Safeguarding & Vulnerability Policy & Procedures
Theological Approach to Safeguarding and Vulnerability
Every person has a dignity and value which we as Christians acknowledge as coming from God’s creation of us in His likeness. We therefore believe that all people should be protected from harm. From the beginning (cry of a baby) to the end (the cry from the cross) the life and death of Jesus Christ illustrates the willingness to be vulnerable in order to share to the full our world of pain, poverty, suffering and death. In his earthly ministry He constantly showed himself to be compassionately on the side of the outcast, the marginalised and the stranger, reaching across social barriers with the inclusive love of God. This was wholly in line with the Biblical concern for orphans and widows, its obligation to provide a voice for the voiceless, and its call for justice to ‘roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream’ (Amos 5.24). The Risen Christ’s commission to his followers (‘As the Father sent me so I am sending you [John 20.21]) requires the Christian Church to exercise that same concern for those whom some in society treat as the outsider and the stranger, to reach across barriers of exclusion and demonstrate a love which shows itself in compassionate pastoral care and in the quiet justice for all our relationships. The heart of Christian care is love for God and for our neighbours, the expression of which is justice in all human affairs.
In line with the gospel of creation and redemption, Christian pastoral care has often been described in terms of healing, sustaining and reconciling. All people, and especially those who might be marginalised through vulnerability, need to receive the healing love of God to rebuild relationships with others or within themselves which illness, disability or abuse may have fractured. For those who have been abused, that love includes the need for these people to be listened to and be believed, supported as they cope with the effects of trauma, enabled to make the choices which will lead to healing and start on the road to forgiveness.
Within St Peter's we can demonstrate our commitment to this by carefully planning our ministries for children and adults, supporting families under stress, caring for those hurt by abuse in the past, ministering to and managing those who have caused harm. These procedures are intended to help us to do what is required to achieve a safe environment for all.