Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser

Mrs Marjory Booth
St Mary’s House
14 The Chanonry
AB24 1RP

Tel: 01224 319154
Fax: 01224 325 570

Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group

  • Mrs Marjory Booth
  • Mr Tom Cairns (Chair)
  • Fr Mark Impson (Episcopal Vicar for Safeguarding)
  • Mrs Anne M Rae
  • Mrs Kathleen Hoy
  • Mrs Margaret Farrell
  • Mrs Jackie Loder
  • Mr John Murray
  • Mrs Andrea Fernandes
  • Mr Roger McDermott
  • Sister Imelda Ann DuPuis

National Safeguarding  Coordinator for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland

Mrs Tina Campbell

SCSS: Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service

274 Bath Street
G2 4JR

Tel: 0141 332 7177

An online version of the safeguarding standards; “In God’s Image” can be accessed here

Our Commitment to Safeguarding

All components of the Catholic Church in Scotland, especially those in positions of leadership and responsibility, value the lives, wholeness, safety and well-being of each individual person within God’s purpose for everyone.

We seek to uphold the highest safeguarding standards in our relationships with people of all ages who are involved in whatever capacity with the Church and its organisations.

And therefore, as a Church community, we accept that it is the responsibility of all of us – ordained, professed, employed and voluntary members – to work together to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse or harm.

Safeguarding is a duty that is rooted in the message of Jesus and in the mission of the Church. The Catholic Church in Scotland aspires to the highest standards with regard to the care and protection of children and vulnerable adults, and actively promotes justice for, and provides assistance to, those who have been abused.

Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

National Policies/Standards

On 19th March 2018 the Bishops of Scotland signed their commitment to the new Safeguarding Standards set out in the policy document ‘In God’s Image’.

The document has been published by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland as an “Instruction on Safeguarding for implementation in all Catholic canonical jurisdictions in Scotland and by all other groups and organisations in Scotland subject to a legitimate canonical authority of the Catholic Church”. It is intended to explain and to direct the approach to Safeguarding that is to be practised at every level of the Catholic Church in Scotland. For the public, and for Catholic faith communities in particular, it has been written to explain how the Catholic Church in Scotland makes every effort to protect from all forms of harm and abuse those children and adults who are vulnerable or at risk. It has also been written to direct those who are responsible for managing Safeguarding arrangements in parishes, dioceses, Religious Institutes and Catholic organisations on how to comply with these new national Safeguarding standards.

These policies, procedures and standards are evidence of the enduring commitment of the Bishops in Scotland to develop and maintain high quality safeguarding practice for all those who are involved in the life of the Church. The importance of support, guidance, procedures and training and development opportunities for people working with children and those who are vulnerable is recognised and this document should be used to provide a comprehensive and unified approach to the safeguarding programme.

Our Normative Safeguarding Standards

In many areas of public life, elected representatives, public officials, employees and volunteers are expected to observe certain standards, or codes of ethical conduct, which, in governing their practice, assure the public of the quality and trustworthiness of their work.  Public trust in those who care for the vulnerable is dependent on knowing that certain standards of service and conduct are being adhered to by those who have taken on these responsibilities.

All in the Church must strive to re-build trust where it has been broken and to hold ourselves to high standards of conduct and practice.  To enable us to achieve this goal, we have defined a framework of eight Safeguarding normative standards for all canonical jurisdictions within the Catholic Church in Scotland. These set out the required levels of care and protection to be offered by all who are responsible for children and vulnerable adults.

Compliance with all eight standards is required.

Standard 1


Creating and maintaining safe Church environments We provide environments that are welcoming, nurturing and safe. We put measures in place to protect children and vulnerable adults and to promote the wellbeing of all.
Standard 2 Vetting the appointment of clergy, religious, lay employees and volunteers When admitting men to seminary, appointing clergy & religious and recruiting lay employees & volunteers, we require PVG checks on their suitability for working with vulnerable groups.
Standard 3 Responding to concerns or allegations We follow canonical and civil procedures when alerted to information, concerns or allegations regarding a person’s safety or welfare and we ensure that there is a prompt response.
Standard 4 Providing care and support for survivors We provide a compassionate response to survivors of abuse when they disclose their experiences and we offer them support, advice, care and compassion.
Standard 5 Managing and providing care for those accused of abuse When an allegation is received concerning clergy, religious, lay employees or volunteers, we offer the accused pastoral care and support, including supervision and management of appropriate duties when necessary.
Standard 6 Working together in Safeguarding In our shared responsibility for Safeguarding, we work together effectively: recording, communicating and sharing information safely, in full compliance with both civil and canon law.


Standard 7 Training and support for all involved in Safeguarding Church personnel participate in induction training and continuing professional development and receive support in all aspects of Safeguarding, relevant to their respective roles, thus developing the requisite knowledge, attitudes and skills.  We encourage and facilitate the sharing of best Safeguarding practice.
Standard 8 Quality assurance in Safeguarding We deploy effective planning processes to monitor, review, self-evaluate and report on our Safeguarding practices and on our compliance with these Safeguarding standards.  The Independent Review Group (IRG) externally monitors and reports on our compliance with these Safeguarding standards.

 Safeguarding in the Catholic Church – Poster

The Safeguarding poster will be clearly displayed in Parishes, Activities and Organisations. Doing so will give a clear message to the local community that the Catholic Church in Scotland cares deeply about all people.

Contact details of individuals with specific responsibility for safeguarding, e.g. Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Local Diocesan Office, will also be displayed on the poster.

The Role of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser

The role of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA) is to advise and assist the Bishop in meeting his Safeguarding responsibilities.  This must involve all matters that relate to ensuring the protection of children and vulnerable adults in their contact with Church personnel and/or on Church property in the Diocese. The DSA must co-ordinate efforts to raise awareness of Safeguarding within parish communities, including the recruiting and training of Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinators, the recruiting of Diocesan Safeguarding Trainers and the training of Diocesan clergy.  The DSA must also advise the Bishop on good practice in responding to allegations of abuse.  It is recommended that, in each Diocese, the DSA role should be undertaken by a layperson.

The Role of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group(DSAG) must consist of people with relevant experience and skills, appointed by the Bishop to support the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser in his/her Safeguarding duties and to ensure Diocesan-wide adherence to the Safeguarding standards to which the Bishop is co-signatory.  This should include the organisation of PVG applications and monitoring of on-going membership of the scheme across the Diocese.  The DSAG should invite the National Safeguarding Co-ordinator to provide information on national Safeguarding developments at their meetings. The group meets quarterly.

The Role of the Diocesan Risk Assessment Management Team

The Diocesan Risk Assessment Management Team(DRAMT) is appointed by the Bishop to assist him, within the strict limits of the law, in the management of individual cases where allegations have been made against a Diocesan cleric, employee or volunteer.  They should consider: convictions on PVGs, those being considered for Listing and Barring and references which indicate that a volunteer should not be allowed to start or continue in post.  This team’s advice and recommendations should assist the Bishop to come to decisions about how to proceed, in accordance with both civil and canon law, in response to allegations and concerns.

The Role of the Parish Priest

The Parish can be seen as the ‘frontline’ of Safeguarding, where many children, young people and adults participate in religious services and community activities.  The Parish Priest carries prime responsibility for ensuring that the parish provides a safe environment and protection from harm, in line with these policies, procedures and with legislation.  He must appoint a Parish Safeguarding Coordinator(PSC) who will support him with the management of Safeguarding in the parish.

The Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator

The PSC must ensure that any person working with vulnerable groups has been ‘safely’ recruited, according to vetting procedures outlined in this document.  He/she must also take the lead role in promoting the participation of all volunteers in Safeguarding training provided by Diocesan Trainers.  Any allegation made to a parish volunteer, employee or cleric must be reported immediately to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser who will manage the process thereafter.

Recruitment of Volunteers

To demonstrate that the work of volunteers with children is valued highly, the Catholic Church operates a robust selection and recruitment procedure, which includes receiving information from two independent referees and PVG Scheme Check.

In working with children and/or Adults at Risk every Parish Priest and Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator must follow national policies and procedures laid down in the document’

Recruitment Process – Summary

The following is a summary of the recruitment process which must be carried out for all appointments as ‘Child Care’ and ‘Protected Adults’ workers.

Parishes must ensure that these recruitment procedures are adhered to: –

Step 1
Role Descriptions are developed for everyone.

Step 2
Prospective workers are asked to complete an Application Form. Existing workers transferring to another Parish and to a new post are asked to complete an Application Form.

Step 3
Two references are requested for prospective Workers. Where a worker is transferring between Parishes references can be obtained from the respective parish.

Step 4
Prospective Worker is interviewed. Where a Worker is transferring between Parishes he/she should be interviewed prior to being appointed to the new post.

Step 5
A PVG Scheme Record is requested for the worker before he/she is appointed. The Applicant is also asked to complete a Declaration Form. Where a worker is transferring between Parishes and to a new post, the applicant must apply for an Update to their PVG Membership and completes an ‘Existing PVG Membership’ application.

Step 6
The appropriate representative of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group should ensure that each Parish Priest/Parish Safeguarding Coordinator is notified of clearance of an appointment.

The volunteer must not be employed in any role until they are issued with their approval letter from the diocese.

Annual Audit

The Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service conduct an annual audit of the implementation of the policies, procedures and standards contained in the document “In Gods Image “including the response of the Church nationally and of each Diocese to allegations and concerns of abuse.

How to Respond to Allegations

The Bishop’s Conference of Scotland has a mandatory Reporting Policy. All allegations of a criminal nature are reported to Police Scotland. This applies whether the accused is alive or deceased. Allegations must in the first instance be reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. If the Adviser is not available, please ask to speak to a member of Safeguarding Team. If anyone discloses an allegation to you always remember to follow the nationally agree process: Listen – Respond – Record – Refer

What can you do to help if you are worried about a child, young person or adult at risk?

If you see behaviour that is of concern, or if an individual tells you something, you need to take them seriously, and speak to someone (the person to whom you are responsible or the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser).

In an emergency situation, where you have immediate concerns for the safety of an individual you must contact the Police/Social Work Services/Medical Services direct.

Responding to Concerns/Allegations of Abuse in Emergency Situations

When a child, young person or adult at risk is at risk of immediate harm, contact the Police and/or Social Work Services giving full information and follow advice given. Statutory Agencies are staffed 24 hours a day every day of the year.

Seek medical help where necessary, giving medical staff relevant information about the allegation/concern.

Following these steps ensures immediate avoidance of further abuse, immediate pursuit of an alleged abuser, avoidance or destruction of evidence.

Supporting Survivors

“Survivors of abuse of any form” deserve the greatest care and respect. Their courage in coming forward to disclose their experience to personnel within the Church can never be underestimated. So, Church personnel must take care to provide an immediacy of response (as well as sensitive care) to anyone who wishes to talk about the harm they have suffered.” In God’s Image Page 34

Church personnel are open to receiving contact from survivors and seek to explore the best options available to support anyone who has been abused within the Church.

The Raphael Counselling Service was launched in 2015 and referrals to this service which is provided by the professional agency Health In Mind are made via the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. (Please also see the Raphael Counselling Services leaflet.)

The McLellan Report

Details about the McLellan Report is available here.