Helping the vulnerable is at the heart of our mission—including the protection of those we serve and those who serve alongside us. Along with all other SVdP Councils worldwide, SVdP Indy is establishing a safeguarding policy to actively prevent harm, abuse (sexual, emotional and physical), and distress of children and adults.
While the policy is a standard requirement by SVdP International, it will be local by design. To create the most appropriate safeguarding policy for our Council, we formed a committee of internal and external stakeholders to provide input and direction. Members included executive leadership, Council representatives, and Vincentians like Therese Hannah, a Magistrate with Marion Superior Courts.
At the same time, we benchmarked against local community organizations, including the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and other non-profits, particularly those serving children or vulnerable populations.
The policy is still under review and expected to be launched at the start of 2023. It will include three main facets:
- Training and Awareness: As part of employment and volunteer service, all regular volunteers (those who volunteer on an ongoing basis), and employees will sign an acknowledgment form that they have read and understand the policy. Additionally, they will sign a code of conduct. Training will also be provided for staff and key volunteers, which includes anyone involved in home visits or other one-on-one or public-facing capacities.
- Background Checks: Background checks will be done for staff and key volunteers. SVdP Indy will incur the expense. Background checks are a very common practice today in schools, churches and other non-profits.
- Photo IDs: We’ll create photo IDs for employees and key volunteers (i.e., Council members, CLF mentors and facilitators, home visitors and pantry in-take coordinators). The ID will include the SVdP Indy logo and each individual’s first name (last names will not be included). All those with IDs will be expected to wear them as they work at our facilities or any of our activities or events.
More information will be shared at the District and Conference levels in the coming months.
Read more about the safeguarding policy from SVdP Indy President Paul Ainslie.