Standard 6: Access to advice and support
‘If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love.’ (Eph 4:16)
The Church is committed to ensuring that advice and pastoral support is available to help church personnel and volunteers play their part in safeguarding children.
When an allegation of abuse is made against a member of the Church e.g. priest, religious, employee or volunteer, it can have a major impact on the parish, congregation, church organisation and personnel. The Archdiocese of Armagh is committed to offering pastoral support to all those people involved, such as victims and their family or accused and their family.
It is important that the pastoral support offered is appropriate to whether an allegation concerns current or historical abuse. Pastoral support offered must not compromise any future enquiries or put children at further risk.
Support and advice for those who have been abused
Children need someone to turn to when they are being abused as do adults and children who have been abused in the past. Often they do not know where to go for help so the Archdiocese, through the Designated Officers, will provide information about where and how to get help and advice on these matters.
All children are vulnerable but some, such as disabled children or children with communication difficulties are particularly vulnerable. The Archdiocese is committed to working in partnership with relevant agencies/organisations to develop alternative ways of enabling those children and adults with special needs to access information and support e.g. braille, interpreters or identifying experienced workers in the area who can assist if required.
Support and advice for those who have abused
The Archdiocese of Armagh will appoint an Adviser to offer pastoral support to those who have abused as they go through the reporting and civil investigative procedures.
It is also strongly recommended that the perpetrator of abuse will seek appropriate remedial and therapeutic help to enable him/her to face up to the reality of abuse to minimise the risk of reoffending, as well as promoting healing in a manner which does not compromise children’s safety.
Contact information for relevant agencies/services which are available to provide assistance, respond and give support to all children are included in Appendix 2. Children and adults can seek advice and support for a range of issues, not just about abuse. This may include issues regarding: teachers; parents/ carers; bullying; relationship problems; medical advice and legal advice.