A consequence of committing to write a weekly safeguarding blog, that in part offers a commentary on news items that have safeguarding relevance, is that, sadly, it can become a litany of tragic events. Before Christmas we learnt within a matter of a few days about the deaths of Arthur and Star at the hands of their parents and their respective partners. There was also a report of a deputy head-teacher, and safeguarding lead in her school to boot, being convicted of being complicit along with her partner in the rape of a teenage girl. Such awful and almost unbelievable stories. Add to this the transatlantic drama of Ghislaine Maxwell’s recent trial and its outcome.
Conversely I have tried, at times, to inject some wry or self-deprecating humour into the column, but that can appear trite in comparison. So as we enter 2022, again in a time of national uncertainty characterised by a tension between the Government and its own scientific advisers, I’m left wondering what tone to adopt!
I hope, at various times, the blog has been reflective, finger wagging and funny, whilst urging compliance with policy, promoting best practice, recommending training, conveying news, sharing research, story-telling and being mildly campaigning. How readers see and understand safeguarding and its context is also relevant, whether members of the Church safeguarding community or the wider congregation who may read this.
Going forward – a bit of organisation shorthand speak, sorry – I hope this year to explore what it might mean to be a safeguarding activist in our churches. Activism implies being vigorous in taking action, having identified an issue that needs prompt attention. So what do we still need to do as church communities to maintain them as safe spaces for all? How do we really make safeguarding part of ‘being church’?. How best do we enthuse the next generation of local church leaders? Do we need to think again about the language we use or the way we go about our business if it’s not inspiring enough?
Answers on a giant postcard please!
And happy new year to all!