Child protection leaflet updated

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The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland, together with representatives from uniformed organisations, have launched a revised edition of ‘The Common Protocol’ leaflet for the protection of children.

In 2005, the three churches, along with the uniformed organisations - Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade, Scouts NI and Girlguiding Ulster - came together to develop a joint approach to child protection.

PCI’s Taking Care Programme Co-ordinator, Deborah Webster said, “As a Church, we believe that next to proclaiming God’s Word and the love of Christ, nothing could be more important than keeping our children and young people safe.

“Eleven years ago we thought that it would be better for the protection of children if we came together with the uniformed organisations who regularly use church premises so we could act in unison with regard to the protection of our children. As a result we produced an agreed set of guidelines.

“The revised edition of ‘The Common Protocol’ leaflet we launched in Assembly Buildings explains the working relationship between the three churches and the uniformed organisations.

“It clearly sets out the expectations and specific responsibilities of the churches and organisations in relation to child protection. This includes police checking of leaders, their appointment, information sharing and reporting of concerns, which may arise. It also explains what agreements should be in place for the use of church premises.”

Taking Care is the name given to the child protection policy and programme of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Its aim is to create and promote a safe environment for children, young people and leaders.

“With over 30,000 leaders and 120,000 children and young people involved in activities across the Church annually, we are hugely committed to keeping our children and young people safe, and our leaders well informed and well trained.

“To this end last year alone we held 139 training events across the Church, as part of our Taking Care programme, which were attending by over 4,000 leaders to keep them up to date in child protection policies and practice. The launch of our leaflet is another example of our commitment to keeping our children sare,” Deborah said.

To receive a copy of the ‘The Common Protocol’ leaflet email takingcare@presbyterianireland.org. The information can also also be found in section 5 of the Taking Care Guidelines which can be downloaded at presbyterianireland.org/takingcare