SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND ADULTS AT RISK
Bexhill United Reformed Church Policy
- Policy Statement
As the people of Bexhill United Reformed Church, we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual, within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community, regardless of age. It is the responsibility of each one of us to follow good practice guidelines in our work/interaction with young people and vulnerable adults and to be alert to the main areas of abuse.
We aim to make sure all paid or volunteer workers are aware of what constitutes abuse and the noticeable signs of abuse; including neglect and discrimination, financial, institutional, physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
- The Church Trustees and the Safeguarding Team will:
- oversee implementation of the policy;
- approve all new work and workers with children and young people;
- review annually the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
- Appointment of Volunteer Workers with Children and Young People and Adults at Risk
All new volunteer workers with children and young people will:
- be known within the Bexhill United Reformed Church community;
- be approved by the Church Trustees and/or child protection team and/or the leader of the group that they will be working in;
- apply for the Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure, according to current URC Church guidelines and East Sussex Area Safeguarding Children’s Board guidelines;
- have a pastoral conversation with a relevant worker within the church. This conversation and any relevant paperwork, including an application form, should cover:
- the responsibilities of the job
- supervision and support
- applicant’s background and relevant experience
- any appropriate training
- provide the names of two referees.
- Appointment of Paid Workers with Children and Young People or Adults at Risk
All new paid workers with children, young people and adults at risk will:
- be approved by the Church Trustees;
- apply for the Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure, according to current United Reformed Church procedures;
- be interviewed by an experienced appropriate worker within the church;
- provide adequate references;
- undertake a probationary period;
- undertake appropriate training.
These requirements are in line with Bexhill United Reformed Church’s recruitment policy.
Any staff member/volunteer/applicant for any role within Bexhill United Reformed Church who is found to be barred from working with children or adults at risk will be dismissed, and the Independent Safeguarding Authority informed.
- Managing Work (Volunteers and Paid Staff)
- All workers will be provided with a job description informing them of their responsibilities and the person to whom they are accountable
- there is an expectation that workers will prepare thoroughly for their work;
- wherever applicable, workers will undertake appropriate training, with the Church’s support, including child protection training or refresher courses at least every three years.
- Recognising and Dealing with Abuse
- If abuse is suspected, workers must make a signed and dated written record and report this to the person to whom they are responsible;
- workers must be aware of what to do in the event of a child disclosing to them alleged abuse (see Safeguarding Booklet in the church office or on request from the Church’s Safeguarding Team);
- appropriate training in this area will be offered.
- Good Practice
- All workers must report to the Safeguarding Team any incidents concerning the welfare and well-being of a child, young person or vulnerable adult;
- all workers must read, sign and adhere to the Bexhill United Reformed Church Code of Conduct;
- workers will be made aware of procedures relating to practical issues concerning:
- when only one worker is available Appendix 1)
- transporting in cars and minibuses (Appendix 2)
- all matters to cover health and safety.
- One to one working with children, young people and adults at risk
- Adults at risk
Except in emergencies, at least two workers should be present when working with adults at risk. If only one worker is available, and only where appropriate, groups could merge together or use the same or open plan adjoining rooms.
Adults at risk should travel with more than one volunteer except in emergencies, in which case another responsible adult should be notified of the circumstance at the time. Where appropriate, the permission of a parent or carer should be obtained.
- b) Children/young people
Bexhill United Reformed Church recognises that in some circumstances, particularly with young people, one to one work and mentoring relationships are a necessary part of a good youth work program. These relationships must adhere to the following guidelines:
- relationships of this nature are known by the youth worker or church officials;
- all relationships of this nature coincide with the appropriate guidelines set out in Appendix 3.
- Office Holders within the Church
Church members who are asked to consider taking an office within the church must be aware that they cannot hold office if they have any conviction or caution for sexual offences against children and young people.
- Rehabilitation of Sex Offenders
Bexhill United Reformed Church will, in conjunction with any appropriate outside official (e.g. police, probation officer), set up a signed agreement/contract with any known sex offender who wishes to attend the church.
- Church website
The following restrictions are imposed on photographs of children, young people and adults at risk included on the church website:
- no one will be listed by name on the website;
- only groups of people will be shown;
- c) photographs will only be displayed after permission has been obtained from either the people in question, family member or nominated supporter or, in the case of children or young people, from parents/legal guardians.
- First Aid
Whenever possible, first aid should be administered by a qualified first-aider. If it is necessary for clothing to be removed for treatment, two adults should be present. Similarly if help is needed with toileting or washing after soiling, two adults should be present. All first-aid treatment and non-routine changing or personal care will be recorded.
- Communicating electronically
- If young people want a leader to hold their mobile phone numbers, email addresses or similar, agreement should be sought from their parents/guardians. In the case of adults at risk, permission should be sought if appropriate (see Appendix 3).
- Any electronic communication should be such that it would not cause embarrassment were it to be seen by the person’s parents/guardians or church officials.
- Communication through social networking sites (e.g. Facebook) should not be over familiar; photographs should only be posted in accordance with restrictions in section 11, Church Website (see Appendix 3 for more information).
A variety of resources exist to assist and support Bexhill United Reformed Church in the well-being of their children and young people:
- i) SEBA the regional Baptist association who will give help and guidance or endeavour to pass you on to the relevant organisation.
- ii) Bexhill United Reformed church office.
iii) “Can we chat? Working safely with young people one to one” John Langford, Grove publications, 2006.
- iv) East Sussex Safeguarding Adults at Risk Board Annual report
- v) Respond – Supporting people with learning difficulties, their families, carers and professionals affected by trauma and abuse.
- vi) Mencap Learning disabilities helpline 0808 808 1111.
- Complaints/Allegations made against staff
Bexhill United Reformed Church takes seriously all complaints made against members of paid staff or volunteers. All such concerns/complaints will be brought immediately to the attention of the Designated Person and the Church Leadership in order that appropriate procedures may be activated. If the allegation involves what appears to be physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect, the Designated Person in collaboration with the Leadership will take action. If the complaint is against the Designated Person, the Minister (or in his/her absence, a member of the Leadership Team) should be consulted. Where it appears a criminal offence may have taken place, this will be reported to the Police and the appropriate Social Services Department.
Signed and dated, brief and accurate written notes will be kept of all incidents or concerns relating to this document and actions taken relating to CYP or vulnerable adults. These will be kept by the Designated Person in a locked cupboard in the church office. They may be accessed by the Designated Person or Church Leadership. Referrals to Social Services under the Protection procedures will be recorded in detail.
- Safety on Church Premises
The presence of intruders or suspicious persons approaching CYP or vulnerable adults will be reported to the Police immediately.
- Availability of the Policy
Copies will be given to all workers and the Church Leadership. It should be brought to the attention of Church Members at a church meeting and available on request to Church Members, carers of vulnerable adults who attend church and parents/guardians of CYP attending church groups.
KEY CONTACTS – Sources of advice and support
Church Safeguarding Coordinator – Miriam Black – Tel: 01424 212616 (07949068690)
Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator – Rev. Roy Cole – 01424 733407 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Synod Safeguarding Officer – Cassi Wright – 02075202729
Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) (This should only be used for
urgent advice if you are unable to contact your Synod Safeguarding Officer)
24 hour helpline:0845 1204550
Located Designated Officer (LADO) – Amanda Glover – Tel: 07825 782793
Statutory contact in the case of a child – Single Point of Advice out of hours: 01323 464222 or 01273 335905
Statutory contact in the case of an adult at risk – 0345 6080191 (any time of day + weekends)
Procedure for one worker
Except in emergencies, at least two workers should be present with children, young people and adults at risk at all times. If there is only one worker available then groups should merge together, use the same room or open plan adjoining rooms if possible. If this is not possible the session should be cancelled.
Procedure for transporting
Children, young people and (where appropriate) adults at risk, should travel with more than one adult except in emergencies when another responsible adult should be notified of the circumstances at the time. In each case the permission of the CYP’s parent or guardian must be sought and agreed before the journey, either verbally or in written form.
Guidelines for one to one work with children and young people, and adults at risk
Any one-to-one work must have the support of the church youth worker or another church official for support, guidance and accountability. It is important that a signed record is made of any issue that may arise through conversation. This should include when and where the meeting took place, the essence of conversation, any advice given or recommendations made and what was agreed. The person affected has the right to view these records at any time.
The worker needs to maintain healthy boundaries when working with a young person or vulnerable adult. They should understand appropriate distance and healthy levels of self-awareness, including appropriate times of day for corresponding with a young person and adequate knowledge of where to refer a young person or vulnerable adult if necessary. Relationships must be beneficial for the development of that young person or vulnerable adult and not the worker involved.
Appropriate confidentiality is necessary. Workers must never promise 100% confidentiality. If a worker believes a young person/vulnerable adult is at risk of harm, they must report this through the appropriate channels. It is imperative that the boundaries of confidentiality are stated at the beginning of this relationship and reminders of these are given when necessary. There are times when the worker may believe that it would be helpful to talk to others about the matters that have been shared. In this situation, the worker should talk this through with the young person/vulnerable adult before proceeding.
Any contact with young people should be in a public place (e.g. doors should be left open), at an appropriate time and in view of another adult (i.e. not early morning, late at night or whilst they should be at school). Contact with vulnerable adults should also be in similarly appropriate places and at appropriate times. It is unlikely that workers will need to make a pastoral visit of children and their families at home on behalf of Bexhill United Reformed Church. If a situation occurs where it is needed, then it can only be done with agreement of the minister.
Good practice for electronic communication, text and e-mail communication
All young people need to be aware of the protocols that workers follow in relation to email, messenger services, social networks and mobile phones, including texting. It is important to remember that as well as the parent/carer, young people will have a right to decide whether they want a worker to have their email address or mobile telephone number and will not be pressurised into divulging information they would rather keep to themselves.
It is important workers use clear and unambiguous language to reduce the risk of misinterpretation, and although it should be obvious when an email is ending, workers should never use inappropriate terms such as ‘luv’ to round things off.
- ii) Communicating using Instant Messaging (eg. MSN Messenger, AOL AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Facebook)
Instant messenger should be kept to an absolute minimum. Workers should save significant conversations as a text and also keep a log of any significant communication, stating with whom and when they communicated. Restricted profiling should be used on Facebook.
- Mobile Phones
Particular diligence needs to be applied when workers use mobile phones to communicate with young people:
- all work mobile phone use will be primarily about information sharing;
- paid workers should keep a log of significant conversations/texts;
- any texts or conversations that raise concerns should be passed on/shown to the worker’s supervisor;
- workers should use clear language, particularly when texting, and should not use words such as ‘luv’ or abbreviations like ‘lol’ which could mean ‘laugh out loud’ or ‘lots of love’;
- Workers should not take photos on their personal equipment.
Date reviewed: January 2017