The Diocesan Designated Officers are appointed by the Archbishop and should be widely identified so that everyone knows who to go to if they have a concern regarding the safeguarding of children, including a concern about a child or disclosure of abuse by a child or adult. One way of doing this is to ensure that his/her details are highlighted in parish/congregational websites and at the back of all churches.
The role of the Diocesan Designated Officer is:
- to hear any concerns relating to safeguarding children, including any disclosures or allegations of abuse, and take responsibility for managing the response to that concern or disclosure, from start to finish. This would include the preliminary internal inquiry and referral to the Health and Social Care Trust/Health Service Executive/An Garda Síochána/PSNI, and any subsequent internal investigations. Specific procedures have been drawn up for the Diocesan Designated Officer to follow and these can be made available on request;
- to ensure that the person raising a concern, disclosing abuse, or making an allegation and anyone who is implicated are regularly informed about the progress of the inquiry process;
- to liaise with the National Office and have an overview of all matters dealt with under these procedures within the Archdiocese;
- to carefully record all steps undertaken as part of these procedures.
The Archbishop has appointed two Diocesan Designated Officers who can act in the event that one Diocesan Designated Officer is not able to deal with a concern/allegation, where there may be a conflict of interest, or where they are unavailable due to absence or incapacity.