Having been subject to some scandals in recent years, the Catholic Church takes the protection of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. Every parish has a designated Safeguarding Officer, whose job is to keep the parish up to the mark. He is part of a dedicated Diocesan team who oversee these matters for Catholics in Surrey and Sussex.
Everyone who works even occasionally with children or vulnerable adults must submit to a DBS check (formerly known as a CBS check). This means giving the police permission to report to the diocese whether an individual has a record of activity which would make work with children or vulnerable adults inappropriate.
What should you do if you suspect someone is being abused? Simply, call the police (dial 101). This is not a matter for the Parish or the Safeguarding Officer or even the Diocese. They will be called in to assist, no doubt, but the most important thing is the safety of the vulnerable. Naturally, the Diocese or your Safeguarding Officer will happily give advice if you ask.
If you are beginning work with young people or vulnerable adults (examples might be as a catechist, an adult altar server, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion taking Communion to the sick, an active member of the SVP, Scout leader etc.) then you need a DBS check. Please get in touch with our Safeguarding Officer, who will arrange it with you.
The Diocesan Officer is Philip Wright. He is a Christian but not a Catholic, and is a former police officer. He is therefore very well positioned to be objective and knowledgable.
Arundel and Brighton Safeguarding Office
Bishop’s House, The Upper Drive, Hove, Sussex, BN3 6NB
Our parish Safeguarding Officer is Matthew Cornwell