This section refers to a requirement under legislation in the Republic of Ireland only and is not the same as a health and safety risk assessment. Please see the separate section Risk Assessment ROI for information about health and safety risk assessments.
Under the Children First Act 2015, organisations providing a relevant service with children, such as the Church of Ireland, must display a ‘compliant’ Child Safeguarding Statement (public document) and undertake a local Assessment of Harm (private document). This includes all parishes, whether children’s activities are organised by the parish or not. A Child Safeguarding Statement must not be published until the assessment of harm is completed.
A. Child Safeguarding Statement
The central safeguarding office has worked with the Tusla Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit and have agreed that the centralised statement is compliant and should be displayed with very minor changes at each locality.
A word version of this statement is provided below for local services to use. This template can be adjusted by simply adding the name of your location and the name(s) of the relevant person/people who should be contacted in relation to the statement.
B. Assessment of Harm
A private document, not on display to the public, should be considered by those with responsibility for safeguarding in the particular locality. A sample template has been provided below to assist in this process.
An assessment of harm is an exercise where the organisation examines all aspects of its service from a safeguarding perspective, to establish whether there are any practices or features of the service that have the potential to put children at risk.
This assessment considers the potential for harm (as defined by the Children’s First Act below) to come to children while they are in the organisation’s care. It should be noted that the potential for harm is not a general health and safety risk which is a totally different requirement.
Definition of ‘harm’ in the Children First Act 2015.
“Harm” means, in relation to a child —
- (a) assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or
- (b) sexual abuse of the child,
whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances, or otherwise;
The process is intended to enable the organisation to:
- Identify potential areas where harm could happen
- Develop policies and procedures to minimise these
- Review whether adequate precautions have been taken to eliminate or reduce these areas of potential harm.
In you require further advice, please contact your diocesan support team or call the Safeguarding office in Church House Dublin at 01 412 5661.