The International Safeguarding Conference (ISC) announces a new webinar series entitled ‘A safer Church’, which will focus on how safeguarding professionals are reaching out to members of the community, especially victims.
In a new series of webinars beginning on 29 May, the International Safeguarding Conference (ISC) will be encouraging “the Catholic Church and other faith-based organisations” to “continue with safeguarding programmes, despite the expected COVID-19 recession.”
ICS annually brings together Church representatives, professionals and scientific specialists to share knowledge and good practices on the subject of child protection.
A safer Church
In a press statement released on 26 May, ISC writes that the upcoming webinar is “the first in a series of webinars” entitled “A Safer Church,” which aim to enable safeguarding professionals to share good practice in safeguarding, both in the current pandemic circumstances “and in ‘normal’ times.”
In each webinar, ISC will partner with various safeguarding experts for a live discussion and a question and answer session.
The statement continues, saying that due to the “severe economic hardship” brought by the coronavirus, there has been concern regarding “potential cuts to safeguarding programmes.”
Among those raising concern is Fr Hans Zollner, a member of the ISC Steering Committee, who says “COVID-19 presents challenges across the board for all organisations, including the Church. Church leaders have invested many resources in safeguarding programmes. As organisations are under pressure, the temptation may rise to make cuts across the board. But we cannot afford to treat our investment in child safety as though it was any other social or educational activity.”
The press statement then notes that “media reports indicate a rise in violence against children and an increase in domestic violence in recent weeks”. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the health crisis caused by COVID-19 is quickly becoming a child rights crisis, and safeguarding professionals have expressed concerns that home is not safe for everyone.
“The first webinar, which will take place on Friday 29 May at 3pm CEST (11pm AEST Friday 29 May), will focus on how the Church is meeting its safeguarding responsibilities during the pandemic and will give particular attention to the way victims are experiencing this challenging time,” the statement notes.
According to Tina Campbell, another member of the ISC Steering Committee, “This series of webinars will create a platform for safeguarding professionals across the globe to benefit and learn from one another’s expertise and experience. Encouraging dialogue and discourse will help ensure safeguarding remains on top of the Church’s agenda.”
Professionals interested in joining can register at bit.ly/RegisterISC1.
The ISC Steering Committee offers training and formation to people working in the area of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. ISC’s aim is to keep safeguarding on top of the agenda of organisations and to ensure that every organisation aims to achieve excellence in its service delivery to children and vulnerable adults around the world.
The Members of the Steering Committee are: Dr Alessandra Campo – Network Coordinator, Centre for Child Protection (PUG); Mr Andrew Azzopardi – Coordinator of the Vatican Safeguarding Taskforce and Head of Safeguarding Commission, Maltese Ecclesiastical Province; Fr Hans Zollner SJ – President, Centre for Child Protection (PUG) and Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; Mr Simon Davies – Director of Professional Standards, Society of Jesus (Jesuits) Australia; Ms Tina Campbell – National Safeguarding Coordinator, Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Scotland.
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.