Cork and Ross
Diocesan guidelines for
Good practice by all who
work with children and
young people in the
I warmly welcome the publication of the Child Protection Policy for the
Diocese of Cork and Ross. It is a statement of the ongoing commitment of
this Diocese in ensuring that all children and young people who are involved in
Church-related activities are safeguarded and respected. It is aimed at
creating a safe environment for everyone.
It is a continuing source of sadness and regret that people were deeply hurt in
the past through child sexual abuse by church personnel. It is also very sad
that the Church’s systems in the past were not able to deal effectively with
these problems. It is my hope and determination that this diocesan policy will
ensure that such will not occur in the future.
The Diocese of Cork and Ross is committed to:
• implementing the policy in this booklet in every parish in this Diocese;
• co-operating fully with the statutory authorities in all aspects of this
• welcoming and listening to anyone who has been a victim of abuse;
• doing everything possible to help victims towards healing;
• ensuring that all reports of wrong-doing are properly received and
I am very grateful to the members of the Diocesan Child Protection
Committee for the work they have done in developing this policy and for their
willingness to oversee its effective implementation in this Diocese.
I ask God’s blessing on all those who will have the task of implementing this
Child Protection Policy
Bishop of Cork and Ross.
1. Diocesan Child Protection Policy Statement
The family is the first and most basic community in our society. The Christian
family is the first community to announce the Gospel to the human person at all
stages of growth. This Policy is presented in the context of the family’s primacy
in our society and in our Church and the central role of children in it. Gospel
values are the driving force of our concern for children. In the Gospel, we are
reminded how Jesus showed constant care for the vulnerable. He began his
ministry with these words of the Prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me;
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.(Luke 4: 18-19).
In Matthew 25, the Lord, in his discourse to his apostles and disciples, told them
that whenever they show mercy and compassion to the least ones, they show it
Jesus extended this care in a tender and urgent way to children, rebuking his
disciples for keeping them away from him: “ Let the children come to me; do not
stop them” (Mathew 19:14). And he uttered a grave warning that for anyone who
would lead the little ones astray, it would be better for such a person “ to have
a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the
sea” (Mathew 18:6).
The Diocese of Cork & Ross recognises and upholds the dignity and rights of all
children and is committed to ensuring their safety and well being. The Diocese
values and encourages the participation of children and young people in all
parish liturgies and in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical,
emotional, intellectual and social development.
Above all the Diocese recognises the need to protect children and young people
and aims to do this in a way that promotes their human dignity, integrity and
worth as children of God.
The Diocese of Cork & Ross recognises that while child protection is everyone’s
responsibility, all involved in working with young people have a special duty of
care towards them. The Diocese has committed itself to engaging in a process
towards putting procedures in place through which this care is put into effect.
Cork and Ross Diocesan Child Protection Committee
Mr. Ciaran Boland
Fr. Tom Deenihan
Mr. Jim Hayes
Ms. Marion Healy
Ms. Bernie O’Callaghan
Fr. Liam O’Driscoll
Fr. Ted O’Sullivan
Mr. Sean Redmond
Ms. Una Webster
2. General Principles Guiding Best Practice for Ministry of
Children and Young People
The Diocese of Cork & Ross
• Values and encourages the active participation of children and young
people in the life of the Church in ways that enhance their physical,
emotional and spiritual growth within the safe, secure and welcoming
environment of their Faith community. Each person should feel valued,
encouraged and affirmed;
• Recognises and upholds the fundamental right of the individual child and
young person to be respected, nurtured, cared for and protected. These
rights are embedded both in our Gospel values and civil legislation;
• Acknowledges and reaffirms its commitment to the care and protection of
children and young people as ‘children of God’, with intrinsic dignity and
• Believes that Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility, but accepts that
all those working with children and young people in Church ministries have
a special duty of care towards them;
• Is committed to ‘best practice’ in the area of Child Protection, including:
• The development of effective structures for safeguarding children
and young people
• Responding to suspicions or allegations of child abuse, which
includes cooperating with the relevant civil authorities.
• Providing pastoral support and training for all Church personnel.
• Is engaging in a process of working towards a set of policies and
procedures for those who have responsibility for the protection of children
and young people in the life of the Church;
• Is willing to listen to children and young people and involve them, where
appropriate in decision-making;
• Promotes an ethos and approach which at all times gives paramount
consideration to the welfare of the child and young person.
• Undertakes to inform parents/guardians/primary carers of our Child
• In the event of a concern about the welfare of a child or young person we
• Respond to the needs of the child
• Inform the primary carers unless the action puts the child at
• If there are child protection concerns the diocese is obliged to
pass these on to the designated person and / or duty social
• In the event of a complaint against a member of staff we will
immediately ensure the safety of the child and inform the
parents/guardians/ primary carers as appropriate.
This policy document is under constant review.
3. Diocesan Code of Good Practice – Basic Procedures List
In order to support the Diocesan Policy it is necessary that the following
procedures are implemented:
A clearly defined process for the recruitment and supervision of adults working
with children and young people, which will include:
• Volunteer/employment application forms, to include Garda Clearance
• Declaration forms for all adult leaders
• Induction and training records
• Attendance records
• Applicants will provide proof of Identification i.e. photo ID
A duty roster of adults to ensure adequate supervision of children and young
people at all times will be available.
Appropriate supervision ratios of adults to children and young people, while
maintaining the practice that no child or young person is left alone with an
In our duty of care and protection for children and young people, best practice
will include the following procedures and record keeping
• Record of activities and participants
• A clearly communicated Accident and Emergency plan
• Medical information and treatment permission as appropriate of all
children and young people
• Signed parental/guardian consent for each child and young person
• Participant forms
• Incident/Accident report forms
• Attendance records
• Contact information for parents/guardians
• Named group leader/designated person who can be contacted in relation
to any query about good practice procedures
• A code of conduct for all adults, children and young people
• For away trips and pilgrimages, the above procedures must be followed,
and in addition, a pre-check on accommodation and transport
arrangements must be made
• There will be a procedure in place to review policy on an annual basis.
4. Diocesan Code of Conduct – Basics for Working with Children
and Young People
In order to support the Diocesan Policy and Procedures it is necessary that the
following code of conduct be applied as a minimum standard for all those who
work with children and young people.
• Leaders will treat children and young people with courtesy, respect and
• Leaders will always engage with children and young people in an open
manner, taking care not to show favouritism.
• There will be an adequate ratio of leaders to children and young people at
• A Leader will not work alone with children or young people.
• Care will be taken to ensure that leaders of mixed gender will work in
pairs with mixed gender groups.
• There will be a clearly designated leader within each group with whom
children and young people and other leaders can raise concerns.
• Leaders will not consume alcohol while having responsibility for or in the
presence of children and young people.
• Leaders will not smoke in the presence of children and young people.
• The use of drugs or illegal substances by leaders is strictly prohibited.
• Leaders will not use inappropriate language or make sexually suggestive
comments, either to each other or to children or young people.
• Physical contact between leaders and children and young people will be of
an appropriate nature at all times. Leaders will not engage in rough play
with each other or with children and young people.
• Leaders will not undertake any task of a personal nature with/for children
or young people except in cases of medical necessity when the welfare of
the child or young person depends on it.
• Personal details of children and young people will be held only by named
• Leaders will not give their personal details to children and young people
unless absolutely necessary.
• Children and young people will be contacted via their
parents/guardians/carers except in emergencies.
• The Diocese will have a designated person to whose immediate attention
all concerns and/or complaints can be brought.
• The diocesan designated person will respond promptly to all child
protection concerns and liaise with the required civil and church
authorities in accordance with established guidelines.
• All concerns and/or complaints will be followed through in a timely and
efficient manner in accordance with guidelines.
• The Diocese will have a specific code of conduct for all away trips including
pilgrimages, day trips and incentive events.
• The diocesan code of conduct, including an anti-bullying policy, specific to
children and young people, will apply.
• The right to privacy of children and young people will be respected at all
• Where a Church activity involves the use of computers, an email and
internet policy will be put in place.
• Written permission will be sought from parents/guardians , and kept on
file, for the taking and use of photographs.
• There will be clearly designated leaders within each group with whom the
children and young people can speak about their experience and raise any
5. Diocesan Code of Conduct – Basics for Children
and Young People
A code of conduct specific to children and young people must be drawn up in
direct consultation with children and young people. It is important that children
and young people know the limits and boundaries appropriate to their own
behaviour and that of others. It is important that each group of children and
young people directly contributes to the formation of their code of conduct.
The following points should be used as a minimum standard
• Children and young people will be aware that leaders also have a code of
• Children and young people will respect the fact that leaders will not work
alone with children and young people.
• Children and young people will treat each other and their leaders with
courtesy, respect and dignity.
• Children and young people will not be permitted to engage in substance
abuse or to consume alcohol or smoke, in keeping with civil law.
• Inappropriate language or sexually suggestive comments will not be
permitted by children or young people.
• Physical contact between children and young people will be of an
appropriate nature at all times.
• Rough play will not be permitted at any time.
Children and young people are to be consulted about drawing up an all
inclusive anti-bullying policy
The following are some examples of bullying. However, this list is not exhaustive
and the children and young people will have many other points to list.
• Name Calling
• Making suggestive comments
• Damaging Property
• Spreading rumours
• Sending abusive text messages
The Diocese of Cork & Ross recognises the importance of ensuring peoples’
rights to confidentiality and is committed to keeping confidential all personal
information about children and their families. The only exception may be
when child protection or welfare concerns arise in relation to a child. In this
situation information will be shared on a need to know basis in the best
interest of the child as follows:
• Information will only be forwarded on a “ need to know”basis in order to
safeguard the child/young person.
• Giving information to appropriately designated persons and/or statutory
authorities for the protection of a child in not a breach of confidentiality.
• Primary Carers have a right to know if personal information is being
shared and a report is being made to the HSE unless doing so could put
the child at further risk.
Diocesan Child Protection Contact Information
Diocesan Policy Statement:
The Diocese of Cork and Ross values and encourages the participation of
children and young people in parish liturgies and in activities that enhance their
spiritual, physical, emotional and social development. We recognise and uphold
the dignity and rights of all children and young people and are committed to
their protection and support in a way that promotes their human dignity and
integrity as children of God.
In keeping with this we in the Diocese undertake to do all in our power to create
safe environments for children and young people and to ensure their protection
from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
We recognise that all involved in working with children and young people have
a special duty of care towards them and we are committed to putting
procedures in place through which this care is put into effect so that the rights
of children and young people to actively participate in the life of the Church are
If you or anyone you know has a child protection concern or wishes to report
an allegation directly to the statutory authorities please contact the Gardai or
the local Health or Social Services and ask to speak to the Duty Social Worker.
Health Services Executive – South,
Georges Quay, Cork.
Tel: (021) 4965511 (North Lee) & (021) 4923814 (South Lee).
An Garda Siochana,
Anglesea Street, Cork.
Tel: (021) 4522000.
If you or anyone has a child protection concern or wishes to report an
allegation of child abuse in relation to any member of Church personnel,
directly to Church authorities please contact the diocesan delegated person,
Name: Rev Liam O’Driscoll, Diocesan Director of Child Protection, Cork and
Ross Offices, Redemption Road, Cork. Telephone Number: (021-4301717)
The following information should be displayed in a prominent place
in each church in the Diocese
Parish / Community Detail
If you or anyone you know requires support or pastoral care in relation to a
child protection issue please contact the following pastoral care persons:
Name: Phone Number:
If you or anyone you know has a child protection concern or wishes to report
an allegation directly to the statutory authorities please contact the Garda or
the Local HSE and ask to speak to the Duty Social Worker.
HSE Office/Name: Phone Number:
To ensure that no person who would be deemed to constitute a “risk”will be
given a post of responsibility, applicants will be required to complete the
• Application form
• Declaration form
• Garda Vetting forms
Applicants will provide proof of Identification i.e. photo ID
Applicants will submit names of two referees who can provide references (not
family members)References will be received in writing and followed up on.
An interview will take place – at least two interviewers present.
Please note that training support and all relevant forms are provided in the
course of the parish representative training programme offered through the
diocesan child protection trainers.
What is Child Abuse?
The diocese recognises child abuse as defined in the State Guidelines Children
First, National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, (1999, pp.
125–131) Dublin: Stationery Office and Our Children: Our Church Child
Protection Policies and Procedures for the Catholic Church in Ireland.( 2005)
Dublin: Veritas Publications as being neglect, physical, sexual and emotional
Neglect – an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment
of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene,
intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection
from adults, medical care.
Sexual Abuse – when a child is used by another person for his or her
gratification or sexual arousal or for that of others.
Physical Abuse - any form of non accidental injury which results from the
wilful or neglectful failure to protect a child
Emotional Abuse - occurs when the child’s needs for affection, approval,
consistency and security are not met.
Recommended Supervision Ratios
In the Republic of Ireland, the Childcare (Pre-School Services) Regulations,
1996 and Child Care (Pre-School Services) (Amendment) Regulations, 1997
have the following requirements for adult: child ratios:
The Department of Education (2003) Code of Good Practice – Child Protection
for the Youth Work Sector Dublin: Stationary Office recommends the
The minimum adult: young person ratio should ideally be one adult per group
of eight plus one other adult, and allowing an additional adult for each group
of eight thereafter. Local circumstances, the ages of the children, the
experience of the volunteers and the staff should be taken into consideration.
Safety, ability/disability of young people and the nature of the activities being
undertaken may require that these ratios be considerably lower.
In Northern Ireland , Volunteer Development Unit (2000) Our Duty to Care:
Principles of Good Practice for the Protection of Children and Young People.
3rd Edition, Belfast:recommends the following ratios:
Service Age Adult: Child Ratio
Full Day Care 0 – 1 years 1: 3
1 – 3 years 1: 6
3 – 6 years 1: 8
Sessional 0 – 6 years 1: 10
Drop – in Centre 1 – 6 years 1: 8
under 12 months 1: 3
Age Staff: Child Ratio
0 – 2 years 1 member of staff to 3 children
2 – 3 years 1 member of staff to 4 children
3 – 7 years 1 member of staff to 8 children
8 years and over 2 members of staff (preferably one of each gender) for up to
There should be one additional staff member for every ten extra children. The
ratio of staff and volunteers to children with disabilities is dependant on the
needs of the individual child.
1 Our Children: Our Church Child Protection Policies and Procedures for the
Catholic Church in Ireland.( 2005) Dublin: Veritas Publications, Appendix 4,.page