Culture change

Graphic of two hands holding up a group of people

What do we mean by a culture change in relation to safeguarding?

Is a positive safeguarding culture just about compliance? At the Diocese of Oxford we believe that safeguarding is more than just a tick box exercise, it has to be about a shift in attitudes and beliefs.

This has been the approach taken by The Church of England leadership safeguarding training which hopes that participants reflect deeply on their own values and beliefs and integrate these with the values and beliefs underpinning good safeguarding behaviour.

The idea is that good safeguarding behaviour can then flow from an inner motivation, rather than be experienced as an external process to be followed under duress. Understanding the theology of safeguarding can help people to make this attitudinal shift in relation to safeguarding, as at the heart of the gospel is the call to care and advocate for all who are vulnerable.

But creating a culture of safety is more than individual change it means embedding safeguarding into everything an organisation does. Embedding a culture of safety should start with those in senior positions pledging commitment and support. 

This commitment cascades through to Church staff, volunteers and congregants who know that abuse can and does happen and are prepared to take action if the need arises. Those in churches with a healthy culture will also be aware of different types of abuse and will remain vigilant and look out for those who could be at risk of harm like children and adults at risk.

Why does the safeguarding team keep talking about culture change?

We are convinced that when there is a positive safeguarding culture it is less likely that abuse will occur.

Of course, we cannot eradicate all risk but risk is reduced if people are more aware, are curious and speak out if they suspect something is not right. When there is a healthy culture we are not defensive and we learn from our mistakes, which means the situation or incident is less likely to occur again. When people are vigilant and curious, abusers find it harder to hide and abuse is less likely to occur.

Further information on culture change can be found here:



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Page last updated: Monday 4th March 2024 3:38 PM
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