The Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission Guidelines and the Scottish Episcopal Church  

Daphne Audsley is the Assistant Provincial Safeguarding Officer at the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) and a member of the Safe Church Commission.  Here, she shares how the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission Guidelines have helped the SEC and how they are key in implementing Safe Church practice in your province or diocese.  

As a relatively small province of the Anglican Communion, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) has benefited over many years from the collective wisdom of experts from other churches in developing Safe Church/Safeguarding practice.  

There has been a long-standing collaboration between many of the churches in Scotland.  Representatives from different church denominations found meeting together helpful as each started to develop safeguarding policies, and the group that has existed since the late 1990s continues to meet regularly.  Members of the group share a commitment to follow best safeguarding practice that transcends any other differences between them.  

Similarly, the SEC has benefited from close links with the Safe Church Commission, which provides a worldwide Anglican perspective. When the SEC was considering how to update its safeguarding policy statement in 2020, the Safe Church Commission Guidelines were the obvious starting place. 

If you are from a province or diocese that is relatively new to Safe Church work, I recommend you study this resource. It draws on the experiences of implementing Safe Church work in different provinces across the Anglican Communion. It sets out the core principles of Safe Church and yet is sufficiently flexible to adapt to suit different contexts.  

The SEC’s approach was to adopt a relatively brief statement that covered the principles of Safe Church. The core principles would remain the same, but it was recognised that the underlying procedures would need to continue to be developed and refined over time.  

The resulting Scottish Episcopal Church Safeguarding Principles and Commitments is shaped around the five points of the Safe Church Charter and draws on the material from the Safe Church Commission Guidelines.   

At the heart of the policy is the recognition that for Safe Church/Safeguarding to be effective, everyone in the SEC needs to make a commitment to uphold the principles of Safe Church: 

  • The witness of Scripture recognises and affirms God’s love for all members of the human family and the priority given in Jesus’ ministry to children and the vulnerable of society. His ministry was one of welcome for all. 
  • To be free to worship and participate in the life of the Church, people need to feel safe and included. Good safeguarding practice helps to ensure that everyone is welcome in a church community. Good safeguarding practice is part of how we value people, and treat them with respect. 
  • We therefore commit ourselves to take all steps within our power to keep vulnerable people in our Church communities safe from harm and from abuse of trust. (SEC Safeguarding Principles and Commitments) 

Guidance

Visit the page for the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission here.  

Visit this link to obtain the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission Guidelines in different languages. 

For resources and guidance on implementing Safe Church, visit the websites for the Lambeth Conference here and the Anglican Communion Office here.

Watch a recent webinar about Safe Church on Facebook here.

 

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