Bullying and Harassment

The Penlee Cluster comprises the churches of St Mary’s Penzance, St John’s Penzance, St Peter’s Newlyn and St Pol de Leon Paul, and agreed cluster projects.


All clergy, laity and parishioners within The Penlee Cluster are responsible for their own professional and personal behaviour, and are required to conduct themselves in a manner which does not cause offence to another person.

We each have a responsibility to treat each other with dignity and respect and to ensure that other clergy and lay people are not subjected to bullying and harassment. The Cluster in adopting this policy and procedure:

  • recognises the need for good and positive working relationships to exist at all levels within the Cluster.
  • recognises the potential damaging and detrimental effects that inappropriate behaviour can have on the work and image of the churches in the Cluster.
  • is committed to preventing and eliminating bullying and harassment as far as possible.
  • provides fair arrangements for dealing with any complaints of bullying and harassment.

The Policy extends to include the behaviour of staff, or volunteers outside of working hours, which may impact upon work/ministry or working relationships.


Any form of bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation irrespective of a given reason will not be tolerated.

The PCC’s of the Cluster accept responsibility in relation to the duty of care owed to all paid and volunteer workers and others who participate in the life of the Cluster and to ensure that their dignity is protected whilst working or participating in its life or worship. All have the right to expect an environment free from threat by colleagues, or others within the Cluster.

It is against the law to bully or harass a person on grounds of sex, race, disability and religious belief. ‘The Protection from Harassment Act 1997’ makes harassment both a civil tort and a criminal offence.


Bullying and harassment is behaviour, which – threatens, intimidates and disempowers an individual. It results in low morale, demotivation, poor work rate and lack of concentration. It belittles the individual, reduces confidence and effectiveness.

Bullying, harassment, abuse and intimidation can be defined as unwanted conduct or behaviour from one to another, which the recipient finds offensive. Different situations can produce varying experiences of bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation.

Different attitudes and cultures can mean that what is perceived as bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation by one person may not be seen as such by another.

The common link is that the conduct or behaviour is unwanted by the recipient.

Policy Statement

The Cluster seeks to provide an environment free from bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation towards all who lead or participate in the life of the Cluster, including clergy, paid employees, volunteer workers and parishioners.

Bullying includes, but is not limited to:

  • Conduct which is intimidating, physically abusive or threatening
  • Conduct that denigrates, ridicules or humiliates an individual, especially in front of colleagues
  • Picking on one person when there is a common problem
  • Shouting at an individual to get things done
  • Consistently undermining someone and their ability to do the job
  • Setting unrealistic targets or excessive workloads
  • “cyber bullying” i.e. bullying via e-mail or social media.
  • Setting an individual up to fail e.g. by giving inadequate instructions or unreasonable deadlines.

Harassment and bullying may be summarised as any behaviour that is unwanted by the person to whom it is directed.
It is the impact of the behaviour rather than the intent of the perpetrator that is the determinant as to whether harassment or bullying has occurred.

Policy Application

The policy shall apply to all who work and participate in the life of the Cluster.
All persons shall respect the rights of all others and refrain from;

  • unwanted physical conduct of an unacceptable or inappropriate nature
  • unwanted verbal conduct of a direct or indirect intimidatory nature
  • non-verbal conduct of an intimidating nature
  • conduct that ridicules, intimidates or abuses an individual
  • verbal or written harassment
  • isolation or non co-operation

The Incumbent, priests and the PCC shall be responsible for ensuring that all those who work or engage in the life and work within the Cluster are informed of this policy.
Each is responsible for ensuring there is an awareness, that bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation of others is a serious matter and could result in the case of clergy, to a referral to the Diocese and possibly be subject of a criminal investigation by the police.

In the case of laity, whether paid employees, volunteers or parishioners be subject to an internal investigation and possibly be subject of a criminal investigation by the police. All those in positions of responsibility must:

  • take prompt action to stop bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation as soon as it is identified or reported.
  • be responsible for ensuring that bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation does not occur in the areas or projects for which they are responsible.

All persons associated with the ministry, life and work of the Cluster have a particular responsibility to maintain an environment free from bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation.

Contravention of the bullying and harassment policy

Persons subjected to bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation or those who think they may have witnessed a case of bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation shall in the first instance be able to receive advice and assistance, on a confidential basis, from their line manager, volunteer coordinator, or in the case of a member of the congregations from The Cluster Safeguarding Officer, who will refer to one of two designated Cluster retired priests.

The policy allows for either informal or formal complaints. If a formal written complaint is received which involves a cleric of the Cluster it should be referred to the archdeacon of the Diocese. The Cluster takes a serious view of bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation and if, following initial investigation it is found that an act of bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation is likely to have been committed, the following will occur:

For clerics: subject to Diocesan procedures
For laity: Formal or informal allegations of bullying, harassment, abuse or intimidation made with the intention of damaging someone’s reputation or are found to have been made maliciously may, following investigation, invoke the disciplinary procedure of the Cluster.

Formal complaints

The formal procedure will be invoked when:

  • the matter cannot be resolved informally
  • where the complaint is so serious that it is necessary to pursue the complaint through the formal channels
  • where it is established that there is a case to be answered, the formal disciplinary procedure of the Cluster will be invoked.

Complaints should normally be made within 3 months of the alleged harassment occurring.

Malicious Complaints

Where it is established that an individual has made a malicious complaint or has made a complaint with the intention of damaging someone’s reputation then following investigation this could result in legal action.

June 2018,
subject to annual review.

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