Scottish Catholic Safeguarding

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the shared responsibility of everyone to ensure the safety and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is also about ensuring the professional and safe behaviour of everyone who has a duty of care within our Catholic communities whether ordained or lay and whether in a paid or volunteer position. Safeguarding is not only a way to respond to harm but must be proactive in the prevention of any form of abuse or harm.

Ref: In God's Image page 3: Our Commitment to Safeguarding.

What forms of abuse?

Abuse can take many forms and usually when someone is subjected to abuse more than one form is being used.

Types or forms of abuse include:

  • Sexual
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Domestic
  • Spiritual
  • Neglect
  • Financial
  • Ritual
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Rape
  • Child Sex Exploitation
  • Trafficking
  • Grooming

How to respond to allegations

The Bishop’s Conference of Scotland has a mandatory Reporting Policy. All allegations of a criminal nature are reported to Police Scotland. This applies whether the accused is alive or deceased. Allegations must in the first instance be reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. If the Adviser is not available please ask to speak to a member of Safeguarding Team.

If anyone discloses an allegation to you always remember to follow the nationally agree process:

Listen – Respond – Record – Refer

Contact details for every Diocesan Office are as follows:

Diocese of Aberdeen 01224 319154
Diocese of Argyll & Isles 01631 564986
Diocese of Dunkeld 01382 225453
Diocese of Galloway 01292 266750
Archdiocese of Glasgow 0141 226 5898
Diocese of Motherwell 01698 269114
Diocese of Paisley 0141 847 6140
Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh 0131 623 8943


Please also refer to the following resources:

Supporting Survivors

"Survivors of abuse of any form deserve the greatest care and respect. Their courage in coming forward to disclose their experience to personnel within the Church can never be underestimated. So, Church personnel must take care to provide an immediacy of response (as well as sensitive care) to anyone who wishes to talk about the harm they have suffered." In God’s Image Page 34

Church personnel are open to receiving contact from survivors and seek to explore the best options available to support anyone who has been abused within the Church.

The Raphael Counselling Service was launched in 2015 and referrals to this service which is provided by the professional agency Health In Mind are made via the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

Please also see the Raphael Counselling Services leaflet.

Allegation Audits

In 2013 the Bishops of Scotland published an audit of all the allegations of abuse which had been disclosed to any Diocese or Religious Congregation in the period 2006 - 2012. They committed to published such data annually thereafter. In 2018 they published a statistical review of all historical abuse cases for the period 1943 to 2005. These Allegations Audits can be seen here on the website of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland.[link]