Shekinah Christian Church - Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy and Protection Procedures
Shekinah Christian Church takes seriously the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults who come onto its premises or who are involved in our activities.
Shekinah Christian Church aims to ensure that they are welcomed into a safe and caring environment with a happy and friendly atmosphere.
Shekinah Christian Church recognises that it is the responsibility of each of one of its trustees, staff, partners and those with volunteer roles to prevent the abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults and to report any abuse discovered or suspected.
Shekinah Christian Church recognises its responsibility to implement, maintain and regularly review procedures which are designed to prevent, and be alert to, such abuse.
Shekinah Christian Church is committed to supporting, resourcing and training those who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Purpose of this Policy
This policy equips you with the information you need regarding what actions to take if you suspect, or are told about abuse, and what happens next.
While it is not our job to establish whether or not abuse is taking place, it is our responsibility to report any concerns we have over the welfare of children, young people or vulnerable adults.
This policy outlines that your primary concern is to ensure that you can recognise, respond to, record and report relevant information and pass it on to a Nominated Person without delay, so that they can take appropriate action.
The Role of Nominated Person
All suspicions, concerns and disclosures should be reported immediately to one of the named Nominated Persons
They have the responsibility to:
Ensure arrangements are made to identify training requirements (in child and vulnerable adult protection issues).
Ensure copies of relevant policies and procedures are available.
Receive information about concerns and record appropriately.
Ensure that procedures for reporting concerns are followed appropriately.
Ensure that information is recorded and stored appropriately.
Provide information to staff and volunteers on the support available to them.
Receive appropriate training.
Working with Offenders
Where someone attending the church building is known to have abused children, then whilst showing pastoral care, the Leadership Team/Trustees will, in accordance with their commitment to the protection of all children and vulnerable adults, meet with the individual and discuss boundaries that the person will be expected to keep.
Definitions of Abuse
There are four broad types of child abuse: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. The effects and risks to a child being in a household where there is domestic abuse are now also recognised as abuse. Vulnerable adult abuse includes psychological, financial, discrimination, physical, sexual, institutional and self-neglect.
Reacting to Abuse
You may suspect abuse, you may discover or witness abuse or someone may report abuse to you. If this happens it is important to follow the following guidelines:
Do not delay.
Never assume that someone else will recognise and report what you have seen or heard.
Do not confront the person who is alleged to be responsible for the abuse.
Record any observations and make a written account of what you have been told. These records must be accurate and factual.
It is not your role to investigate. Concentrate on presenting information clearly. Do not push a child/ young person/vulnerable adult for details or make suggestions as this can contaminate evidence.
Pass on your information to a Nominated Person.
Do not discuss with anyone other than the person to whom you have passed on the information.
If a child or young person or vulnerable adult wants to talk about abuse:
Accept what the child, young person or vulnerable adult says, keeping calm and looking at them directly.
Ask a vulnerable adult what they would like to happen, this may not always be possible but their wishes should be acknowledged and acted upon wherever possible.
Let them know that you need to tell someone else, do not promise confidentiality.
Any disclosure or allegation made by a child or vulnerable adult must be recorded and acted upon.
Be aware that the child, young person or vulnerable adult may be being threatened.
Never push for information.
Reassure the child, young person or vulnerable adult that they were right to tell you and you believe them.
Let the child, young person or vulnerable adult know what you are going to do next.
Make notes as soon as possible, writing down exactly what was said. Record dates and times and keep any hand-written notes even if these are subsequently typed up.
If it is considered that the person making the disclosure is likely to be at risk by returning home, immediate contact should be made with Social Services or the Police.
Reporting Abuse - suspected, disclosed or discovered
All trustees, staff, partners and those working with children, young people and vulnerable adults should be aware of the appropriate reporting procedures.
If abuse is suspected, disclosed or discovered, this should be reported immediately to one of the Nominated Persons.
It is the responsibility of the Nominated Person to ensure that cases of abuse are reported. It is normal procedure to contact the local Social Services team, but if the child, young person or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger the police should be contacted.
Report all concerns to one of the Nominated Persons:
Amanda Turner, Church Leadership Team, Safeguarding Co-ordination
Lib Fleming, Trustee and Church Leader
Emergency Services 999
MARU (Social Care's Multi Agency Referral Unit) 0300 123 1116.
Out of Hours 01208 251300
Advice can be sought from the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) - 01322 660011 or the NSPCC 24 hour helpline - 0880 800 500
Appropriate DBS checks will be carried out for all staff and volunteers working alone with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This includes all Sunday School group leaders and youth workers and those seen as figures of authority (in positions of trust) even if not primarily working with children.
Appointing Sunday School Workers and Youth Leaders
The names of suggested workers and volunteers should first be supplied to The Church Leadership (Charles and Lib Fleming). If they know of no reason why the application should not continue, names should be submitted for a DBS check. No one should begin to work in any role which may result in them being alone with a child or vulnerable adult until a satisfactory DBS check is returned.
Good Practice for Workers, including Sunday School and Youth Leaders
Plan activities so as to minimise situations where the abuse of children, young people or vulnerable adults may occur.
Arrange that, as far as possible, an adult is not left alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult where there is little or no opportunity to be observed by others.
Always ensure appropriate ratios of adults to children/young people/vulnerable adults are observed.
A record must be kept of each activity/session. This should include a register of attendees and staff and a record of any significant incidents
If children, young people or adults are transported by car, appropriate permissions must always be sought from parents/guardians. Plan to avoid situations where the driver is alone with one child/young person/vulnerable adult.
Provide a good role model of behaviour.
Treat all children and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity using positive constructive encouragement
If you physically touch a child or vulnerable adult, do it with consideration, never touch intimate areas and always tell them what you are going to do
Use appropriate language, tone and volume
Be aware of who is authorised to collect or fetch children left in your care
Be vigilant for the safety of all children and vulnerable adults around you
Practice that is not acceptable (with children, young people and vulnerable adults)
Abuse, neglect, harm or exploitation.
Abuse of trust (of personal information).
Forming inappropriate relationships, including inappropriate use of social media.
Putting ourselves or others at unnecessary risk.
Allowing inappropriate language to go unchallenged.
Children should never be transported except by prior agreement (always plan to avoid situations where an adult is left alone with one child).
Avoid being alone and unobserved with a child or vulnerable adult e.g. if they are upset or require first aid.
Never make sexually suggestive comments.
Never engage is rough physical or sexually provocative play.
Do not allow or engage in inappropriate touching.