UNIVERSAL

GUIDELINES FRAMEWORK

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors began drafting an updated Guidelines Framework as one of its first tasks during its first Plenary Assembly in September 2022, in conformity with the mandate provided in the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium.

The Universal Guidelines Framework (UGF) was developed in three phases: Phase 1 established Safeguarding Principles; Phase 2 established Criteria to translate the Principles into policy and procedure; and Phase 3 established Indicators to measure and review the effective implementation of policy.

In 2023, the Commission submitted its revised framework for several rounds of public consultation, resulting in the current comprehensive document. During its last plenary in March 2024, the Commission approved its distribution and use in a pilot testing phase.

While different, the framework supplements the 2011 Circular Letter of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Given the vastly different cultural contexts in which safeguarding policies and procedures are required to operate, the Commission will now engage in a targeted series of pilot programs to evaluate their effectiveness, especially in parts of the Church that have little experience in implementing and assessing safeguarding guidelines.

The Commission is developing a comprehensive auditing tool to complement this policy framework. This tool will be essential in further elaborating the Annual Report on Safeguarding Policies and Procedures in the Church, a pilot version of which was presented to the Holy Father in March 2024. 

The Commission is driven by Gospel teaching on the centrality of children in the life of the Church, our need to care for the wounded, and the love of Jesus, who showed by his words and actions how to care safely for everyone, particularly children and the vulnerable.

share with friends and colleagues

Guideline 1

Committed church leadership and culture

Guideline 2

SAFE ENVIRONMENTS

Guideline 3

Partnering with survivors,familes and communities

Guideline 4

Complaints/allegation response andmanagement

Guideline 5

Culturally responsive

Guideline 6

Policies and procedures support the safety of children and adults

Guideline 7

People management

Guideline 8

Ongoing education and formation

Guideline 9

Informed and empowered people

Guideline 10

Continious improvement

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

The Commission is a body of experts whose specific task is to propose initiatives to protect minors and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse, as well as initiatives throughout the Church to assist those impacted by abuse and promote local responsibility in safeguarding in churches around the world, uniting their prevention efforts to those of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Find out more!

Who are the members of the Commission?

The Commission is comprised of a body of experts in law, psychology, pastoral practice, childcare, canon law and social work. The majority are lay Catholics, with 10 women and 9 men. They were appointed by Pope Francis in September 2022 for a period of 5 years.

Meet our members!

What is the origin of the Universal Guidelines Framework?

The Commission was directed by the Holy Father to strengthen the existing Safeguarding Guidelines throughout the Church to ensure that the Church is a safe environment for children and vulnerable persons, among others. This mandate is found in a core document of the Church’s governance called Praedicate Evangelium. Article 78.2 of this document focuses on the place and use of Safeguarding Guidelines throughout the Church that all should abide by. An earlier version of these Guidelines can be found in the 2011 Guidelines Framework, first issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 

The Commission discussed and approved this updated Guidelines Framework during its Plenary Assembly in May 2023. The Commission is now engaging in a period of consultation with local church leadership, those impacted by abuse and other interested persons before finalizing a Universal Guidelines Framework later in 2023.

What happens after the Universal Guideline Framework has been finalized?

Given the size and diversity of the Church, the Commission knows that there is no “one-size-fits-all.” Once finalized, these general principles will be translated both into the local language but more importantly into the local cultural setting so that it speaks to people in the local church and local society. While the core principles should apply everywhere, the way those principles manifest themselves will likely differ from one place to another. All Church entities will be obliged to ensure their local Safeguarding Guidelines reflect the general principles that you are being asked to comment on today.