Ensuring the safety of minors and vulnerable people is an integral part of the Church’s mission. The Franciscan Chapel Center, to which is entrusted the pastoral care of the faithful residing in or visiting Tokyo, participates fully in this mission, firmly rooted in the conviction that each person has a unique value, being created in the image and likeness of God.
Definition of Terms
Minor: Any person under the age of 18 or deemed equivalent to such persons in law. In our policy we have used the terms, ‘minor’ and ‘child’ interchangeably to express the same meaning.
Vulnerable adult: Any person over the age of 18 who due to physical or mental incapacity or disability even temporarily lacks the freedom to understand, declare intentions or resist.
Child pornography: Representation, regardless of the means or medium used, of minors apparently involved in either real or virtual sexual activity, or any representation of the genitals of any minor with an exclusively sexual purpose.
Abuse: In this policy, the term refers to physical abuse (hitting, kicking, slapping, etc.), sexual abuse as defined below, neglect (confining them filthy and unsafe indoor spaces, ignoring physical needs of hunger and nature’s call), and psychological abuse (verbal threats, neglect and discriminatory treatment).
Sexual abuse: This definition in this policy is based on Church law and Vatican documents. Sexual abuse (including sexual exploitation) perpetrated against minors is a crime against the sixth of God’s Ten Commandments. Specifically, it is the use of violence, intimidation or abuse of authority to coerce a minor to perform or submit to sexual acts with or without consent. It includes physical contact with sexual overtones, self-exposure, masturbation, the production, publication, possession or distribution of child pornography, recruiting for prostitution, and sexual conversation and proposals using any means of communication. In all such cases if the perpetrator is a priest or religious it is an especially serious crime and is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Volunteers: Parishioners who have completed the Self Declaration Form and have been screened by the FCC Child Protection Team
At The FCC: The phrase is used in the context of events organised by the Franciscan Chapel Center within its building and without.
The Policy to Safeguard Children and Vulnerable Adults
The following policies are expected to be understood and implemented in all groups and ministries effectively to ensure safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.
1. Staff and volunteers who are to be appointed to provide care to a child must provide a signed self- declaration form stating information if they have / never have been involved in any breach of conduct when it comes to dealing with children. They will also consent to adhere at all times to the policy for safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults laid out by the FCC. The policy is subject to change and accordingly their consent applies to changes made. Based on the information provided through self declaration, the FCC Child Protection Team will screen volunteers to work with children at the FCC.
2. The signed declaration is to be held as valid evidence.
3. When offered, staff and volunteers have to be willing to undergo training and certification to be effective in adhering to the FCC Safeguarding Policy for Minors and Vulnerable Adults.
4. A child must be accompanied at all times by at least two adults who have provided a signed self declaration of not having any previous child abuse record/s against them.
5. At all times at least two volunteers must accompany a child.
6. At least two volunteers must be present at all times when conducting online sessions. All online sessions have to be recorded. The ratio of children to adults has to be 30:2.
7. We want to create an environment of trust where children are happy and confident to interact and communicate to volunteers. To create such a positive and safe atmosphere, a child should be cared for without any physical direct contact that could be in the form of hitting, pushing or unnecessarily touching
8. Unless given explicit responsibility by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, volunteers cannot use any form of electronic device to take pictures of a child alone or in a group.
9. Volunteers must not, through any media, possess or share any photos of children either taken at the Franciscan Chapel Center or elsewhere.
10. When not in direct personal contact with children, volunteers must use phone or personal email to directly communicate to parents only, with matters related to the child’s involvement at the FCC. No other forms of social media can be used for communication.
11. All meetings or learning sessions, either in person or online, between volunteers and children are organised by the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Volunteers cannot plan or have any meeting with a child or a group of children, within or outside the FCC, without the explicit permission of the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
12. Though this does not normally happen, volunteers cannot arrange or join in any kind of meeting, whether with an individual child or a group of children from the FCC, even if the intended meeting is outside the scope of their role as volunteers.
13. Volunteers cannot privately meet a child or groups of children from the FCC outside the premises even when such occasions are events organised by the FCC. They cannot privately meet a child nor a group of children within any other social setting.
14. All possible efforts must be made to have most of the scheduled teaching sessions and events face-to-face. If there is a special need to have an online session, a request has to be made to the coordinator to set up a Zoom meeting through the FCC Pastoral account. All online meetings have to be recorded from beginning to end and stored safely.
Points 4 to 14 in this policy are in place to protect volunteers and staff from being unduly held liable to any form of accusation. In the same manner these aid to deter situations that could lead to physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
15. Through the Parish Bulletin and through posters at the FCC, the following information must be communicated. “By coming here to the FCC, all visitors and parishioners consent to photographs and videos taken for all church activities to be used on our FCC social media.”
16. Staff and volunteers have a binding responsibility to report any sort of direct or indirect abuse to the designated Safeguarding Lead as specified in the GUIDELINES ON HOW TO DEAL WITH ABUSE OF MINORS & VULNERABLE ADULTS. They must be able to recognize symptoms of abuse and neglect that a child may experience either within and without the FCC.
17. n instances of reported allegation on a staff or volunteer, the GUIDELINES ON HOW TO DEAL WITH ABUSE OF MINORS & VULNERABLE ADULTS to be effectively implemented.
18. The FCC must have a FCC Child Protection Team and an External Multi-Disciplinary Team in place to effectively address allegations.
The FCC Child Protection Team consists of:
Designated Safeguarding Lead
FCCs Medical Nurse
Child Protection Officer
Assistant Child Protection Officer
Members of External Multidisciplinary Team consists of:
Child Protection Services Representative