What is Safeguarding?

As a society and especially as a church, it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of all individuals, regardless of age or background.  Safeguarding means protecting people’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their basic human rights. It involves creating a safe environment that is free from any form of harm, abuse, or neglect, whether it is intentional or not.

This includes protecting individuals from sexual abuse, physical mistreatment, neglect, mental manipulation, and spiritual harm.  Overall, safeguarding seeks to promote a culture of safety and respect for all, where individuals are empowered to live their lives to the fullest potential without fear of harm..

It’s fundamental to our mission: To love God with all our heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbour as ourselves (Matt 22.38-39). Your neighbour can be anyone. If we truly love them in the same way we know ourselves to be loved, we will do everything in our power to protect them from harm.

That means we all have to be keeping watch for signs that something isn’t right. We may feel that we are interfering, and so may be reluctant to say anything. And indeed, there may be nothing wrong. But on the other hand, there might be something wrong, and you might hold the information that protects someone else from harm. This is why if you suspect abuse is occurring, you should not tackle the person who might be harming someone (who will accuse you of interfering)- talk to a professional. Trained safeguarding officers are now very good at discovering when someone is at harm and helping in the situation. (They are also very good at discovering when someone is not at risk, in which case no action is taken.)

Safeguarding is about healthy relationships, and you are probably well attuned to spot when a relationship isn’t right. So above all, remember that is something feels wrong, it probably is – talk to a trained person.

Safeguarding depends on the actions we all take, not just Clergy, Vestry members, Safeguarding Officers, Pastoral Visitors or Young Church Leaders. It involves all of us, to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and protect them from harm. It also protects the well-being of those who volunteer on behalf of the church.

If you, or someone you know, are concerned that a child or vulnerable adult is at risk or has been harmed, or are concerned about the behaviour of someone towards children or vulnerable adults, contact one of these people:

Provincial Officer
Head of Safeguarding: John Wyllie

Telephone: 07881 868 387

Assistant Provincial Officer
Daphne Audsley

If it is something that relates particularly to this church or community

St James’s Safeguarding Officers
Child Protection Coordinator – Mr Steve MacKenzie
Vulnerable Adults Coordinator – Mrs Laurene MacKenzie
Either can be reached on

If your concern relates to either of the Safeguarding Officers, contact the Provincial Officers.