ST. PETER de MERTON WITH ST. CUTHBERT
CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFEGUARDING OF VULNERABLE ADULTS POLICY
(VERSION 2: JULY 2016)
APPROVED BY PCC:
REVIEW DATE: July 2017
(Drafted by Alison Davis)
- Policy Statement of The Church of England 3
- Definitions 3
- Reporting concerns or suspected abuse 4
- Recruitment of paid workers or volunteers 4
- Attendance of known offenders at church services or events 5
- Use of church premises by outside organisations or individuals 5
- Raising awareness of the Policy 5
- Contact details
- THE CHILD PROTECTION POLICY STATEMENT OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND:-
The Church of England, in all aspects of its life, is committed to and will champion the protection of children and young people both in society as a whole and in its own community. It fully accepts, endorses and will implement the principles enshrined in The Children Act 1989 that the welfare of the child is paramount. The Church of England will foster and encourage best practice within its community by setting standards for working with children and young people and by supporting parents in the care of their children. It will work with statutory bodies, voluntary agencies and other faith communities to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. It is committed to acting promptly whenever a concern is raised about a child or young person or about the behaviour of an adult, and will work with the appropriate statutory body when an investigation into child abuse is necessary.
The Diocese of St Albans has adopted and fully supports this policy statement.
St Peter de Merton with St Cuthbert supports the policy statement of The Church of England, and is committed to the protection of children and vulnerable adults who are part of the congregation or visit the church; their spiritual and physical wellbeing are of paramount importance.
1. Child:- someone under 18 years of age
2. Vulnerable adult:- someone over 18 years of age who has physical, learning or sensory disabilities, dementia or mental health problems. People may also be vulnerable for a limited period of time, for example due to experiencing a trauma such as a serious accident or bereavement.
3. Abuse:- can be one or more of the following
- Emotional or psychological (eg bullying, threatening behaviour, verbal threats)
- Financial (in the majority of cases this will apply to adults only)
More detailed explanations of these definitions can be found in the Appendices attached, the Diocese of St Albans Child Protection Guidance, or by speaking with the Parish Child Protection Co-ordinator (Parish Co-ordinator) or Rector.
- Reporting concerns or suspected abuse
Any person who has concerns about a child or vulnerable adult, or the actions of an individual towards a child or vulnerable adult, should raise them with the Parish Co-ordinator or Rector as soon as possible; a church warden can also be notified in the absence of the Parish Co-ordinator or Rector. If a child or vulnerable adult speaks to a member of the church and what they say appears to indicate they, or someone they know are victims of abuse, they must be listened to and taken seriously. If possible the Parish Co-ordinator or Rector should be contacted immediately, but if there may be a delay the following approach should be followed:-
- Do not promise to keep what they say secret. Advise the individual that the information will be shared with someone who can help.
- Keep questions to a minimum and avoid leading questions eg, ‘was it x who did this?’; only ask questions to help clarify the facts being given
- Reassure them if necessary that they have done the right thing by talking to someone and it is not their fault.
- Clear written notes of the details given, as well as the time, date and record of those present should be made to help with the reporting to the Diocesan Child Protection/Safeguarding Officer
It is important to remember that no one within the Church should become involved in investigating an allegation or suspicion of abuse, which is a clearly defined legal obligation placed on the local authority and Police. All concerns about a child should be referred to the Diocesan Child Protection Officer for their guidance. This also applies to any concerns about a vulnerable adult. If the matter is urgent and the child/children or vulnerable adult are believed to be at serious risk the Local Authority Safeguarding Team or the Police should be contacted directly, and the Diocesan Child Protection Officer/Safeguarding Officer advised as soon as possible thereafter.
- Recruitment of paid workers or volunteers and dismissals
- All appointments, whether paid or voluntary should have a clear job description.
- Once an individual has been identified as suitable for a post, they must be given an opportunity to voluntarily disclose any past or present convictions, so that these may be considered by the appointing panel.
Where the post involves working with children or vulnerable adults, the individuals will be subject to criminal records checks before commencing their role. The Diocese of St Albans has appointed the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) to carry out these checks. The Lead Recruiter for the Parish has responsibility for ensuring the correct process is followed, working with the CCPAS. The Lead Recruiter must be made aware of all proposed appointments, whether ‘in-house’ or externally advertised to ensure the church remains compliant with legal requirements.
- Renewal of criminal records checks is also the responsibility of the Lead Recruiter, using the procedures created by the CCPAS.
The Diocesan Office must be given the details of anyone who is suspended, or dismissed from post, as a result of a child protection or vulnerable adults’ issue, regardless of whether or not the person has been charged by the police with an offence, prosecuted, convicted, or a finding of not guilty following criminal proceedings.
- Attendance of known offenders at church services or events
Where individuals who have been convicted of carrying out abuse against children or vulnerable adults wish to become part of the church community, they must agree to and sign a set of written conditions outlining the supervision and restrictions appropriate to their situation. These will be drawn up with the support and guidance of the Diocesan Child Protection/Safeguarding Officer.
- Use of church premises by outside organisations or individuals
When using church premises to provide services to children or vulnerable adults, an organisation or individual must provide evidence of their own up to date Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy or policies to which they adhere, or must agree to abide by this Policy and sign a declaration to that effect.
Private functions, eg Baptism parties, birthday celebrations do not constitute ‘providing services’.
- Raising awareness of the Policy
A copy of this Policy will be readily available to the following, and they will be requested to familiarise themselves with its contents
- All clergy
- All Church Wardens and Assistant Wardens
- Choir Master
- Leaders of children’s groups including Sunday School.
Where outings or events are planned that include children or vulnerable adults, discussion of potential risks will take place between the organisers and where appropriate the Parish Child Protection Co-ordinator or Rector, and appropriate measures introduced to mitigate any risks identified. Notes of decisions should be made for future reference.
Where clarification is needed of any part of this Policy, referrals should be made to the Parish Co-ordinator or Rector
- Contact details:-
Rector: VACANT AS AT 1st AUGUST 2016 (contact one of the churchwardens)
Child Protection Co-ordinator
Lead Recruiter : Alison Davis 01234 267480 or 07790 527504
Diocesan Child Protection Officer – Mr Chris Lees
Tel: 01299 841269 Mobile: 07867 350886
Children Schools & Families teams:
North Bedfordshire: 01234 223599
South & Mid Bedfordshire: 01582 818499
Luton: 01582 546007
To contact the out of hours team for the whole of Bedfordshire: 01525 404396
North & Mid Bedfordshire Police: 01234 841212
Luton & South Bedfordshire Police: 01582 40121