Old Catholic Apostolic Church

Safeguarding of all people

The Old Catholic Apostolic Church (OCAC) operates and exists as legal entities in many countries and regions of the world. OCAC also has its own rules (canons) which sets out structure, accountability and procedure for its members all of which are clergy. We strive for best practice and high standards, so we have canon law and accepted codes of conduct and policies for our members to adhere to.

Each member has the oversight from a bishop who is an officer of the church. Members are guided and supervised by their bishop and are accountable to them in all matters connected with ministry. In matters of procedure, or general polity or behaviour, the bishops will guide, advise and admonish as necessary. We strive for a positive charism, one of improvement rather than of reproach, but the option of sanction or even dismissal exists.

In Safeguarding matters OCAC has a duty of care to the members and to anybody and everybody who is impacted by our ministry. All members must show a criminal records or similar check in order to be accepted into OCAC. Any allegation of improper behaviour towards children or vulnerable adults will be reported to the police by the bishop(s) and their investigation will determine if the allegation has merit in which case the member will be suspended from clergy duty until such time as that investigation infers the rolling back of, or lifting of the suspension. The bishop(s) will decide how the relationship between member and OCAC shall change after the outcome of any police investigation is known. False or malicious allegations will be referred to the police as part of this procedure.

The purpose of OCAC's policy on safeguarding and child protection is:
  • to protect children and young or vulnerable people who receive OCAC’s services from harm. This includes the children of adults who use our services
  • to provide members (who are volunteers), as well as children and young people and their families.
This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of OCAC and should be read alongside our canon law and codes of conduct.

We believe that:
  • Children, young, vulnerable: indeed all people should never experience abuse of any kind.
  • We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.
  • the welfare of all people is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take all people, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • some people are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

We seek to keep all people safe by:
  • valuing, listening to and respecting them
  • appointing bishops or other senior clergy to have a role in safeguarding
  • adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our canon law, procedures and codes of conduct
  • developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures
  • providing effective management for members through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures so that everyone knows about and follows our canons, procedures and codes of conduct confidently and competently
  • recruiting and selecting members ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • using our procedures to manage any allegations against members appropriately
  • creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
  • ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place.
  • building a safeguarding culture where our members, and anyone that has a relationship with our ministry treats each other with respect and can share concerns.

To report any concerns or safeguarding matters:
Contact the national or diocesan bishop (or Vicar General/Episcopal Vicar) overseeing your country or region, and make your concerns known via email in confidence.
Alternatively or in addition, contact the Patriarch via the church email: liberalcatholicsuk@gmail.com
Please note that all matters will be referred to police or other authorities including false or malicious claims.