Our Core Safeguarding Message

  • We regard as our paramount concern the safety of children and vulnerable adults.
  • We demonstrate zero tolerance of abuse.
  • We report all allegations of abuse to the statutory authorities.
  • We show compassion for all who have suffered experience of abuse.
  • We acknowledge and learn from our past failings.
  • We open our safeguarding procedures to independent scrutiny.
  • We provide training and support to all who are responsible for safeguarding.
  • Together we commit to continuous improvement in our safeguarding practice.

Our Safeguarding Culture

Everyone in the Catholic Church in Scotland – especially those in positions of leadership and responsibility – values 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 with the Church and its organisations. As a Church community, we accept that it is the responsibility of all of us – ordained, professed, employed and volunteer lay people – to work together to uphold these safeguarding standards that have been designed to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse or harm.

In God’s Image Sept 2021 page 5

“Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient.  Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults”
(Pope Francis, page 35 of ‘In God’s Image’ version 2)

We want you to know that the church cares about you and that you are valued. You matter a great deal to us, and there is help and support available for you.

To discuss in confidence how we may be able to help you, please call Jo Martin, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser: 07579 768178 or complete this form:

Email: Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor

This contact form is sent directly to Josephine Martin, Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor.

If you believe a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger please contact the emergency services on 999.

IN GOD’S IMAGE version 2 (IGIv2) came into effect on 8th September 2021.   The text of IGIv2 is available here. It has been written to explain how the Catholic Church in Scotland makes every effort to protect children and adults who are vulnerable or at risk. It has also been written as an ‘Instruction’ from the Church to direct those who are responsible for managing safeguarding arrangements in parishes, dioceses, religious institutes, and Catholic organisations on how to comply with these national safeguarding standards.

Our Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser is Mrs Josephine Martin. You can contact her on 07579 768178 or by completing this form:

Email: Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor

If you have any concerns, questions, wish to report or seek support or assistance please use the contact form below. This contact form is sent directly to Josephine Martin, Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor.

If you believe a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger please contact the emergency services on 999.

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group consists of people with relevant experience and skills, appointed by the bishop to support the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and to ensure diocesan-wide adherence to the safeguarding standards to which the bishop is co-signatory. Their responsibilities also include analysis of the annual safeguarding audits, the formulation of the diocesan safeguarding action plan and the planning of relevant safeguarding training for clergy, religious, Parish Safeguarding Coordinators and volunteers.

Members of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group:

    • Mrs Josephine Martin (Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser)
    • Fr Mark Impson (Episcopal Vicar for Safeguarding)
    • Mrs Anne M Rae
    • Mrs Kathleen Hoy
    • Mrs Margaret Farrell
    • Mrs Lauren Robertson (Diocesan Administration Co-ordinator)
    • Sister Imelda Ann DuPuis
    • Mr Gerry Healy
Diocesan Safeguarding Contact Details

St Mary’s House
14 The Chanonry
AB24 1RP

Tel: 01224 319154
Fax: 01224 325 570

If you have any concerns, questions, or wish to report or seek support or assistance please use the contact form below. This contact form is sent directly to the Diocesan Safeguarding Service.

If you believe a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger please contact the emergency services on 999.

Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency

Director of Safeguarding: Paul Donaldson
Head of Safeguarding Training: Helena Rameckers
Office Administrator: Mary Stein

PO Box 8789

Telephone: 0141 332 7177


An online version of the safeguarding standards; “In God’s Image V2” can be accessed here

Our Commitment to Safeguarding

This leaflet is available to download in the resources section.
Reporting Abuse

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger.

It is the policy of the Catholic Church in Scotland 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 you are in any role within the Catholic Church in Scotland, you must refer allegations directly to the Safeguarding office for your Diocese or Religious Congregation.

If you are a member of the public, you should refer allegations directly to the Police and also to the Safeguarding office in your Diocese.

You can also contact the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency by telephoning 0141 332 7177 or by email at

Recruitment of Volunteers

All volunteers helping with activities involving children and/or protected adults must complete the following steps before commencing their volunteer role:

  1. Complete the Diocesan Application Form
  2. Provide the names of two referees on the form (not the Parish Priest, the Parish Safeguarding Coordinator or a relative).
  3. The Parish Safeguarding Coordinator will help each volunteer to apply for membership of the PVG Scheme (or update membership) for Tier 1 posts. Volunteers who are members of the PVG scheme through work or volunteer roles with other organisations must have their membership updated to cover the volunteer role within the Catholic Church. The safeguarding administrator facilitates the process. They are contactable via or by calling 01224 319154
  4. Attend Safeguarding Training Induction.

Once these steps are complete, the volunteer will receive a Diocesan Letter of Approval. Please note that a volunteer cannot start their regulated role before receiving the letter of approval. Policy changes may mean that further training is required.

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.” 

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.

Reasons for visiting this page:

  • you are a survivor and want to find help and support.
  • you now feel strong enough to tell someone about the abuse you have suffered.
  • you want to understand more about what support is available for survivors of abuse.
  • you are the relative or friend of someone who has shared with you that they have been abused.
  • you to support someone known to you who is a survivor of abuse.

If you wish to tell someone about abuse:

Thank you for deciding to tell someone about the abuse you have suffered.  We understand that for anyone to reach this point demands significant courage.

The Catholic Church in Scotland has a mandatory reporting policy. This means that ALL allegations of abuse are reported to the Police, whether the accused is alive or deceased. Although all allegations are reported to the Police, you have the right to decide whether or not to engage with the Police at this stage. If you wish to make a statement to the Police, or if you decide that you are unable to do so at the moment, Safeguarding personnel are still available to offer you support.

What do survivors of abuse need?

To be Heard


Listening is essential and the most important first response to someone who discloses abuse. The Catholic Church want to listen to the voices of survivors. Initially this is done through a meeting with the Safeguarding Adviser in a Diocese.
To be Believed For a survivor to be told that they are believed is vitally important. Survivors of non-recent abuse will often have attempted to tell someone when the abuse was happening to them as a child. Very often they will have been dismissed or not believed. The impact of abuse on the psychological health of a survivor will result in a difficulty recalling the abuse in a chronologically accurate manner.
To feel Safe It is a common experience for survivors to feel anxious, having disclosed abuse, and to want reassurance and a sense of safety. This reflects the deeply rooted damage which abuse in a Church context causes on every level. Children often grow up with their understanding and experience of Church as a safe place with safe people around them. When it is the ‘safe people’ who are the perpetrators of abuse, this can be devastating. The Catholic Church has a particular duty of care to survivors to offer them safety by listening and responding with care and compassion.
To Understand Whilst it is often impossible to comprehend why a perpetrator chooses to hurt children by sexually abusing them, or indeed by subjecting them to other forms of abuse, there is a wealth of helpful literature available to help survivors to understand the impact of abuse. Two very helpful books have been written by Cristiane Sanderson: ‘The Warrior Within’ (for survivors) and ‘The Spirit Within’ (for anyone supporting survivors).
To find Support The Catholic Church in Scotland can arrange for Counselling to be provided for anyone who has been abused in the Church.  The cost of the counselling sessions is met by the Diocese or Religious Congregation.  Some survivors may wish to find spiritual support. Some have rejected the Church because it symbolises the abuse suffered. Others still search for a sense of the faith which they feel has been lost. It is important that the Church remains open to listening to what survivors are seeking.

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.


For many survivors of abuse, isolation can intensify feelings of fear and anxiety. Many of these helping agencies have telephone and email services that can be contacted for advice and support during these difficult times.

For Children, Young People & Parents

  • Childline: for people up to 19 years old, 24hr help line, email and online chat services. Tel No 0870 336 2910 or Freephone 0800 1111 email
  • Children 1st: offers services to children and families affected by abuse. Tel No 0800 28 22 33
    website  They also have a parentline: Tel No 0800 028 2233 (weekdays 09:00 – 21:00), email
  • Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP): to report concerns about online abuse and information on internet safety:
  • NSPCC: provides advice and support for children & young people. Information Helpline: 0808 800 5000

Survivor Groups/Organisations

  • Future Pathways: set up to allow survivors of in-care abuse in Scotland to access services. Tel No 0808 164 2005 (weekdays 10:00 – 18:00) Website:
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC): offers advice and referral to support services. Support line: 0808 801 0331 (Mon- Thurs 10:00 – 21:00, Fri 10:00 – 18:00)
  • Trauma Counselling Line Scotland: confidential telephone counselling.  Tel No 08088 020 406 (Mon- Wed 14:00 – 18:00, Fri 09:00 – 15:00) website:

Organisations that help survivors of abuse in Aberdeen Diocese

Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill

On 13 August 2020, the Scottish Government introduced the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament.

The document is available to download below:

The McLellan Report
Safeguarding Matters Newsletters


RC Diocese of Aberdeen Charitable Trust.
A registered Scottish Charity Number SC005122