Protection and Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

Monastery’s Policy on

Protection and Safeguarding

of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

The monks of Holy Cross Monastery are vowed to a celibate way of life and mutual respect among persons. The monastic community views abuse including sexual abuse or sexual exploitation by its members to be morally reprehensible.

All monks of Holy Cross Monastery have been vetted and have undergone safeguarding training. Safeguarding training will be kept up to date to maintain a vigilant awareness alive within the community in regard to safeguarding issues.

In accordance with the gospel and the principles of their Rule of life, the Benedictine Monks of Holy Cross Monastery, Rostrevor, strive to welcome all who come to this place as they would welcome Christ Himself.  They seek to ensure that each person who is received as a guest or visitor to the monastery is shown reverence and offered respect.

The community is fully committed to the Church’s policy formulated in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance for the Catholic Church in Ireland and is signed up to and follows the safeguarding procedures in place in the Diocese of Dromore.

Any worries or concerns regarding the safeguarding of children or well-being of vulnerable adults encountered at Holy Cross Monastery should be reported immediately to the Superior and to the Dromore Designated Person who oversees the Community’s safeguarding practice:

Mrs Patricia Carville

Diocesean Office for Safeguarding Children

68 North Street


BT67 9AH

Mobile: 0778 9917741

When considering abuse, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, the Monastery maintains a primary concern for the victim’s safety and well-being. Recognising that abuse, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation has tragic consequences for those who have been abused, Holy Cross Monastery adopts the following procedures which is binding on all and will be reviewed by the Superior’s Council annually. These procedures are augmented by Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, wherever necessary:

I. An Allegation

  • Allegations will be reported to the Superior of the Monastery and the Dromore Designated Person for safeguarding. Credible allegations involving minors will immediately be reported to the civil authorities. In all cases, reports to the HSC and the PSNI will be made as required.
  • All allegations of abuse of a minor will be responded to promptly. If a credible allegation is made the guidance under Leave from Ministry shall be followed if it is a Priest or Religious if it is a lay volunteer or member of staff the person will be suspended pending the outcome of any civil criminal action and subsequent disciplinary process. The victim and the victim’s family will be attended to with compassion and assisted in obtaining counselling and medical care.

II. Pastoral Response to the Complainant

  • Anyone who may have been abused or exploited is encouraged to contact both the Superior and the Dromore Designated Person.
  • When the Superior and Designated Person receive an allegation from a victim they will follow Standard 2 guidance.
  • When any monk or person associated with the Monastery receives an allegation from a victim, they immediately communicate the information received to the Superior and the Dromore Designated Person.
  • After appropriate consultation, the Superior and the Dromore Designated Person normally initiate the following: they will offer the victim a Support Person and encourage the victim to seek counselling with Towards Healing. In exceptional circumstances other supports may be provided.

III. Intervention with the Accused

  • The Superior and the Dromore Designated Person inform the accused of the allegation and they will appoint an Adviser.
  • Based upon the credibility of the allegation and any advice from statutory agencies the Superior and the Dromore Designated Person decide whether or not to suspend the accused from his present duties.
  • The Superior and the Dromore Designated Person may require the accused to undergo a psychological evaluation. The Superior and Dromore Designated Person will provide this professional with all relevant information in their possession pertaining to the alleged abuser.
  • If the accused is to receive professional treatment, the Superior may take the following steps, if the accused is a monk:
    • Have the accused live at the monastery under a supervised regime.
    • Find some appropriate accommodation elsewhere with a supervised regime put in place
    • When treatment has been successfully completed, the Superior, in consultation with the treatment professionals and others, establishes an aftercare programme.
  • On completion of the recommended treatment and the aftercare programme, and on receipt of a positive evaluation, the Superior, after appropriate consultation, will consider giving this monk a permanent assignment with appropriate safeguards which will be communicated to those who need to know.
  • If at any time the Superior determines that the monk cannot continue in monastic life, he will seek to have the monk leave the Monastery voluntarily. If the monk does not leave voluntarily, the Superior may initiate a canonical process for dismissal

IV. Public Statement

It may be appropriate for the Superior to issue a short statement.

V. Definitions 

Superior: the Superior is the chief administrator and spiritual father of Holy Cross Monastery.

Abuse: As defined in Resource 10 Standards and Guidance. Similarly any form of sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult or another person shall be deemed to constitute a serious matter, whether initiated by the accused or not:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any form of non-accidental injury or injury which results from the wilful or neglectful failure to protect a child.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It is normally to be found in the relationship between an adult and a child rather than a specific event or pattern of events. It occurs when a child’s need for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met. Unless other forms of abuse are present, it is rarely manifested in terms of physical signs or symptoms. The threshold of significant harm is reached when abusive interactions dominate and become typical of the relationship between the child and the parent carer.

Sexual Abuse 

Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or sexual arousal or for that of others.


Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults and medical care. The threshold of significant harm is reached when the child’s needs are neglected to the extent that his or her wellbeing and/ or development are severely affected.


A complaint or accusation made by a victim to the Superior or a credible report made to the Superior by another person because the victim is prevented for a serious reason from speaking directly with the Superior.


A victim shall be deemed to be any minor, or vulnerable adult.