The United Benefice of St. John the Evangelist, Birkby & Christ Church, Woodhouse
ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST
If a child or adult is at immediate risk of significant harm, in the first instance you should always contact your local social services team or local police (call 101).
You must then inform the Parish Safeguarding Officer or a member of the team. If you are unable to make contact you should telephone the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA) or the Archdeacon – See listing below.
The Safeguarding Policy adopted by the Parochial Church Council and its associated guidelines are intended to protect children and vulnerable adults in the church and community. By ‘safeguarding’ we mean the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults whilst they are visiting, volunteering or working for the church.
Children are assumed to be persons under the age of 18 as defined by the Children Act 1989.
The term vulnerable adult refers to any person aged 18 or over ‘who is, or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is, or may be, unable to take care of him or herself to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.’ An adult can become vulnerable at any time.
Our policy embodies the principles enshrined in the Church of England’s House of Bishops’ Policy Statements which are as follows:
The Church of England, in all aspects of its life, is committed to and will champion the protection of children and young people both in society as a whole and in its own community.
It fully accepts, endorses and will implement the principle enshrined in the Children Act 1989, that the welfare of the child is paramount. The Church of England will foster and encourage best practice within its community by setting standards for working with children and young people and by supporting parents in the care of their children.
It will work with statutory bodies, voluntary agencies and other faith communities to promote the safety and well-being of children and young people. It is committed to acting promptly whenever a concern is raised about a child or young person or about the behaviour of an adult and will work with the appropriate statutory bodies when an investigation into child abuse is necessary.
The Church of England is committed to encouraging an environment where all people and especially those who may be vulnerable for any reason are able to worship and pursue their faith journey with encouragement and in safety. Everyone, whether they see themselves as vulnerable or not, will receive respectful pastoral ministry recognizing any power imbalance within such a relationship.
All church workers involved in any pastoral ministry will be recruited with care including the use of the Criminal Records Bureau disclosure service when legal or appropriate. Workers will receive training and continuing support.
Any allegations of mistreatment, abuse, harassment or bullying will be responded to without delay. Whether or not the matter involves the church there will be cooperation with the police and local authority in any investigation.
Sensitive and informed pastoral care will be offered to anyone who has suffered abuse, including support to make a complaint if so desired: help to find appropriate specialist care either from the church or secular agencies will be offered.
Congregations will often include people who have offended in a way that means they are a continuing risk to vulnerable people. The risks will be managed sensitively with the protection of adults and children in mind.
The Archbishops’ Council 2016
- The Purpose of this Policy and associated Guidelines
1.1 To safeguard, care for and nurture children and young people in the church and its wider community.
1.2 To safeguard and care for vulnerable adults in the church community.
1.3 To inform those involved with children and vulnerable adults in our Church of the behaviour expected of them.
1.4 To explain the procedure for background checks of those involved with children and vulnerable adults in the cathedral.
1.5 To protect adult members of the Church from malicious or false accusations of abuse
- What the church will do
2.1 We will create and maintain a safe environment for children and adults by implementing the House of Bishops Child Protection Policy and the Diocesan procedures.
2.2 We will ensure that all those who have access to children on a paid or voluntary basis are carefully selected and use the DBS system amongst other tools to check the background of each person as outlined in the church’s recruitment procedures. Where a DBS check is required, no one will be permitted to take up their position with the church until the DBS check has been completed to the satisfaction of the Cathedral.
2.3 The PCC must approve the appointment of anyone to a position that will involve working with children or vulnerable adults.
2.4 We are committed to the respectful pastoral ministry to all adults within our church ministry.
2.5 We will provide regular and suitable training and guidance to all Staff and Volunteers appropriate to the level of involvement with children or vulnerable adults which they individually have. All Staff and Volunteers will as a minimum be aware of how to report any suspicious incidents.
2.6 We will respond without delay to every complaint made that a child or vulnerable adult, for whom we are responsible or a visitor to the Cathedral, may have been harmed or is in significant danger.
2.7 We will fully cooperate with statutory agencies during any investigation into allegations concerning a member of the Church community.
2.8 We will inform the statutory agency of any suspected criminal offences or concerns that we are made aware of in respect of our contact with children or vulnerable adults.
2.9 We will offer suitable pastoral care to any child or adult who has suffered abuse and provide them with details of local and national support agencies.
2.10 In accordance with Diocesan procedures we will supervise and support any member of our church community known to have offended against a child or vulnerable adult.
2.11 We will challenge any abuse of power by anyone in a position of trust.
2.12 We will review this policy annually to ensure that all our procedures and checks are up to date.
2.13 We will issue this policy to all staff and volunteers.
2.14 This policy is supported by further information and other policies as part of creating a safe cathedral.
- Activities involving Children and Vulnerable Adults
The PCC has identified the following activities which may involve children or vulnerable adults:
– Children and youth groups – Sunday School, educational visits, confirmation classes, events.
– Pastoral visiting
– Home communion
- Filming and Photography
Visitors to the church are welcome to film or take photographs but no images of children or vulnerable adults can be taken without gaining prior permission. If someone is seen abusing this they will be asked to stop.
5 All Staff and Volunteers must:
Minimise any risk
Report concerns immediately
Stay in a public area if possible or ask a colleague to stay with you or within the area
Attend awareness training
Recognise that, in cases of concern, doing nothing is NOT an option
Code of Behaviour for Working with Children or Vulnerable Adults
- Treat all children, young people and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity;
- Ensure that your own language, tone of voice and body language is respectful;
- Always aim to work within sight of another adult;
- Ensure another adult is informed if a child needs to be taken to the toilet;
- Toilet breaks should be organised for young children;
- Ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults know who they can talk to if they need to speak to someone about a personal concern;
- Respond warmly to a child who needs comforting but make sure there are other adults around;
- If any activity requires physical contact, ensure that the child, parents, vulnerable adults and carers are aware of this and its nature beforehand;
- Administer any necessary First Aid with others around;
- Obtain parental/carer consent for any photographs / videos to be taken, shown or displayed;
- Record any concerning incidents and give the information to your group leader/safeguarding representative: sign and date the record;
- Always share concerns about a child or vulnerable adult or the behaviour of another worker with your group leader and / or the safeguarding representative.
You should not:
- Initiate physical contact. Any necessary contact should be initiated by the child or vulnerable adult;
- Invade anyone’s privacy while washing or toileting;
- Play rough physical or sexually provocative games;
- Use any form of physical punishment;
- Be sexually suggestive about or to a child or vulnerable adult even in ‘fun’;
- Touch anyone inappropriately;
- Scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child, group or adult;
- Permit abusive peer activities, eg. initiation ceremonies, ridiculing or bullying;
- Show favouritism to any one child or group;
- Allow a child, young person or vulnerable adult to involve you in excessive attention seeking that is overtly physical or sexual in nature;
- Give lifts to children, young people or vulnerable adults on their own or your own;
- Smoke tobacco in the presence of children;
- Drink alcohol when responsible for young people;
- Share sleeping accommodation with children or vulnerable adults;
- Invite a child or vulnerable adult to your home alone;
- Arrange social occasions with children or vulnerable adults (other than family members) outside organised group occasions;
- Allow unknown adults access to children. Visitors should always be accompanied by a known person;
- Allow strangers to give children lifts.
Additional Guidance for Group Leaders
- Ensure any health and safety requirements are adhered to;
- Undertake risk assessments with appropriate action taken and records kept;
- Keep the register and consent forms up to date;
- Have awareness, at all times, of what is taking place and who is present;
- Create space for children and vulnerable adults to talk;
- Liaise with the Safeguarding Children and Young People Representative over good practice for safeguarding;
- Always inform the Safeguarding Representative of any specific safeguarding concerns that arise. The representative will liaise with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. In the absence or the unavailability of the Parish Safeguarding Officer or the Parish Clergy, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser or the Archdeacon should be contacted directly;
- Liaise with Chapter when necessary.
Guidance for Responding to a Child or Vulnerable Adult who makes an Allegation of Abuse
- Listen and keep on listening.
- Do not ask leading questions or press for information.
- Accept what you hear without passing judgement.
- Do not promise to keep secrets and do tell the person what you are going to do.
- Write down what has been said as soon as possible and keep a copy. This may be needed in any subsequent investigation. Make sure a copy is given to the investigator.
- Refer to the Cathedral Safeguarding Representative or, in their absence, the Canon Evangelist or Dean, and where suitable to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. In an urgent situation, refer immediately to the local authority Children’s Social Care Services or the police.
- Do not contact the person against whom the allegation is made but wait for advice.
- Do not talk to others (except the above) about the allegation.
No individual person should attempt to deal with the problem alone. In the first instance the Parish Safeguarding Representative or, in the case of the Parish Safeguarding Representative’s involvement, the Parish Priest, should be contacted. The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser should also be contacted. In their absence the Archdeacon responsible for Safeguarding can be contacted. Anyone has the right to contact Children’s Social Care or the Police and if they feel such action is immediately necessary then they should do so, and inform the Parish Priest, the Parish Safeguarding Representative and the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser that they have done so.
Action to be taken if a Lost Child or Vulnerable Adult is Found:
- Determine if the child or vulnerable adult is expecting a carer or responsible adult to arrive;
- If someone is expected, wait with the child/adult until they arrive;
- If nobody arrives, or is not expected, advise the child/adult that you need to get some help for them.
- Contact the Safeguarding Officer for assistance. If they are not available, another Safeguarding Representative.
- When the Safeguarding person arrives, please advise them fully of the situation;
- If it is necessary to contact the police, advise them that you have a safeguarding situation involving a child/young person/vulnerable adult;
- At no time should you leave the person alone;
- Do not force them to do anything they do not want to do;
- Do not put yourself at risk and in particular try to stay in sight of others at all times.
Once the child/vulnerable adult has been collected by their carer or the police or official agency, write up the incident and send it under confidential cover to the Safeguarding Officer.
Benefice Safeguarding Officer, Adviser and Lead
Tel: 07766 196923
Parish Safeguarding Officer
Safeguarding Officer St. John’s
Safeguarding Representative St. John’s & ASPIRE
Safeguarding Representative Christ Church, Woodhouse
Diocesan Safeguarding Officer – Huddersfield Episcopal Area
Mrs Jenny Price
0113 3530 258
Archdeacon of Halifax
The Ven Dr Anne Dawtry
01484 471803 (Office)
01484 714553 (Home)