The Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora encourages ministry with children and young people online, if it is safe for children and the adults who work with them. Our paramount concern is the safety and welfare of children. We will put in place all measures to ensure that children are not placed at risk whilst participating in ministry online. We want this ministry to be fruitful and beneficial, not challenging or dangerous. The Church ministry at all times will respect the dignity of children.
Any intention to engage with children online, whether resource-based or interactively, must be discussed with Kevin Duffy, Director of Safeguarding, before approval from Bishop Brendan Kelly is sought on an event-by-event basis. Bishop Kelly will determine if the purpose of the online ministry is safe and in line with the ethos of the Church body.
Mgr Peter Rabbitte and Rev. John Gerard Acton have been appointed to oversee Galway Cathedral's online ministry.
In order for us to create a safe environment online the following protocols will be adhered to:
- All adults engaging online will have been recruited in line with the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora's procedures to meet Indicator 1.1 of the Church's Child Safeguarding Policy. (See Standard 1: Creating and Maintaining Safe Environments, available at www.safeguarding.ie)
- All adults will have read, understood and agreed to follow our Code of Behaviour for Adults Working with Children and Young People. (See the Safeguarding Children Parish Handbook, page 12, available online at www.galwaydiocese.ie/safeguarding.
- Specific consent will be sought in writing from children and their parents/carers for participating in online ministry; this cannot be general consent but specifically for the purposes of a specified ministry.
- Children will be told who to talk to if they are worried about anything which they have seen or been exposed to online.
- Personal information about the adults and children who are involved in online ministry will be stored securely in line with the Church body's data protection policy.
- The Ministry Lead, in consultation with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, will ensure that all content, including photography and imaging, is in line with best child safeguarding advice.
- The Ministry Lead will ensure that the location and dress code is appropriate. Interactive online ministry should take place in a location which is private but safe for the child. People who are not part of the ministry should not be in view.
- In line with the Church body's risk assessment procedures and data protection procedures, all technology and social media platforms will be assessed prior to their use in online ministry.
- Any allegation, suspicion, concern or knowledge of child abuse will be reported in line with the Church body's reporting procedures.
- The Ministry Lead should check on a regular basis that children feel comfortable during the meeting online.
- Upon conclusion of the online ministry, a review should take place to ensure that at all times risks were identified and managed, and to evaluate whether the social media platform used was fit for purpose.
Issued by the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora
Dated 27th August 2020