Child Protection Officer/Safeguarding in the Benefice

Safeguarding is the care and protection given to the vulnerable, including children, young people, the elderly and anyone who is vulnerable due to their circumstances or the role they may have dealing with other people of children. Lady Joanna Mersey has taken on the role of Safeguarding Officer for all the Churches in our Benefice, The Holy Cross, Bignor, St John the Baptist’s, Sutton, St Richard’s, Burton Park, St Agatha’s, Coates, and St Mary’s, Barlavington.</span>

Her responsibilities include safer recruitment by initiating Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on anyone in the church who wants to take on a role working with children or vulnerable adults. This process checks that people "are who they say they are" through rigorous identification (ID) checks and that they have no extant criminal records that would bar them from such roles within the church.

She is also responsible for ensuring that people who take on church roles have received the appropriate level of safeguarding training for that role. All such courses are run under the authority of the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer either by in-house staff or accredited trainers.

My final role is to respond to any disclosure made or concerns raised if somebody believes that a child, young person or vulnerable adult may have suffered, may be suffering or is at risk of harm through abuse, exploitation or neglect. The Church of England, in all aspects of its life, is committed to and will promote the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. Our Churches aim to provide a place where all people feel welcomed, respected and safe from abuse. We are working towards creating a safe and non-discriminatory environment by being aware of some of the particular situations that create vulnerability.

Joana Mersey

Benefice Safeguarding/Child Protection Officer - Tel: 01789 869214/Email: [email protected]