Churches Together in Basildon, Policy for the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults.
The policy and procedures have been divided into five sections covering all 10 Churches Child Protection Advisory Service safeguarding standards. Along with details of the organisation and a statement of intent and commitment to safeguarding, the policy covers the following sections:
Section 1. Place of worship / organisation details
Safe and Secure – Standard 1
Section 2. Recognising and responding appropriately to an allegation or suspicion of abuse
Safe and Secure – Standards 2 and 7
Section 3. Prevention
Safe and Secure – Standards 3 and 4
Section 4. Pastoral care
Safe and Secure – Standards 8 and 9
Section 5. Practice guidelines
Safe and Secure – Standards 5, 6 and 10
Appendix 1. Leadership safeguarding statement
Appendix 2. Safeguarding Poster
Appendix 3. Good Practice with children and young people
Details of the organisation
Name of Place of Organisation: Churches Together in Basildon
Address: 16 Norsey Close Basildon CM11 1AP
Tel No: 07540066789 Email address: email@example.com
Charity Number: 267593
Regulators details: None currently
Insurance Company: Public Liability Insurance of £5,000,000 with Ecclesiastical Insurance.
The following is a brief description of our organisation and the type of work and activities we undertake with children / vulnerable adults:
Churches Together in Basildon is the churches of Basildon working together to promote the gospel in all its aspects. To do this the Charity’s activities include the provision of :
- Christian Schools Workers through the School Team Ministry
- Feeding and Care of the Homeless through Project 58 / 7
- United Celebrations
- Weekly drop in
- “The Table” a weekly community resource project
Churches Together in Basildon is also partnered with:
- Christians against Poverty
- Local Food Banks
- Street Pastors
As Trustees and Leadership we recognise the need to provide a safe and caring environment for children, young people and vulnerable adults. We acknowledge that children, young people and vulnerable adults can be the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. We accept the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Human Rights, which states that everyone is entitled to “all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. We also concur with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that children should be able to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. They have a right to be protected from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s), or any other person who has care of the child.” As a Leadership we have therefore adopted the procedures set out in this safeguarding policy in accordance with statutory guidance. We are committed to build constructive links with statutory and voluntary agencies involved in safeguarding.
The policy and attached practice guidelines are based on the ten Safe and Secure safeguarding standards published by the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS).
The Trustees and Leadership undertakes to:
- endorse and follow all national and local safeguarding legislation and procedures, in addition to the international conventions outlined above.
- provide on-going safeguarding training for all its workers and will regularly review the operational guidelines attached.
- ensure that the premises meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and all other relevant legislation, and that it is welcoming and inclusive.
- support Safeguarding Coordinator(s) in their work and in any action they may need to take in order to protect children and vulnerable adults.
Recognising and responding appropriately to an allegation or suspicion of abuse
Understanding abuse and neglect
Defining child abuse or abuse against a vulnerable adult is a difficult and complex issue. A person may abuse by inflicting harm, or failing to prevent harm. Children and adults in need of protection may be abused within a family, an institution or a community setting. Very often the abuser is known or in a trusted relationship with the child or vulnerable adult.
In order to safeguard those in our places of worship and organisations we adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and have as our starting point as a definition of abuse, Article 19 which states:
- States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
- Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
Also for adults the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights with particular reference to Article 5 which states:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Detailed definitions, and signs and symptoms of abuse, as well as how to respond to a disclosure of abuse, are included here in our policy.
Definitions of Abuse in Children
The four definitions of abuse in children below operate in England based on the government guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006)’.
Physical abuse 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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
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. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-takers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Honour based abuse
A term which is usually used to cover matters such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Definitions of Abuse in Vulnerable Adults
The following definition of abuse is laid down in ‘No Secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse (Department of Health 2000): This guidance has now been cancelled under the Care Act 2014 and Care and Support Statutory Guidance issued.
‘Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. In giving substance to that statement, however, consideration needs to be given to a number of factors:
Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it’.
This is the infliction of pain or physical injury, which is either caused deliberately, or through lack of care.
This is the involvement in sexual activities to which the person has not consented or does not truly comprehend and so cannot give informed consent, or where the other party is in a position of trust, power or authority and uses this to override or overcome lack of consent.
Psychological or Emotional Abuse
These are acts or behaviour, which cause mental distress or anguish or negates the wishes of the vulnerable adult. It is also behaviour that has a harmful effect on the vulnerable adult’s emotional health and development or any other form of mental cruelty.
Financial or Material Abuse
This is the inappropriate use, misappropriation, embezzlement or theft of money, property or possessions
Neglect or Act of Omission
This is the repeated deprivation of assistance that the vulnerable adult needs for important activities of daily living, including the failure to intervene in behaviour which is dangerous to the vulnerable adult or to others. A vulnerable person may be suffering from neglect when their general well being or development is impaired
This is the inappropriate treatment of a vulnerable adult because of their age, gender, race, religion, cultural background, sexuality, disability etc. Discriminatory abuse exists when values, beliefs or culture result in a misuse of power that denies opportunity to some groups or individuals. Discriminatory abuse links to all other forms of abuse.
This is the mistreatment or abuse of a vulnerable adult by a regime or individuals within an institution (e.g. hospital or care home) or in the community. It can be through repeated acts of poor or inadequate care and neglect or poor professional practice.
Signs and symptoms of abuse in children
Physical Signs of Abuse
- Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them.
- Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc.
- Injuries which have not receive medical attention.
- Reluctance to change for, or participate in games or swimming.
- Repeated urinary infections or unexplained stomach pains.
- Bruises, burns, bites, fractures, etc. which do not have an accidental explanation..
- Cuts, scratches, substance abuse.
Signs of Neglect
- Failure to grow
- Constant hunger, stealing or gorging food
- Untreated illness
- Inadequate care, e.g. frequently wearing dirty clothes, lack of washing and personal hygiene
Emotional Signs of Abuse
- Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging. Also depression/aggression, extreme anxiety
- Nervousness, frozen watchfulness
- Obsession or phobias
- Sudden under-achievement lack of concentration
- Inappropriate relationships with peers or adult
- Attention-seeking behaviour
- Persistent tiredness
- Running away, stealing, lying,
Signs of Possible Sexual Abuse
- Any allegation made by a child concerning sexual abuse
- Excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, regular engagement in age-inappropriate sexual play
- Sexual activity through words, play or drawings
- Sexual provocation or seduction towards adults
- Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home
- Severe sleep disturbance with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with veiled sexual connotations
- Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia
Who abuses children?
- Rarely a stranger
- Usually someone who knows the child, e.g. parent, babysitter, sibling, relative, friend of the family
- Sometimes, someone in authority such as teacher, youth worker, children’s worker or church worker/leader
- Sometimes, paedophiles and others who set out to join organisations (including churches) to obtain access to children
How to respond to a child wishing to disclose abuse
- Ensure the physical environment is welcoming, giving opportunity for the child or vulnerable adult to talk in private but making sure others are aware the conversation is taking place.
- It is especially important to allow time and space for the person to talk
- Above everything else listen without interrupting
- Be attentive and look at them whilst they are speaking
- Show acceptance of what they say (however unlikely the story may sound) by reflecting back words or short phrases they have used
- Try to remain calm, even if on the inside you are feeling something different
- Be honest and don’t make promises you can’t keep regarding confidentiality
- If they decide not to tell you after all, accept their decision but let them know that you are always ready to listen.
- Use language that is age appropriate and, for those with disabilities, ensure there is someone available who understands sign language, Braille etc.
- You have done the right thing in telling
- I am glad you have told me
- I will try to help you
- Why didn’t you tell anyone before?
- I can’t believe it!
- Are you sure this is true?
- Why? How? When? Who? Where?
- I am shocked, don’t tell anyone else
- Contact the church child protection Co-ordinator as soon as possible.
- Write down what was said immediately. It is important not to change words – you will be asked for this report at some point.
- Do not try to investigate the matter yourself or talk to the parent, guardian or alleged abuser. This could seriously hamper any future investigation.
- On very rare occasions there may be a need to contact Social Services directly; if it is not safe for the child to return home and you cannot get in touch with the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator, for example.
Allegations of Physical Injury or Neglect
The Co-ordinator will contact CCPAS for advice in cases of deliberate injury or where concerned about the child’s safety; the church in these circumstances should not inform the parents. Where emergency medical attention is necessary it will be sought immediately. In other circumstances he will speak with the parent/carer and suggest that medical attention be sought for the child; the doctor (or health visitor) will then initiate further action if necessary. If appropriate the parent/carer will be encouraged to seek help from the Social Services Department. Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, if appropriate the Co-ordinator will offer to go with them; if they still fail to act the Co-ordinator should, in cases of real concern, contact Social Services for advice. The Insurance Company and the Charity Commissioners may also need to be informed.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse
The Co-ordinator will usually contact CCPAS for advice. CCPAS will confirm its advice in writing in case this is needed for reference purposes in the future. In a serious situation Social Services may need to be contacted immediately (if the child is at risk if they go home, for example). The Co-ordinator will not speak to the parent (or anyone else) about the matter and will not attempt to carry out any investigation into the allegations or suspicions of abuse; the role of the Co-ordinator is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and to provide this information to the Social Services Department, if necessary. The co-ordinator may also need to contact the Insurance Company and the Charity Commissioners.
Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Co-ordinator, the absence of the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator should not delay reference to the Social Services Department in the case of an immediate, serious situation. Exceptionally, should there be any disagreement between the person in receipt of the allegation or suspicion and the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator as to the appropriateness of a referral to Social Services, that person retains a responsibility as a member of the public to report serious matters to the Social Services Department and should do so without hesitation.
The elders will support the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
If abuse by a member of the church is suspected
The Co-ordinator will take appropriate action, in accordance with the procedures outlined above. He will arrange pastoral support from a church member for both parties and also for the person to whom the matter was reported. All information will be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. Our desire is to protect all parties from any injustice.
The Leadership is committed to on-going safeguarding training and development opportunities for all workers, developing a culture of awareness of safeguarding issues to help protect everyone. All our workers will receive induction training and undertake recognised safeguarding training on a regular basis provided by CCPAS and other organisations. The Coordinator in collaboration with the Church leadership will nominate workers to attend appropriate course e.g. Facing the Unthinkable. The costs of attendance will be borne by the Church.
The Leadership will also ensure that children and vulnerable adults are provided with information on where to get help and advice in relation to abuse, discrimination, bullying or any other matter where they have a concern.
Responding to allegations of abuse.
Under no circumstances should a worker carry out their own investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse. Following procedures as below
- The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse should report concerns as soon as possible to (hereafter the “Safeguarding Co-ordinator”) tel no: who is nominated by the Leadership to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse, including referring the matter on to the statutory authorities.
- In the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or, if the suspicions in any way involve the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, then the report should be made to (hereafter the “Deputy “) tel no: . If the suspicions implicate both the Safeguarding Co-ordinator and the Deputy, then the report should be made in the first instance to the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0845 120 4550. Alternatively contact Social Services or the police.
- Where the concern is about a child the Safeguarding Co-ordinator should contact Children’s Social Services. Where the concern is regarding an adult in need of protection contact Adult Social Services or take advice from CCPAS as above.
The local Children’s Social Services office telephone number (office hours) is 0345 603 7634. The out of hours emergency number is 345 606 1212
The local Adult Social Services office telephone number (office hours) is 01245 430430 or, 03457 430 430
- The Police Child Protection Team telephone number is 0300 333 4444.
- Where required the Safeguarding Co-ordinator should then immediately inform the insurance company.
- Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns should be made in accordance with these procedures and kept in a secure place.
- Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or Deputy should not delay referral to Social Services, the Police or taking advice from CCPAS
- The Leadership will support the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
- It is, of course, the right of any individual as a citizen to make a direct referral to the safeguarding agencies or seek advice from CCPAS, although the Trustees and Leadership hope that members of the organisation will use this procedure. If, however, the individual with the concern feels that the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy has not responded appropriately, or where they have a disagreement with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator(s) as to the appropriateness of a referral they are free to contact an outside agency direct. We hope by making this statement that the Leadership demonstrate its commitment to effective safeguarding and the protection of all those who are vulnerable.
The role of the safeguarding co-ordinator/ deputy is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to statutory agencies who have a legal duty to investigate.
Detailed procedures where there is a concern about a child:
Allegations of physical injury, neglect or emotional abuse.
If a child has a physical injury, a symptom of neglect or where there are concerns about emotional abuse, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
- Contact Children’s Social Services (or CCPAS) for advice in cases of deliberate injury, if concerned about a child’s safety or if a child is afraid to return home.
- Not tell the parents or carers unless advised to do so, having contacted Children’s Social Services.
- Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions.
- For lesser concerns, (e.g. poor parenting), encourage parent/carer to seek help, but not if this places the child at risk of significant harm.
- Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, offer to accompany them. In cases of real concern, if they still fail to act, contact Children’s Social Services direct for advice.
- Seek and follow advice given by CCPAS (who will confirm their advice in writing) if unsure whether or not to refer a case to Children’s Social Services.
Allegations of sexual abuse.
In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
- Contact the Children’s Social Services Department Duty Social Worker for children and families or Police Child Protection Team direct. They will NOT speak to the parent/carer or anyone else.
- Seek and follow the advice given by CCPAS if, for any reason they are unsure whether or not to contact Children’s Social Services/Police. CCPAS will confirm its advice in writing for future reference.
The following procedure will be followed where there is a concern that an adult is in need of protection:
The Care Act 2014 defines an adult for safeguarding purposes as:-
Any person aged 18 years or over who,
- has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting those needs)
- is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse and neglect and,
- as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself/herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
Suspicions or allegations of sexual or physical abuse.
If a vulnerable adult has a physical injury or symptom of sexual abuse the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
- Discuss any concerns with the individual themselves giving due regard to their autonomy, privacy and rights to lead an independent life.
- If the vulnerable adult is in immediate danger or has sustained a serious injury contact the Emergency Services, informing them of any suspicions.
- For advice contact the Adult Social Care Vulnerable Adults Team who have responsibility under Section 47 of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 and government guidance, ‘No Secrets’, to investigate allegations of abuse. Alternatively CCPAS can be contacted for advice.
Allegations of abuse against a person who works with children.
If an accusation is made against a worker (whether a volunteer or paid member of staff) whilst following the procedure outlined above, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, in accordance with Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures will need to liaise with Children’s Social Services in regards to the suspension of the worker, also making a referral to a Safeguarding Adviser (SA) / Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
The Leadership will ensure all workers will be appointed, trained, supported and supervised in accordance with government guidance on safe recruitment. This includes ensuring that:
- There is a written job description / person specification for the post
- Those applying have completed an application form and a self declaration form
- Those short listed have been interviewed
- Safeguarding has been discussed at interview
- Written references have been obtained, and followed up where appropriate
- A criminal records disclosure has been completed (we will comply with Code of Practice requirements concerning the fair treatment of applicants and the handling of information)
- Qualifications where relevant have been verified
- A suitable training programme is provided for the successful applicant
- The applicant has completed a probationary period
- The applicant has been given a copy of the organisation’s safeguarding policy and knows how to report concerns.
- Volunteer workers for work with children and other groups will be sought by the leadership from the existing membership of the church. All volunteer workers with children, young people or vulnerable adults will be subject to a DBS enhanced disclosure check through CCPAS. This check will be renewed should that person’s role in the organisation change.
Management of Workers – Codes of Conduct
As a Leadership we are committed to supporting all workers and ensuring they receive support and supervision. All workers have been issued with a code of conduct towards children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Leadership undertakes to follow the principles found within the ‘Abuse Of Trust ‘guidance issued by the Home Office and it is therefore unacceptable for those in a position of trust to engage in any behaviour which might allow a sexual relationship to develop for as long as the relationship of trust continues.