Sacred Heart Church North Gosforth

Safeguarding in Sacred Heart Parish

The Diocesan Safeguarding Office working with the Church’s National organisation the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) operates procedures to ensure that as far as is humanly possible children and vulnerable adults in our community are not abused or taken advantage of in any way. Every parish must put these procedures into practice. Here at Sacred Heart we have set up a Child Protection Team to do this. This page is designed to answer some of the questions you may have.

Q. Why do we need a Safeguarding Team?
A. Two reasons.
Firstly, our world has become more and more aware of the need to protect children and vulnerable adults. All voluntary organisations, as well as statutory ones whose work brings them into contact with children and vulnerable adults are obliged to put into place policies and procedures to ensure their safety. The Catholic Church in England and Wales has decided that this begins at parish level and that
all parishes must act.

Secondly, our Catholic Church, and our Diocese in particular, has been found to be negligent in terms of Safeguarding those who are vulnerable. It is imperative that we act to protect the vulnerable and that our processes should be transparent.

Q. Who is the Team?
A. The team members are: John Hawthorne, Jo Shepherd and Susan Stoddart.

Q. What does the Safeguarding Team do?
A. The Team is the point of contact in the parish for anyone with questions or concerns about the safety of children or vulnerable adults when they are involved, in any way, in parish/church activities. It ensures that the protection of children and vulnerable adults is always considered in future planning and organising of parish activities.
It carries out the initial assessment of all adult members of the parish whose roles on behalf of the parish and the Catholic Church bring them into contact with children and vulnerable adults. It works with the Diocesan Safeguarding Office to ensure that those whose roles require it receive the necessary documentation.

Q. Will people be treated confidentially?
A. Yes. The Safeguarding Team will treat everything in the strictest confidence.

Q. Who does the Team vet?
A. Everyone in the parish whose parish work brings them into contact with children and vulnerable adults. This includes, for instance, those who work with the Children’s Liturgy, First Holy Communion and Confirmation preparation catechists, parent and toddler group organisers, members of POSH etc.

Q. I have already received full clearance as part of my job or in my work with another voluntary organisation. Do I need to go through the process in the parish as well?
A. Yes.

Q. I’m uncomfortable with this and don’t really want to be part of this invasion of privacy.
A. We are aware of the misgivings which people may have. However, the protection of children and vulnerable adults is vitally important. If you are in one of the roles affected then you must go through the vetting procedure. If you do not wish to go through the procedure you will not be able to take up that role within the parish


Parish Safeguarding Team
Jo Shepherd (Parish Safeguarding Representative)

Susan Stoddart

Diocesan Contacts

Meriel Anderson, Diocesan Safeguarding Co-ordinator
Telephone : 07472 068014,

Other contact details can be found on the Diocesan website

National contact/information

Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency
Tel: 0207 901 1920