Our Safeguarding Policy & Procedures
Renewal Christian Centre is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children, or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk, are paramount.
We aim to care for and nurture all children, young people and adults through respectful pastoral ministry, and establish safe, caring communities and a loving environment where there is informed vigilance as to the dangers of abuse.
The safeguarding measures we have in place aim to:
Promote the well-being of children and adults through a culture of shared responsibility for safeguarding within clearly assigned roles.
Prevent harm through best practice and the creation of a culture of informed vigilance.
Protect through responding effectively when safeguarding concerns arise.
We adhere to strict safeguarding measures to achieve these aims including:
- The appointment of a Church Safeguarding Officer, with responsibility for advising Pastors, Elders, Trustees and Stewards on safeguarding issues, and for promoting safeguarding best practice across the church.
- Selecting and training all volunteers and staff members who work within the church in line with safer recruitment principles, in a process overseen by the safeguarding officer, including the use of criminal record disclosures and registration with the relevant vetting and barring schemes.
- Being committed to take immediate action and respond without delay to every complaint that suggests a child, young person or adult with care and support needs may have been harmed and cooperating with the police and local authority in any investigation.
- Taking immediate action, where a child is considered to be in imminent danger, to secure the safety of the child and to seek the assistance of the police and an appropriate referral to local authority Children’s Services, in close liaison with the Church Safeguarding Officer.
- Conducting a yearly audit of all safeguarding measures to ensure appropriate policies are in place for the church and all groups, and that these reflect current best practice.
- Ensuring the church completes a risk assessment on each area of activity in the church, and that this is stored and reviewed at least annually, and is readily available on request.
- Ensuring that the church has a suitable safeguarding notification with a copy of the current signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national helplines and other suitable information.
- A commitment to respond to those affected by abuse in accordance with legislation and guidance, but also with respect and compassion, providing pastoral support and additional support where appropriate.
Please find below a more detailed and comprehensive guide to our safeguarding principles, purpose and procedures.
Our Safeguarding Policies & Procedures
Statement of Safeguarding Principles
Appointment & Training of Workers
Guidelines for working with children, young people and adults with care and support needs
Events on church premises
Events with church off the premises
Key concepts and definitions
Procedures for responding well to safeguarding incidents
Assessment of risk
Referring to statutory agencies
Recording Safeguarding Concerns
Caring for Survivors of Abuse
Helping recovery and responding well
Responding to domestic abuse
Responding well to those who might pose a risk
Good practice for responding to child protection concerns
Good practice guidelines for church activities for children and young people
Definitions of Abuse – Children
Definitions of Abuse – Adults
Statement of Safeguarding Principles
Every person has a value and dignity which comes directly from the creation of humans in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
Renewal Christian Centre is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are paramount.
Renewal recognises that it has a particular care for adults who have care and support needs, whether by disabilities or by reduction in capacities or by their situation. It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.
This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and adults with care and support needs across all locations of Renewal. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe, supportive and caring community for children, young people, adults needing care and support, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.
Renewal recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and adults at risk of harm and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media or human trafficking (slavery). It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development, including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.
We are committed to:
- The care and nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children, young people and adults.
- The safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults with care and support needs, when they are at risk of harm.
- The establishing of safe, caring communities which provide a loving environment where there is informed vigilance as to the dangers of abuse.
We will carefully select and train all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with safer recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records disclosures and registration with the relevant vetting and barring schemes.
We will respond without delay to every complaint made which suggests that a child, young person or adult with care and support needs may have been harmed (either currently or historical), cooperating with the police and local authority in any investigation.
We will seek to work with anyone who has suffered abuse at any time in the past or currently, developing with them an appropriate ministry of informed pastoral care.
We will seek to challenge any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust. Please refer to Managing Allegations Against Staff & Volunteers policy.
We will seek to offer pastoral care and support, including supervision and referral to the proper authorities, to any member of our Church community known to have offended against a child, young person or adult with care and support needs.
In all these principles we will follow legislation, guidance and recognised good practice.
Renewal commits to:
RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child, young person, or adult at risk may have been harmed, whether in the church or in another context, currently or at any time in the past. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.
Ensure the IMPLEMENTATION of the Church Safeguarding Policy; government legislation and guidance, relevant local authority procedures and safe practice across all locations and settings.
The PROVISION of support, advice and training for all staff and volunteers that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults at risk of harm.
AFFIRM and give thanks for those who work with children, young people and adults at risk and also acknowledge the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding adults with care and support needs who are on our premises.
Debby Hunt is appointed as Renewal’s Safeguarding Officer, with support from the location Safeguarding Representatives. Her role is to:
i) support and advise Pastors, Elders, staff and volunteer teams in fulfilling their roles
ii) provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
iii) promote safeguarding best practice across the church
iv) ensure proper records are kept of all incidents/concerns according to church policy and practice
v) ensure that all safeguarding training that is required is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records kept and made available
vi) attend training and meetings organised to support the role
vii) oversee safeguarding throughout the whole life of Renewal across all locations
viii) ensure the church completes a yearly audit/monitoring on safeguarding confirming that policies are in place for Renewal and all groups and lettings in the church and that these have been annually reviewed
ix) ensure Renewal completes a risk assessment on each area of activity in the church; that this is stored and reviewed at least annually, and that it is readily available on request
x) ensure that Renewal recruits safely for all posts
xi) ensure that Renewal has a suitable safeguarding notification with a copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national helplines and other suitable information.
The purpose of this safeguarding policy is twofold:
- to ensure procedures are in place
- to ensure that people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children, young people and adults at risk of harm in Renewal’s care and using Renewal premises.
We believe that good practice means:
- All people are treated with respect and dignity.
- Those who act on behalf of the Church should not meet or work alone with a child or adult with care and support needs where the activity cannot be seen, unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons, in which case a written note of this will be made and kept noting the date, time and place of visit.
- The Church premises will be assessed by the Church safeguarding officer with the site manager, or representative, at least annually for safety for children and adults with care and support needs and the risk assessment report will be given annually to the Trustees in written form. This will include fire safety procedures. The Trustees will consider the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more suitable.
- Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking the tasks which enable all God’s people to reach their full potential. The Trustees will actively consider the extent to which it is succeeding in this area.
These things are to safeguard those working with children, young people and those adults who may be at risk of harm.
Appointment & Training of Workers
A worker may be a paid member of staff or a volunteer. Workers will be appointed after relevant and satisfactory DBS checks and following safer recruitment procedures of the Church. Each worker will have an identified supervisor who will meet at regular intervals with the worker. A record of these meetings will be agreed and signed and the record kept. Each worker will be expected to undergo basic safeguarding training within the first 6 months.
In terms of safeguarding, pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.
Guidelines for Working with Children, Young People and Adults with Care and Support Needs
A leaflet outlining good practice and systems will be produced and given to everyone who works with children, young people and adults with care and support needs. This leaflet will be reviewed annually.
Events on Church Premises
Where events happen on church premises, safeguarding is the responsibility of Renewal and any organisation having use of the premises should produce a suitable safeguarding procedure for their organisation.
Events with Church off the Premises
Adequate staffing, a risk assessment and notification of the event to be given to the church safeguarding officer PRIOR to the agreement for any event or off site activity.
It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisation. However, if the complaint is of a safeguarding nature, relating to possible abuse of children or adults with care and support needs, then it is very important that the Church Safeguarding Officer is consulted as statutory services may need to be informed. A complaint may be made to a person who will be appointed by the Trustees. This person is currently Debby Hunt.
If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed to Dr Cheron Byfield, Trustee & Chair of the Safeguarding Sub-Committee who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Trustees.
The date of the next review is July 2021.
Key Concepts and Definitions
i) A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the armed forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.
ii) Adults with Care and Support needs: Any adult aged 18 or over who needs care and support, and due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves, which puts them at risk of abuse or neglect.
iii) Safeguarding and protecting children or adults with care and support needs from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
iv) Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
v) Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community and in an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or adult at risk, including those who hold Positions of Trust or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.
Procedures for Responding Well to Safeguarding Incidents
The safeguarding policy, procedures and guidance of Renewal Christian Centre have been created in order to:
PROMOTE the well-being of children and adults through a culture of shared responsibility for safeguarding within clearly assigned roles.
PREVENT harm through best practice and the creation of a culture of informed vigilance.
PROTECT through responding effectively when safeguarding concerns arise.
This section identifies actions that should be taken when receiving a safeguarding concern. This may relate to a situation where allegations are made about an officeholder, employee, member or volunteer (See Managing Allegations against Staff & Volunteers policy) or about someone not connected with the Church where a church member or other person is seeking help or support from someone in the Church.
The concerns may be about current or past (known as “historical abuse”) events, but in all situations both current and historical the response to safeguard and investigate will be the same.
Past or historical events can still give rise to current safeguarding concerns.
Allegations against staff and volunteers that do not appear to fall into the above categories but still amount to inappropriate conduct within the Church may mean that consideration needs to be given to invoking disciplinary processes or handling it by way of advice, supervision and training. In these situations, the employer/supervisor/line manager will need to consider the course of action. (See Managing Allegations against Staff & Volunteers policy)
Where the concern that has been raised relates to domestic abuse, the specific section relating to this type of safeguarding issue should be read in addition to the procedures outlined in this section.
There are many situations whereby a member of the Church may have concerns of possible harm or abuse, or be made aware of concerns of possible harm or abuse, regarding a child or adult. The person noticing or being informed of concerns of harm or abuse must consult with the Church Safeguarding Officer within one working day. The only exception to informing any of the above is if the Safeguarding Officer is the subject of the concerns. If that is the case, then they will be excluded. Under no circumstances, should the person who is the subject of the allegations be informed until after the allegations have been discussed and agreement reached with the statutory authorities. Further action will be decided in discussion and agreement with the statutory agencies.
If approached by anyone wishing to talk about a concern, follow the basic guidelines below:
- Consider whether the time and place are appropriate for you to listen with care and security. Do not defer listening, but seek the other person’s agreement to find a suitable place to listen.
- Stay calm and listen to the information very carefully, showing that you are taking seriously what you are being told. Do not pass judgement, minimise or express shock or disbelief at what you are being told.
- Listen with undivided attention and help the other person to feel relaxed. Do not put words into their mouth.
- Take into account the person’s age and level of understanding. It may be appropriate to ask if they mind you taking notes while they talk or at the end so you can check with them that you have understood everything correctly – but only if it is appropriate.
- Do not make promises you cannot keep.
- Do not promise confidentiality but explain what you will do with the information.
- Find out what the person hopes for.
- Reflect back key points of what has been said to confirm you have understood what has been communicated.
- Provide a privacy notice and explain in a clear and simple manner the information contained in it.
- Either during (if appropriate) or after, make notes of what was said, including the date, time, venue and the names of people who were present. Sign the record.
- The Church Safeguarding Officer should always be consulted and referred to when a referral is likely to be necessary to Children’s Services/the police.
- In liaison with Church Safeguarding Officer, provide the person with the means to contact you or relevant person and be clear about how and when you/they will give feedback. Be prepared to continue to be there for the person. Be dependable.
- Do not contact the person about whom allegations have been made.
- Offer reassurance that disclosing is the right thing to do.
The person receiving the information, will liaise with church safeguarding officer to assess whether the subject of the concern is at risk of immediate harm and if so the CSO will take any immediate action necessary to safeguard them including contacting statutory authorities such as police, child or adult services.
Assessment of Risk
In all situations, consideration of the following risks should be reviewed regularly by the church safeguarding officer in regard to the circumstances of any concern raised:
- risks to the victim/survivor
- risk to members of vulnerable groups within the church and involved with church activities
- risks to the person believed to be responsible for the issue and their family
- risks to the wider congregation or attendees at church activities
- risk of loss of information/records
- risk to the reputation of the Church
It is the responsibility of everyone to consider the risks presented by any situation from the first point that they become aware of a possible safeguarding concern through to the actions that are taken to deal with that issue. Direction may be given by police/Children’s Services or Adult Social Care as to how to respond to certain risks when a referral has been made. Advice may be sought from the Church Safeguarding Officer in relation to measures that may minimise specific risks in any case. Measures to manage risk could include suspension, an interim Safeguarding Contract, specific arrangements for activities or church attendance, communication or liaison with others within and outside of the church.
Following the safeguarding policies, procedures and guidance outlined in this document may assist in managing risks that are identified. In some circumstances, there are specific procedures laid down for certain forms of risk assessment (eg a Safeguarding Contract) and there is responsibility for particular parties to undertake those assessments.
In most cases, the ongoing consideration of risk should be an integral and continuing part of responding well to an incident.
Referring to Statutory Agencies
In most situations a referral to the Local Authority Children or Adult Services and where the allegation is against a staff or volunteer to the Designated Officer (formerly LADO)/Children’s Services (depending on local provision) or adult safeguarding (local authority) in adult services should occur within one working day. It is preferable for the Church Safeguarding Officer to do this
The Church must follow the advice given by statutory agencies (Children’s Services, Adult Social Care/police) in determining what can be said and acted upon and when to the subject against whom allegations have been made. (See Managing Allegations Against Staff and Volunteers policy) While this may be uncomfortable for those who know the person concerned, failure to follow this advice could result in:
- risk to the safety of children or adults
- loss of evidence which may hinder any investigation
- increased anxiety for the subject of allegations before adequate information is available to make them aware of the situation and next steps
- consequent reputational damage for the Church when appearing to collude with a party under allegation
Recording Safeguarding Concerns
Whenever a safeguarding concern has been raised about a child or adult, anyone receiving a concern of harm or abuse, or responsible for dealing with the situation, must keep clear and comprehensive records in order to ensure there is:
- a history of events
- continuity when there are changes of personnel
- evidence in case of proceedings
It is important that all records are kept in a secure place and only shared in accordance with legislation, government guidance, Church policy, procedure and guidelines.
When making records the following practice should be followed:
- Wherever possible, take notes during any conversation (or immediately after if more appropriate).
- Ask for consent to make notes and take age and understanding into account.
- Explain why you would like to take notes, and that they can have access to the information they have shared with you. Include:
- – who was involved (names of key people)
- – what happened (facts not opinions)
- – where it happened
- – when it happened
- – how it happened
Keep a log of all actions you have taken and details of referrals to statutory agencies.
Where possible ask the person to review the notes and confirm that they are an accurate record.
Pass records to the Church Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible but at the latest by noon of the next day.
Make sure your notes are legible, clear, concise, relevant, thorough, jargon free and use the person’s own words and phrases. Do not attempt to sanitise language or improve grammar.
Ensure they are up to date, signed, dated and timed.
NB: As part of the Independent Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry led by Professor Alexis Jay, there is currently a legal requirement under Section 25 of the Inquiries Act for churches and other relevant organisations in England and Wales to retain documents relating to child protection and allegations of child abuse made against individuals or the organisation. This also includes child protection policy documents. The legal requirement not to destroy such material has precedence over retention requirements under the Data Protection Act 1998 for the duration of the inquiry.
Caring for Survivors of Abuse
Renewal recognises that abuse of an individual by someone within a church context can have a negative impact not only on the survivor, but on their family, the perpetrator’s family and the church community. The impact will be different for different people and assumptions cannot be made about the severity of the impact and its perceived seriousness. The Church aims to respond to those affected by abuse in accordance with legislation and guidance but also with respect and compassion, providing pastoral support and additional support where appropriate.
The policy and procedures apply to:
- children and young people under 18 alleging abuse by someone within the Church
- adults alleging abuse as children from someone within the Church
- adults alleging abuse by an adult within the Church
- families of those affected by allegations of abuse within the Church
- members of the Church where an allegation of abuse has had an impact on them
The Church will always aim to provide appropriate pastoral support to those in need, particularly where there may be survivors of abuse from the congregation. However, those receiving or dealing with reports of abuse should also consider whether other forms of support may be appropriate in addition to or instead of pastoral support within the Church. This may particularly be the case where the person is actively involved with another church or faith or has disengaged from the Church as a result of abuse.
Helping Recovery and Responding Well
Recovery after any form of abuse is complex and will vary among individuals. For sexual abuse particularly it involves a process over a long period of time. The Reverend Doctor Marie Fortune, founder and senior analyst of the Faith Trust Institute, has identified seven essential elements to the process that need to be borne in mind when responding.
- the opportunity to tell the story (to name the sin and share the experience)
- for someone to hear their story (that is, to believe and acknowledge the harm done and the fact that the victim is not to blame)
- receiving a compassionate response to the victim (that is, to ‘suffer with’ is to walk with the person rather than try to ‘problem-solve’ immediately
- an effort to protect the vulnerable from further harm (both the victim and any others who may be at risk)
- the community holding the perpetrator to account
- an act of restitution in as far as this is possible (though this does not necessarily include institutional or financial liability)
- unambiguous vindication
It is important to be clear about what a survivor of abuse expects at any time when he or she shares his or her experience. While it is understandable that those in authority might be anxious regarding any suggestion of institutional culpability, this should never eclipse the higher duty to provide pastoral care or additional support if appropriate.
Renewal will observe safeguarding guidelines and regularly review the pages of their sites, both website and social media platforms, so that they remain up to date, effective and safe. The Internet and social media is constantly evolving and changing, and the Church guidelines will change accordingly. The church will review its guidelines regularly to ensure compliance and expected conduct are up to date.
The Church website and social media content will ensure that it promotes opportunities for all ages – including children and young people – to be involved in the life of the church. While it is important to reflect the full mix of participation in church worship and other activities, care should be taken to ensure the safety of children and young people. The following guidelines will apply:
- Ensure all electronic communications are appropriate and professional.
- If using e-technology as a group activity, ensure that an adult worker knows and understands what is happening within the group.
- Do not make any relationship with a child (other than family members) through a social networking site.
- Maintain a log of all electronic contact with individuals or groups including messaging and texting.
- Ensure that parents or carers are aware of what their children or young people are doing and have given their written permission in advance.
- When demonstrations are being given, plan beforehand to ensure that all websites visited have material that is appropriate for the age group taking part.
- Where children and young people are given access to undertake their own searches on the Internet, search engines are recommended by the Department for Education and Skills
- Children and young people should be regularly informed and reminded of online safety and accessing social media. If they have any concerns or fears, they must be encouraged to access websites such as NSPCC or Childline or talk to an adult.
Responding to Domestic Abuse
All forms of domestic abuse are intrinsically damaging and the importance of the safety and protection of those involved must be paramount. Those responding to reports of domestic abuse should ensure that they identify whether any of the following circumstances apply:
- children are living in the household
- children are regular visitors to the household
- the victim is an adult who lacks capacity
- the victim is dependent upon their partner for care
Procedures relating to children and adults in the previous section should be followed in all cases.
The following actions should be taken where domestic abuse is suspected:
- If you suspect someone is experiencing domestic abuse but they have not said anything to you, do not be afraid to ask but ask gentle, non-direct questions, such as “How are things at home?”
- Reassure the person that it is not their fault.
- Consider their safety and yours as well as colleagues and if possible prepare a plan of action to protect anyone disclosing abuse (and yourselves).
- Do not investigate.
- Do not confront the alleged perpetrator.
- Keep confidentiality; all conversations should be treated as confidential within the bounds of safeguarding. Seek consent to share information if you wish to discuss it with someone else, unless a child or vulnerable adult is at risk.
- Remember to focus on the safety of the victim (and children, if any are involved).
- Provide information on resources/services available to them.
- Do not advise on a course of action but encourage them to explore options.
- Record the information and retain it securely.
- Take advice from the Church Safeguarding Officer prior to sending a privacy notice to anyone other than the party reporting the issues to ensure that the safety of the survivor, any children or other parties will not be compromised.
Responding Well to Those Who Might Pose a Risk to Children & Adults at Risk
The Church aims to provide pastoral care for all its members, including those who are convicted or suspected of causing harm or have caused harm to others. However, in this context, such care must be provided in a way that prioritises the safety of other church members, while enabling the person who poses a risk to continue to worship and be a part of the church community.
For those with a criminal conviction or caution for a sexual offence against children or vulnerable adults, Standing Order SO 010 sets out the need for permission to be obtained for such people to hold an office, role or responsibility within the Church.
The following process was created to support SO 010 but can be used to manage all those who present a risk which does not involve sexual offences.
The Church and Sex Offender Report (2000) recommended the setting up of “support and monitoring groups” to manage sex offenders within the church and district (SO 690, SO 691, SO 692, SO232-237 and Book VI Part 4 of the Guidance section of CPD).
These arrangements are known as safeguarding contracts and set out to have the boundaries and terms of involvement in the Church of the person about whom there are concerns in writing.
Arranging a Safeguarding Contract
When Renewal becomes aware of a person who is considered to be a risk the Church Safeguarding Officer should be in contact with the relevant statutory agencies, which may include probation and the police.
A small group of about five people should be set up (the monitoring and support group). This should include a Pastor and any people who have agreed to offer pastoral support for the offender and accompany them in worship and other church activities. It is helpful if at least one member is from outside the church, as this helps to promote objectivity. It should also include someone with expertise and experience in this field and someone to represent the church community.
What to Include
The Safeguarding Contract should include the following key points:
- The boundaries and terms of involvement in Renewal should be written into a contract which clarifies the terms on which the subject is involved in the life of the church.
- The document needs to be signed and dated by the subject of concern and by Church representatives.
- The contract should involve the subject’s family and partner who may also be attending the Church, where possible.
- It should include conditions in addition to pastoral support arrangements. Care should be taken to ensure that the requirements relate to any perceived risk from the subject’s behavioural patterns. For example:
- I will never allow myself to be in a situation where I am alone with children.
- I will sit where directed in the church and will not place myself in the vicinity of children.
- I will not enter certain parts of the building designated by the small group, nor any area where children’s activities are in progress.
- I will decline invitations of hospitality where there are children in the home.
- I accept that X and Y will sit with me during church activities accompanying me when I need to use other facilities. They will know I am a registered sex offender (if applicable).
- I accept that Z will provide me with pastoral care (and possibly a second pastoral visitor, if there is a potential risk).
Good Practice for Responding to Child Protection Concerns
Do not try to deal with any child protection concern on your own. Always tell your group leader and/or Church Safeguarding Officer. Agree between you who will take what action and when.
If you are not sure if child abuse is involved, or if you have concerns about a child and you need someone to talk things over with, then again you should contact your group leader or Church Safeguarding Officer. The local authority Children’s Services Duty/Referral team are also a source of advice and support 24 hours a day.
Always make notes about a possible child protection incident or disclosure as accurately as possible, as soon as possible. These should cover what has happened, in what context, and anything that seemed particularly significant. Quote the child’s words exactly where possible. Try if possible to note from the register the child’s full name, age/date of birth, address, telephone number and GP. Remember to sign the record and add your name, role, date of incident and date of the recording. Refer back to the Recording Safeguarding Concerns section on pages 9-10 for more information.
If a child asks to talk in confidence do not promise confidentiality – you have a duty to refer a child/young person who is at risk to the statutory agencies. Always explain that you may have to get other people to help.
- Stay calm.
- Listen to the child attentively.
- Allow the child to talk but do not press for information or ask leading questions.
- Tell the child that they are not to blame for anything that has happened.
- Reassure the child that they were right to tell.
- Let the child know that other people will have to be told and why.
- Try to explain what will happen next in a way the child can understand.
- Reassure the child that he or she will continue to receive support during the difficult time to come.
If you encounter a child in a situation where the child is in imminent danger, you should act immediately to secure the safety of the child. Seek the assistance of the police and then make a referral to local authority Children’s Services in close liaison with Church Safeguarding Officer.
If a child needs emergency medical attention, this should be sought immediately and directly from the emergency services. Parents, if available, should be kept fully informed.
What to do if you suspect a child is at risk or has been abused
Speak with your group leader or Church Safeguarding Officer, who will (as applicable) make a referral to Children’s Services.
The Church Safeguarding Officer should:
- Make an immediate telephone referral to the local authority Children’s Services. Make it clear from the first point of contact that you are making a child protection referral;
- Describe the event or disclosure and give information about the child and family, for example, the child’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number and GP (if known);
- Follow up the telephone call with a completed referral form (sometimes available on the local authority website) or letter. If there is no acknowledgement within 48 hours, chase it;
- Remember that the child and family should, wherever possible, be informed about and consent to the referral unless this would put the welfare of the child or another person at further risk. If you have serious concerns, the absence of consent should not prevent a referral. The duty social worker will give advice over this if necessary;
- Be prepared to have further discussions with the social work team or the police investigation team;
- Say if wanting to withhold their personal details from the family concerned.
For out of hours referrals, call the emergency social work team or where you believe there is a significant risk of immediate harm, the police.
Good Practice Guidelines for Church Activities for Children and Young People
Welcome children and young people with special needs to the group. Try to make the premises, toilets and access suitable for people with disabilities. Ask the parent about how best to meet the child’s additional needs, and do not see this as the responsibility only of the child’s parent. If premises are being designed or refurbished, take the opportunity to anticipate the possible additional needs of future children and adults; advice is available. Disability legislation requires organisations to take reasonable steps to meet the needs of disabled people and this includes children.
Consent needs to be from a parent or person with parental responsibility. It can be from the child/young person if he/she has sufficient age and understanding in relation to the specific issue. So for example, whilst parental consent is always required for a group residential holiday, a teenager would usually be able to consent to the photos from the holiday being displayed in church. You should record who has given consent for any specific activity.
A registration form should be completed for every child or young person who attends groups or activities. The form should be updated annually and include the following:
- name and address
- date of birth
- emergency contact details
- medical information
- any special needs including activities which the child is unable to take part in
- consent for emergency medical treatment
- consent for photographs/videos if relevant
Separate consent should be obtained for one-off events and activities (for example, swimming) and also for outings, weekends away, etc.
All personal details and consent forms must be stored securely.
This is not always possible or proportionate but where it is possible, a register should be taken of those attending an activity and as a guide should include:
- the date of the activity
- the type of activity
- a list of adults present
- a list of children/young people present
Recommended staffing levels
Each group should have at least two adults and it is recommended that there should be at least one male and one female.
If small groups are in the same room or adjoining rooms with open access between them then it is possible to have only one adult per group, dependent on the nature of the activity.
Young people who are being encouraged to develop their leadership skills through helping, should always be overseen by an appointed worker who will be responsible for ensuring that good practice and safeguarding procedures are followed and the work they are doing is appropriate to both their age and understanding.
Adults who assist on one or two occasions must be responsible to an appointed worker. Thereafter they should become part of the team and be properly appointed through the normal recruitment process.
First aid kits and accident books
A first aid kit and accident book should be available on the premises. The contents of the first aid kit should be stored in a waterproof container and be clearly marked. Each group should designate one worker to check the contents at prescribed intervals.
All staff and volunteer workers should be encouraged to have some first aid knowledge and the Church should encourage access to first aid training. A list of first aiders should be compiled and kept available.
All accidents should be recorded in an accident book.
This policy and guidelines applies to anyone who serves within Renewal when using technology to communicate with a child or young person. The exception is communication between family members and siblings.
Technology includes, but is not limited to: mobile phones, email, social networking sites eg facebook, twitter, instagram, internet games.
Communication between any leaders and young people should only take place via the official church platforms (including Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Sykpe etc) for youth platforms using a centralised log in, not an individual’s personal log in.
Any person serving in a situation with children and young people should not have people under 18, as ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ on Facebook/Instagram etc within the context of their leadership role in Renewal.
NB. It is illegal for someone under 13 to have a Facebook account. It is illegal for someone under 18 to have Skype account. Please check the legal parameters for other social networking sites if you are unsure.
Contact (text or calls) should not be made via someone’s personal mobile phone with anyone under the age of 18, if you are a volunteer or leader in Renewal.
In the Youth context, designated leaders will be supplied with a mobile phone. This enables a record to be maintained of all contact and means that young people do not need to be contacted by leaders from leaders’ personal mobile phones. If leaders other than the designated leader need to contact a young person, although this type of contact needs to be kept to a minimum, then this should be done through one of the mobile phones Renewal have supplied.
Mobile phones should be used primarily for communicating information about events. Records should be kept and NOT deleted.
All texts should be made during the hours of 8am-8pm, and preferably not during school hours.
Mobile phones should be used for calls, only in exceptional circumstances.
If a young person wants pastoral advice, a meeting should be arranged in church and the youth or children’s pastor kept informed.
Monitoring – the youth pastor will need to check mobiles phones records periodically to ensure that the processes are being followed and that the phones are being used for the appropriate types of texts and call, only where necessary.
Leaders within other ministries should not need to make phone contact with young people under 18. In an exceptional case, a staff mobile phone should be used to keep an appropriate record.
Emails – email contact with those under 18 should only be via a Renewal email address, which leaders will be supplied with, as appropriate.
TEXT – only for information
EMAIL – for young people to contact leaders, leaders to use a Renewal email address
SOCIAL MEDIA – not for counselling, pastoral advice or socialising
Ensure all electronic communications are appropriate and professional.
If using e-technology as a group activity, ensure that an adult worker knows and understands what is happening within the group.
Do not make any relationship with a child (other than family members) through a social networking site.
General Guidance for e-safety
Maintain a log of all electronic contact with individuals or groups including messaging and texting.
Ensure that parents or carers are aware of what their children or young people are doing and have given their written permission in advance.
When demonstrations are being given, plan beforehand to ensure that all websites visited have material that is appropriate for the age group taking part.
Where children and young people are given access to undertake their own searches on the Internet, search engines are recommended by the Department for Education and Skills
Children and young people should be regularly informed and reminded of online safety and accessing social media. If they have any concerns or fears, they must be encouraged to access websites such as NSPCC or Childline or talk to an adult.
Solihull: To report abuse please phone 0121 704 8007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Birmingham: Safeguarding Adults Board Telephone: 0121 303 1234 or email: CSAdultSocialCare@birmingham.gov.uk
If anyone is in immediate danger, call the emergency services on 999
Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid freephone helpline 0808 800 0028
National Domestic Violence freephone helpline 0808 2000 247
Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group Designated Professionals Safeguarding Team (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)
Call 0121 203 3300 (option 2) Email: email@example.com
Solihull: Discuss your concerns with Solihull Children’s Social Work Services by calling the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0121 788 4300.
If you need to report concerns out of office hours then contact the Solihull Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0121 605 6060
Birmingham: If you have any concerns about the safety and/or welfare of a child or young person telephone the Children’s Advice & Support Service (CASS) on 0121 303 1888 or via secure email; CASS@birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk.
Outside of normal office hours please call 0121 675 4806 for the Emergency Duty Team
NSPCC on 0800 800 5000
If anyone is in immediate danger, call the emergency services on 999
Definitions of Abuse
A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meets the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
a. provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
b. protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
c. ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
d. ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Coercion and control of one individual by another in a spiritual context. The target experiences spiritual abuse as a deeply personal attack. This abuse may include manipulation and exploitation, enforced accountability, censorship of decision-making, requirements for secrecy and silence, pressure to conform, misuse of Scripture or the pulpit to control behaviour, requirement of obedience to the abuser, the suggestion that the abuser has a ‘divine’ position, isolation from others, especially those external to the abusive context.top ^
The non-accidental infliction of physical force which results in pain, injury or impairment. This may include hitting, assault, slapping, pushing, pinching, kicking, hair-pulling, punching, forcing someone, inappropriate restraint, physical sanction, incorrect moving or handling technique which cause distress, isolation, confinement, avoidable deterioration of health, misuse of prescribed medication.
The involvement of an adult with care and support needs in sexual activities or relationships without informed or valid consent. This may involve offensive or inappropriate language (including sexual innuendo and sexual teasing), inappropriate looking, inflicting pornography on an individual, inappropriate touching, masturbation in public, indecent exposure, coercion into an activity, rape or sexual assault, photography, online and social media abuse.
Behaviour that has a harmful effect on an adult’s emotional health or development. This can include scolding or treating like a child, making a person feel ashamed of involuntary behaviour, blaming someone for attitudes or actions or events beyond their control, use of silence, humiliation, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse intimidation, controlling behaviour or efforts to create over-dependence, lack of privacy or dignity, deprivation of social contact, threats to withdraw help and support, denial of cultural and spiritual needs, denial of choice or failing to respond to emotional needs.
The denial of access of the individual to money, property, possessions, valuables or inheritance, or improper use of funds via omission, exploitation or extortion through threats. Although financial abuse can occur in isolation where there are other forms of abuse occurring, financial abuse is also likely.
This includes misuse, embezzlement or theft, or misappropriation of a person’s money, property, possessions or benefits. Refusing a person access to their own money, property or possessions, failing to account properly for money property or possessions or applying pressure in connection to wills, property and inheritance, or applying duress to a person in order to secure a loan will also be relevant behaviours.
Neglect & Acts of Omission
The repeated withholding of adequate care which results in the adult’s basic needs not being met. It can be intentional or unintentional and includes acts of omission.
This may include denial of educational, social, religious, cultural or recreational needs, lack of adequate heating, lighting, food or fluids. The inappropriate use of medication, lack of attention to hygiene, toe and fingernails or teeth could also be included.
Includes any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional) between adults or young people, who are or have been intimate partners, family members or extended family members regardless of gender and sexuality.
The process of coercing labour or other services from a captive individual through any means, including exploitation of bodies or body parts.
A social and economic relationship in which a person is controlled through violence or the threat of violence, is paid nothing and is economically exploited.
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Trafficking is broken down into three elements:
- the act (what is done)
- the means (how it is done)
- the purpose (why it is done)
Please address all correspondence regarding safeguarding to: Safeguarding Renewal Christian Centre Lode Lane Solihull B91 2JR Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org