RCCG SAFEGUARDING POLICY & PROCEDURES
The Parish shall appoint a Safeguarding Officer. This person should ensure that the guidelines produced by RCCG, The All-Sufficient Sanctuary in relation to safeguarding child and vulnerable adults are adhered to.
Recognising and responding appropriately to an allegation or suspicion of abuse
UNDERSTANDING ABUSE & NEGLECT
Defining child abuse or abuse against a vulnerable adult is a difficult and complex issue.
A person may abuse by inflicting harm, or failing to prevent harm. Children and adults in need of protection may be abused within a family, an institution or a community setting.
Very often the abuser is known or in a trusted relationship with the child or vulnerable adult.
In order to safeguard those in our places of worship and organisations we adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and have as our starting point as a definition of abuse, Article 19 which states:
Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Also for adults the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights with particular reference to Article 5 which states:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 5, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
NB. Detailed definitions, and signs and symptoms of abuse, as well as how to respond to a disclosure of abuse, are included in the appendices of this policy.
The Leadership is committed to on-going safeguarding training and development opportunities for all workers, developing a culture of awareness of safeguarding issues to help protect everyone. All our workers will receive induction training and undertake appropriate safeguarding training on a regular basis, which should cover signs and symptoms of abuse and how to respond as a minimum.
The Leadership will also ensure that children and vulnerable adults are provided with information on where to get help and advice in relation to abuse, discrimination, bullying or any other matter where they have a concern.
RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE
Under no circumstances should a worker carry out their own investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse. Follow procedures as below:
The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse should report concerns as soon as possible to:
(Name) ________________ (Position) Safeguarding Officer
(Contact Details) ________________________________________
who is nominated by the Leadership to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse, including referring the matter on to the statutory authorities.
In the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or, if the suspicions in any way involve the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, then the report should be made to:
(Name) _____________________ (Position) Deputy Safeguarding Officer
(Contact Details) ______________________________________ if the
suspicions implicate both the Safeguarding Co-ordinator and the Deputy, then the report should be made in the first instance to:
The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS,) PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone: 0845 120 4550. Alternatively contact your local Social Services or the Police.
Where the concern is about a child the Safeguarding Co-ordinator should contact Children’s Social Services. Where the concern is regarding an adult in need of protection, contact Adult Social Services or take advice from CCPAS as above.
The local Children’s Social Services office telephone number (office hours) is
01617707777 . The out of hours emergency number is 01617706936
The local Adult Social Services office telephone number (office hours) is
0161 770 7777 The out of hours emergency number is 01617706936.
The Police Child Protection Team telephone number is 101 or 999
Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns should be made in accordance with these procedures and kept in a secure place.
Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or Deputy should not delay referral to Social Services, the Police or taking advice from CCPAS.
The Leadership will support the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
It is, of course, the right of any individual as a citizen to make a direct referral to the safeguarding agencies or seek advice from CCPAS, although the Leadership hope that members of the place of worship / organisation will use this procedure.
If, however, the individual with the concern feels that the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy has not responded appropriately, or where they have a disagreement with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator(s) as to the appropriateness of a referral they are free to contact an outside agency direct. We hope by making this statement that the Leadership demonstrate its commitment to effective safeguarding and the protection of all those who are vulnerable.
The role of the safeguarding co-ordinator/ deputy is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to statutory agencies who have a legal duty to investigate. It is not the role of the Safeguarding Officer to investigate allegations and concerns.
Detailed procedures where there is a concern about a child:
ALLEGATIONS OF PHYSICAL INJURY, NEGLECT OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE
If a child has a physical injury, a symptom of neglect or where there are concerns about emotional abuse, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
Contact Children’s Social Services (or CCPAS) for advice in cases of deliberate injury, if concerned about a child's safety or if a child is afraid to return home.
Not tell the parents or carers unless advised to do so, having contacted Children’s Social Services.
Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions.
For lesser concerns, (e.g. poor parenting), encourage parent/carer to seek help, but not if this places the child at risk of significant harm.
Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, offer to accompany them. In cases of real concern, if they still fail to act, contact Children’s Social Services direct for advice.
Seek and follow advice given by CCPAS (who will confirm their advice in writing) if unsure whether or not to refer a case to Children’s Social Services.
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
Contact the Children’s Social Services Department Duty Social Worker for children and families or Police Child Protection Team direct. They will NOT speak to the parent/carer or anyone else.
Seek and follow the advice given by CCPAS if, for any reason they are unsure whether or not to contact Children’s Social Services/Police. CCPAS will confirm its advice in writing for future reference.
Detailed procedures where there is a concern about a vulnerable adult:
Suspicions or Allegations of Physical or Sexual Abuse
If a vulnerable adult has a physical injury or symptom of sexual abuse the
Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
Discuss any concerns with the individual themselves giving due regard to their autonomy, privacy and rights to lead an independent life.
If the vulnerable adult is in immediate danger or has sustained a serious injury contact the Emergency Services, informing them of any suspicions.
For advice contact the Adult Social Care Vulnerable Adults Team who have responsibility under Section 47 of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 and government guidance, ‘No Secrets’, to investigate allegations of abuse. Alternatively CCPAS can be contacted for advice.
Detailed procedure where there is an allegation against a person who works with children:
ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AGAINST A PERSON WHO WORKS WITH CHILDREN
If an accusation is made against a worker (whether a volunteer or paid member of staff) whilst following the procedure outlined above, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator will without delay inform:
the local Children’s Social Services (following the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures) in regards to the suspension of the worker, and discuss also making a referral to a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) as follows:
NB. There may also be a requirement under law to make a referral to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) who hold the lists of people barred from working with children and vulnerable adults – this will require discussion with the LADO.
ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AGAINST A PASTOR OR MINISTER
If a Pastor or a Minister is the subject of an allegation, RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s Child Protection Officer and the Administrator of must also be consulted for advice.
You are advised, that in consultation with RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s Child Protection Adviser, any serious incident should be reported to your insurers.
This enables the insurance company to be prepared should any claim arise.
All communication must be handled in a sensitive manner and should be steered by RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s Communications Department.
Should a journalist or broadcaster make an enquiry, you must refer them to RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s Communications Officer.
Dos and Don’ts in allegations of abuse
The following are procedures to follow in dealing with disclosures of child abuse that might arise as a result of working with children and young people.
Explain that you cannot be asked to keep a secret in an abuse incident.
Listen patiently to the child or young person, let them express their feelings and emotions without interruption, accept what is said verbatim.
Reassure the child or the young person that they have done the right thing in telling someone.
Explain that the information received will be passed on in the interest of the child or young person.
Ensure that you make notes of your conversations with the child and if possible such notes should be in the exact words of the child.
Speak to the Parish Pastor or Parish Child Protection Officer.
Refer to RCCG National Child Protection Adviser.
Seek advice from CCPAS on 0845 120 4550
If the subject of the allegation is the Parish Pastor contact the RCCG Child Protection Officer and the Administrator of The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s
Do not investigate any allegation
Show shock or disbelief.
Agree to keep the disclosure a secret.
Make a suggestion that you can stop the abuse.
Ask suggestive queries, or ask for further details or clarifications as this might contaminate the evidence.
Investigate any allegation. This is the role of competent and professionally trained people.
Contact the alleged person responsible for the abuse.
Make any comment to the media.
Prevention - Safer Recruitment
Having in place a range of mechanisms and understood practices surrounding the recruitment of staff and volunteers is an essential element in our safeguarding arrangements. Safer recruitment practices will assist us in ensuring that we have the opportunity to prevent those we would not want working with children and vulnerable adults from doing so at the earliest point.
The church leadership will ensure all workers will be appointed, trained, supported and supervised in accordance with government guidance on safe recruitment. This includes ensuring that:
There is a written job description / person specification for the post
Those applying have completed a standard application form and a self declaration form
Those short listed have ALL been interviewed
Roles and attitudes regarding safeguarding have been discussed at interview
Written references have been obtained for ALL candidates, and followed up verbally where appropriate
A Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) disclosure is completed (we will comply with Code of Practice requirements concerning the fair treatment of applicants and the handling of information) prior to the successful candidate commences employment
Qualifications where relevant have been verified
A suitable induction training programme (including safeguarding) is provided for the successful applicant
The successful applicant completes a probationary period
The applicant has been given a copy of this safeguarding policy and knows how to report concerns.
Safer recruitment practices should be used regardless of the setting or activity where workers are working with either children or vulnerable adults.
For further information on safer recruitment practices, please see the CCPAS ‘Help...I want to recruit workers safely’ publication and the government guidance ‘Recruiting Safely: helping to keep children and young people safe’ (CWDC, 2009).
Management of Workers – Codes of Conduct
As a Church we are committed to supporting all workers and ensuring they receive support and supervision. All workers will be issued with a code of conduct towards children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Leadership undertakes to follow the principles found within the ‘
Abuse Of Trust ‘guidance issued by the Home Office and it is therefore unacceptable for those in a position of trust to engage in any
behaviour which might allow a sexual relationship to develop for as long as the relationship of trust continues.
A code of conduct towards children, young people and vulnerable adults should be drawn up which all workers agree to follow. It is important that there is a culture of dignity and respect towards those being cared for. This can be achieved by workers:
understanding the organisation’s safeguarding policy and good working practice
listening to children, young people and vulnerable adults.
respecting boundaries and privacy of those being cared for
knowing how to deal with issues of discipline in line within the organisation’s code of conduct
developing an awareness of disability issues as well as issues of equality and inclusion
For further information on Codes of Conduct see ‘Safe & Secure’ Standard 4 and ‘Caring for the Young & Vulnerable’ (Home Office, 1999).
RCCG UK Central Office will process all DBS disclosures for RCCG churches in the UK. For information on how to process same please contact
firstname.lastname@example.orgManagement of Workers – Training and Supervision All workers, paid or
voluntary, should be provided with appropriate training and given the opportunity to develop their skills as well as feel supported and valued by the organisation for which they work. When this happens workers will be more inclined to express concerns over issues that arise and it will also help to ensure a high level of care, professionalism and expertise towards those being cared for.
Safeguarding training for volunteers and paid staff involved in working with children should be arranged on a three-year rolling programme. The RCCG
Parish’s Safeguarding Officer should keep a record of attendance. New employees/volunteers will be individually briefed. All workers, paid or voluntary, will be given a copy of the policy to ensure consistency of approach.
Management of Workers - Team Meetings
The leadership recognises the importance of team meetings. These should be convened on a regular basis and should provide an opportunity for ideas and issues to be aired, concerns expressed and feedback given.
Management of Workers - Whistleblowing
In addition to effective management of allegations against staff, there needs to be a mechanism in place for workers to be able to raise legitimate concerns (e.g. improper actions or omissions) about other workers, with impunity. Commonly known as ‘whistleblowing’, the reporting principles are contained in the Public Disclosure Act 1998.
Further information and advice can be obtained from Public Concern at Work:
Public Concern at Work
16 Baldwins Gardens,
Tel: 020 7404 6609,
See also Appendices 4, 5 and 6.
Supporting those affected by abuse
The Leadership is committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support to all those who have been affected by abuse, who have contact with or are part of the place of worship / organisation.
Pastoral care is varied by nature and you should ensure that you have appropriate support and permissions before you embark upon supporting somebody with the often complex issues created by past abuse. If you are concerned about your ability to provide appropriate pastoral care and/or counselling to individuals in these circumstances, you should contact the CCPAS 24 Hour Helpline on 0845 120 45
CCPAS are able to provide limited support and may be able to suggest organisations or individuals who may be able to assist further.
Alternatively, you should contact the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) who will be able to put you in contact with trained individuals who may be able to offer support.
ACC also produce a Pastoral Skills training course that can be delivered in your church/organisation by somebody experienced in pastoral care.
Working with offenders
When someone attending the place of worship / organisation is known to have abused children, or is known to be a risk to vulnerable adults the Leadership will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care, but in its safeguarding commitment to the protection of children and vulnerable adults, set boundaries for that person which they will be expected to keep. This may involve the use of risk assessments and supervision agreements.
Pastoral care will be offered without prejudice to all those who require it. This may also include a known offender. Where pastoral care is offered to both the person affected by abuse and the known offender, this should be offered by different people who are able to support those concerned impartially and effectively.
For further information about working with offenders - contact RCCG Central Office and CCPAS for their resources including their ‘Help’ booklets.
Safeguarding in specific circumstances
Safeguarding children where there is abuse as a result of a belief in witchcraft or spirit possession.
Over recent years there have been several high profile criminal cases involving child cruelty associated with witchcraft and spirit possession. These include cases of children receiving severe beatings, torture and even murder. Victoria Climbié is one of such cases and the fairly recent well reported discovery of a mutilated body of a two year old African child is thought to be associated with practices in a small minority of faith communities connected to a belief in witchcraft and spirit possession. The blend of faith and traditional practices has led to a number of children being at risk in the UK.
Children and young people have a right to be protected in all circumstances. Where it is suspected that a child is being harmed as a result of a belief that the child is a witch or the child is possessed this should be reported to the police and/or children’s social care.
Government commissioned research in 2006 showed that children with a difference are at greatest risk of being harmed as a result of being accused, for example a child with a disability. See Appendix 9 for extract from Working Together.
Guidelines for discipline
Do not compare a child, young person or adult with another in the group; rather encourage and affirm and, if possible, give them responsibility for appropriate tasks.
Build healthy relationships and be a good role model by setting an example. You can't expect others to observe the ground rules if you break them yourself.
Take care to give the quieter and/or well behaved attention and resist allowing the demanding individuals to take all your time and energy.
Be consistent in what you say and ensure that other team members know what you have said. This avoids manipulation.
If children and young people in particular are bored they often misbehave, so review your programme regularly
NEVER smack or hit anyone and don't shout. Change voice tone if necessary.
Call on support from other leaders if you feel so angry you may deal with the situation unwisely.
Lay down ground rules e.g. no swearing, racism or calling each other names, respect for property, and make sure everyone understands what action will be taken if not adhered to.
Every person is unique and will respond in different ways to different forms of discipline. It follows therefore each child should be dealt with on an individual basis.
For those who are continuously disruptive:
Have them sit right in front of you or get a helper to sit next to them.
Encourage helpers to be pro-active rather than waiting to be told to deal with a situation.
Challenge them to change their behaviour whilst encouraging their strengths.
Warn them you may speak to their parents/carers about their behaviour, they may be sent outside the room (under supervision), be banned from attending the group for a period of time.
Private fostering and trafficking
Child Trafficking - The trafficking of human beings is happening world-wide and should be understood in this context. It is not the domain of one particular nationality or ethnicity. There are no accurate national statistics as to the prevalence of child trafficking purely because of the concealed nature of this criminal offence.
The reason for trafficking is complex and cannot be disassociated from migration generally. It is not always for criminal exploitation, it can purely be for a child to receive what is perceived to be a better life or education. Trafficking is often linked to ‘private fostering’.
The trafficking of a child is a criminal offence and must be reported to the police or Children’s Social Services.
Private Fostering - The law on private fostering is covered by a number of pieces of legislation including the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 together with the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005. See Appendix 12
Some children and adults come to the UK in the belief that they will have a better life than in the country they have come from and find themselves involved in domestic servitude. Where this is suspected this should be reported to the safeguarding officer who will report the matter to the police.
Good Practice Guidelines
The following good practice guidelines should be adopted by all parishes and churches.
The reality is that no two churches provide the same activities and groups and may require additional practice guidelines and protocols. As part of the partnership arrangement with the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), each parish is encouraged to become a member of CCPAS in order to undertake DBS disclosures through their Disclosure Service. The benefit of membership is that they provide a 24 hour telephone helpline for churches when faced with a safeguarding issue. They also provide advice by telephone on any policy and safeguarding practice issue.
In addition CCPAS’ Safe and Secure manual is available online and contains many additional policies, procedures and protocols. There is a search facility and the full manual and each section is available for download. There are also various forms for download such as application form, self declarations form, request for references, consent forms etc.
The following are recommended guidelines on good practices:
Adult / child ratios
Recommended guidelines for good practice for the following age groups:
Infants to 2 years – 1 leader to every 3 children (1:3)
2 to 3 years – 1 leader to every 4 children (1:4)
4 to 8 years – 1 leader to every 8 children (1:8)
over 8s – 1 leader for the first 8 children followed by 1:12
The ideal is 1 toilet and 1 hand basin per 10 children.
Warm and clean
Halls or meeting rooms should be warm, and adequately lit and ventilated. The meeting rooms should be in good hygienic condition, and also spacious to accommodate the strength capacity of children.
Entrances and exits
Entrances and exits should be well lit and easily accessible.
Where activities take place for more than 2 hours in any one day, or if a holiday club runs for more than 6 days a year, registration of the provision with Ofsted is required. All workers who are involved in children ministries must register with the the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) , Vetting Barring Scheme effectively from July 2010.
More than one leader
There should always be more than one leader for any age group. If possible have at least one male and one female leader if the group is mixed.
Avoid spending time alone with a child or young person. Accountability between team members is vital and reasons for isolation with a minor should be made known to the team members. Try never to be behind a closed door but if necessary tell someone that you are there.
Keep an up-to-date register and record of children, their parents and contact phone numbers, attendance and other specific medical history (such as asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, allergies and medication etc.).
Touch is an important part of human relationships: touch is sensitive and suggestive, and team leaders should consistently clarify any pastoral care that might entail touching a child or a young adult with his or her consent.
The following should be considered:
Keep everything public. A hug in the context of a group is very different from a hug behind closed doors.
Touch should be related to the child, young person or vulnerable adults needs, not the worker's.
Touch should be age-appropriate and generally initiated by the child, young person or vulnerable adult, rather than the worker.
Avoid any physical activity that may be sexually stimulating.
All children, young people and vulnerable adults are entitled to personal privacy and the right to decide how much physical contact they have with others, except in circumstances such as a medical emergency.
When giving first aid (or applying sun cream etc), encourage the child, young person or vulnerable adult to do what they can themselves but, in their best interests giving appropriate help where necessary.
Team members should monitor one another in the area of physical contact. They should be free to help each other by constructively challenging anything which could be misunderstood or misconstrued.
Concerns about abuse should always be reported.
Good practice for workers
Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity befitting their age; watch language, tone of voice and where you put your body.
Avoid invading the privacy of children when they are showering or toileting.
Do not engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games.
You must not engage in sexually suggestive comments about or to a young person, even in fun.
Inappropriate and intrusive touching of any form are potential litigation grounds.
Do not engage in isolating, ridiculing, or rejecting a child or young person.
Avoid using physical means in the control and discipline of children.
Do not let youngsters involve you in excessive attention-seeking that is overtly sexual or physical in nature.
Do not invite a child or young person to your home alone: invite a group, or ensure that someone else is in the home. It is suggested that home visits should not be encouraged.
Do not share sleeping accommodation with children or young people if you take a group away or while visiting.
Good practice with colleagues
If you notice any team members whose behaviour can be potentially misconstrued or about whom you have concerns, you are encouraged to raise your concerns with the team leaders. Team leaders should encourage mutual support and accountability within the group to foster openness and sincerity in discussing issues of concern.
Casual visitors or guest who have not being authorised by the ... Parish should not have access to children without the presence and consent of the designated team leaders or carer.
Health and Safety
All team leaders should be aware of where the telephone is in case of an emergency situation.
Health and Safety regulations on fire procedures should be adhered with. Fire drills should be observed at defined schedules and fire extinguishers should be provided at designated areas. Fire exit doors should at all times be checked regularly and kept free from obstruction.
Children or young adults with any infectious disease should not attend meetings to protect the health of other attendees.
A no smoking policy operates where children are meeting.
The health assessment form of the church should be submitted to the church before any activity within or outside the church takes place. This is a precautionary measure to assist medical personnel in case of any emergency.
Provision of a first aid kit is essential at all indoor and outdoor activities, with the presence of a trained first aider.
One of the team leaders of any event within or outside the church should be a first aider.
No medication should be administered without written parental consent.
The premises utilised by the children should be opened before the arrival of the children by a responsible adult. This includes ensuring that the heating facilities are functional.
If a child is to transported in a car or minibus the leader/ driver must ensure that they are covered by appropriate insurance and if a minibus is used the person driving is authorised, holds an appropriate licence and has passed the required test. Health and Safety Regulations must be complied with. If at all possible do not give lifts to children and young people on their own other than for short journeys. If they are alone ask them to sit in the back seat. Seat belts must be worn.
The Board of Trustees should have a record of any other activities that may take place and it must be ascertained that insurance cover is adequate.
Volunteers, particularly those under the age of 18, should never work unsupervised and should be given clear guidance and support.
The Administrator, the Child Protection Officer and parents should be clearly informed of all the activities in which children and young people may take part on
Parish premises or through The All-Sufficient Sanctuary in any way.
The Board of Trustees of RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary should ensure that the church has Public Liability Insurance with a reputable insurance firm. The observance of ‘reasonable care’ is a standard insurance condition. The policy holder has a duty to adopt ‘best practice’.
Use of office premises
RCCG THE ALL-SUFFICIENT SANCTUARY ’s Safeguarding Officer should ensure that the Guidelines on the Safeguarding Policy in relation to groups who hire the Conference Hall is implemented through the lettings policy of The All-Sufficient Sanctuary. Casual users should sign and agree to abide by RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s Child Protection Information. Long-term and regular users/hirers, which include termly or longer, shall sign that they will abide by the Safeguarding Policy of
Parish. RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary’s Safeguarding Policy should be given to such a client.
The implementation of the policy (supervision, registers, registration forms) will be monitored on a minimum basis of twice yearly during the Autumn and Summer Term.
To ensure accountability RCCG The All-Sufficient Sanctuary Safeguarding Officer should present an evaluation report to the Board of Trustees of the local church at the first meeting of each year.