POLICY ON SAFEGUARDING
The PCC of St Peter’s Bethnal Green has formally adopted The Diocese of London policy on Safeguarding. That policy forms the content for all the below:
The Diocese of London’s Commitment to Safeguarding 5
Policy statement 6
Guiding principles 6
Code of safer working practice 6
Safeguarding procedures 7
Safeguarding concerns flow diagram 8
Diocesan responsibilities 9
Episcopal Area responsibilities 9
PCC responsibilities 9
Hire of Church Premises 10
PCC Safeguarding Policy Statement 11
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser 12
Church Safeguarding Officer 12
Allegations against Church Officers 12
All churches and faith communities are required to have in place arrangements which include:
Concerns about children, young people and vulnerable adults will be diligently and promptly responded to according to our procedures, recognising the sensitivity it may hold for those involved. Where there is a concern, this should be reported to the appropriate person (Church Safeguarding Officer) or advice sought (from the Diocesan Safeguarding Team or CCPAS 24 hour helpline) immediately where possible, but at least within 24 hours.
The flow chart sets out the process you should follow and who you can seek assistance from:
Safeguarding is a shared responsibility and most effectively undertaken when all are working within their clear roles and responsibilities. Within the Diocese of London, safeguarding responsibilities are held by the Diocese, in the Episcopal Areas, and in parishes by Parochial Church Councils (PCC) along with specified safeguarding personnel.
PCCs have a key role within our worshiping communities. Their influence and good management of safeguarding is fundamental in keeping all within our churches safe. Each PCC should therefore:
formally adopt and implement the Diocesan policy for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults ‘Safeguarding in the Diocese of London’ and the associated procedures and guidance provided by the Diocese. Where helpful, Parish Guidelines which help to implement the adopted policy in your parish may be developed and appended. The implementation of the policy and procedures should be discussed and reviewed by the PCC regularly (at least twice a year) and at the first PCC meeting after the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM), the Church Safeguarding Officer should present a report for discussion and the PCC Safeguarding Policy Statement should be signed. PCCs are strongly advised not to amend this. (The PCC Safeguarding Policy Statement is provided on page 11 and can be found in the “Forms and Templates” section on the London Diocese web site.) One copy of this policy statement should be filed with the PCC minutes, another copy sent to the DST and copies displayed prominently in the church and wherever work with vulnerable groups takes place (it is recommended that parishes display the Safeguarding Poster provided to Church Safeguarding Officers mentioned below)
Ensuring the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults lays with those responsible for their care. Where external organisations / individuals are using church premises, hire arrangements must make it clear that the organisations / individuals are to abide by the PCC’s safeguarding policy.
A copy of the PCC policy statement forms part of the hire agreement and hirers should be asked to sign a copy of this, even when an organisation have their own, to acknowledge that this has been seen and will be adhered to and that all concerns about children, young people and vulnerable adults will be reported to the relevant statutory authority. If an organisation has their own policy, a copy of this should be requested and filed with the hire agreement.
Parish of St Peter’s Bethnal Green (0707)
Every person has a value and dignity which comes directly from the creation of male and female in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. This implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
The PCC of this Church agreed and adopted the above Policy at its meeting on 26th September 2017 We appointed Joel Harland. as our Church Safeguarding Officer (CSO) and Kathy Richards as our Children’s Champion. This was confirmed at the meeting of the new PCC on 15th May 2018
Copies of “Safeguarding in the Diocese of London” and any parish guidelines and procedures are held by Katie Purser, Operations Pastor.
The PCC review this policy annually. The next review will take place on:
Vicar/Rector/Priest in Charge Adam Atkinson
Churchwarden Maria Wyard
Churchwarden Andy Walton
The Church Safeguarding Officer is responsible for ensuring the coordination of any concerns about a child, young person or vulnerable adult, or the behaviour of an adult working with vulnerable groups. Their role is to ensure that these are appropriately reported both to the statutory agencies and to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team. They should attend the PCC at least twice a year and work with them to ensure the proper implementation of the safeguarding policy.
Where the Church Safeguarding Officer becomes aware of a suspicion or concern about possible abuse the following steps should be followed:
Where it is alleged that a church officer (for example: clergy, church warden, children / youth / vulnerable adult leader, choir leader) has:
the Church Safeguarding Officer and / or the Parish Priest will confirm the appropriate next action. These concerns must be reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser within 24 hours and will be addressed drawing on the relevant policy procedures guiding paid and voluntary workers. This may involve: providing advice, supervision and training, the use of disciplinary and statutory processes (including suspension from their role if there is a police investigation) or a combination of these. A referral must be made to the police and / or local authority where it appears that a criminal offence has occurred against a child or vulnerable adult.
Further guidance on reporting concerns and record keeping can be found in “Guidance on Managing Concerns, Reporting and Recording” in the Safeguarding Toolkit.
All those volunteering or working with vulnerable groups must complete Diocesan safeguarding training and renew this every three years. Those expected to complete this are:
Further details of the level of training required and the dates this is available can be found in “Safeguarding Training” on the safeguarding page of the London Diocese web site.
Safer recruitment practices form part of a network of checks and balances which will minimise the possibility of appointing inappropriate individuals to work with vulnerable groups. They are one of the essential four elements of ‘safe care’ practice, which are:
Appointments to all roles within a parish should be in line with the Church of England’s “Protecting all God’s Children” (2010), and Safeguarding Recruitment Policy and Practice Guidance (2014). Each appointment to both paid and voluntary posts should be subject to a recruitment process, vetting checks and a mandatory six month probationary period. Good appointment and support processes will therefore include:
/ person specification, samples available via the Diocesan website in the Safeguarding Toolkit)
Those appointing to both paid and voluntary posts should use the recruitment process as an opportunity to satisfy themselves that the person has the knowledge, skills, experience and integrity for the work. It is recommended that volunteers are not appointed to children’s work until they have been regular members of the congregation for a sufficient length of time for them to become known and trusted by the wider church community. More information on safer recruitment can be found in the supplementary guidance “Volunteering and Working in the Diocese of London” available in the Safeguarding Toolkit.
Children (under the age of 18) wishing to volunteer must never be left alone with responsibility for a child / group of children or vulnerable adult(s) and should be supervised at all times. Safer Recruitment principles should still be applied and one of the references must be provided by their head teacher / Head of Year.
SAFEGUARDING CONTACT LIST
It is strongly recommended that a local contact sheet is developed by the Church Safeguarding Officer. A generic contact list template for this can be found on the Safeguarding pages of the Diocese web site in the “Forms and Templates” section.
PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW IF THERE IS A CONCERN ABOUT A CHILD
WHAT TO DO WITH DISCLOSURES AND CONCERNS
Concerns about a child or young person may present themselves in a number of ways. The flow chart in Section One will guide the response in specific situations. The core actions that should always be taken are:
All situations of actual or suspected child abuse should be reported without delay (within 24 hours) to the appropriate agency and to the Diocese Safeguarding Team for further advice and support.
MAKING A REFERRAL TO CHILDREN’S SOCIAL CARE / POLICE
If it is necessary to make a referral, this will normally be done by the Incumbent, Church Safeguarding Officer or, occasionally, a member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team (DST). The following points should be kept in mind:
Further guidance on reporting concerns and record keeping can be found in “Guidance on Managing Concerns, Reporting and Recording” in the Safeguarding Toolkit via the web site.
6 Leading questions are those that suggest a particular answer. Therefore care must be taken not to put words into a child or young person’s mouth either by a direct suggestion or in the form of a loaded question.
7 a suggested format can be found in ‘Forms and Templates’ on the Diocesan website, this should be updated when necessary and stored securely (in a locked, unmovable cabinet).
It is important to ensure that children and young people are able to make an informed choice about whether to be involved in specific church activities (i.e. children’s / youth groups). This can be done by sending the children and young people a briefing document or meeting with them before the event / activity and talking them through what it involves. Children and young people should be given the option at any time before or during an event or activity to say if they feel unhappy or uncomfortable with what is happening and they must be listened to.
Parental consent must be obtained for all children and young people up to the age of 18 years, unless they are 16 years or over and living and working independently from their parents/ guardians and are not part of the looked after system where the local authority should then be approached.
Consent will be needed for:
Examples of consent forms are available in the ‘Forms and Templates’ section on the Safeguarding pages of the Diocesan web site.
PROCEDURES FOLLOWING DISCLOSURE OR CONCERN ABOUT AN ADULT
WHAT TO DO WITH DISCLOSURES AND CONCERNS
The safeguarding of vulnerable adults is everybody’s responsibility and concerns about vulnerable people can emerge in a number of ways. Parish Priests and lay workers should be alert to possible signs of abuse when visiting their parishioners, and if they observe anything that makes them uneasy, should seek advice and report concerns to the appropriate authorities. It is possible that historic abuse could be disclosed as part of the pastoral process. The process for responding to historic abuse is the same as for current abuse (even when the alleged perpetrator is deceased) and advice should be sought from the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
The safeguarding flow diagram on page 8 will guide your response. The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser is available to help you in these decisions as is the CCPAS via their 24 hour helpline – 0845 120 4550.
The core actions that should always be taken are:
take any emergency action needed to alleviate any immediate risk to life or limb
make a brief factual note of what you have seen, heard or become concerned about (within an hour when possible)
listen, don’t ask any leading questions and treat all information confidentially
discuss your concerns with your Church Safeguarding Officer / Parish Priest
ensure safeguarding action is taken, supporting the adult, if they have capacity, to make a referral when this is the action they choose to take.
All situations of historic, actual or suspected abuse should be reported without delay (within 24 hours) to the Diocese Safeguarding Adviser and their advice sought.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND INFORMATION SHARING
Any disclosure made by a vulnerable adult or any concerns that become apparent must be treated with sensitivity and any sharing of information must be carried out on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis. The first priority should always be to ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable adults14 and Church guidance advises, “Where a vulnerable person is judged to be at risk of significant harm or an adult is likely to harm themselves or others, usually it will be legally possible, appropriate and highly desirable to disclose relevant information to the public authorities for the sake of protecting that vulnerable person’’15. All concerns therefore should in the first instance be passed to the Church Safeguarding Officer / Parish Priest, within 24 hours.
It is appropriate to ascertain the wishes of the vulnerable person about what they want to do about the situation, explaining the boundaries of confidentiality. However, care should be taken if telling the vulnerable person what you are going to do could make them more vulnerable or at further risk.
14 No Secrets (Department of Health) 2000
15 The House of Bishops guidance ‘Promoting a Safe Church’ 2006 37
RESPONDING TO CONCERNS AND DISCLOSURES
There are many reasons why individuals do not disclose mistreatment or abuse, perhaps personal or family reasons or fear. Some people blame themselves for what has happened or make excuses for their ‘abusers’ particularly where they rely on them for care, support, shelter or companionship. Fear of ‘getting a loved one into trouble’ or losing contact with them altogether may be very real. Consequently victims may refuse to speak to the police, especially in the initial stages even if the situation is extremely serious.
If someone tells you about mistreatment or abuse or you have concerns about a vulnerable
person, your role is to respond sensitively and provide support. Ascertain what the vulnerable person wants to do about the situation and consult the Church Safeguarding Officer within 24 hours. The use of diagrams and sketches is often very useful in trying to accurately record a concern. Date and sign your notes and keep them safe.
In emergency situations (where you believe that the adult will be further harmed if left in their current situation) contact the police, ambulance or social services immediately and inform the Church Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible but always within 24 hours; the Church Safeguarding Officer should inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Team. Make a record immediately afterwards and always let the police know all that you have seen and done in responding to the situation.
These simple actions will help to protect a vulnerable adult against further abuse.