Reporting abuse 

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police, using 999 if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger. 

It is the policy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to report all allegations of abuse to statutory authorities, regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, or whether the accused person is living or deceased. 

If you are in any role within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, you must refer allegations directly to the safeguarding office for your diocese or religious congregation, or directly to the Police. 

If you are a member of the public, please refer allegations directly to the police and then please pass on your concerns to our safeguarding Co-ordinator Janice Pearson on 07887 990 385

In Clifton Diocese we are deeply committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all those entrusted to our care, especially the most vulnerable among us. The Church’s mission is to bring the light of Christ to the world, and we must be vigilant in protecting those who are at risk of harm. The sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults is a grave sin that deeply offends our Lord and causes immense harm to victims.

As the shepherd of this diocese, I take this responsibility very seriously and I am determined to do everything in my power to prevent such abuses from occurring and to respond swiftly and compassionately when they do.

To this end, we have implemented robust safeguarding policies and procedures throughout the diocese. It is the responsibility of everyone within the Diocese of Clifton to ensure our parishes and institutions are safe places, especially for those who are vulnerable. We have a zero tolerance to abuse, harm and any behaviour that falls short of appropriate safeguarding practices as expressed in National Policies from the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency.

We are also committed to fostering a culture of transparency and accountability within the Church in all our activities. Responding to those who come forward to report having suffered harm is a vital part of our mission and the Diocese is committed to being a welcoming and safe Church that is truly a beacon of light and hope for all.

We strive to support survivors and those who have been harmed by the Church, and we wish to work with survivors to improve standards further. We will listen and learn from every survivor/victim we work with.

May the grace of God strengthen us in this vital mission.

Bishop Bosco MacDonald, May 2024

Our Parish Safeguarding Representative is Iris White, who may be contacted at psr.cheltenham.sacredhearts@cliftondiocese.com.

Safeguarding in the Clifton Diocese

The Diocesan safeguarding team supports the ministry of the Church by providing a professional and robust support around the protection of children, young people and adults at risk, to ensure that worshipping communities are safe places where all have a positive experience of the Church in which they feel loved, accepted and safe.

All issues will be dealt with in a sensitive and caring manner, in the strictest of confidence.

The dedicated safeguarding team work closely with other agencies including the Police, Probation, Social Services and comply with the standards that are set by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA).  The CSSA has been set up as a professional standards body with regulatory powers which exist to regulate all Catholic Churches.

The safeguarding office is located at Alexander House, 160 Pennywell Road, Bristol, BS5 0TX

Further information about safeguarding within the diocese is found at: www.cliftondiocese.com/depatments/safeguarding and has a great deal of information and contact details.

General enquiries: 0117 954 0993

Email: safeguarding@cliftondiocese.com

The Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator can be contacted on 07887 990 385 or janice.pearson@cliftondiocese.com

ANTI-SLAVERY PARTNERSHIP

Clifton Diocese is a member of the Anti-slavery Partnership, which is a multi-agency group jointly chaired by Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset Police and the charity Unseen.

The partnership helps prevent slavery and exploitation and supports victims by raising awareness, sharing information and referring people who have been trafficked for help. The Church is often one of the few places traffickers will allow their victims to attend and as such we are in a unique position to help identify victims, report such cases and offer pastoral  support.