Communications Office

June 2003


Child Protection

Interim Policy of the Diocese of Ferns

An interim Policy Statement regarding child protection and a Code of Conduct for clergy, staff and volunteers has been launched in the Churches of the Diocese of Ferns this weekend. The policy is part of an overall response being implemented within the Diocese that will seek to ensure that all parishes within the Diocese of Ferns are safe environments, where risks are minimized, where those affected by abuse are supported, where offenders become accountable for their actions and where all allegations are dealt with justly and promptly.

In-service meetings were conducted with the clergy of the Diocese in October, February and May prior to the finalisation of this interim statement and the code of conduct.

The Priests of the Diocese have been asked to display the statement in the porches of their Churches, to highlight it to congregations and to encourage feedback.

At present, plans are being formulated to provide training in the near future for parish staff and volunteers with a view to ensuring the practical implementation of what will become the finalized child protection policy.

The support person for people affected by child sexual abuse involving clergy is Sr. Helen O’ Riordan. She can be contacted at 053-74792.

Any person wishing to make a complaint of sexual abuse involving a priest of the Diocese of Ferns is asked to contact the Diocesan Delegate, Fr. Denis Brennan at 053-34123.

An interview on the interim policy statement and the code of conduct can be heard on Saturday 28th June 2003 at 10.04am – Sounding Out – South East Radio.

Policy Statement

The Diocese 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. The Diocese recognises the dignity and rights of all children and is committed to their protection and support.

The Diocese undertakes to do all in its power to create a safe environment for children and young people and to ensure their protection from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

The Diocese is committed to:

1. Ensuring a SAFE ENVIRONMENT for children and young people.

2. MINIMISING RISKS, in order to safeguard the interests of children and young people.

3. SUPPORTING all victims of abuse.

4. Ensuring that offenders become ACCOUNTABLE for their actions.

5. Working closely with statutory authorities to ensure that all allegations of abuse are dealt with JUSTLY AND PROMPTLY.

This is an interim policy statement. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

If you have any concerns about the welfare of children or young people, please contact one of the following:


Delegate Support Person
Fr Denis Brennan
Office: 053-34123
Mobile: 087-6165749
Sr Helen O’Riordan
Office: 053-74972
Mobile: 086-3528613

A Child Protection Policy aims to ensure a safe environment, where risks are minimised, where those affected by abuse are supported, where offenders are brought to account and where all allegations are dealt with justly and promptly.

Acknowledgments: Child Protection Documents, Diocese of Salford, Archdiocese of Birmingham.


Code of Conduct for Clergy, Staff and Volunteers working with Children and Young People

1. Pastoral ministry to a child / young person should only take place in a publicly accessible place e.g. designated office or room with a clear glass window. The door should always be left open.

2. You should plan never to be alone in a building, car or a closed room with a child / young person.

3. Casual visits by children and young people to the homes of volunteers, priests and youth workers are to be avoided.

4. Providing accommodation in the parochial house for minors is prohibited except in the case of family members or children / young people accompanied by parents or guardians.

5. Ensure that the buildings and /or facilities used for activities with children / young people are suitable, safe and secure.

6. Ensure that adequate and appropriate supervision is in place before organising activities with children and young people.

7. Written consent must be obtained from parents / guardians before organising activities for the children / young people in your care and do establish whether there are any specific medical or dietary requirements.

8. Particular care should be taken to ensure that the privacy of children / young people is respected in places such as swimming pools, showers, toilets and changing rooms.

9. When working with children / young people you should take care to avoid the trap of becoming a “parental figure” or over involved with one particular child.

10. Holidays organised by groups require careful advanced planning and a proportionate number of suitable volunteers to provide adequate supervision. Keep gender balance in mind.

11. Do not take photographs of children / young people while they are in changing areas (e.g. a locker room or bathing facility)

12. Use only age appropriate language, media products and activities in working with children and young people. Sexually explicit materials are never appropriate.

13. Under no circumstances give alcohol, tobacco or drugs to children or young people.

Children are vulnerable and powerless on certain occasions. At times they may have difficulties making decisions in matters relating to their personal safety. As responsible adults we have a special duty of care towards them.


Director: Fr. John Carroll,
Tel (053) 24368, Fax (053) 23436