DIOCESE OF MEATH
Code of Behaviour For Church Personnel
Church personnel are expected to create an environment where children are valued, encouraged and affirmed, have their rights respected and are treated as individuals, eliminating any threatening, violent or degrading behaviour.
Each parish group must provide an adequate and appropriate number of personnel to supervise activities, depending on the ages and activities involved.
All must be treated with equal respect; favouritism is not acceptable and boundaries must be protected.
Emphasis is placed on listening to children.
Participants should not be left unattended.
Dangerous behaviour or horseplay will not be allowed.
Verbal abuse, bullying or physical punishment of children is not permissible under any circumstances.
Facilities for parish activities must be suitable, safe and secure.
Records of attendance and parental consent must be kept and all records must be kept in a safe and confidential manner.
An Incident Report must be completed in the event of an accident or incident taking place.
Attendance at activities must always be with the consent of a parent or guardian.
Church personnel must not undertake any journey alone with a child: in exceptional circumstances, if only one adult is available, there should be a minimum of two children present.
Meetings with young parishioners must take place in locations which allow for transparency and accountability (designated office or room with clear glass window); visits to private homes in the absence of parents are not acceptable.
Only age-appropriate language, contact and materials are permissible.
Under no circumstances should Church personnel use, provide, or permit alcohol,
tobacco or drugs when working with children.
Photographs of our young parishioners taking part in activities may only be taken/published with parental permission.
Where pilgrimages and retreats are an occasional part of our pastoral programme, these events will adhere to recommended guidelines in terms of parental consent, supervision ratios, insurance, contact details, health requirements and First Aid, as well as the general code of behaviour and transport policies.
Note: Our young parishioners with special needs or disabilities may depend on adults more than other children for their care and safety, so appropriately trained or experienced Church personnel may be required. This also applies to children who are vulnerable. The involvement of these children will mean that the adult – child ratios are adjusted. Sensitivity and clear communication is essential. It is also good practice to develop a good understanding with their parents or guardians.
The sacristan should remain in the sacristy when the servers are present, looking out for their safety with equipment and helping them to vest only by demonstration.
On weekdays, Altar Servers should arrive and leave together.
Practices should be arranged in cooperation with parents and schools, having the appropriate number of supervisors present.
The stores and counting-office should be considered out of bounds.
All non-parish groups using these facilities are required to have suitable insurance and their own safeguarding children policies.
Visiting clergy who are unknown in the parish will be expected to provide some indication that they are in good standing.
Parish offices must have a policy to determine the proper usage of computers and internet facilities, e.g. if there is one permanent parish computer which is the property of the parish, this must be guarded with a restricted password.