Church affirms commitment to protecting children

The Moderator of the General Assembly is backing a global campaign which calls on congregations to “take seriously their call and opportunity” to care for and protect children.

Right Rev Dr Derek Browning said the Church of Scotland was “delighted” to promote the World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative.

It affirms the three commitments of protection, participation and addressing issues affecting children

Robin Downie, Moderator of the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is also supporting the ecumenical body’s campaign.

Derek Browning
Right Rev Dr Derek Browning and Robin Downie

Dr Browning and Mr Downie have together conveyed the commitment of the Church of Scotland in a letter to Rev Dr Olav Fyse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

They wrote: “We would like to highlight our engagement and progress in these areas at local and national levels within the Church and commit to continue to develop and grow child-friendly, caring and protecting churches.

“We have a wide reach across Scotland working regularly with thousands of children and young people within our churches and local communities.

“We contribute to healthy and life-giving environments for children to flourish, and we encourage all churches to take seriously their call and opportunity to care for and protect children and enable them to have a say in decisions that affect them.

“We are also active in speaking out and engaging in advocacy and campaigns on issues affecting children in our country.”

Commitment

The Church of Scotland, which is a member of WCC, has a Safeguarding Department which aims to ensure the best care and protection for every child and young person.

All congregations have rigorous policies in place and have a Safeguarding Co-ordinator who receives regular training.

The Church’s social care arm, CrossReach, is engaged in national policy development and delivery and works directly with children and families.

Highly trained staff address issues affecting physical and mental health, enabling people to develop confidence and resilience.

The Church and Society Council have produced key reports on Growing up in Scotland and Corporal Punishment.

Its Speak Out listening initiative has identified the key need for more investment in young people.

The Mission and Discipleship Council supports and promotes best practice in all areas of work with children and young people.

The National Youth Assembly brings young people together, sharing their concerns and contributing to decisions across the church.

Dr Browning said: “During the forthcoming Year of Young People 2018, promoted by the Scottish Government, we will focus the worship, witness and work of the Church on every level locally, regionally and nationally.

“We will be increasing our commitment to the participation of young people, encouraging their engagement in the Church and wider society and celebrating their achievements.”