Interfaith Conference on Governance & Safeguarding: An Event Round Up

The first annual Interfaith Conference on Governance & Safeguarding was held in London on Tuesday the 21st of February and is already leading the way in faith safeguarding.

Following the recommendations of the final report from The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), it is now vital that all organisations who come into contact with children have the right policies, procedures and practice to protect them. In this blog we discuss why the Interfaith Conference on Governance & Safeguarding is a significant step forward in helping faith-based communities to understand how to start building the right safeguarding culture.


The conference was planned by a collaborative team of interfaith organisations and professional bodies with expertise in safeguarding and faith literacy. These included Thirtyone:eight, the Faiths Forum for London, Strengthening Faiths Institution, and the National Working Group (NWG Network). It was enlightening to see a range of faith institutions, across many religious settings, working towards the common goal of keeping children safe. We were pleased to attend their first event.


The key objective of the Conference was to provide accurate safeguarding guidance and support for UK leaders, trustees, clergy and members of faith organisations. To share ways in which they can improve their governance, to inform and equip them with the knowledge and skills to create safer environments for children and adults at risk in faith settings. Delegates agreed that there needed to be more far more awareness of safeguarding and that Conferences like this were essential in helping to do that.


We heard from a number of speakers, who shared honest accounts of their own experiences within faith organisations and as safeguarding policy makers.

Keynote speaker Sabah Kaiser, Ethnic Minority Ambassador to IICSA, opened the Conference with a harrowing account of her experience of child abuse which she said was “epidemic” in UK society and across all faiths.

“No one can say it doesn’t happen here, it needs to stop!” - Sabah Kaiser

Kaiser also spoke about the need for Mandatory Reporting, and a legal requirement to report knowledge or suspicions of child or other abuse to a designated authority, if brought into law as is currently mandatory in educational settings in the UK.

[Image credit: Faiths Forum via Twitter]

Ruth Jones MP and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee (APPG) on safeguarding in faith communities, talked about why communication and awareness are essential to enable everyone to feel safe in faith settings. She said that Faith Leaders, with their ‘positions of trust have a ‘duty of candour’ to be open and honest. Given that children are taught from a young age that faith settings are safe spaces run by trust-worthy adults, it is essential to ensure that they are kept safe.


Justin Humphreys, CEO & Head of Safeguarding Development at Thirtyone:eight spoke about how important it was to create the right internal safeguarding culture because, without that, nothing can really change. That means developing clear internal communications where all people involved in a faith setting can feel free to report any concern they have about anything to their Leaders without censure or hinderance. He also emphasized how important it was important to also have the right Policies, Procedures and Practices in place to meet Charity Commission guidance and help compliance with Government legislation.

Throughout the Conference the repeated message was that abuse of children and adults is commonplace across UK society. All faith organisations, to some degree, have been historically complicit in denial and the covering up of incidences - as revealed by the IICSA Report.

A Faith Leader holds a ‘Position of Trust’, a position which has often been abused and, due to the fear of exposure should the public find out, incidents of abuse have been hidden with abusers often hidden in plain sight. Faith settings should be safe, warm and welcoming, not fearful.



“Safeguarding is everyone’s business. Recognising the risks and understanding that abusers can hide in plain sight is more than a tick-box exercise, it’s about culture and behaviour.”

- Paul Burstow, Chair, SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence)

Creating the right safeguarding culture involves having well understood policies and procedures in place so everyone understands the importance and that it is everyone’s responsibility to report any concerns to the right person and a senior leadership providing open and full support. It is all about communication.

Across all settings, the professional practice of safeguarding starts with having good record keeping and reporting using an electronic case management system. One that allows you to accurately capture and keep all safeguarding concerns in one place, providing the oversight to identify continuing issues and enable early interventions to keep those in your care safe.

What's the solution? We have an ever-growing suite of safeguarding solutions to support Faith Organisations.

MyConcern the award-winning trusted and intuitive digital solution from The Safeguarding Company offers a secure, centralised system for the management of child and adult protection. It also provides safeguarding leads with the assurance of knowing they are meeting the statutory, legal and moral obligations they have to those in their care.

With MyVoice, a brand-new, open and secure, anonymous access reporting system, you can empower anyone you choose to report a safeguarding concern. That can include children and young people, to give them a voice too. It will assist early interventions and directly support the development of your open safeguarding culture and provide better support for anyone who needs it.

For safer recruitment we have Sentry, an easy-to-follow workflow for all of the critical recruitment checks that faith organisations need to complete before employing someone or approving them as a volunteer.

Talk to us to find out which of our solutions would best support you in developing your safeguarding culture or sign up to receive the latest safeguarding news and updates via our newsletter. 

Posted Date

14th March 2023

Alister Ross
Marketing Manager

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