Safeguarding

&

St Lawrence, Stratford Sub Castle

Safeguarding Children’s Policy

Sept 2019

 

This Policy is to be read in conjunction with The Church of England; Parish Safeguarding Handbook - Promoting a Safer Church  (June 2018) and ‘Promoting a Safer Church’; House of Bishops  Policy Statement (2017).

Agreed by PCC 12/07/10

Reviewed 11th July 2011

Reviewed November 2013

Reviewed September 2014

Reviewed November 2015

Reviewed September 2016

Reviewed September 2017

Reviewed November 2018

Reviewed September 2019

Due for review September 2020

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      St. Francis & St Lawrence Church

Safeguarding Children and Young People

 

Statement of Purpose:-

  • The people of St. Francis Church and St Lawrence Church are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone.
  • We seek to safeguard all members of the church community, of all ages.  It is the responsibility of each one of us to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and young people.
  • It is the duty of a person working with children and young people to prevent abuse and report any abuse discovered or suspected.

Review:-  This document will be reviewed by the PCC of St Francis Church and the PCC of St Lawrence Church on an annual basis (every September) to update and/or implement changes in accordance with legislation and advice from the Parish Safeguarding Officer.  The two PCCs will be asked to agree any changes once a year.

This policy is designed for the use of paid employees and volunteers working with children and young people (any person who has not reached their 18th birthday) at St. Francis Church, Salisbury and St Lawrence Church, Stratford Sub Castle. 

The Church of England House of Bishops’ policy on child protection provides clear policies and procedures for those appointed clergy or accredited lay ministers.

The Clergy, Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council must have ‘due regard’ to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops (this will include both policy and practice guidance).

Policy Statement

  • As Christians we recognise the unique status of children (The Children Act 1989 defines a child as a person under the age of eighteen), that they matter in their own right and are taken seriously.

*    Children and Young People attending activities provided by St. Francis Church and St Lawrence Church will be safeguarded and nurtured physically and emotionally as well as spiritually.

*    High professional standards will be maintained in all pastoral, counselling, educational, worship and recreational situations.  The exploitation of any relationship for self-gratification will not be tolerated.

*    St. Francis Church and St Lawrence Church accepts the principle enshrined in The Children Act 1989, that the welfare of the child is paramount.

*    Allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and appropriate steps will be taken.

  • St Francis Church and St Lawrence Church will collaborate fully with the statutory and voluntary agencies concerned with child abuse and maltreatment.  It will not conduct investigations on its own.

Workers with Children and Young People

We as a church provide youth services which are not delivered by the local or district council.   All those working with children and their families under the umbrella of the church whether paid or voluntary are subject to the same safeguarding responsibilities as those who are employed by statutory agencies.

All those working or seeking to work with children and young people will be properly recruited, trained and supported, and will be subject to whatever supervision is appropriate.

  • Supervision and advice will be provided by a named person, usually the leader of the team to which the volunteer is attached.  In cases where there is thought to be issues of a safeguarding nature, the appropriate process outlined in this document or in the ‘Safeguarding Guidance’ document should be followed.

 Training

Safeguarding training should be undertaken every three years by any staff or volunteers who are working with children or in a capacity that may bring them into contact with children.  St Francis Church and St Lawrence Church complies with the Training and Development Framework outlined in the Parish Safeguarding Handbook (2018).

Recruitment

  • All volunteers recruited by St. Francis Church and St Lawrence Church to work in a capacity which involves work with children will be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring form.  Clearance from DBS is a requirement before taking up a position in a paid or voluntary position.   All post holders, paid and voluntary will be required to complete a DBS form on line, validated by the nominated Child Protection Reviewer.   Once completed the Reviewer will be informed of the volunteers clearance and will record details, the personal identification number and the date for review.
  • Candidates seeking a paid post or voluntary position requiring a DBS check will be asked to complete a volunteer / confidential declaration form (Form 2), this will include personal information, contact details, evidence of having read the safeguarding guidance booklet and knowledge of the Safeguarding Policy, and should indicate any convictions or other disqualifying behaviour that might be revealed in the disclosure process.  This information will only be taken into account when relevant to the post in question. 
  • All paid employees and volunteers will, with their written agreement allow the Parish Reviewer to check the DBS website every five years as part of the church’s ongoing strategy to ensure the protection of children and adults (Form 4). 

All applicants will be required to provide two referees who can vouch for their character and suitability for the role to which they are appointed (Safe from Harm 1993).  References will be taken up, and held securely along with related DBS documentation.  These remain confidential. 

This policy statement should be brought to the attention of all existing and new paid staff and volunteers, who should also be informed of any guidelines or training which will enable them to implement the policy statement.

Safeguarding and promoting the Welfare of Children and Young People

Under the Children Act 1989 and 2004, we all have a responsibility to safeguard and to promote the well-being of children. 

Safeguarding and Promoting the welfare of children is defined as:-

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing the impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care

This will include all children who are considered to be ‘in need’ or vulnerable for whatever reason, including those children who are ‘disabled’.

Where abuse occurs, it is usually perpetrated by someone known to and trusted by the child, often a family member.  The incidence of abuse by someone unknown to the child is extremely low.

Categories of Abuse

There are four categories of abuse:-

  • Physical Harm
  • Neglect
  • Emotional Harm
  • Sexual Harm

For a full definition and guidance on what to look for please see Appendix 1

Our church has a responsibility to protect:-

  1. the children in our care
  1. the people working with children
  1. the organisation

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE

The sexual exploitation of children and young people has been identified through the UK, in both rural and urban areas and in all parts of the world.  It affects boys and young men as well as girls and young women.  The abuser could be male or female.  It is a form of sexual abuse and can have a serious impact on every aspect of the lives of children involved and their families.  A full description can be found in Appendix 1.

It’s important for staff and volunteers to be aware that Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can take many different forms including:-

*          Exploitation by family members, including being sold for sex

*          Sexually exploitative relationships with older adults

*          Sexually exploitative relationships with peers

*          Sexual exploitation through technology including grooming through social            media and the taking and circulation of sexually explicit images of the child.

If there is any indication that a child/children are being sexually exploited the same process as for any form of abuse or neglect should be taken.  Further information can be found in Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board Guidance ‘Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse - Part One 2014.’ available at: http://www.wiltshirelscb.org/resources-guidance

The church must seek to protect children from anyone who would abuse.

This includes the attentions of perpetrators of sexual abuse (someone who is attracted to children).  Perpetrators of sexual abuse may take several years to gain a position of trust within an organisation and from this establish a position where they are able to abuse.  A perpetrator who is looking to target a church will think again where there is a pro-active policy and action taken on every allegation.

A Coordinated Approach;-

A coordinated approach – safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe. No single person can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances and, if children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.   In order that organisations, agencies and practitioners collaborate effectively, it is vital that everyone working with children and families, including those who work with parents/carers, understands the role they should play and the role of others.  

Charity Trustees

As a charity, the church is subject to charity law and regulated by the Charity Commission.

Charity trustees are responsible for ensuring that those benefiting from, or working with, their charity, are not harmed in any way through contact with it. The Charity Commission for England and Wales provides guidance on charity compliance which should be followed. Further information on the Charity Commission’s role in safeguarding can be found on: the Charity Commission's page on Gov.uk.

Responsibilities of Faith Organisations

Every faith-based organisation are required to have policies in place to safeguard and protect children from harm. These should be followed and systems should be in place to ensure `compliance’  in this. Individual practitioners, whether paid or volunteer, should be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and protecting children from harm, how they should respond to child protection concerns and how to make a referral to Local Authority Children’s Social Care or the Police if necessary (usually with the support of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor).  

Any volunteer who receives information, allegations or witnesses concerns which confirm or suggest a child may be ‘in need’ or ‘at risk’ of significant harm, must discuss their concern immediately (or at least within 24 hours) with the Vicar, Churchwarden or the Parish Safeguarding Reviewer.

IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCH TO REFER CONCERNS TO THE SOCIAL SERVICE DEPARTMENT.

It is essential for the volunteer to collect and clarify the precise details of an allegation and write this down in the child’s own words.   When this has been done, in conjunction with the appropriate team leader and safeguarding officer/vicar, this information should be shared with the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor / Children’s Social Care Department, whose task it is to make further investigations and assess the need for further action. 

Useful information if child abuse suspected:-

Wiltshire Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) 0300 4560108

Emergency Duty Service 08456070888 (5.30pm - 9.00am)

If a child is in immediate danger or left alone, you should contact the police or call an ambulance immediately on 999

The Diocesan Child Protection Adviser is Heather Bland.

Heather Bland needs to be informed of any safeguarding concerns or referrals to Children’s Social Care.  She will provide advice about good practice in order to protect children and to diminish the risk of wrongful accusations being made.

She may be contacted at:-

Church House on 01722 411922  (Mon/Tue/Wed 9am - 5pm and Thu mornings).  Available for urgent safeguarding discussions 7 days a week 7am - 10pm on 07500 664800.

e.mail: heather.bland@salisbury.anglican.org

Further  guidance on  Information Sharing see Page 11

Specific considerations relating to offenders known to a church leader.

As a church we have a statutory obligation to report all allegations against people who work with children to the local authority Designated Officer (LADO), and notify the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) of any relevant information so that those who pose a risk to vulnerable groups can be identified and barred.  In addition where they are a charity all serious incidents need reporting to the Charity Commission. 

In all such cases the Diocesan Advisor on Child Protection should be contacted, who will guide and assist in actions which must be taken.

In the event that a sexual or violent offender wishes to worship and be a part of St. Francis Church community or of St Lawrence Church community a contract of behaviour stipulating the boundaries an offender would be expected to keep will be completed with the vicar/safeguarding officer, who will make any decisions appropriate to ensure the safety of all children and young people who attend the church.  If the offender is unwilling to give this undertaking and continues to attend the church, further action will need to be taken such as informing the Offender Manager or the police, whichever is appropriate (MAPPA Guidance (2009)  National Offender Management Service Public Protection Unit.

Further advice can be found in The Gospel, Sexual Abuse and the Church.  A theological resource for the local church.  Produced by The Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England 2016 -  www.chpublishing.co.uk

Roles and Responsibilities

Recruitment

Following receipt of references and in identified cases a favourable DBS Check the employee/volunteer will be free to work within the team.  Until the DBS Check has been completed and clearance is obtained the employee/volunteer will only be able to carry out their role under supervision.

(To be read in conjunction with the ‘Safer Recruitment Policy) June 2013 for the Church of England and he Methodist Church of Britain – on Diocesan website)

Role Description

All volunteers should be issued with a role description specifying their duties and a copy of this document.

Confidentiality

  • The Parish needs to be scrupulous in treating individual information as confidential.  All records should be kept securely and is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Officer, Children’s and families worker and/or Youth Work Leader as appropriate. Records will be kept for the length of time in accordance with current diocesan guidelines.
  • Records taken are kept securely in the church building or vicarage office in a locked cabinet. Records held will be reviewed by relevant staff member and Parish Safeguarding Representative (or other suitable party to ensure proper accountability.) Records will be destroyed as necessary through this review process.
  • All records will be kept in line with principles of the Data Protection Act 2018: Processed fairly and lawfully, obtained and used for specific purposes, adequate, relevant and not excessive, accurate, not kept for longer than is necessary, processed in line with a person’s rights and secure.
  • Any records kept in relationship to a specific safeguarding issue should be held for 75 years.
  • No children’s or young person’s worker / volunteer is permitted to divulge any information concerning a child, or his/her family or anything a child may tell them to anyone other than the designated people.

Whilst confidentiality can never be promised to a child, information on a disclosure will only be shared appropriately where it is considered necessary

Complaints against a Worker

Should a complaint of any nature be made against a worker or volunteer, the Children’s Worker or Youth Worker should be informed.  They will in turn, inform the Vicar.  A complaint against a member of staff should be made directly to the Vicar.  A complaint against the Vicar should be made to the Diocesan Child Protection Advisor.  Any complaint will be investigated appropriately and will involve the use of external organisations as necessary.  Appropriate decisions will be made to distinguish between internal procedural matters and allegations which would require external actions.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

Vicar of St. Francis                                          -           01722 334214

Associate Priest, St Lawrence                         -           01722 504664

Curate of St. Francis                                        -           01722 414197

Youth Work Leader (St Francis)                      -          

Children and Families Worker (St Francis)     -           01722 413644

Parish Safeguarding Officer                           -           01722 334330

Wiltshire Multi-Agency

Safeguarding Hub (MASH)                              -           0300 4560108

Out of Hours                                                   -           0300456 0100

Diocese Safeguarding Advisor                        -           01722 411922 / 07500 664800

Information sharing

Effective sharing of information between professionals/organisations and local agencies is essential for effective identification, assessment and service provision.

Early sharing of information is the key to providing effective early help where there are emerging problems. At the other end of the continuum, sharing information can be essential to put in place effective child protection services. Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) have shown how poor information sharing has contributed to the deaths or serious injuries of children.

Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children. To ensure effective safeguarding arrangements:

• all organisations should have arrangements in place which set out clearly the processes and the principles for sharing information between each other, with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board LSCB); and

  •  no professional/volunteer should assume that someone else will pass on information    which they think may be critical to keeping a child safe. If a professional/volunteer has concerns about a child’s welfare and believes they are suffering or likely to suffer harm, then they should share the information with their group leader but if there is a disagreement and the professional/volunteer feels strongly that the local authority children’s social care should be informed it is their responsibility to take this forward.

References:

A Church Child Protection Policy (1999) Watton on the Web part of River Ministries Norfolk

Child Protection Policy – St. Pauls’ Church, Salisbury

Parish Safeguarding Handbook - Promoting a Safer Church (2018)

Policy of Child Protection (1999) ‘A Policy Document by the House of Bishops’ Church House Publishing

‘Safer Recruitment Policy' (2016)

 ‘Safe from Harm’ (1993) Home Office Code of Practice, Department of Health, Department for Education and the Welsh Office

Working Together to Safeguard Children (Dfes 2010/2013)

Working Together to Safeguard Children (Dfes 2018)

Salisbury Diocese Fact Sheets (07 February 2000)

South West Child Protection Procedures (Wiltshire LSCB)

 

Appendix 1

 

Definitions of Child Abuse

Physical Harm -

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 feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after.

Neglect –

is 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.  It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, leaving a child with inappropriate carers or abandoning a child, preventing social interaction, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.

Emotional Harm-

Children harmed by constant lack of love and affection, or threats, verbal attacks, taunting or shouting.  This may be caused by seeing the abuse of another (consider domestic abuse within the home).  All other forms of abuse will include emotional abuse.

Sexual Harm-

involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact or non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities.

The recognition of abuse

These warning signs are only a guide and not necessarily proof of abuse, if in doubt advice should be sought from your group leader.

  •  changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child becomes withdrawn or clingy, not wanting to go home.
  • Becoming aggressive
  • Nervousness / watchfulness
  • Sudden underachievement or lack of concentration
  • Change or inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults
  • Attention seeking behaviour
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Running away/stealing/lying

Areas which may give rise to a greater level of concern

  • Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them
  • Injuries where different explanations are given by carers or the child
  • Injuries to the body which are unusual or in unusual places.  Not those which are usually caused by falls or playing rough games.
  • Injuries which aren’t in keeping with the developmental age of the child
  • Injuries or illnesses which have not received medical attention
  • Unusual reluctance to remove protective clothing
  • Any signs of neglect, undernourishment or inadequate care
  • Any allegations made by a child concerning abuse
  • Child with an excessive pre-occupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour or who regularly engages in age inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Sexual activity through words, play or drawing
  • Child who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults
  • Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home

*    Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares

These signs may not mean that abuse has taken place but they should make us stop and think, consider the possibilities of abuse and whether advice needs to be sought from a leader.

Further information on any of the above can be found on South West Region Child Protection Procedures

Sexual exploitation of children as described in the government guidance document:-

‘involving exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive something (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of the performing and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities.  It can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition: e.g. Being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones, without immediate payment or gain. In all cases those exploiting the child have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources.  Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability (DoH 2008).

Children and young people should be given the opportunity to talk with an independent person.  There should be information available or advertised about:-

Childline         -           0800 1111                    NSPCC Helpline         -           0800 8005000

Family Lives    -           0808 800 2222

 

Appendix 2

 

Working Together to Safeguard Children  2018

The needs stated by children are quite clear and some are relevant to us as a church:- 

*  Vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them

Understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon

Stability: to be able to develop an ongoing stable relationship of trust with those helping them

Respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not

Information and Engagement: to be informed about and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plans