Safeguarding Policy




The Lourdes Pilgrimage -

  • Seeks to serve the needs of all pilgrims and in doing so takes seriously the welfare of all who take part in the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

  • Aims to ensure that all are welcomed into a safe, caring, Christian environment with a happy and friendly atmosphere.

  • Recognises that it is the responsibility of each one of its pilgrims to prevent all forms of abuse of any pilgrim and to report any abuse discovered or suspected.

  • Recognises its responsibility to implement, maintain and regularly review procedures, which are designed to minimise the risk of abuse.

  • Acknowledges its responsibility to respond appropriately to any report of abuse by or of any pilgrim.

  • Is committed to supporting and training those who work with children, young people or vulnerable adults and to providing appropriate supervision.

  • Recognises that this document will need to be reviewed annually, to keep in line with current legislation.



In this document we will refer to children or young people, vulnerable adults, Hospitalite and Pilgrimage Protection Officers.

Below are definitions of those terms for the purposes of this policy and guidelines:


Child or Young person

This is defined as any boy or girl aged under 18 years, that is to say up to the last day of their 17th year.


Vulnerable Adult

The term vulnerable adult refers to any person aged 18 years and over, who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or serious exploitation.



Hospitalite are voluntary helpers on the A & B Pilgrimage who care for all other pilgrims, more specifically those who are sick or disabled. For the purposes of this document the term hospitalite has been used to encompass doctors and nurses also.


Pilgrimage Protection Officers

Pilgrimage Protection Officers are Hospitalite, who have specifically been identified to deal with any allegations of abuse on the pilgrimage in any form.

Pilgrimage Protection Officers are nominated by the Lourdes Pilgrimage committee.







As Christians, perhaps the most fundamental principle that governs our lives is that of loving and respecting our fellow human beings. Within that principle we are aware of the need for the safety and well being of those who are most vulnerable in our society.


Much of the Church's work in this area is undertaken by willing, unpaid volunteers, women and men of all ages, who give freely of their time and energies. It is vitally important that each one of us who has contact with vulnerable people is aware of best practice and procedural guidelines concerning this very important field of service.


The principle behind the Arundel and Brighton Diocesan “Safe and Sound” Guidelines for safeguarding children and young people is the “Paramountcy Principle”. This means that the welfare of the child, young person or vulnerable adult is the paramount consideration in all matters concerning their protection. All that follows in word or actions must respect that principle.


The Arundel and Brighton Pilgrimage to Lourdes is, above all else, a community journeying together with a mixture of feelings including hope, expectation, nervousness, anticipation, excitement, joy, happiness and love. In a sense we are a parish community in transit.


There is a justifiable expectation by each pilgrim that he/she will be treated with respect in a loving caring atmosphere.


The organisation of the pilgrimage involves aspects such as accommodation, transport, food, facilities, content of the programme, team structures and training of helpers The combination of all of these is designed in the hope that all pilgrims have a positive experience of their pilgrimage to Lourdes. The need to have an agreed "Pilgrimage Protection Policy” should be seen as yet another way of providing for this positive experience.


Such a policy benefits the pilgrimage in five main ways.


  • Best practice guidelines would minimise the risk of abuse to a child, young person, vulnerable adult, Hospitalite, clergy or able pilgrim.


  • All Hospitalite would be better equipped to care for a child, young person or vulnerable adult.


  • All Hospitalite would be aware of appropriate action in the event of a suspicion, rumour or allegation.


  • The reputation of all Hospitalite and clergy would be protected.


  • The reputation of the pilgrimage would be protected.


The policies and guidelines contained in this document are designed to assist the organisation of the pilgrimage and to give confidence and guidance to all pilgrims.





Although this list of categories is not exhaustive, some of the main types of abuse are identified here.


Physical Abuse:

The non-accidental infliction of physical force, that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment.


Psychological Abuse:

The use of threats, humiliation, bullying, swearing and other verbal conduct, or any other form of mental cruelty, that results in mental or physical distress. It includes the denial of basic human and civil rights, such as choice, self-expression, privacy and dignity.


Neglect and Acts of Omission:

The repeated deprivation of assistance that the vulnerable adult needs for important activities of daily living, including the failure to intervene in behaviour which is dangerous to the vulnerable adult or to others.


Sexual Abuse:

Direct or indirect involvement in sexual activity without consent. Consent to a particular activity many not be given because:

  • a person has capacity and does not want to give it.

  • a person lacks capacity and is therefore unable to give it.

  • A person feels coerced into activity because the other person is in a position of trust, power or authority.


Financial Abuse

The unauthorised and improper use of funds, property or any resources belonging to an individual.


The Pilgrimage as a community has a responsibility for the well being of children, young people and vulnerable adults. The recognition of suspected or actual abuse rests with members of the community, as well as those with organisational responsibilities.





Recruitment, Screening and Preparation of all persons registered as Hospitalite.

All organisations must be alert to the possibility that any person may pose a risk of harm to children, young people or vulnerable adults. Organisations using staff paid or voluntary, who have access to children, young people or vulnerable adults must guard against the potential for abuse, through a rigorous selection process, supervision, preparation and on-going awareness of the behaviour of staff.


  • No Hospitalite or clergy will be permitted to work on the pilgrimage without a satisfactory enhanced CRB certificate, issued within the last two years.

  • Any person under 18 who is not registered as a helper, can only be accepted if accompanied by a parent/ guardian / other responsible adult.

  • All Hospitalite and clergy must receive appropriate preparation in protection guidelines prior to the Pilgrimage to ensure that they have:

  • a good understanding of the policy and guidelines

  • the skills to pass this understanding onto others

  • the skills to offer appropriate support and supervision for group members

  • The role of the Hospitalite is clearly defined on the Pilgrimage application form. This will be reinforced through appropriate preparation on New Helpers' Day and/or Briefing Day.

  • Each Hospitalite will be issued with a Code of Conduct card outlining best practice guidelines and any action to be taken in the event of a disclosure.

  • The pilgrimage organisers should nominate person(s) (Pilgrimage Protection Officers) on the pilgrimage to be the main contact points in the event of any known or suspected incident. The role of the Pilgrimage Protection officers is solely to ensure that the laid down procedures are meticulously followed. There will always be at least one male and one female Pilgrimage Protection Officer on the Pilgrimage. Only the relevant statutory authorities, either French or UK, can investigate any disclosure of abuse in co-operation with the Diocese.


Best Practice whilst on Pilgrimage.


Care of Pilgrims

  • All Leaders should ensure they provide good support and supervision of pilgrims.

  • Hospitalite should ensure as far as is reasonably practicable that they are not alone providing intimate care, e.g. washing, toileting, dressing, babysitting. This includes any time spent in a child's/young person’s/vulnerable adult's bedroom for whatever reason.

  • As far as is reasonably practicable Hospitalite should ensure that they are with another Hospitalite when looking after a pilgrim. Clearly Sacramental or medical protocols may be exceptions to this requirement. However all sensible precautions should be taken in all cases to ensure everyone's safety and dignity.

  • All helpers must comply with the Code of Conduct as set out on pages 8-10 of this policy. Hospitalite musts report any incidents or concerns to their group leaders, who will then inform the Pilgrimage Protection Officers immediately.

  • If it is inappropriate to inform your leader of any incident/s or concerns, hospitalite must inform either their group doctor or nurse, who will then inform the Pilgrimage Protection Officers immediately.


How to respond to a Disclosure.

  • If a person makes an allegation to you –

The conversation is potentially a source of evidence. The listener should listen and not ask questions which lead or suggest an answer to the pilgrim.

  • The listener must record the conversation as soon as possible. The record should reflect the conversation as accurately as possible, using the Pilgrim's own words. The record should be signed and dated, noting the time and location at which it took place. The names of anyone else present should be included.

  • The allegation by the Pilgrim must be taken seriously. The Pilgrim should be reassured that they have done the right thing in reporting an incident.

  • Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and should not be promised in respect of an allegation of abuse or inappropriate behaviour by or towards a pilgrim. This means that any details should not be openly discussed, but may have to be acted upon by other authorities.

  • You should explain to the Pilgrim what you will do next, i.e. inform your Group Leader / Pilgrim Protection Officer(s).

  • It is not your responsibility to decide whether the allegation is true or not. A false or unlikely allegation may be an indication that the Pilgrim and/or family need help.

  • At this time the subject of the allegation must not be approached, questioned or informed. Any person subject of an allegation will have their rights protected in accordance with Christian principles.

  • The Pilgrimage Protection Officer/s on the pilgrimage must be notified at the first opportunity following the allegation(s) being made.

  • On being notified of the allegation the Pilgrimage Protection Officer(s) will discuss appropriate action with the Pilgrimage Director.


  • It may be deemed necessary to report an incident to the local French authorities or the relevant authorities in the UK. The following policy should be followed.

  • If an incident of alleged abuse has occurred outside of the UK - foreign agencies must be informed. There is no jurisdiction for British Police to act.

  • If alleged abuse took place in the UK - inform UK agencies.

  • If alleged abuse occurred outside of the UK but also has taken place in UK, inform UK agencies - who will liaise with foreign agencies.

  • Alleged abuser - The Lourdes Pilgrimage has no legal power to remove an alleged abuser but can only exclude him/her from any Pilgrimage activities and seek to manage the situation. Also there is a duty to inform the UK Police if the alleged abuser might present an ongoing risk in the UK. In this case the Diocesan authorities can decide that the person shall have no further involvement with the pilgrimage or other work with the Diocese.

  • In the case of any assaults outside the UK whilst on pilgrimage, there may be issues for the Diocese if negligence is proved or alleged.

  • Any historic disclosures of abuse shall be discussed by Pilgrimage Protection Officers and dealt with on their own individual merit.


  • Leaders must pass a written record of any alleged incident involving a group member to a Pilgrimage Protection Officer. This should apply irrespective of the age of person(s) concerned and whether or not abuse has occurred or is suspected at the time. Written observations may assist later enquiries. The referral form should be used for this purpose. Remember Confidentiality




The following text is reproduced on card and shall be issued to all helpers.



If a pilgrim discloses to you abuse by someone else:

  • Allow him or her to speak without interruption, accepting what is said, but do not investigate.

  • Re-assure the child or vulnerable adult that they have done the right thing by telling you.

  • Report the matter to the Leader in Charge of your group immediately, they will in turn inform the Pilgrimage Protection Officer/s.


If you suspect a pilgrim is being abused in anyway or if you receive an allegation about any pilgrim or about yourself:

  • Report the matter to the Leader in Charge of your group immediately, they will in turn inform the Pilgrimage Protection Officer/s.

  • Try to ensure that no one is placed in a position that could cause further compromise.


In all cases:

  • The listener must record the conversation as soon as possible. The record should reflect the conversation as accurately as possible, using the Pilgrim's own words. The record should be signed and dated, noting the time and location at which it took place. The names of anyone else present should be included.

  • Report facts to the Pilgrimage Protection Officer(s).

  • You must refer, you must not investigate. Do not contact the subject of the allegation.

  • Do not promise confidentiality, as any information received may have to be acted upon by other authorities.




  • Treat all pilgrims with respect and always be an example of good conduct that you would wish others to follow.

  • Ensure wherever possible that there is more than one helper present during your activities with children, young people and vulnerable adults, or at least that you are within sight or hearing of others. Clearly Sacramental or Medical protocols may be exceptions to this requirement. However all sensible precautions should be taken to ensure everyone's safety.

  • Respect all pilgrims' right to personal privacy.

  • Encourage pilgrims to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.

  • Remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.

  • Be aware that even caring physical contact with a pilgrim may be misinterpreted.

  • Recognise that special caution is required in moments when you are discussing sensitive issues with other helpers or other pilgrims,

  • Operate within the Code of Good Conduct and procedures of the Lourdes Pilgrimage.



  • Render yourself unfit for "duty as a helper" through the consumption of alcohol or the lack of sleep.

  • Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with other pilgrims.

  • Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour.

  • Make suggestive / derogatory remarks or gestures in front of other pilgrims.

  • Jump to conclusions about others.

  • Exaggerate or trivialise abuse issues.

  • Show favouritism to any individual.

  • Rely on your good name or that of the Church to protect you.

  • Believe 'it could never happen to me'.

  • Take a chance when common sense, policy and practice suggest another more prudent approach.

  • Ignore the Protection Guidelines and Procedures operating within the organisation.




Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Safe & Sound Guidelines

YMCA Child Protection Policy

Portsmouth Diocese (Declaration Form)

Rev David Boyd - Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Angela Hazelton - Inter Diocesan Child Protection Co-ordinator

Mark Twoomey - Barrister Arundel & Brighton Child Protection Team

Hampshire Council for Voluntary Youth Services

Jersey Christians Together

Safe from Harm – A Code of Practice for Safeguarding the Welfare of Children in Voluntary Organisations in England and Wales. Home Office 1993



Rev Kieron O'Brien Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Angela Hazelton Inter Diocesan Child Protection Co-ordinator

Natalie McCarthy Family Group Co-ordinator, A & B Lourdes Pilgrimage

Danny McCarthy Family Group Co-ordinator, A & B Lourdes Pilgrimage

Ray Mooney Diocesan Youth Advisor

Dilhara Fernando Accueil Co-ordinator, A & B Pilgrimage


Policy last updated July 2005.


© Copyright of The Arundel and Brighton Lourdes Pilgrimage Ltd. March 2001.


Any Diocese or other organisation wishing to use this document wholly or in part may do so with permission by contacting The Pilgrimage Office, The Priory, School Lane, Storrington, West Sussex, RH20 4LL. Tel No 01903 745180


The Diocese of Arundel and Brighton Lourdes Pilgrimage Trust is a registered charity No 1039851