The Trustees of Hope Church Ferndown (“The church”) recognise the need to provide a safe and caring environment for children, young people and adults. We acknowledge that children, young people and adults can be the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. As a Leadership, we have therefore adopted the procedures set out in this safeguarding policy in accordance with statutory guidance. We are committed to building and maintaining constructive links with statutory and voluntary agencies involved in safeguarding.
This policy has been written with reference to model documents published by thirtyone:eight and by Phasic Ltd (Christian Safeguarding Services).
The purposes of this policy are:
- To ensure that children, young people and adults at risk of abuse who are part of our community are protected from harm and abuse and that if abuse is identified, it will be handled effectively
- To ensure that we provide a healthy, nurturing and protective environment for everyone who engages with our community
- To ensure that our staff and volunteers are clear about their responsibilities and duties and are supported in fulfilling them
- To provide everyone that is involved in our community with an understanding of the overarching principles to which we work and a clear understanding of our commitments to them and expectations of them
- This policy applies to everyone who works on our behalf with children, young people, their parents/carers and adults at risk of abuse. It applies to trustees, senior leaders, group/ministry leaders, paid staff, volunteers and anyone else who acts in any capacity on our behalf.
- Underlying principles
- We believe that children, young people and adults have the right to live free of abuse and neglect. It is our responsibility to seek to promote their welfare, to keep them safe while in our care and to take necessary steps to seek to protect them from harm, abuse or exploitation.
- Our approach to safeguarding is shaped by our belief as Christians that:
- We are to honour those that God has set in authority over us and to obey the law of the land.
- Every human life, including the unborn, is valuable to God and each person bears the image of God.
- We live in a fallen and sinful world, where there are many risks and dangers and we must seek to protect everyone, but particularly the vulnerable in our midst from those dangers.
- God cares for the widow, the orphan and the stranger; he calls us to protect and care for those who are vulnerable in our society and to oppose exploitation.
- Jesus’ example was one of valuing, accepting and nurturing everyone.
- We are to love those around us as God loves them and to seek to bring healing, restoration and reconciliation to broken and damaged lives by the manifestation of the love of God through us.
- The church is not a gathering of sinless and perfect people, but rather a community of grace where we seek to encourage one another to grow in faith and obedience to God.
- It is therefore imperative that we recognise the need to ensure that every member of our community, but particularly those who are vulnerable are protected from abuse or neglect within our community as well as identifying abuse that occurs outside the organisational community.
- Sin in our midst must not be tolerated but dealt with decisively, effectively and transparently.
- Prevention of abuse
- Designated Safeguarding Leads
- Two of the trustees will be appointed as Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) who will take responsibility for leading safeguarding children and adults across the organisation. The DSL role includes:
- Reviewing and updating safeguarding policies as necessary.
- Accessing and co-ordinating safeguarding training as required.
- Ensuring safe recruitment practices are carried out.
- Receiving safeguarding concerns and acting upon them appropriately.
- Reporting to the Trustees on safeguarding issues.
- We will adopt safe recruitment best practice in the recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers who are in positions of leadership and/or work with vulnerable people. All prospective workers who will have contact with children and young people as part of their role, will be asked to complete an application form prior to confirmation of their appointment. This will include a declaration as to whether they have been the subject of criminal or civil proceedings, or whether they have caused harm to children or put them at risk. Written or electronic references will be obtained and followed up where appropriate.
- A disclosure and barring check will be completed where necessary (we will comply with Code of Practice requirements concerning the fair treatment of applicants and the handling of information).
- Before taking up such a role, safeguarding procedures will be discussed with the worker and they will be asked to read this policy.
- Designated Safeguarding Leads
- Management of groups
- The Trustees will ensure that all groups are led by a church member of good repute who meets the legal requirements for working with children and who has the maturity and experience to carry out their role well.
- Codes of conduct have been written for staff and volunteers, and for children attending meetings. These should be communicated to those concerned and followed by them.
- Training and support
- The Leadership is committed to ensuring that all staff and volunteers working with vulnerable people are supported and trained to deliver best practice in safeguarding, developing a culture of awareness of safeguarding issues to help protect everyone.All our workers will undertake safeguarding training on a regular basis. All workers will be part of the pastoral care network and will be encouraged to attend home groups in order to receive care and support themselves. Elders are encouraged to seek pastoral support for themselves either from within the church or from another source.
- Practise Guidelines
- All work with children will be planned so as to minimise opportunities for abuse.
- The church will strive to ensure that groups will have at least two workers and, in mixed sex groups preferably at least one male and one female worker on site.
- The church will take all reasonable steps to prevent injury to children and adults in their care. It will at all times maintain adequate public liability insurance. See the Health and Safety policy for further details.
- Record keeping
- The church will record and store information accurately and keep it securely; sharing information appropriately in line with our legal duties, information sharing policies and national and local guidance and agreements. This will include records such as:
- Consent forms
- Attendance data for work with children, young people and adults at risk of abuse
- Accident and incident reporting
- Confidential recording of safeguarding concerns
- Responding to concerns and allegations
- The church will strive to have an approachable culture and procedures for raising concerns or complaints by children, young people, adults at risk or abuse and their parents / carers and for dealing with those concerns in an efficient, open, honest and fair manner.
- Leaders will seek to clearly identify concerns about the safety or wellbeing of those who are part of our community and to respond appropriately and proportionately by
- Reporting all concerns that may involve a breach of law to the appropriate authorities
- Changing to safer practices if appropriate
- Signposting or referring people to local or national services that can help them
- Providing information, guidance and support as we are able, to help them overcome their challenges
- All concerns and allegations will be documented. Wherever possible, the volunteer, worker or leader receiving or noticing the concern should complete a “Concern form” and give this to one of the DSLs.
- The DSL will clarify the details of any concern or allegation and will seek advice as necessary from social services and/or thirtyone:eight.
- The DSL may need to inform others depending on the circumstances and/or nature of the concern:
- Trustees, who may need to liaise with the insurance company or the Charity Commission to report a serious incident.
- Designated officer or LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) if the allegation concerns a worker or volunteer working with someone under 18.
- Social Services for adults or children who have been abused or area at risk of abuse.
- Thirtyone:eight for advice.
- All actions will be documented and the record dated and signed. Records will be kept in the church safe and retained according to the Data Protection policy.
- More details of action to be taken in the event of a concern or allegation being raised are provided in the thirtyone:eight flow charts attached to this policy.
- If an allegation is made against a trustee, member of staff or volunteer of the church, the procedure outlined above will be followed. The worker will be suspended from working with children and vulnerable adults at the church until any investigations are completed. The church will co-operate fully with the relevant authorities to ensure the safety of vulnerable children and adults.
- If an allegation is made against one of the DSLs the person who is made aware of the concern should report this to thirtyone:eight, or alternatively contact social services or the police depending on the nature and severity of the allegation.
- We will regularly review and where necessary update our policies, procedures and systems for effectiveness and compliance with best practice principles.
- Pastoral Care
Supporting those affected by abuse
- The Leadership is committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support to all those who have been affected by abuse who have contact with or are part of The Church.
Working with offenders and those who may pose a risk
- When someone attending The Church is known to have abused children, is under investigation, or is known to be a risk to adults with care and support needs; the Leadership will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care, but in its safeguarding commitment to the protection of children and adults with care and support needs, will set boundaries for that person, which they will be expected to keep. These boundaries will be based on an appropriate risk assessment and thorough consultation with appropriate parties.