June 12th, 2023

The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth would like to express thanks to the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) for this thorough and comprehensive Review, which identifies learning at both a local and national level.

As a Diocese, we are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the church and we strive to embed a culture where all those who are vulnerable within our parishes and church communities are safe from harm and abuse.  As a Registered Affiliate of the CSSA, our safeguarding practices align with the eight National Safeguarding Standards, the national policies and associated best practice guidance for the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Our affiliation with the CSSA is one way in which we demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding and to being transparent with those within our Diocese and to the wider public.

Bishop Philip Egan has made safeguarding a leadership priority, personally commissioning an independent review in January 2020 by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) into the safeguarding functions and practice within the Diocese, with the aim of identifying areas of strength and areas for development.

The Diocese has in place robust arrangements for safeguarding governance, in accordance with the recommendations from the National Review of Safeguarding Structures. Our Committee is chaired by a lay Trustee and is formed of clergy and professional advisors from a number of statutory agencies including the police, health services and education providers.

In addition, we operate a Diocesan-wide programme of online and face-to-face safeguarding training and seek to appoint a dedicated Safeguarding Minister in every parish.

The audit report which emanates from the CSSA Review into safeguarding at the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle will be considered by Bishop Phillip Egan, the Board of Trustees and the Diocesan Safeguarding Committee to ensure that the learning from this Review is fully considered, with any areas for development within the Diocese of Portsmouth being addressed accordingly.

Any concerns in relation to safeguarding practice within the Diocese of Portsmouth can be reported by email: safeguarding@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or by telephone: 02394 216488.

Anyone seeking support in relation to abuse or harm suffered as a result of their association with the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Church of England or the Church in Wales, can contact Safe Spaces by email: safespaces@firstlight.org.uk or telephone: 0300 303 1056.  Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service that provide a confidential, personal and safe space.  The Service operates Mon – Fri (0900-2100 hours), Sat (0900-1300 hours) and Sun (1300-1700 hours).  An answerphone is available outside of these times.