support our work:meet the team!
Safeguarding work in Triratna, in progress since 2013, has developed enormously in the last three months. As the overall Safeguarding officer (Munisha) I’d like to bring you up to date.
Training On 4th October, around 30 Safeguarding officers and trustees from Triratna centres across the UK, and Saddhaloka (Chair of Triratna’s College of Public Preceptors), gathered at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre for our second training day. After last year’s training in child protection, this year we worked on ‘Safeguarding adults’ with the help of an external trainer, from the CCPAS, which specialises in Safeguarding for faith groups.
Our new team We now have not just a Safeguarding officer but a Safeguarding team: two more people are contributing their skills, making my life a great deal easier and increasing our capacity. Check them out in the photographs here.
Our new Assistant Safeguarding Officer is Sthirajyoti, a former compiler of Shabda (the Order journal) and Health and Safety officer at windhorse:evolution until it closed down. He and I are both part of the Development Team financially supported by Triratna’s European Chairs’ Assembly to provide services to all centres in Europe, though naturally our work also benefits centres much further afield.
Providing us with invaluable professional expertise from beyond Triratna, we have a new Safeguarding adviser, Amaladipa, who is very senior in the probation service in Britain and has over 25 years’ experience of Safeguarding in the criminal justice system.
Supporting Centre Safeguarding officers Aware that Centres’ own Safeguarding officers need more training and support, we’re planning for regular small online meetings starting soon and a weekend retreat in 2018. It can be hard being a Safeguarding officer so it’s important that we support each other and connect with Safeguarding as an inspiring expression of the bodhisattva spirit.
Updating policies We are currently rewriting all our existing model Safeguarding policies, bringing them up to date and taking account of lessons learned from this year’s discussion of controversial aspects of Triratna’s past.
New policies We are also working on a series of other policies and documents, including establishing our values, procedures and legal obligations with regard to inclusion of trans people in the Triratna sangha.
Launching the policies and raising awareness The rollout of all these policies includes talking to Chairs, Preceptors, Mitra convenors and the College, raising awareness and clarifying values and legal obligations. The Safeguarding team works in conjunction with an Ethics Kula including College members, Order convenors and others with relevant skills and experience. This kula is in the very early stages of development, but is becoming increasingly effective.
Sharing the learning beyond Triratna
I’m also Triratna’s Liaison officer, responsible for our work with other Buddhist groups in Europe. At this year’s meeting of the European Buddhist Union, I talked about the renewed discussion over the last year of controversial aspects of Triratna’s past. I explained about Safeguarding requirements (which do not exist in all other countries) and about Triratna’s Safeguarding work. The German Buddhist Union expressed an interest in hearing more about it at their meeting in spring 2018.
Contact the Triratna Safeguarding team:
safeguarding [at] triratnadevelopment.org