The internet and social media have many benefits for evangelisation and communication across the Archdiocese, but all communication must be utilised with responsibility, prudence and within the guidance set out within the Archdiocese Safeguarding Policy.
All contents and/or posts on a Parish site remain the responsibility of the Parish Priest. Both Parish or Clergy’s personal websites and social media sites must be lawful, abide at all times to the guidance set out in this policy and the document of the Bishops of England and Wales “Caring Safely for Others” or the document “Integrity In Ministry” issued by the Conference of Religious of England and Wales, and in-line with the responsibility of the position of trust beholden on all ordained Ministers and Religious.
It is the policy of the Archdiocese of Southwark that:
- Personal social media accounts of any ordained minister or Religious within the Archdiocese of Southwark, must be properly moderated to ensure any inappropriate content posted by a third party is removed and anything potentially illegal or of concern referred to the safeguarding team.
- That all reasonable efforts are made to ensure that the Internet or social media is not used for the viewing or transmission of inappropriate images on Church property.
- Any possession, distribution or manufacturing of indecent images of children, will be immediately reported to the Police and the Archdiocese safeguarding team.
- The taking of and/or posting/display of photographs of children must only occur with the written consent of parents/carers.
- Children should not be identified by their full name in photographs and all must be mindful of the “Jigsaw” effect in regards to children’s identity. This is the method for identifying a piece of information from two or more different (often unrelated) sources where the information’s release was not intentional.
- An individual’s home address must not be posted.
- If anyone replies or posts on any parish social media account and indicates that they are at risk of harm or if someone appears to be at risk, this must be reported immediately to the safeguarding team. If it is believed that they may be in/or at risk of immediate harm, this must be reported immediately to the Police dialling 999 and subsequently to the safeguarding team.
When “Live streaming” parish services, it is critical that agreed procedures are followed with regard to permissions and notifications, in particular, parental permission if any child’s face may be visible. Find out more below.