CONGREGATIONAL SAFEGUARDING POLICY
“Conscious that everything is interconnected, and we are all interdependent, we are invited to a greater consciousness of our responsibility both with respect to the Charism and its creative transmission.” (General Chapter Orientations 2019)
We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, are committed to the safety and welfare of children and vulnerable adults in each and every circumstance and situation.
We believe that every human life is sacred from the moment of conception until its natural end, and that it is God who calls each and every person into a special relationship with God. Accordingly, we recognise that every human being irrespective of age or circumstance, should be afforded the dignity and respect due to a child of God and we recognise the uniqueness of every human life. These belief and fundamental principles are echoed by our founder, Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille, in our Congregational documents:
Constantly enriched with the fullness of Trinitarian love, we dedicate our lives to passing on this gift to all those to whom the Congregation sends us. (Constitutions . #38)
As Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, faithful to the ideal which our Founder, Father Medaille, put before us, we aim to further God’s greatest glory by the exercise of the love of God and our neighbour.” (Primitive Rule)
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy are present in 10 countries across the world – France; India; Ireland; Kenya; Tanzania; The Congo; The Gambia; Senegal; Switzerland and Wales. Each Entity has its own Safeguarding Policy, and the Sisters follow the civil, legal, and ecclesial directives laid down in the countries in which they live.
The Congregation is committed to the protection of all children and vulnerable adults in our care and all those with whom we come in contact. We accept that by definition a child is anyone below the age of 18 and a vulnerable adult is someone who “by reason of an impairment or insufficiency of their personal faculties, is not in a position to protect their interests.” (Hague Protection of Adults Convention 2000).
We affirm that any form of abuse is intolerable and not in keeping with our vision and principles, which are based on Gospel values, our Charism, our Congregational texts, and the teachings of the Church in this regard. We recognise that abuse can be carried out in many forms, principally:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Spiritual abuse
- Psychological/ emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Abuse incurred via the internet and social media platforms
Irrespective of the national or local cultural traditions of where we live and minister, as Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy we will do everything in our power to ensure that all children and vulnerable adults are kept safe from all that could harm them or deny their innate dignity.
At General Leadership level we will ensure that:
- a designated Sister with responsibility for overseeing Safeguarding is appointed in each Entity of the Congregation and that she receives training and support to fulfil this role.
- each Entity in the Congregation has a Safeguarding Policy, which includes a process for recording and reporting any incidents of abuse.
- Entity policies are to be reviewed and updated regularly.
- each Sister is fully aware of the Safeguarding Policy of her Entity and knows the process for reporting incidents of abuse.
- every January, each Entity will submit to the Generalate a copy of their Recording ad Reporting document from the previous year, even if it is a nil return. These documents are to be kept on file in the Generalate.
- all Sisters recognise there is a distinction between a vulnerable adult and an adult who, at certain times, may be in a ”vulnerable situation”. In this respect all women in Formation are treated in the same way as vulnerable adults in line with the Congregation’s Safeguarding values and principles.
- anyone reporting a Safeguarding concern or incident of abuse (in some cultures called a “whistle-blower”) is treated with respect and in an atmosphere of confidentiality.
- before a collaborative ministry in entered into, the Major Superior of that Entity, will ensue that the other Congregation or organisation has a Safeguarding Policy in place. This is one criteria for entering into a collaborative ministry.
- Safeguarding procedures are reviewed during the Formal Visitation of communities.
All Sisters of the Congregation are required to live in accordance with this document.
The Congregational Safeguarding Policy was adopted by the Superior General and Council on 10th June 2021. It will be reviewed no late than 10th June 2024.
Sr. Breda Gainey Sr. Vianney Thanniath
Superior General Assistant Superior General
Sr. Margaret Gallagher Sr. Jacqueline Bianquinch
General Councillor General Councillor
Sr. Elizabeth Puthiyedath