Buckfast Abbey

We are committed to the application of the Safeguarding standards and polices of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. This involves taking all reasonable steps to protect children, young people and adults who may be vulnerable to any form abuse or maltreatment by promoting a safe environment. The Abbey has its own Safeguarding Committee which routinely meets quarterly and otherwise as necessary to assist the Abbey in adhering to these standards. The Committee is supported by an Independent Safeguarding Coordinator, has independent membership involving statutory agencies and is independently chaired.

Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency [CSSA]

The CSSA has been established to be responsible for driving and supporting improvements in practice in safeguarding. Primarily its role is coordinating, advising and providing expert support in respect of the broad remit of safeguarding children, young people and adults with vulnerabilities. To access the national safeguarding policies and procedures of the Catholic Church of England and Wales please follow this link:

Reporting Abuse

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police, using 999 if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger. 

It is the policy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to report all allegations of abuse to statutory authorities, regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, or whether the accused person is living or deceased. 

If you are in any role within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, you must refer allegations directly to the safeguarding office for your diocese or religious congregation, or directly to the Police. 

If you are a member of the public, please refer allegations directly to the police and also to the safeguarding office in your diocese or religious organisation; (the relevant Diocesan safeguarding office can be located using the interactive map on the links page of the CSSA website – contact details will be shown when you click on the relevant area of the map). You can also contact CSSA by telephoning 0207 901 1920 or via email at

The Panel of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its final report after seven years of work. The Catholic Council welcomes this report, thanks the Inquiry for its work and will carefully study its contents and recommendations.

In the work of safeguarding all who are members of, or come into contact with, the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, at no point will the Church stop on its journey of dedicated effort in making the life and work of the Church safe for all.

Before the publication of the case study report into the Roman Catholic Church in November 2020, the Church commissioned an independent review into its safeguarding work and structures which is in the process of being implemented. The new national safeguarding body, the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA), which began operational work in April 2021, provides a regulatory function to organisations within the Church in England and Wales ensuring that standards are upheld, and all safeguarding processes adhered to. These changes were fully aligned with the Inquiry’s recommendations in the case study report.

Key to this progress is the voice of victims and survivors of abuse which has been an integral element in the development of this new agency. The Church remains committed to listening with humility to those who have been hurt by the actions of Church members so that their experiences will inform our work.

It is important for us to again offer an unreserved apology to all those who have been hurt by abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales and to reaffirm our commitment to the continued refinement and improvement of our safeguarding work to protect all children and the vulnerable.

Information regarding the Catholic Council

The Catholic Council for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was created in 2015, at the commencement of the Inquiry’s work. It has assisted IICSA under its Chair, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, and has representatives from both the Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Religious. It has supported the numerous organisations that make up the Catholic Church in England and Wales in their engagement with IICSA and ensured that the evidence required by the Inquiry was collated appropriately.

Safeguarding section on the Bishops’ Conference website.
Official website of the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA).
The Final Report can be found on the IICSA website.

Buckfast Abbey Policy Documents:

Click here for the Whistleblowing Policy
Click here for the Buckfast Abbey Safeguarding Policy and Complaints Procedure
Click here for 'Educare' Online Training
Click here for 'NCSC' Hurt By Abuse Leaflet
Click here for Safeguarding Strategic Plan

Safeguarding Q&A:

Everyone has a responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of vulnerable people. In England & Wales overall responsibility sits with the Bishops Conference and the Conference of Religious.

Following the release of “Safeguarding with Confidence,” the report of the Cumberlege Commission in 2007, a National Catholic Safeguarding Commission was established. This reports directly to the Conference of Bishops and the Conference of Religious.

The Commission also oversees and manages the work of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service. This (CSAS) is the National Office with responsibility for developing and supporting the implementation of National Policies and Procedures. It has a primary role in supporting and advising Diocesan Safeguarding arrangements. The National Office meets regularly with Safeguarding Co-ordinators and Officers from the Dioceses in order to improve consistency of practice and identify learning and development needs.

The Religious Superior is responsible for Safeguarding issues at the abbey. He delegates via Trustees to the Safeguarding Advisory Committee who together with the religious Superior, appoint a Safeguarding Coordinator. The Advisory Committee provides advise to the Superior on best practice and policy implementation. The Safeguarding Coordinator reports to the Committee and is accountable to the Superior via the Advisory Committee.

It is a group of independent professional people, appointed by a religious superior to oversee the implementation of Safeguarding Policies. The membership is made up of people with specific experience and expertise in safeguarding issues and includes representatives from the Police, Safeguarding Organisations, Social Work, the Probation Service and the clergy. The Commission meets regularly to discuss policies and procedures, receive reports from the Co-ordinator and when necessary to discuss investigations and other case work.

Click here for Safeguarding Trustee Sub-Committee Terms of Reference

Members of the Safeguarding Trustee Sub-Committee:
Paul Northcott, Independent Chair
Karen Grace Clifford-Harry, Independent and Deputy Chair
Dom Prior Daniel Smyth, Religious Advisor
Sharon Minty ISVA IDVA
Val Reeve, Independent
Deborrah Back – Adult Social Care
Mike Brewer, Education
D.C.I Jo Devonshire, Devon and Cornwall Police Public Protection Unit
Dom James Hood, Community of St Gregory the Great
Andrew Kings, Independent Safeguarding Coordinator

The Safeguarding Coordinator has a professional background in safeguarding. The Coordinator is accountable to the Congregational Leader and the appropriate Trustee Body for leading and managing the development of safeguarding practice and the implementation of policy and procedures within the Congregation. On behalf of the Safeguarding Committee, the Safeguarding Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the Congregational Leader is kept up to date on safeguarding matters. The Safeguarding Coordinator takes the lead in developing preventative practice, as well as responding to allegations of abuse against children and adults and is often a key source of support for survivors or victims of abuse and liaises with other agencies, as required, for the purposes of addressing identified needs.

Andrew Kings
Safeguarding Co-ordinator
Buckfast Abbey
TQ11 0EE
07881 754121

The Safeguarding Representative is the Sidesman of Buckfast Abbey and is a point of contact during services within the abbey. Safeguarding concerns can be raised with the representative during such times, when the Safeguarding Coordinator may be unavailable. The representative also assists the Coordinator with certain administrative duties.

NEVER discuss this with the person who you think is the abuser. If you have witnessed abuse or received an allegation of abuse where a child is in immediate danger you must inform the Statutory Authorities (Police/Social Services). You should then inform the Safeguarding Coordinator/Officer that you have done this. If you think there is no immediate danger you must report the allegation to the Co-ordinator/Officer immediately, who will then inform the Statutory Authorities.

If you think that someone is being groomed, discuss the issue with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or Officer who will agree with you what action to take.

“Grooming” is a process undertaken by those seeking to perpetrate sexual abuse. This can take months, sometimes years, and will almost inevitably involve grooming of parents/carers. In its early stages, grooming may be misinterpreted as kindness or helpfulness, while latterly it tends to become increasingly coercive and manipulative.

1 – Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors

MACSAS supports women and men who have been sexually abused, as children or adults, by ministers, clergy or others under the guise of the Church.

2 – Grief to Grace  UK –   Healing the wounds of abuse

Founded in Pennsylvania in 2006, Grief to Grace now ministers in several  diocese in the USA, in Canada and in Kingston, Jamaica. With the support of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Reverend Peter Smith, the programme was first piloted in the UK in 2011 and established as a UK charity in 2014.

3 – The Survivors’ Trust
 The Survivors Trust (TST) is a UK-wide national umbrella agency for 130 specialist organisations for support for the impact of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse throughout the UK and Ireland.

4 – One in Four

Supporting people who have experienced child sexual abuse and trauma

5 – NAPAC 

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

6 – ICAP

(Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy) is a charity providing counselling and psychotherapy. Talking with a trained and experienced professional in a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space can help people understand the causes of their distress and pain.