Statement of Safeguarding Commitment

As a community whose charism is to help people say yes to God’s call and so live life to the full (Cf Jn 10:10) we aim to provide an environment where people are safe and respected and can flourish. We believe every person has a right to expect the highest level of protection, love, encouragement and respect. As such, Community of Our Lady of Walsingham (COLW) will do everything in its power to safeguard the welfare of Children, Young People and Adults at Risk to whom we minister.

We cherish and affirm each person as a gift from God with an inherent right to dignity of life and bodily integrity which shall be respected, nurtured and protected by all and we strive to protect them from physical, sexual and emotional harm.

These guiding principles inform our Safeguarding Policy. This has been drawn up to ensure that we take every possible measure to prevent abuse by members of COLW or our volunteers. We will take vigorous action in the event of a complaint, in line with the requirements of our policies and the standards set by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA).

Our community is committed to the One Church Approach to safeguarding in the Catholic Church in England and Wales by ensuring we work within the safeguarding standards set and audited by the CSSA. This includes the duty of COLW members and volunteers 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 decea

COLW are members of the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS). We receive advice and training from RLSS and are committed to continually improving our practice.

Concerned about a child or adult at risk?

If you are concerned that a child or adult is at immediate risk of harm, please call the police on 999.

If during the course of your contact with COLW you have a concern about a child or adult, please contact our safeguarding lead Sr Theresa Weight by email: colwsafeguarding@gmail.com or call her on the community telephone no 01362 692574. You can also contact the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS) on 0151 5562311.

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 your concern is not related to the community or you are not sure who to contact, you can also seek help through the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency: www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

If you have been hurt in the past

‘Safe Spaces’ offers confidential and independent support for those who have experienced abuse by someone in the Church or through their relationship with the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Church of England or the Church in Wales. You can find out more through their website: www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk

For those discerning consecrated life

As a community we have a preferential option for the young and spiritually poor. As part of our apostolate, we give formation and accompaniment to people who are discerning their vocation – whether they are called to marriage, religious life, priesthood, or single life – whatever their vocation. We also have a great desire to see consecrated life flourish in our country and for all communities to be a place where each person feels valued and respected and can grow to the fullness of life and love. In this regard, if you are discerning a vocation to a religious community, we recommend the following videos. They look at the red flags to watch out for (specific links to them below) and will help you discern if the community you feel drawn to will be a happy and healthy place in which you will be able to flourish.

Red Flags in Religious Life

  1. Joining a Convent
  2. Training and Formation
  3. Spiritual Life, Spiritual Guidance and Confession
  4. The Vow of Poverty
  5. The Vow of Obedience
  6. The Vow of Chastity
  7. Sexual Abuse
  8. Leaving a Congregation

Policies

COLW Safeguarding Policy 2022

COLW Complaints Policy 2023

Websites

Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency: www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

Religious Life Safeguarding Service: www.religioussafeguarding.org

Safe Spaces: www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk