Child Safeguarding

February 2019 – extract from Armagh Diocesan Web Site re Abuse.

Recognising the various types of Child Abuse and Adult Vulnerability

Safeguarding is everyone’s business. However, recognising child or vulnerable adult abuse is never easy. Responsibility for deciding whether or not abuse has taken place lies with statutory agencies that investigate concerns and take appropriate action. Abuse is normally categorised under the following broad headings:

Physical Abuse

This can be where children are hurt by ill-treatment or deliberate or neglectful failure to prevent injury or harm. Most children will collect cuts and bruises in their daily lives, most likely in bony parts of their body, like elbows, knees and shins. Some children, however, will have bruising which can almost only have been caused non-accidentally. An important indicator of physical abuse is where bruises or injuries are unexplained or the explanation does not fit the injury.

Emotional Abuse

This can be difficult to measure and often children who appear well cared for may be emotionally abused by being taunted, put down or belittled. They may receive little or no love, affection or attention from their parents or carers. Emotional abuse can also take the form of children not being allowed to mix/play with other children.

Sexual Abuse

This can be where children are encouraged or forced to observe or participate in any form of sexual activity ranging from exposure to pornographic literature, pornography on the Internet, to inappropriate touching for the purposes of arousal or gratification and sexual intercourse. Adults who use children to meet their own sexual needs, can abuse both boys and girls of all ages.


This can be where children’s physical and/or psychological needs are persistently and/or severely neglected with a failure to protect the child from exposure to any kind of danger. Children with a Disability Children with a disability may be more vulnerable to abuse than non-disabled children. As well as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, this group of children may suffer more subtle forms of abuse, like being deprived of a way of communicating or being prevented from meeting people outside of their normal environment. In all cases where abuse is suspected, an assessment will need to be carried out by a range of Social and Health professionals in order to gain an understanding as to what may be happening to a child.

Vulnerability in Adulthood

An adult may be vulnerable to abuse due to a range of issues such as a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment, or some other form of illness. It should be recognised that the best practice guidelines which are applicable to children must also be observed when there is contact with vulnerable adults.


Everyone should be aware of the devastating effects and long-term damage that bullying can have on anyone but especially on young people or vulnerable individuals. It is important that we create a safe “bullying-free” environment throughout the Archdiocese. A child or vulnerable adult may indicate by signs of behaviour that he/she is being bullied. Parents/Carers should be aware of possible signs and should be aware of suspected incidents of bullying.

Questions regarding safeguarding can be addressed to the Parish Office or to the Diocesan Safeguarding office at:

Details of the guidelines from the Archdiocese of Armagh on safeguarding are available at: