported to the appropriate statutory authorities. This will be done irrespective of the status of the person (lay, cleric or religious) who is suspected of having been abusive to a child. If the allegation relates to a lay member of Church personnel, in addition to notifying the statutory authorities, the allegation must be reported to the Church authority. If the allegation relates to a cleric or religious, in addition to notifying the statutory authorities, the allegation must also be reported to the Church authority and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
- All Church personnel will cooperate with the statutory authorities in all cases.
- In responding to complaints of child sexual abuse relating to clergy and all those in forms of consecrated life, Church authorities will act in accordance with the requirements of civil law and canon law, and so will respect the rights and uphold the safeguards afforded in these, both to the complainant and respondent.
- Caring pastorally for complainants and other affected persons. Those who have suffered child abuse by Church personnel will receive a compassionate and just response, and will be offered appropriate pastoral care, counselling and support as they seek to rebuild their lives. An appropriate pastoral response to the family, parish, congregation or order and to the wider community will be provided, with due regard to the right of privacy of those directly involved, and to the administration of justice.
- Caring pastorally for respondents and other affected persons. This Church body in its response to suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations of child sexual abuse will respect the rights under civil law and canon law of an accused cleric or religious or other Church personnel. A legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory and Church inquiry processes. As the processes develop, additional assessment, therapy and support services may be offered to the respondent.
- The Church authority will take responsibility for ensuring that any cleric or religious who is considered to constitute a danger to children is managed according to a risk management plan.
- All requisite steps will be taken to restore the good name and reputation of anyone who has been wrongly accused of abusing a child.
- Respondents belong to families and diocesan or religious communities. The Church authority will be mindful of the need to provide support to members of families and communities affected by the respondent’s changed situation.
The Risk Assessment Table sets out the identified risks to the safety of children and young people involved in Church activities in the Order of Carmelites (O.Carm.) and the steps taken to minimise the risks of abuse. See the ‘Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016’ and the safeguarding section on this website.
Harm as defined in the Children First Act 2015, means ‘in relation to a child–
- assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or
- sexual abuse of the child, whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances, or otherwise.’
Community Specific Risk Assessment
Each individual religious community must document any additional safeguarding risks and the procedures in place to minimise these risks. A similar format as above should be used and personnel in the safeguarding office named below are available to support this process.
All procedures outlined in the risk assessment above are available at www.carmelites.ie. The following procedures are specified procedures under the Children First Act 2015 and are also referenced above:
- Procedure for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct against Church personnel of a child availing of our service.
- Procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of Church personnel to work with children.
- Procedure for provision of and access to child safeguarding training and information, including the identification of the occurrence of harm.
- Procedure for the reporting of child protection or welfare concerns to Tusla.
- Procedure for maintaining a list of the persons in the relevant service who are mandated persons.
- Procedure for appointing a relevant person.
The Order of Carmelites (O.Carm.) is committed to safeguarding children through the implementation of Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016 and Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017. This Child Safeguarding Statement and our practice supports our desire to keep children safe from harm while in our ministries. As part of our annual audit against the relevant indicators of the child safeguarding standards, we will review the effectiveness of our practice as outlined in this statement and will revise, as appropriate.
Michael Troy, O.Carm., Prior Provincial.
1st June 2021
For any queries relating to this statement please contact the Relevant Person under the Children First Act 2015:
Julie McCullough, Director of Safeguarding/DLP.
Telephone: (01) 2984014/ 087 1947212
Carmelite Order, Gort Muire, Ballinteer, Dublin 16, D16 E167
Review date: May 2022