A new series of seminars for Safeguarding Coordinators has begun around the diocese with the first, held yesterday afternoon in Stafford, full to capacity.
"Safeguarding isn't the responsiblity of parish coordinators" said Kim Hodgkins, Safeguarding Officer for Children in the Diocese. "It is the responsibility of everyonein every parish." Coordinators are the first point of contact for observations and concerns in each parish. The sessions are designed to help those new to the role and as a refresher and update for those who have been in the role for a while.
"Some of the statistics about child abuse are horrific. But Safeguarding isn't just about children - it is about adults as well" said Revd Sally Smith, Safeguarding Officer for Adults. "We have talked about Vulnerable Adults for some while now and we've heard the headlines about abuse of the elderly in care homes. But any of us can be vulnerable at various points in our lives - not just physically but mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
"Anyone who has worries must report them. Never investigate, but contact the parish Safeguarding Coordinator or the Diocesan Team. Trust your instincts - if something worries you, report it. It might have another explanation, but all reports must be heard."
Contact information for the parish coordinator and the diocesan team are displayed on a poster in every church: there is also a link to further information always near the bottom of the home page of the diocesan website. More seminars are planned:
2 June - Telford: Meeting Point House, 2.30-4-30pm or 7.00-9.00pm
16 June - Walsall: St Paul's at the Crossing, 2.30-4-30pm or 7.00-9.00pm
It is also recommended that all PCCs and others involved in parish work watch this video