The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is committed to safeguarding the vulnerable within our community. In assisting people in need, we are committed to do no harm to their wellbeing or put them at risk of abuse or neglect. Safeguarding applies to all vulnerable people: children, the elderly, those who have a physical or mental disability, and those who struggle with poverty. As Vincentians, the nature of our work means that there is often a power imbalance when we encounter a person in need; a person’s circumstances, whereby they are seeking help, and our position as a provider of financial, material, or emotional support, creates a risk and renders vulnerable the person seeking assistance. In committing to safeguarding, we are not just ensuring that abuse is prevented, reported, and acted upon; we are also seeking to create safe and respectful environments.
If a person encounters a situation where they believe an interaction with an individual associated with St. Vincent de Paul has threatened their health or well-being or the health or well-being of another person, the following procedure should be followed.
- For imminent threat of abuse, call 911.
- For suspicion of abuse or neglect contact local law enforcement. An officer will take your statement, and if appropriate, ensure that the victim speak with an advocate.
- You may also contact your county’s Commonwealth Attorney to make a report (listed below).