This guidance is written for OCD Friars, staff/volunteers (Staff/ Employees, Volunteers includes any adult, paid or voluntary, who works directly with young people/children) within OCD Community/Monastery and ministry sites and agencies under the auspices of the OCD Friars, Anglo Irish Province.

Staff/Volunteers must acknowledge their individual responsibility to bring matters of concern to the attention of their supervisor/superior/manager. These could be an OCD Friar/Local Prior/Provincial and/or relevant agency managers. Although this can be difficult this is particularly important where the welfare of children may be at risk.

You may be the first to recognise that something is wrong but may not feel able to express your concerns out of a feeling that this would be disloyal to colleagues or you may fear harassment or victimisation. These feelings, however natural, must never result in a child or young person continuing to be unnecessarily at risk. Remember it is often the most vulnerable children or young person who are targeted. These children need someone like you to safeguard their welfare.

Don't think what if I'm wrong - think what if I’m right

Reasons for whistle blowing

•         Each individual has a responsibility for raising concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour

•         To prevent the problem worsening or widening

•         To protect or reduce risks to others

•         To prevent becoming implicated yourself

What stops people from whistle blowing

•         Fear of starting a chain of events which spirals out of control

•         Disrupting the work or project

•         Fear of getting it wrong

•         Fear of repercussions or damaging careers

•         Fear of not being believed

How to raise a concern

•         You should voice your concerns, suspicions or uneasiness as soon as you feel you can. The earlier a concern is expressed the easier and sooner action can be taken.

•         Try to pinpoint exactly what practice is concerning you and why.

•         Approach your immediate superior/supervisor/manager.

•         If your concern is about your immediate Local Prior/supervisor/manager then please contact our OCD Designated Liaison Person or externally the National Office for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. Contact details are below.

•         Make sure you get a satisfactory response - don't let matters rest.

•         Ideally, you should put your concerns in writing, outlining the background and history, giving names, dates and places wherever you can.

•         OCD Friars/Staff/Volunteer are not expected to prove the truth of an allegation but will need to demonstrate sufficient grounds for the concern.

What happens next

·        You should be given information on the nature and progress of any enquiries.

·         Your Local Prior/Provincial/supervisor/manager has a responsibility to protect you from harassment or victimisation.

·         No action will be taken against you if the concern proves to be unfounded and was raised in good faith. This is in line with the Protection for Person Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998.

·        Malicious allegations may be considered as a disciplinary offence. This is also in line with the Protection for Person Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998.

Self reporting

There may be occasions where a member of staff/volunteer has a personal difficulty, perhaps a physical or mental health problem, which they know to be impinging on their professional competence. Staff/Volunteers have a responsibility to discuss such a situation with their line supervisor/superior/manager so professional and personal support can be offered to the member concerned. Whilst such reporting will remain confidential in most instances, this cannot be guaranteed where personal difficulties raise concerns about the welfare or safety of children.

Contact Details for Further advice and support

OCD Designated Liaison Person: Dr Johanna Merry: + 353 (0) 87 257 3450.

OCD Deputy Designated Liaison Person: Edmond Smyth ocd: + 353 (0) 87 777 1795


The National Office for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland

Contact Details: New House, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

                             Telephone:  + 353 (0) 1 505 3124