Safeguarding Policy for children/youth
Knowle Parish Church in the Diocese Of Birmingham
Safeguarding Children & Young People Policy to Protect and Promote their interests
– reviewed and confirmed by the PCC (Parochial Church Council) on 26th April 2017 pending an updated policy to be approved by the PCC later in 2017 based on new guidance recently issued by the Diocese. [Printable version – Safe Ch]
Statement of Values
In keeping with the Diocese of Birmingham, Knowle Parish Church seeks to demonstrate that in all its activities which include children and young people:-
1. The welfare of children will be given first priority.
2. The spiritual welfare of children will be seen as particularly important.
3. Well-informed, professional standards of care will be demonstrated
4. The procedures to protect children will be open and made clear to all.
5. The welfare of children will have priority over the interests of the establishment.
This document and its appendices reflect the principles and policies appropriate to Knowle Parish Church and follows the Church of England – Birmingham Safeguarding Policies entitled God’s Children: Our Diocese – Revised November 2011 (Diocese Safeguarding Policies). View contents in App A, with web link to full document. That document forms an integral part of the application of this policy. [Direct links to relevant sections of the document are provided in the text below.]
The Role of the vicar, other members of the parish church, Bishop’s Safeguarding Children Adviser, Parish Safeguarding Children Co-ordinator and Parish Children’s Advocate is outlined in Section 7 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies.
The Vicar has ultimate responsibility for the safe recruitment of suitable children’s workers and youth workers and should ensure that the parish is implementing the diocesan policy, recognise the need for training, recognise conflicts of interest taking appropriate advice and not lose sight of Christ’s perspective and his teaching on children.
Members of the clergy and Parish staff, Pastoral Care Team and members of the congregation volunteering to work with children or young people may also become involved pastorally with issues involving child protection. In all cases they have a duty and responsibility to act in accordance with this policy and associated guidelines.
The Bishop’s Safeguarding Children Adviser has the overall task of promoting good practice in all aspects of Child Protection within the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Birmingham. He/she should be contacted through the Bishop’s Office or his Chaplain.
The Bishop’s Safeguarding Children Adviser is appointed to take steps to ensure that good practice to protect children is observed throughout his diocese, and to advise the Bishop on procedures to be followed when allegations of child abuse arise and will offer guidance, support and expertise.
Following the Diocese Safeguarding Policies, designated people within the congregation have been appointed as Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator (PSC) & Children’s Advocate. See App B for contact details for them, diocesan staff and local agencies.
All those who are in positions where they are in direct contact with children and young people – including clergy, paid children and youth workers, volunteer helpers, captains of bell tower and music group leaders – need to be familiar with Sections S2 & S3 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies. These sections form part of the Safeguarding training in the Parish.
The recognition of abuse, outlining the nature of child abuse, definitions of different types of abuse, signs and indicators of abuse and how to recognise when a child(ren) might be at risk are outlined in Section 2 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies.
A detailed description of what action must be taken when there are concerns about children and young people; clear procedures to follow at a time often characterised by high anxiety; and, information on what happens when children’s social care services and the police pursue a matter reported by the church are found in Section 3 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies.
Action to be taken in relation to disclosure, concerns and suspicions, responding to a child and sharing concerns, health and safety and supervision ratios, are in separate Guidelines for Working with Children and Young People that include Sections S2, S3, S4 and S8 from the Diocese Safeguarding Policies.
In the event of concerns about any member of staff support should be sought from the Vicar or if that is felt inappropriate from the Bishop’s Safeguarding Children Adviser. The House of Bishops’ (2010) Policy on responding to allegations of child abuse made against a member of the clergy or someone holding the Bishop’s Licence is outlined in Section 10 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies.
Victims of abuse and their families, church members and alleged abusers and their families will be supported in accordance with Section 7 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies.
The Church keeps records of significant issues that relate to child protection and safeguarding. These records are confidential and monitored by the Vicar and PSC. The Church’s accident book is not for such incidents. The Vicar holds Confidential Declaration Forms securely. In a vacancy (i.e. when no vicar is appointed) these responsibilities fall to the Area Dean.
Working with Children and Young People
The separate Guidelines for Working with Children and Young People in App C are integral to this policy. They include guidelines for responsibilities & conduct for individual workers, group leaders, young leaders; guidelines for mixed age activities and one to one work; for responding to a child, sharing concerns, identifying an adult a child with concerns can speak to, physical contact – including toilet arrangements, dealing with challenging behaviour, praying with children & young people, special needs & inclusion, staffing ratios, registration & consent for all activities, first aid & accident book completion, transporting children, fire safety, e-safety, taking photos & consent, food & hygiene and maintaining a safe environment.
Ministerial staff are accountable for and ensure the appropriate supervision of group leaders (paid or volunteer) and helpers. Helpers (paid or volunteer) should never be in a 1-1 position with children/young people. Those under-18 year olds, including those in a ‘developing leader’ role, should not be regarded as responsible adults and should not be in a position of sole responsibility. They are recruited using the principles of Safe Recruitment counter signed by their parent.
Training and support in the nature of child abuse, protection and safeguarding at an appropriate level is required of and provided to ensure safe provision for those who are involved in work with children/young people.
This policy will be promoted to the congregation, those whose children attend activities and those who hire facilities. Its on-going implementation will be monitored.
Perpetrators of child sexual abuse
Section 5 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policies contains specific guidance on how to deal with situations involving those who may present a risk to children and young people in a parish context. This section is especially relevant to the clergy and other leaders in the parish, e.g. churchwardens.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) provide a framework to manage the risk posed by serious sexual and violent offenders. Section 5 provides guidance for churches on diocesan procedures to enable compliance with these arrangements where they have a perpetrator worshiping in their community.
Ministerial staff will follow the guidance of the Diocese and House of Bishops in relation to information received during confession.
Health and Safety
An outline of what should be in place so that the environment is suitable for children and young people and the activities in which they are participating including health and safety checks and risk assessments is found in the Guidelines For Working With Children And Young People in App C .
The PCC has a duty of care to advise individuals and organisations working with children and young people who hire or use church property, of their responsibility as hirers for the welfare and safety of the children in their care and the importance of maintaining a healthy and safe environment.
All hirers are made aware of the Parish policy and a copy is available in the Parish office where rooms are hired. They are informed of the name and contact details of the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator and made aware that their activity is not insured under church insurance.
Organisations who hire church premises for activities with children or young people sign a statement confirming that workers/volunteers who staff their activities will comply with all current safeguarding legislation and government guidance and will make themselves familiar with the Parish’s Child Protection Policy. Private individuals who wish to hire church premises for ad-hoc events must sign the statement agreeing to take full responsibility for the children and young people at their event.
All staff and volunteer leaders are recruited according to diocese policy and guidelines contained in Safe Recruitment Choosing people for work with children & young people in App D in the Diocese of Birmingham. That document forms an integral part of the application of this policy. That interim document gives guidelines on what needs to be done in recruiting and appointing workers – paid and volunteer. It includes Section 9, Safe Recruiting, and Section 11 Part 2, Use of the Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure & Barring changes, from the 2004 edition of God’s Children: Our Diocese and subsequent revisions up to 2010. Where appropriate these sections have been updated in accordance with the House of Bishops’ Policy for child protection – Protecting All God’s Children, 4th edition 2010. It covers Equal Opportunities and the Human Rights Act; the recruitment and appointment process including role descriptions, confidential declaration forms and references; support and supervision, training, responding to concerns, the duty to refer and the use of the Criminal Records Bureau. The interview of group leaders and helpers is delegated to the relevant ministerial staff.
The Church of England – Birmingham Safeguarding Policies entitled God’s Children: Our Diocese App A is available from the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator, the Parish Office and the children and youth teams.
Guidelines for Working with Children and Young People App C.
This document includes Working with children and young people, sections 4 and 8 from the Diocese Safeguarding Policies and Recognition and Taking Action in relation to Abuse, sections 2 and 3 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policy.
Safe Recruitment Choosing people for work with children & young people App D in the Diocese of Birmingham is available from the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator, the Parish Office and the children and youth teams.
Prayer ministry guidelines
Drug abuse policy – Section 12 of the Diocese Safeguarding Policy.