On this page, you will find safeguarding information regarding support services, complaints and reporting, and downloadable resources.
Safeguarding Policy Statement in the Diocese of Derry
As a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland, we recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children, are committed to ensuring their safety and well-being, and will work in partnership with parents/guardians to do this.
We recognise each child as a gift from God, and we value and encourage the participation of children in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development.
All Church personnel (including clergy, religious, staff, and volunteers) have a responsibility to safeguard children through promoting their welfare, health, and development in a safe and caring environment that supports their best interests and prevents abuse.
Any queries regarding
- A safeguarding concern or allegation should be directed to the Designated Liaison Person. Please contact Marie Gormley on 075 9650 0793.
- Vetting applications for parish volunteers and employees should be directed to the Parish Safeguarding Representative.
- Vetting applications for Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Volunteers should be directed to the Safeguarding Representatives for the pilgrimage.
- Developing good practice in parishes or diocesan groups should be directed to the Safeguarding Coordinator, Briege O'Neill 028 7136 2475.
- General safeguarding queries should be directed to Briege O'Neill, 028 7136 2475.
Towards Healing is an independent organisation providing professional support for people who have experienced institutional, clerical or religious abuse in Ireland.
Towards Peace offers Spiritual support for survivors of abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland.
The vision of Towards Peace is to provide a safe supportive space, where people who have been affected by abuse in a Church context can be accompanied as they seek their own experience of spiritual peace.
Complaints and Reporting
How do I report that I or someone known to me was abused by a priest or someone connected to the Church?
If you were abused by a priest or someone connected with the Church in the Diocese of Derry, or if you know or suspect that someone else was abused, you can report it to the Diocesan Designated Liaison Personnel (DLP), Marie Gormley.
Other Contact Details
In Northern Ireland:
PSNI: 101 for your local Station
Western Health and Social Care Trust: 028 7131 4090 (children) 028 7161 1366 (adults) (9.00a.m. to 5.00p.m.)
Regional Emergency Social Work Service (RESWS): 028 9504 9999 (Outside of normal office hours)
In the Republic of Ireland:
An Garda Síochána:
Buncrana: +353 7493 20540
Lifford: +353 749141000
Letterkenny: +353 7491 67100
Garda 24 Hour Free Phone Reporting Line: 1800 555 222
TUSLA - Child & Family Agency: 074 9123672. Millennium Court, Pearse Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal. (After hours - contact Garda Station)
What will happen if I report abuse?
Reporting abuse is always difficult. We will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Normally we will meet with you to hear your account of abuse. We will discuss and agree with you where the meeting should take place. We can meet you in our offices but if that is inconvenient or otherwise difficult for you we can arrange to meet in a place of your choosing.If you do not want to meet us, we will take your complaint over the phone, by letter or in an e-mail.
Can I report abuse in confidence?
Any information that you share with us will be treated with the utmost respect and only shared with the people who need to know it. We are required to share information about abuse with the civil authorities, that is, the PSNI & Gardai as well as Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, or the relevant Health and Social Care Trust. We also need to share the information with some colleagues in the Diocese. If you tell us that you were abused by a person who is still alive, we will put your complaint to that person in order to get their response to it.
We will explain all of this to you when we hear from you and before you tell us about the abuse so that you can make an informed decision about sharing your information with us.
What support will I be offered?
We will put you in touch with Towards Healing. This is an organisation that provides a range of services to people who were abused by priests and religious and for their families. One of the services they provide is counselling. The service is free and there is no waiting list.
Marie will also keep in touch with you to let you know how the Diocese is dealing with your complaint if that is your wish. Alternatively, you will be offered the assistance of a Support Person to accompany you through the process of dealing with your complaint if that is your preference.
What if I do not want to report abuse to the Diocese?
You can take your complaint directly to the PSNI/Gardai or to Tulsa, the Child and Family Agency (ROI), or the relevant Health and Social Care Trust (NI). These Telephone Numbers are listed above. If you are unsure who to approach we can assist you with this.
If the allegation relates to church personnel in the Diocese of Derry, it would be helpful if you let us know that you have reported this matter to the PSNI/Gardai.
What if the person that abused me was not a priest or in any way connected with the Church?
If you are having any difficulty finding out who you should contact, we will be happy to advise you.