St Andrew’s Church, Chew Stoke
Safeguarding Policy 2018
This document is a concise safeguarding policy statement to share with the Church Community, and a summary of the full Diocesan Policy. Approved by the Parochial Church Council, it has been adopted by the Church Hall Committee.
The statement includes agreement to follow the House of Bishops Practice Guidance, and the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy which refers to anyone working with groups of people, including children and vulnerable adults.
It provides the basis for developing more detailed Church safeguarding policies and procedures to be implemented by the PCC and the church community more widely.
The latest versions of the Guidance and Policy are on the Diocesan website, and will be updated as new information comes out from the House of Bishops.
The Church of England, in all aspects of its life, is committed to and will promote the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It fully accepts and endorses the Children Act 1989 & 2004 & The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Statement of Principles
This statement applies to children, young people and adults.
Christian communities should be places where all people feel welcomed, respected and safe from abuse. The Church is particularly called by God to support those less powerful and those without a voice in our society. Our Church is working towards creating a safe and non-discriminatory environment by being aware of some of the particular situations that create vulnerability. Issues which need to be considered include both the physical environment and the attitudes of workers and volunteers.
We are committed to:
- The care, nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with all children, young people and adults
- The safeguarding and protection of all children and adults
- The establishment of a safe, caring church community which provides an environment where there is a culture of informed vigilance regarding the dangers of abuse, and where victims of abuse can report or disclose abuse and find support.
- The promotion of best practice that contributes to the prevention of abuse.
A person (adult or child) who might be considered vulnerable has the right to:
- Be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, impairment or disability, age, religion, language of communication or cultural background
- Have their privacy respected.
- Be able to lead as independent a life as possible.
- Be able to choose how to lead their life.
- Have the protection of the law.
- Have their rights upheld regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, impairment or disability, age, religion or cultural background.
- Be listened to.
St Andrews Church community, through its workers and volunteers, accepts that it is responsible for children, young people and vulnerable adults when on church property, in a church building and other premises being used by the church and during church activities. Responsibility extends to travel between places, when organised by the church. However, the church is not responsible for private arrangements.
The safeguarding and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults is everyone’s responsibility, not just parents or those who have formal leadership or caring responsibilities. Procedures and formal processes alone, will not protect children and adults. The church community, including all its members, needs to be aware of the dangers and be prepared to report concerns and take action if necessary.
The welfare of the child, young person or vulnerable adult must come first. A proper balance must be struck between protecting children, young people and/or vulnerable adults and respecting the rights of the respondent.
The rights of the respondent to a complaint and their need for support are important and are given due weight, once the immediate safety and protection of children, young people and/or vulnerable adults has been assured
In any situations where there may be a difference of opinion about priorities, the welfare of any child or vulnerable adult should remain of paramount concern.
Implications for Policy and Procedures
1. Our Church community will foster and encourage best practice.
We will work with the Diocesan Safeguarding team, statutory bodies, voluntary agencies and other faith communities to promote the safety and well-being of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
2. We are committed to acting promptly whenever a concern is raised about a child, young person or vulnerable adult or a complaint made about the behaviour of an adult in a position of trust, and will work with the Diocesan Team, and the appropriate statutory bodies when an investigation is necessary. We are also committed to the support of those who have been abused and to listening to the voices of survivors, who can help the church learn lessons from the past.
The term ‘complaint’ can cover an allegation, disclosure or statement, something seen or something heard. The complaint need not be made in writing but once received it must be recorded and acted upon. Complaints can be taken from alleged victims and third parties.
3. We will carefully select and train all those with any responsibility for children, young people and vulnerable adults within the church in line with safer recruitment principles, including taking up references and the use of criminal records checks.
The suitability of an applicant or nominated volunteer for work with children, young people or vulnerable adult should not be solely dependent upon Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) disclosures and vetting checks. Someone whose DBS disclosure is clear may still be unsuitable. Hence the need for an interview and references to assure ourselves, as far as we can, that someone is suitable.
As part of the Safer Recruitment process, it is the policy of this Church that:
- All those who regularly work with children, young people and vulnerable adults including those who work on a rota, should have enhanced DBS checks if they reach the criteria ( as identified in the SR guidance);
- Those who work only occasionally will be asked to apply for a DBS check if they reach the criteria;
- Those who manage or supervise people who work with vulnerable groups will be required to be DBS plus Barred List checked if they reach the criteria.
4. If a child, young person or vulnerable adult comes to notice as having suffered abuse in the past, church officers will notify the Diocesan Safeguarding Team and appropriate authorities to ensure that the matter is on record. Support will be offered to adult survivors of child abuse, who will also be encouraged to make a statement to the Police if they have not done so before.
5. We will seek to offer informed pastoral care and support to anyone who has suffered abuse in the church community, developing with them an appropriate ministry that recognises the importance of understanding the needs of those who have been abused, including their feelings of alienation and / or isolation. We recognise that anyone can be a victim of abuse in any setting, including in their own home, and in a church environment, and will work hard to make our church a safe place for people to disclose any concerns they have and receive appropriate support. We will seek to protect survivors of abuse from the possibility of further harm and abuse.
6. We will seek to challenge any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust and responsibility, where they are trusted by others.
7. We will seek to offer pastoral care and support, including supervision, and referral to the appropriate authorities, to any member of our Church community known to have offended against a child, young person or adult who is vulnerable. We will support them in continuing to attend church services whilst supervising their attendance to reduce the risk of further harm.
8. This Church agrees to follow the Practice Guidance from the House of Bishops on safeguarding matters, and to adopt the Diocese of Bath and Wells Safeguarding Policies.
Safeguarding Policy Guidelines for Hall Hirers
National Guidelines state that all organisations working with children, young people and vulnerable adults share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare. Everyone in the community has a responsibility to ensure there is a welcome for all people and a responsibility for their safety, well-being and protection.
- Every organisation needs to have appropriate arrangements in place for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in the community.
- Those involved with working with children, young people and vulnerable adults in the parish need to know how to report concerns that they may have about the children, young people or vulnerable adults they meet that are in line with national procedures.
- Those involved in working with children, young people and vulnerable adults need to adopt appropriate codes of practice.
- All who work directly with children, young people and vulnerable adults need to undergo safe recruitment procedures.
Procedures and Associated Guidelines
If you are concerned or have a sense of unease about any behaviour or abuse toward a child, young person or vulnerable adult, take the concerns seriously.
If a child, young person or vulnerable adult tell you that they or someone they know is being abused this must be taken seriously.
All concerns should be referred to either the Rector or your appointed Safeguarding Representative, who will forward them to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.
What to do:
- Listen carefully to what is said, rather than directly question him/her.
- Accept what is said – children or vulnerable adults rarely tell lies about being abused.
- Take the abuse seriously ( no incident of abuse is ever insignificant )
- Reassure them that they have done the right thing in bringing it to your attention.
- Write down exactly what was said, including any inappropriate language that might have been used, whilst it is still fresh in your mind, making a note of the timing, setting and people present.
- Explain what actions you are going to take – that the information must be shared.
- Report what you have heard, seen or suspect, either to your Appointed Safeguarding Representative or the Rector, or if neither is available, to the Diocese of Bath & Wells Safeguarding Advisor.
- Dismiss your concerns – the diocese will take them seriously.
- Approach the person about whom you have concerns. Instead seek further advice ( as above )
- Confront the alleged abuser
- Ask questions to obtain further information
- Promise confidentiality or make promises that cannot be kept.
- Stop the person who is freely recalling what has happened. If they are interrupted at this stage, they may not continue and might not let you, or anyone else know what has happened.