Ensuring a safe church for all

The Church of Scotland has a deep concern for the wholeness and well-being of each individual. The Gospel proclaims it is the responsibility of everyone within the fellowship of the Church to prevent harm, be it physical, sexual or emotional and we will always seek to reduce the risk.

The above is an extract from the Church of Scotland Safeguarding Policy Statement 2010. It is the responsibility of each congregation to ensure that they have appropriate measures in place to protect and support everyone, particularly children and vulnerable adults within the congregation, Abbey organisations and organisations associated with the Abbey.

Lorraine Fraser was appointed as the new Safeguarding Co-coordinator in December 2010 to succeed the late George Brown. At the time of the appointment we were in the middle of a change in the law to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (the PVG Scheme). As we approach the start of another busy year in the Abbey it might be helpful to explain a little about Safeguarding in the context of the congregation.

All the leaders and staff within the Abbey who have regular contact with children or vulnerable adults require to hold a recent Disclosure Certificate or will be required to register under the requirements of the new PVG Scheme before they can work unsupervised within any of the organisations or groups of individuals that come under the auspices of the Scheme.

Training sessions (in conjunction with the Presbytery Safeguarding Trainer) are arranged for all organisation leaders and church staff to bring everyone up to speed with the new requirements. In addition information about Safeguarding within the Abbey is placed on the notice boards in the Abbey and the Church Halls.

This provides an easy point of reference for parents in particular who may not be members of the congregation but who have children attending organisations who meet in the Hall. The young people in particular are the future of the congregation and the church nationally and it is therefore the responsibility of us all to ensure that their time with us in the Abbey is a happy and safe one.

If any member of the congregation wishes to know more about our Safeguarding responsibilities and my work as Co-ordinator, please do not hesitate to contact Lorraine Fraser. (see the Directory at the front of the Arrow)

We all hope that there will never be an occasion where one of us is concerned about the safety and well being of our young people or vulnerable members of the congregation. However, in the unlikely event that you have concerns, please contact me immediately and appropriate steps will be taken to investigate and hopefully allay any concerns that may have arisen.