Safeguarding Policy Statement

“The Catholic Church in Scotland is concerned with the lives, safety, wholeness and well-being of each individual person within God’s purpose for everyone. It seeks to safeguard the welfare of people of all ages who are involved in whatever capacity with the Church and its organisations. As a Church community, we accept that it is the responsibility of all of us, ordained, professed, paid and voluntary members, to work together to prevent physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults.”

Safeguarding Matters Newsletter, September 2021

The second in a series of newsletters that provide information about safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland has recently been published.  The September 2021 issue - 'Looking forward with hope' - features on the publication of IN GOD'S IMAGE version2 which sets out the national safeguarding standards for all Catholic parishes, dioceses, religious congregations and organisations in Scotland. 

It reflects on the experience of external scrutiny of the Church's safeguarding practice as well as developments in Safe Recruitment necessitated by changes in legislation.

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the shared responsibility of everyone to ensure the safety and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is also about ensuring the professional and safe behaviour of everyone who has a duty of care within our Catholic communities whether ordained or lay and whether in a paid or volunteer position. Safeguarding is not only a way to respond to harm but must be proactive in the prevention of any form of abuse or harm.

Ref: In God's Image page 3: Our Commitment to Safeguarding.

What forms of abuse?

Abuse can take many forms and usually when someone is subjected to abuse more than one form is being used.

Types or forms of abuse include:

  • Sexual
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Domestic
  • Spiritual
  • Neglect
  • Financial
  • Ritual
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Rape
  • Child Sex Exploitation
  • Trafficking
  • Grooming

How to respond to allegations

The Bishop’s Conference of Scotland has a mandatory Reporting Policy. All allegations of a criminal nature are reported to Police Scotland. This applies whether the accused is alive or deceased. Allegations must in the first instance be reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. If the Adviser is not available please ask to speak to a member of Safeguarding Team.

If anyone discloses an allegation to you always remember to follow the nationally agree process:

Listen – Respond – Record – Refer

Please also refer to the following resources:

Allegation Audits

In 2013 the Bishops of Scotland published an audit of all the allegations of abuse which had been disclosed to any Diocese or Religious Congregation in the period 2006 - 2012. They committed to published such data annually thereafter. In 2018 they published a statistical review of all historical abuse cases for the period 1943 to 2005.

These Allegations Audits can be seen here on the website of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland.

Contacts for Safeguarding Matters

Parish Contact

Sister Patricia Orr


Telephone: 07875 679776




Scottish Catholic Church


Bridge to Support is available to people, living in Scotland, who were abused by a Jesuitor a staff member or volunteer working on their behalf, when they were under the age of 18 and who do not wish to be in contact with the Jesuits at this stage. 

They provide a confidential service, working together with people to find the right support for them, including counselling and psychological trauma support. 

More details can be found on our website and in this leaflet.

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