Summary Report: Trustees’ Safeguarding Committee Friday 27th January 2023

January 27, 2023

Jesuits in Britain

Trust for Roman Catholic Purposes

Trustees Meeting Saturday March 11th, 2023


Summary Report: Trustees’ Safeguarding Committee Friday January 27th, 2023.


1. Introductions: All committee members were in attendance. Fr Provincial attended all of the meeting.


2. The TSC Annual Report: The draft report was reviewed by the TSC with a number of amendments being made. It was agreed that in the Annual Report for 2023 it would be important to provide a more detailed analysis of information in regard to allegations and Jesuits and employees subject to these over the past seventy years.  The report was approved for presentation to the Trustees at their meeting on March 11th,2023.


3. Safeguarding Manager’s Items: Julie Ashby-Ellis briefed the Committee on the following items: -


JR and JAE briefed the committee a positive and constructive meeting on 7th December with Stephen Ashley, interim CEO of the CSSA following the resignation of Collette Limbrick. Following a rigorous recruitment process by the CSSA, he has now been appointed as its substantive CEO.  He indicated that a number of processes are under review and will be updated informed by representations from Church bodies.


All written records have now been uploaded into the CPOMS electronic record. Work is now being undertaken to modify the reporting categories to produce more pertinent reports to inform the Province’s safeguarding work and requirements.


JAE’s visit to Donhead Preparatory School (Private) found significant progress in embedding a safeguarding culture under its new leadership and effective relationships with the LADO and organised plans for those children requiring these. She has ongoing sessions with the safeguarding lead and a governor has recently taken over the Safeguarding Lead role for the Governing Body.


JAE’s visit to Wimbledon College Comprehensive School (Voluntary Aided) found very good pastoral care, effective working relationship with the LADO and good safeguarding culture.


4. Training: This was a substantive item on the Committee’s agenda


The RLSS a training  continues to be received positively and well attended. Most to the curia lay employees were very positive about their training and JAE received positive feedback from the trainer about their engagement. JAE is instigating a new record keeping system to track attendance and identify refresher training events.  Although the past pre covid, extensive and regular training has been undertaken the records relating to this have some gaps. Confirmed that volunteers in Parishes administered by Jesuits will attend training organised by the relevant Diocese.


5. Victim/Survivor Case Work

NG & JAE reported on actions to continue supporting 5 victim survivors whom they have been engaging with for some time. Specific updates were given in regard to 3 victim/survivors and the Committee took assurance regarding the ongoing support being provided.


6. Safety Management Plans: The committee received an update on the review of the one safety management plan which remains unamended. The TSC was informed that the prosecution service has now charged the individual subject to an allegation after the police investigation was concluded. JAE will provide updates on subsequent court processes when these are confirmed.


7. Bridge to Support Update: JR updated the TSC on the decision of the Steering Group, confirmed following discussions with the Provincial, to wind up the project. The main employee had left to take up a permanent social work placement. The challenge to recruit a replacement and the continuing absence of take up of the service clearly indicated the discontinuation of the project. Up to the end of March 2023, Health in Mind will continue to monitor the website and respond to any enquiries. The TSC expressed its sincere appreciation to Health in Mind for all their efforts to promote this project over the last three years.  

The TSC reflected on a number of factors which may have impacted on the take up of this project and identified the following: Covid restrictions; changes of personnel and recruitment challenges; the reluctance of some mainstream media platforms to engage with this subject; the extended period  of a weakened relationship with St Aloysius College, Glasgow until the last six months of the project when support from the College was forthcoming.


8. Complaints & Allegations Policies:  Since the last meeting of the Committee the RLSS has produced a policy. In order to secure “the Once Church” approach to safeguarding, the intention is that individual religious bodies adopt this with minor modifications fitting it to their arrangements. JAE, DS, JR  undertook to meet and make final revisions to these policies in order for the Trustees to approve and adopt them at the their March meeting. The approve version will be presented to the March meeting of the TSC.


9. Spiritual Abuse:  The TSC undertook an initial discussion of this topic in the light of publicity relating to allegations against Fr Rubnik SJ currently subject to investigation in Rome. It was agreed to assemble some credible resources on this issue and to establish a working group in the Province to review these with a view to formulating any recommendations in relation to policy or practice in this area. Consideration will be given to see whether this work should be progressed in collaboration with other provinces or religious congregations. TSC noted that currently there are no well defined or approved definitions relating to Spiritual Abuse and that existing categories of sexual and psychological abuse are already defined and understood and there is a need to avoid duplicating these and to clearly delineate what might differentiate spiritual abuse from these. In addition, in most instances these victim/survivors are not adults at risk or particularly vulnerable. That is not to deny that recognisable power inequalities can be at play, even taking account of these this is more likely to be in the realm of egregious misconduct than within the parameters for safeguarding as currently defined. This illustrates the necessity for the further work to arrive at vital clarifications.


10. Independent Review: TSC discussed the timing for the independent review. The consensus is to allow eighteen months to embed the more recent ways of working, complete the first round of training and undergo the first audits by the two Safeguarding Standards Agencies. If Trustees concur it was agreed to commission such a review in the later half to 2024. JAE suggested consideration be given to a peer review later in this year. It was agreed she should explore this and make a proposal to a future TSC meeting.

Next Meeting of the Safeguarding Committee: 21stMarch 2023 (in person).

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