Safeguarding Policy

 

VINE BAPTIST CHURCH

 

Safe to Grow

Incorporating ‘Safe to Belong’ for Vulnerable Adults

 

Policy & Procedures for Staff

 

3rd Edition

March 2012

 

1.      INTRODUCTION

 

This policy is a revision of the Vine Baptist Church Safe to Grow Policy 2003.  It has allowed the church to revisit the issue of child protection and will ensure that best practice is adhered to and reflects the recent changes in governmental policy.

 

This policy covers all children and young people under the age of 18 (regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability) as set out in The Children’s Act 1989 & 2004, Safe from Harm (HM Government 1994) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government 2010).  This policy also cover vulnerable adults as set out in the government guidance ‘No Secrets’.

This policy adopts the guidelines as set out by the Baptist Union of Great Britain in ‘Safe to Grow’ published in 2011 & ‘Safe to Belong’ published in 2006.

This policy covers all church activities (on and off the premises) and the activities of any group using church premises.

 

The purpose of this document is to commit the Vine Baptist Church to the care and protection of its children, young people and vulnerable adults and to lay out procedures should an incident of abuse be discovered or alleged and to establish procedures for the appointment of those who work with our children, young people and vulnerable adults.

 

All people are made by God and in His image.  We at the Vine affirm that this is so, whether that person is young or old.  All are loved and valued by our Father in heaven and we seek to reflect that in our relationships with one another and all those with whom we come into contact.

Sadly it is a fact of life that children and young people are abused by adults and by peers.  This abuse takes place in all sections of society and the Christian community is not immune.  We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in our fellowship in which children and young people can grow and develop without fear, ultimately leading to their personal commitment to Jesus Christ.

 

In addition to consideration of children, recognition has also been given to abuse of vulnerable adults, who are equally valued by the church and need to be cared for sensitively and respectfully.  Vulnerable adults include, those with: Sensory or physical disability or impairment; A learning disability; A physical illness; A mental illness; An addiction to drugs or alcohol; A significant reduction in physical or mental or emotional capacity; Ageing; Becoming unable, for whatever reason, to protect him/herself from significant harm or exploitation.

 

As part of our responsibility we need to make sure that we choose the right people to work in both youth organisations and where care of vulnerable adults is required.  We need to ensure that all leaders and workers have appropriate training and know how to keep those in their care safe and how to protect themselves from unwarranted suspicion.  We need to teach our children, young people and vulnerable adults how to stay safe and empower them to ensure appropriate care.

 

In producing this policy we are not saying that abuse is around every corner.  We are not encouraging people to be continually suspicious of the actions of others.  We are raising the awareness of the fellowship at the Vine to a very real issue and making sure that we are ready to cope with situations that may arise.  This policy is as much to do with prevention and good practice, as it is protection and action, should the need arise.

 

  1. Policy Statement

The Policy Statement below sets out the Vision and Purpose of the church and the responsibilities covered by the ‘Safe to Grow’ Policy.  It will be read annually, together with any Safe to Grow reports, at the AGM Church Meeting in March and signed by the Minister and Church Secretary thus showing our commitment to the Safeguarding of all children, young people and vulnerable adults in our church fellowship.  The Policy Statement will permanently be displayed on the Noticeboard in the Carey Hall.

Vine Baptist Church

Sevenoaks

 

POLICY STATEMENT

On

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults in the Church

 

The vision/purpose of the church is:

To be the Hands and Feet of Jesus in the community

bringing people closer to a loving and caring God.

 

In fulfilling this vision/purpose the church

  • Has a programme of activities with children and young people

  • Welcomes children, young people and vulnerable adults into the life of our community

  • Makes our premises available to organisations working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

 

The church recognises its responsibilities for the safeguarding of all children and young people under the age of 18 (regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability) as set out in The Children Act 1989 & 2004, Safe from Harm (HM Government 1994) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government 2010).  The church also recognises its responsibility for the safeguarding of vulnerable adults as set out in the government guidance ‘No Secrets’.  It adopts the guidelines of the Baptist Union of Great Britain published in ‘Safe to Grow’ & ‘Safe to Belong’.

 

As members of this church we commit ourselves to the nurturing, protection and safeguarding of all children, young people and vulnerable adults associated with the church and will pray for them regularly.

In pursuit of this we commit ourselves to the following policies and to the development of procedures to ensure their implementation.

 

  • It is the duty of each church member and each member of the wider church family to prevent the physical, sexual, emotional, financial or spiritual abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults and to report any abuse disclosed, discovered or suspected.  The church will fully co-operate with any statutory investigation into any suspected abuse linked with the church.

 

  • The church will exercise proper care in the selection and appointment of those working with children, young people and vulnerable adults whether paid or voluntary.  All workers will be provided with appropriate training, support and supervision to promote the safeguarding of all.

 

  • The church will adopt a code of behaviour for all who are appointed to work with

            children, young people and vulnerable adults so that all are shown the respect that is

           due them.

 

  • The church is committed to providing a safe environment for activities with children, young people and vulnerable adults and adopting ways of working that will promote their safety and well being.

 

  • The church is committed to the prevention of bullying.  The church will seek to ensure that the behaviour of any who may pose a risk to children, young people or vulnerable adults in the community of the church is managed appropriately

 

  

 

2.      RESPONSIBILITIES IN SAFE TO GROW
 
  1. MINISTER, TRUSTEES / ELDERS AND/OR MINISTRY LEADERS

 

The minister shares with all the trustees the responsibilities of adopting and implementing the church’s safeguarding policy.  Along side this, the minister will have particular pastoral responsibilities to support in the context of any safeguarding investigation.  It is important for the minister to be able to take a role that seeks to hold the church together.

 

The trustees/deacons of the church are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented and resourced in the church.  They should be fully conversant with the church’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and should:

 

  • Have a mechanism for monitoring or reviewing the policy.

  • Give support to those who are working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

  • Ensure that the training needs of workers are met.

  • Make sure appropriate budget provision is made for the work with children, young people and vulnerable adults, including budget provision for training of workers.

  • Find ways of communicating the policy to all within the church.

 

In order to help the trustees meet their responsibilities and keep safeguarding on their agenda they will appoint a Safeguarding Trustee/Leader to take a lead on safeguarding matters.

 

  1. SAFEGUARDING TRUSTEE/ LEADER

 

The responsibilities of the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader are:

 

  • To ensure on behalf of the trustees/leaders that there is a proper process in place to write and update the safeguarding policy and procedures.

  • To monitor the implementation of the policy and procedures on behalf of the trustees.

  • To ensure that the policy and procedures are reviewed annually and to present the report of the annual review to the trustees.

  • To receive reports from the Designated Person for Safeguarding regarding any safeguarding incidents in the life of the church and to be responsible for keeping the trustees informed as appropriate.

 

  1. DESIGNATED PERSON FOR SAFEGUARDING

 

The responsibilities of the Designated Person’s role are:

 

  • Present the Policy Statement for reaffirmation at each Annual General Meeting.

  • Oversee the day-to-day implementation of the policy in practice and ensure adequate records are maintained.

  • Receive and record information from anyone who has safeguarding concerns.

  • Assess the information promptly and carefully, clarifying or obtaining more information when they need to.

  • Consult with outside bodies where appropriate to discuss concerns.  For example a Regional Minister, the Local Authority Designated Officer, Social Services or the police child abuse investigation team.

  • Make formal referral to Social Services or the police if appropriate or as advised.

  • Inform both the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader and the Minister of any referral.

  • Make referrals as appropriate to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

  • Be the link between the church and the local Baptist Association for safeguarding matters.

    1. LEADERS OF CHILDREN’S, YOUNG PEOPLE’S OR VULNERABLE ADULT

GROUPS.

 

All leaders of groups should take personal responsibility for implementing the policy and will

need to know:

  • How to go about appointing new staff/volunteers, including CRB checks.

  • The principles of good supervision.

  • What to do if one of their workers shares with them concerns.

  • How to contact the Designated person.

  • How to access pastoral support for workers.

 

2.5WORKERS WITH CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE & VULNERABLE ADULTS

 

All workers should take seriously their responsibilities.  They should each:

  • Know and implement the guidelines for good practice.

  • Follow the agreed code of behaviour.

  • Be aware of ways in which children, young people and vulnerable adults are harmed and possible signs of abuse.

  • Know what to do if a child, young person or vulnerable adult discloses abuse.

  • Know what to do if an allegation is made about a fellow worker.

  • Know who to speak to if they have any suspicions or concerns.

 

 

3.  SAFE RECRUITMENT, SUPPORT & SUPERVISION OF WORKERS

 

The church relies on volunteers to run its groups and clubs.  However, we have a duty to make sure that inappropriate people are not appointed to work with our children, young people and vulnerable adults. Those who are interested (or feel called) in working in this area of the church’s life and are concerned for the safety and well-being of children, young people or vulnerable adults will not object to the following procedure, even though it may make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed and may be initially inconvenient.

 

Group Leaders appointments will be affirmed by the Church Meeting after recommendation by the Minister and leaders.  Any discussion about the suitability of taking on a specific role should be done with due consideration of the rights of the individual concerned.  In particular consideration should be given to the confidentiality of those discussions and the consent of the individual to be considered.

 

All workers must be over 18 years of age.  Where teenagers wish to help, they must be supervised at all times and never left in charge of a group. Further guidelines on teenager helpers should be checked in the ‘Safe to Grow’ book Page 50.

 

The Church Meeting will be informed of Group Leaders vacancies and be asked to put forward to the Minister/Leaders those they may think suitable for the role.

  1. Appointment Procedure

With all Leaders and helpers of groups or clubs these procedures should be followed:

 

  • Explore the person’s willingness to take on a specific role.

  • Share with the person a simple job description of what is involved and to whom they would be accountable.

  • Ask the person to complete a simple application form.

  • Explore the person’s experience of working with children, young people or vulnerable adults.

  • Take up two references one of which should come from outside our church and outside the person’s family.

 

  • Hold a simple interview to explore all relevant aspects of the role to ensure suitability.

  • Obtain an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check.

  • If successful, ask the person to sign a volunteer agreement undertaking to work within the terms of the church’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.

  • Ensure that the appropriate initial and ongoing supervision and training is given so that they understand the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.

 

  1. Appointing Paid Workers

The appointment process for all paid workers with children, young people and vulnerable adults will inevitably be more formal. 

For full details of the procedure needed please see ‘Safe to Grow’ book Page 53.

 

4.      UNDERSTANDING ABUSE AND ITS SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

 

Defining abuse is not easy.  Abuse ranges from someone neglecting or abusing a child by knowingly not preventing harm, or by inflicting harm.  Abuse may occur in the family, the community, an institution and importantly for us, in a church setting.  Most children who are abused know their abuser; it is more rare that a stranger will abuse them.  The following list sets out ways in which abuse can occur followed by indicators of abuse:

 

  1. Physical Abuse Where people are hurt or injured.  May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning or suffocating.  Also includes Munchausen syndrome by proxy, whereby a parent (or carer) feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health.

 

  1. Bullying Where the behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.

 

  1. Emotional Abuse Where people don’t receive consistent love and affection, may be frightened by threats or taunts, or are given responsibilities beyond their capability.  Also includes persistent ill treatment, likely to cause serious harm to emotional development.  May involve conveying to the person they are worthless, unloved and inadequate and cause them to feel frightened, in danger, exploited or corrupted.

 

  1. Sexual Abuse Where people are used to satisfy sexual desires by force or enticement, where the individual may not be aware of what is happening.  May involve physical contact, penetrative or non-penetrative acts or children watching pornographic material or watching sexual acts.

 

  1. Neglect Where people do not receive care and protection from danger, seriously impairing health and development.  May involve the persistent failure to meet basic physical and psychological needs.  May involve a carer failing to provide food, shelter, clothing or a failure to protect from physical harm or danger or allow access to medical care or treatment.  It may also include the neglect of basic emotional needs.

 

  1. Spiritual Abuse Where individuals are not allowed to decide for themselves their beliefs and courses of action related to spiritual matters, but the church (or its leaders) impose upon them certain regulations in order to control the response of that individual.  (For example ‘I’ve been told by God you are to…’ or ‘I know what is best for you’.)

 

  1. Financial or Legal Abuse is the wilful extortion or manipulation of a vulnerable adult’s legal or civil rights, including the misappropriation of monies or goods.  This includes not only the more obvious cases of theft, embezzlement and fraud, but also the abuse of influence, power or friendship to persuade a person to make gifts or change their will.

 

Whilst the Vine Baptist Church and all its appointed workers are committed to the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults from abuse, we are aware that, although the following signs and symptoms may indicate abuse, we should not jump to conclusions.  There could be other explanations.

 

4.8       The following signs may or may not be indicators that abuse has taken place, but the possibility should be considered.

 

 

PHYSICAL SIGNS OF ABUSE
  • Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them.

  • Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally prone to injury.

  • Injuries which have not received medical attention.

  • Neglect – under nourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, untreated illnesses, inadequate care, etc.

  • Reluctance to change for, or to participate in, games or swimming.

  • Repeated urinary infections or unexplained tummy pains.

  • Bruises, bites, burns, fractures etc which do not have an accidental explanation

  • Cuts/scratches/substance abuse.

 

 

INDICATORS OF BULLYING
  • The child, young person or vulnerable adult becomes withdrawn.

  • A lack of desire to join activities with certain individuals.

  • A drop in school marks.

  • Torn clothing.

  • Loss of friends.

  • Avoidance of church groups and other activities.

  • Unexplained bruising.

  • The need for extra money or supplies.

 

 

INDICATORS OF POSSIBLE SEXUAL ABUSE
  • Any allegations made by a child concerning sexual abuse.

  • Inappropriate sexual awareness.

  • Sexual activity through words, play or drawing.

  • Child who is sexually proactive or seductive with adults.

  • Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home.

  • Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with overt or veiled sexual connotations.

  • Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia.

 

 

EMOTIONAL SIGNS OF ABUSE

  • Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging.  Also depression/aggression, extreme anxiety.

  • Nervousness, frozen watchfulness.

  • Obsessions or phobias.

  • Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration.

  • Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults.

  • Attention seeking behaviour.

  • Persistent tiredness.

  • Running away / stealing / lying.

 

 

TABLE CHECK FOR RESPONDING TO CONCERNS

 

 

STAGE 1

A worker has a concern about the welfare of a child/young person or vulnerable adult or the behaviour of an adult Helper or Leader

 

 

The person who has the concern has a duty to

 

RECORD AND REPORT

 

 

A written record must be made of the concern using a standard incident report form and the concern should be reported to the Designated Person within 24 hours.

 

If a child is in imminent danger of harm a referral should be made to the police or Social Services without delay.

 

STAGE 2

 

The Designated Person receives the report of concern.

 

 

The Designated Person has a duty to

 

REVIEW AND REFER

 

 

The report will be reviewed by the Designated Person with any other relevant information and a decision will be taken (often in liaison with others) as to what action

should follow.  Any formal referral to Social Services should normally

be made within 24 hours of receiving the report.

 

If a child is in imminent danger of harm a referral should be made to the police or Social Services without delay.

 

STAGE 3

 

After the decision has been made as to what action should be taken

 

 

The Designated Person, Safeguarding Trustee/Leader and the Minister

may have a duty to

 

SUPPORT AND REPORT

 

 

Support should be offered to all parties affected by any safeguarding concerns and where formal referrals are made reports may need to be made to the local Association, the Independent Safeguarding Authority or the Charity Commission.

 

 

 

 

5.      RESPONDING TO CONCERNS

 

5.1       WHAT TO DO IF A CHILD YOUNG PERSON OR VULNERABLE ADULT EXPRESSES A CONCERN.

When a child, young person or vulnerable adult talks about harm or abuse they are suffering, create a safe environment in which they can share their concerns.

  • Listen carefully to what they have to say.

  • React calmly so as not to further distress them.

  • Allow them time to say what they want.

  • Don’t rush or interrupt them or ask more questions than you need to in order to establish whether there is cause for concern or to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said.

  • If you need to ask questions to clarify always use open questions not closed questions (e.g. “Who is it you are afraid of?” NOT “ Is it Daddy you are afraid of?”)

  • As soon as you believe there is cause for concern allow the child to finish, but do not question them any further.  Explain that you will have to tell someone who knows what to do next.

  • Accept what they say and take seriously what you are hearing.

  • Reassure them and tell them that you know how difficult it must be to confide in you.

  • Tell them they are not to blame and they have done the right thing in speaking to you.

  • Help them to understand what is going to happen next, they should be informed that other people will need to be told about the concerns which have been shared and who those people may be. 

  • Do not promise or lead them to believe that it will be kept confidential.

  • Be aware that they may be frightened and that they may have been threatened if they tell of what has happened to them.

  • Remember that most children, young people and vulnerable adults feel loyalty to their parents and other significant people in their lives and often find it difficult to say things to their detriment.

 

  1. STAGE 1 - RECORD AND REPORT

 

As soon as possible after the child, young person or vulnerable adult tells you about harmful behaviour, or an incident takes place that gives cause for concern, a written record should be made stating the facts accurately.  If it is hand written it should be typed up later and kept with the hand written notes.

The record should include:

  • Full Name, address and date of birth or age if date of birth not known.

  • Include nature of concerns, allegations or disclosure.

  • Include a description of any visible bruising or other injuries you may have noticed and the demeanour of the person.

  • Include an exact record of what they have said using their words.

  • Include what was said by the person to whom the concerns were reported including any questions asked.

  • Include any action taken as a result of the concerns.

  • Make sure the record is signed and dated.

  • Make sure the record is secure and confidential and made available only to:

  1. The Designated Person. 

  2. The Church Minister as far as this is consistent with the welfare of the person concerned and possible pastoral responsibilities to any others involved.

  3. Representatives of the professional agencies.

 

 

 

 

 

5.3       STAGE 2 - REVIEW AND REFER

 

The duty of the Designated Person on receiving a report is to REVIEW the concern that has been reported and to REFER the concern on to the appropriate people if needed.

If the child, young person or vulnerable adult is considered to be in imminent danger of harm a report should be made immediately to the Police or Social Services.

 

In reviewing the report the Designated Person:

  • Should take account of their own experience and expertise in assessing risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults and take advise from others as is necessary.

  • Must take account of other reports that may have been received concerning the same child, family or adult.

  • May speak with others in the church (including the Minister) who may have relevant information and knowledge that would impact on any decision that will be made.  Any conversation should not lead to undue delay in taking any necessary action and should be fully recorded.

  • May speak with their Regional Minister in order to seek guidance from their Association.

  • May seek advice from the local Social Services department or Police in knowing how to respond appropriately to the concerns that have been raised.

See ‘Safe to Grow’ Book, Page 39 for further guidance.

 

In reviewing the reported concern the Designated Person must decide to whom the report should be referred.  They may:

  • Refer back to the worker who made the initial report if there is little evidence that a child, young person or vulnerable adult is being harmed, asking for appropriate continued observation.

  • Refer the concern to others who work with the child, young person or vulnerable adult in question asking for continued observation.

Where the concern involves children and Bullying it may be appropriate to adopt the following procedures:

  1. The children or young people should be involved in agreeing a code of behaviour which makes it clear that bullying is unacceptable.

  2. The children or young people should know how they can report any incidents of bullying.

  3. All allegations of bullying will be treated seriously.

  4. Details will be checked carefully before action is taken.

  5. The bullying behaviour will be investigated and stopped as quickly as possible.

  6. The parents of a bully and the bullied will be informed.

  7. An attempt will be made to help the bullies change their behaviour.

  8. All allegations and incidents of bullying must be recorded with action taken.

 

  • Speak directly to the adult about whom the concern has been raised.  This may be the parent/carer or it may be one of the workers. 

If there is any question at all of possible sexual abuse or serious physical abuse the Designated person should NEVER address the adult directly but should refer their concerns directly to the Police or Social Services.

  • Make a formal referral to the local Police or Social Services Department.

The Designated person should keep a written record of all actions taken in reviewing and referring a concern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. STAGE 3 – REPORT AND SUPPORT

 

The responsibilities in stage 3 are shared by the Designated Person, the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader and the Minister.

 

The Duty to Report

 

Whenever a formal referral is made to Social Services or the Police the Designated Person should:

  • Report the referral to the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader.

  • Report the referral to the Minister.

  • Report the referral to the Regional Minister of the local Association.

If the allegation is made against someone who works with children, young people or vulnerable adults the allegation should be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The LADO is located within Social Services and should be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children, young people or vulnerable adults has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed those in their care.

  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against those in their care.

  • Behaved in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults.

If the worker has been removed from their post or would have been removed had they not resigned or left the church there is a statutory duty to report the incident to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.  If the church is registered with the Charity Commission a report should also be sent to them in their annual return.

 

A record should be kept of all safeguarding incidents and should be considered in the annual review of the church’s safeguarding policy.

 

The Duty to Support

 

Once concerns, suspicions and disclosure of abuse have been addressed, the church continues to have a responsibility to offer support to all those who have been affected.

Please see notes in ‘Safe to Grow’ Page 40 for further guidance.

 

  1. RESPONDING TO CONCERNS ABOUT BEHAVIOUR OF FELLOW WORKERS

 

The basic three stage process outlined above should form the basis for responding to all concerns within the church regarding the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults. Whether the worker is paid or unpaid, is a relatively new volunteer or a senior and experienced youth worker there is a fundamental duty to RECORD AND REPORT.

Please see further guidance in ‘Safe to Grow’ on Page 41.

 

  1. WHEN THE CONCERN INVOLVES THE DESIGNATED PERSON

 

Should any concern arise regarding the Designated Person, the concern should be raised with the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader and/or the Minister and there is a fundamental duty to RECORD AND REPORT AS ABOVE.

 

  1. WHEN CONCERNS ARE EXPRESSED ABOUT THE MINISTER

 

Any Safeguarding concerns involving the minister should always be reported immediately to the Regional Minister of our local Baptist Association in addition to following the church’s normal procedures.

 

 

 

 

6.      CODE OF SAFE BEHAVIOUR FOR WORKERS

 

A code of behaviour is first and foremost about protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults but it will importantly also help to protect workers from false accusation or unnecessary and unwarranted suspicion.

 

6.1       The following are Good Practice guidelines:

  • Treat all children, young people and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity.

  • Use appropriate language and tone of voice.  Be aware of your body language and how it can affect those in your care.

  • Listen well to those in your care.  Be careful not to assume you know what they are thinking or feeling.  Listen to what is spoken and how it is said.  At the same time observe the body language to better understand what is being said.

  • When it is necessary to control and discipline children, young people or vulnerable adults this should be done without physical punishment.  (A situation may, however, arise where a child or young person needs to be restrained in order to protect them or a third person.)

  • Make sure another adult is present if, for example, a young child has soiled their underclothes and needs to be thoroughly washed.  If possible the child’s own parent or carer should be called in to carry out the task.

  • Avoid excessive attention seeking from individual children, young people and vulnerable adults that is overtly sexual or physical in nature.

  • Workers should not normally plan to be alone with children, young people or vulnerable adults.

  • DO NOT engage in any of the following:

  1. Invading the privacy of children, young people or vulnerable adults when showering or toileting.

  2. Rough physical or sexually provocative games.

  3. Making sexually suggestive comments about or to a child, young person or vulnerable adult, even in ‘fun’.

  4. Scapegoating, belittling, ridiculing or rejecting a child, young person or vulnerable adult.

 

  1. Guidelines to avoid being alone:

 

  • When there are insufficient leaders and workers to have two for each group, doors should be left open, or two groups work in the same room.

  • At least two people should be present before children or young people arrive for a group and at the end two should be present until the last child or young person has left.

  • A worker should never invite a child or young person to their home alone.  It may be acceptable to invite a group if another adult is in the house.  Establish that each parent/carer knows where their child is and what time they should return home.

 

  1. Unplanned occasions when a worker is alone.

 

There may be occasions when, despite careful planning, a worker finds themselves in sole charge of a group.  In this situation:

  • Assess the risks involved in sending the child or children home against risks and vulnerability of being alone with them.

  • Wherever possible immediately phone another appropriate person to report the situation.  It could be another worker or the Designated Person for Safeguarding or the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader.

  • Make a written report of the situation immediately afterwards and give a copy to the Designated Person for Safeguarding.  This will help to ensure appropriate accountability for situations of increased risk and also allows for monitoring of similar situations so working practices can be reviewed.

 

There may be occasions when a child or young person asks to speak to a worker on their own.  The most common situation is when a youth worker is offering support or pastoral guidance where privacy and confidentiality are important. 

In this situation the following guidelines should apply:

  • If the worker believes that to speak to the young person on their own would place them in a vulnerable position (e.g. Because of an inappropriate attachment to the worker) the worker should insist that another worker should also be present.

  • If it is possible for the conversation to be held in a quiet corner of the room where others are present, but where sufficient privacy can be assured, this option should be taken.

  • If this is not possible, the conversation is best held in a room with the door left open or where there is glass in the door so others can see inside the room.

  • Wherever possible another adult should be in the building and the young person should know they are there.

  • Another adult should know that the interview is taking place and with whom.

  • A worker should set an agreed time limit prior to the meeting and stick to it!  It is the responsibility of the worker to set the ground rules and end the session at the designated time.  Make another appointed time to continue if necessary.

  • A youth worker should not invite a child or young person to their home alone nor go to the child or young person’s home if they are alone.

 

  1. Working one to one

 

Working one to one, usually with a young person, can come out of a number of different situations:

  • Taking time to listen as a young person shares an issue they are facing.

  • Offering ongoing support and advice.

  • A formal agreement involving a mentoring relationship between an adult and young person.

  • The need to meet a young person who is facing a crisis in their life.

  • Discipleship of a young person, including accountability prayer, Bible study.

We need to ensure guidelines are in place to safeguard both the young person and the adult.  These guidelines should be clearly communicated to all so that the young people know that those working with them are dependable, reliable and available, while keeping within appropriate boundaries.

 

Sometimes it may be appropriate to work more regularly in one to one settings, this is more likely to feature as a component of the work of paid youth workers, but not exclusively so.

It is important that the worker has Recognition to do this work, and has Accountability, Supervision, Maintaining safe distance, Confidentiality and Venue guidelines put in place for them.  Should this kind of work be contemplated procedures must be put in place.

Please see guidelines in ‘Safe to Grow’ Page 58 and 59. 

 

  1. Offering Transport to Children and Young People.

 

Vulnerable and risky situations can be created when workers offer lifts to children or young people for different events.  Some practices can be adopted to mitigate the risks involved:

  • Although it is often impractical, whenever possible two adults should be present in a car.

  • Parents should give permission for their child to be given transport and should be informed at what time to expect the child home.

  • Where possible workers should avoid giving regular lifts on their own to and from church activities.

  • If the same group are regularly given lifts consider picking up and dropping off in a different order each week so the same child is not always the first or the last to be picked up or dropped off.

  • If a child or young person is travelling alone in the car, they should be asked to sit in the back seat of the car.

  • Workers should not spend unnecessary time alone in a vehicle, long conversations or unnecessary diversions should be avoided.

  • Workers should avoid being alone in a car with a child or young person who is particularly vulnerable, e.g. A child with a crush on the worker, or a child whose behaviour is difficult to manage.

 

  1. Appropriate physical contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

 

The following guidelines are helpful when considering whether or not touch is appropriate in any given situation:

  • For whose benefit is this taking place?  Is it for the sake of the child or young person or is it for your own benefit?

  • If no one else is present it is always advisable to avoid physical contact.

  • Use physical contact in a way that conveys appropriate concern but in a way that is least likely to be misconstrued. e.g. an arm around the shoulder may be more appropriate that a full ‘hug’.

  • Not everyone express friendship or affection in the same way and some people (children included) find excessive touching an infringement of their personal space.

  • If you find the child or young person is cringing or responding in a negative way to being touched, then stop immediately and find an alternative, non-tactile way to convey your concern.

  • Workers should be prepared to be accountable to fellow workers for their use of touch and physical contact and should listen to the concerns of others if it is felt that boundaries are being crossed.

 

6.7       Abuse of Trust

 

Relationships between children, young people and vulnerable adults and their leaders take many forms, but all of them can be described as ‘relationships of trust’.  In every case, however, that relationship is not one of equal partners and there is the potential for the trust to be abused by the Leader, who is in a position of power over the child, young person or vulnerable adult.  It is important for all those in positions of trust to understand the power this can give them over those they care for and thus the responsibility they must exercise as a consequence of this relationship.

It is always wrong for a Leader to enter into a romantic relationship with a young person, it does not make any difference whether or not the relationship is consensual, the imbalance of power makes it an abuse of trust and is therefore wrong.  In such circumstances the Leader should cease either the relationship of trust or the romantic relationship with the young person.

To safeguard the leaders and the young people, it is good practice when appointing young leaders to consider not appointing them to lead the peer group immediately below their own, but always leave a gap of at least one peer group. Therefore a 16year old would not be in charge of 13 –15 year olds and a 19 year old would not be given leadership of 16 – 18year olds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.8       Electronic Communications

 

It is important to have guidelines in place for safe use of Mobile Phones, Instant Messaging Services and Social Networking Sites.  Electronic communication must never become a substitute for face-to-face contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults.  Below are some general principles that can help to ensure that the church’s overriding concern is for the well-being of those in their care.

 

  • Parents or carers and children, young people and vulnerable adults have the right to decide if a worker is to have email addresses or mobile phone numbers etc.

  • Workers should only use electronic means of communication with those from whom appropriate consent has been given.

  • Workers should not put any pressure on those in their care to reveal their email address, mobile phone number etc.

  • Direct electronic communication with children of primary school age is inappropriate and should be avoided.

  • Only workers who have been appointed under the church’s agreed safeguarding procedures should use any electronic means to contact a child, young person or vulnerable adult on behalf of the church or one of the church’s organisations.

  • Contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults should generally be for information-giving purposes only and not for general chat.  Emails should include a church header and footer showing it is an official communication from a youth team member. ‘Text language’ and ‘text conversations’ should be avoided so that there is no misunderstanding of what is being communicated.  

  • The use of instant messenger services should be kept to a minimum.

  • Where a young person or vulnerable adult in need or at a point of crisis uses this as a way of communication with a worker:

  1. Significant conversations should be saved as a text file if possible and

  2. A log kept of when they communicated and who was involved.

  • Workers should not share any personal information and should not request or respond to any personal information other than that which is necessary and appropriate as part of their role.

  • Workers should be careful in their communications using clear unambiguous language avoiding unnecessary abbreviations so as to avoid any possible misinterpretation of their motives.

  • Electronic communications should only be used between the hours of 8.00 am and 10.00 pm.

  • The use of the phone camera should comply with the church’s policy on photos/videos and workers should not retain images of children, young people or vulnerable adults on their mobile phones.

  • If youth leaders are going to communicate via social networking sites consideration should be given to having a site used solely for youth work communications which is totally separate from their personal site.

  • If using their personal site they should ensure that all of its content is appropriate for young people to see.

  • Be aware of the content of photos that may be uploaded on to your site and that young people could view photos and communications of other people linked to that site.

  • All communications should be kept within the public domain and ensure that they are transparent and open to scrutiny.  Where possible other workers should be copied in on communication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.      SAFE PRACTICE

 

  1. Safe Practice for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults

We need to develop a sensible culture of safety when working with children, young people and vulnerable adults by introducing procedures and practices that become ‘second nature’ to those who are working with all in their care.

 

To this end we will use:

  • Parental Registration and Consent forms for our activities.

  • Special consent forms for taking the child off site for occasional activity or overnight events or activities.

  • Parental consent for use of child’s photograph in church publicity material or on the church website.

  • Parental consent for electronic communications with child or young person.

  • All registration and consent records will be monitored annually and updated as required or deleted if no longer applicable.

 

  1. Risk Assessments

An assessment of the premises must be carried out to assess the risks that may be posed to children, young people and vulnerable adults.  Leaders of groups should also assess the risks involved in the programmes that they are planning and General Risk Assessment forms for leaders are available from the Church Office for the individual groups and activities.

 

7.3 Risk assessment – Ratios

 

An important aspect of any risk assessment is ensuring that there are adequate ratio of staff to children and young people.  The following table represents recommended Minimum ratio of staff (over 18years old) to children.

 

Age Range

Recommended minimum ratio for INDOOR activities

Recommended minimum ratio for OUTDOOR activities

0 – 2 years

1:3  (minimum 2)

1:3  (minimum 2)

3 years

1:4  (minimum 2)

1:4  (minimum 2)

4 – 7 years

1:8  (minimum 2)

1:6  (minimum 2)

8 – 12 years

2 adults for up to 20 children (preferably one of each gender) with an extra adult for every 10 additional children.

2 adults for up to 15 children (preferably one of each gender) with an extra adult for every 8 additional children.

13 years and over

2 adults for up to 20 children (preferably one of each gender) with an extra adult for every 10 additional children.

2 adults for up to 20 children (preferably one of each gender) with an extra adult for every 10 additional children.

 

  1. What happens when ratios fall below the required level?

  1. Determine whether it is safe to continue with the planned activity, are there ways of reducing the risks such as change the activity for that week?

  2. If the safety of the children or young people is going to be unacceptable then the event should be cancelled.

  3. Write a report detailing circumstances that lead to the reduced staffing levels and the actions taken to reduce the risks.

  4. Give a copy of the report to the Designated Person for Safeguarding.

  5. If there is an emergency situation that leads to a worker being on their own with a child or group they should follow the practices outlined under 6.3 on page 14.

 

 

 

7.5 Risk assessments – Procedures for transporting children and young people.

If the arrangements for transporting children or young people are made informally between parents or carers the following procedures do not need to apply.  However if the transport arrangements are offered and made by the church or organisation the procedure set out below should apply.

  • Written permission from the parent/carer should be obtained.

  • The driver should understand and agree to the church’s code of behaviour as set out in 6.5 on Page 13.

  • The driver should have a fully comprehensive insurance policy which covers voluntary work.

  • Seat belts should always be worn and proper child seats and restraints used for young children in accordance with the law.

  • All volunteer drivers should be appointed following the procedures outlined in the church’s Safeguarding Children Policy.

  • Churches should not use people as drivers when their criminal record shows a record of driving offences that suggest the person may not be a safe driver.

  • When a mini-bus or coach is used ensure the driver is properly qualified and that there are adequate seats with seat belts for everyone, no small children on laps!

 

 

7.6       Outings and Overnight events

  • A special risk assessment should be carried out including an assessment of the appropriate ratio of adults to children.

  • Parents should be informed in writing of the arrangements.

  • One adult should have responsibility for a small group even if the whole group stay together it helps to spread the overall responsibility.

  • If travelling in several small groups it is good practise to insist that the same group of children or young people travel with the same adult on both the outgoing and return journeys so minimizing the possibility of someone going astray.

 

For all Over Night Events special care is needed in arranging everything.  Risk assessments are needed for Transport, Venue, Ratio of numbers and gender of adults to children, First Aid, Basic Food Hygiene, Fire Safety, Outdoor Activities and Insurance cover for everything.  Separate parental consent forms are needed for each event. 

 

Please speak to the Designated Person for Safeguarding about all such events and check the ‘Safe to Grow’ Book, Page 72 for full details to make sure all care is taken.

 

  1. Photography

 

It is not illegal to take photos of children, young people or vulnerable adults, but we must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.  The following guidelines are advisable:

  • Signed consent forms should be obtained from parents/carers.

  • Sensitivity to those being photographed.  Generally people do not mind having their photo taken but there maybe moments when they would rather not.

  • When photos are displayed of children and young people they should not under any circumstances be identified by name.

  • Photographic material should be stored safely in a place that has been agreed and minuted by the Trustees.

  • Leaders should not store images of children and young people on their mobile phones.

  • Any photos sent to the press must not identify individuals by name, nor should the names of individual children or young people be able to be inferred from the accompanying caption or story.

  • Copies of photos or digital images must not be distributed to other individuals without the permission of the parent/carer.

 

8.      SAFE PREMISES

The church takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that the Premises are safe for all who use them.  The following checklist identifies guidelines to ensure the safety of all, especially, children, young people and vulnerable adults:

  • All doorways and passages to be kept clear at all times.

  • Emergency Exits to be clearly shown at all times.

  • The Kitchen is out of bounds to children and young people unless supervised by a parent or carer.

  • A First Aid Kit will be kept in the Kitchen with a Report Book for all usage.

  • Special care with safety will be taken when the Baptistery is open.

  • Any hazards noticed should be notified to the Maintenance Ministry Leader for action to be taken.

 

9.      SAFE COMMUNITY

 

9.1       Who is responsible and when

On occasions when the gathered church are together things can become more blurred about who is taking responsibility for what and when, plus we recognise that with large premises a parent or carer cannot have eyes everywhere at the same time.  Should adults see small children leaving the building without their parents or carers it is right they should alert those around them and find the parents/carers without delay to ensure the safety of the children.

 

As a church family we want to be a welcoming and safe community, caring for all from the youngest to the oldest.  To this end we want to be clear about who is responsible for the care and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults on a number of occasions, such as:

  • Before and after services.  Parents are responsible for their own children and young people before services and until the children depart for their own activities.  The teachers will then take responsibility until the children are collected after the services has finished, at this stage the parents must be aware the children are once again their responsibility. 

  • Family and all age services.  Parents/carers who are present should be aware that they remain responsible for the welfare of their children and young people.  All children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by a parent/carer.

  • Social occasions that are open to the whole church family.  Parents/carers who are present should be aware that they remain responsible for their children, young people or vulnerable adults on these occasions.

  • Rehearsals for productions that might include children, young people and adults.  Two named people should be present and responsible for children and young people whilst they are involved in rehearsals.

 

9.2       When a know offender is present  

It is the responsibility of all within the church community to work to ensure there is a welcome for all.  This may sadly, at some stage, include an adult who is know to have been a bully or in the more serious case been convicted of sexually abusing children or young people.  For these cases the Safeguarding Trustee/Leader, the Designated Person for Safeguarding and the Minister should determine what procedures, and contract if applicable, need to be put in place to care for the offender, always respecting confidentiality were possible, BUT at the same time ensuring the safety of all children, young people and vulnerable adults. 

The Designated Person or Safeguarding Trustee/Leader should determine whether the person is subject to supervision or is on the Sex Offenders’ Register and if so contact the offenders specialist probation officer (SPO) who will inform the church of an relevant information or restrictions.  They must also inform and take advice from the Regional Minister of SEBA.

For full guidance please see ‘Safe to Grow’ Page 78/79/80.

  1. Other Groups using Church Premises

 

If the outside hirers that use our building work with children or young people it is good practice to ensure they have a safeguarding children policy in place, and clause to cover this should be included in any official hiring agreement.  The responsibility then lies with the group themselves for implementing their policy.  However if it should come to light that the group were not following the appropriate safeguarding procedures the church should seriously consider terminating the rental agreement.

 

One-off private hirers would not be expected to have a safeguarding policy in place, but they would still need to show due care and attention.

 

Our Administrator who oversees the hiring of our premises has the official forms for all such hire and should consult the Safeguarding Trustee Leader or the Designated Person with any queries. 

Visit:
Park Lane,
Sevenoaks,
TN13 3UP

Registered Charity no : 1159416

Call:
T:01732 740634




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