POLICY REVISION IMPLEMENTED ON 07/11/2023
“SAFEGUARDING IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY”
DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING OFFICERS
Name: David Lowe Signature __________________
Name: Lois Moore Signature __________________
Name: Ollie Hearn Signature __________________
Name Annette Ochola Signature_________________
Name Cath Cameron Signature________________
Name: Samuel Luak Signature________________
Hudson Ebenezer Signature_________________
Next policy review date: 01/10/2024
Woodside Church (hereafter, “The Church”)
Woodside Christian Centre, Dover Crescent, Bedford, MK41 8QH
Woodside Church is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and works in association with Newfrontiers.
Registered Name: Woodside Church
Charity Number: 1186318
Company Number: 12279065
The church has a growing ministry with children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Leadership Team (hereafter, “the LT”) takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults entrusted to the church’s care.
As part of the mission, the LT is committed to:
AREAS OF POLICY
The LT recognises that many children, young people and vulnerable adults today are the victims of neglect, physical, sexual, spiritual and emotional abuse. Accordingly, the LT has adopted the policy contained in this document, (hereafter “the policy”). The policy sets out agreed guidelines relating to the following areas:
The LT recognizes the need to build constructive links with safeguarding agencies.
The local Integrated Front Door (previously Multi Agency Support Hub or MASH) is available for all who are implementing this policy - this is to access the Bedford Borough Safeguarding team. The telephone number between 9.00am and 5.00pm is 01234 718700, the out-of-hour number known as the Emergency Duty Team is 0300 300 8123.
The content of the policy has formed the basis of training for all children, youth and vulnerable adult workers in the church. The LT is committed to an on-going training program for all such workers.
WOODSIDE CHURCH TRUSTEES
A designated Trustee-Director should be part of the safeguarding team, attend safeguarding meetings and bring a breakdown of safeguarding issues to every Trustee-Director meeting. This breakdown should provide a clear overview: categorizing each concern by activity, area of the church where the concern was identified, the type of safeguarding concern that is covered, total number of concerns and level of progression. This will enable and empower the Trustee-Directors to spot if there are any patterns or areas of concern. The report will be sent to the Trustee-Directors in advance of the meeting so that they can see all current issues and be equipped to raise any concerns in the meeting.
The Trustee-Directors hold the right to ask for the full details, including the initial report and actions taken, for any safeguarding concern.
All Trustee-Directors will be required to complete the Safeguarding training in their role as a Trustee-Director.
Any Safeguarding concerns that are escalated to the Trustee-Director level will require a meeting of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Trustee-Directors.
THIRTY ONE EIGHT MEMBERSHIP
Woodside Church are members of Thirtyone:eight who specialise in providing Safeguarding support to religious organisations, They have a wealth of resources as well as knowledgeable people who care and understand the needs of religious organisations. Not only do they provide Safeguarding admin support but they also process and verify any DBS applications on behalf of all paid staff and volunteers at Woodside Church.
KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS (CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE)
There are four main types of child abuse. They are defined in the UK Government guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2020) Keeping children safe in education - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
1. PHYSICAL ABUSE
2. EMOTIONAL ABUSE
3. SEXUAL ABUSE
4. NEGLECT/SELF NEGLECT
In addition to the above four main types of abuse this policy will also include abuse specific to places of worship.
5. SPIRITUAL ABUSE
A form of abuse which 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: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as causing severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a 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 (including cyberbullying), 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, although it may occur alone
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include. non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave sexually. inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education
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, for example, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basics emotional needs.
This covers a wide range of behaviour which shows that someone isn’t caring for their own personal hygiene, health, or surroundings and is still
Spiritual abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. It is characterised by a systematic pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour in a religious context. Spiritual abuse can have a deeply damaging impact on those who experience it and can be experienced in a variety of different relationships.
For more information on Spiritual Abuse and to see some of the signs and symptoms please read 4.2 Spiritual Abuse | The Church of England
It is possible that a person may suffer more than one category of abuse.
In addition to the five types of abuse, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) , Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), Peer on Peer (Child on Child) abuse and Bullying are also clearly defined as below.
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also sometimes known as 'female circumcision', is illegal in the UK, and includes all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts and the procedures are mostly done outside of the UK. The practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out and in later life.
The practice is common to certain traditions and cultural beliefs, and where it is still practised incidents are more commonly found amongst faith communities.
FGM is now covered in the Woodside Safeguard training and when responding to a concern or incident of abuse, it's important not to lose sight of the person involved. Their welfare must be the first consideration at all times.
Even if a concern seems relatively minor it is important to bear in mind that it could be just the tip of the iceberg.
CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE) AND CHILD CRIMINAL EXPLOITATION (CCE):
Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse and both occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual or criminal activity. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources. In some cases, the abuse will be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or will be to the financial benefit or other advantage (such as increased status) of the perpetrator or facilitator. The abuse can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse. It can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence. Victims can be exploited even when activity appears consensual and it should be noted exploitation as well as being physical can be facilitated and/or take place online.
PEER ON PEER (CHILD ON CHILD) ABUSE
All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as peer-on-peer abuse). This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:
Bullying may be defined as deliberately hurtful behavior, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from the activities and social acceptance of their peer group). The damage inflicted by bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children and vulnerable adults to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, cause them significant harm (including self-harm). All settings in which children or vulnerable adults are provided with services or are living away from home should have in place rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies
KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS (VULNERABLE ADULTS)
For the purposes of this policy, these definitions have been taken from ‘The Office of the Public Guardian’ model policy: https://www.gov.uk/government/...
This includes assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, giving the wrong (or no) medication, restraining someone or only letting them do certain things at certain times.
This includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. It also covers so-called ‘honor’ based violence.
This includes rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, taking sexual photographs, making someone look at pornography or watch sexual acts, sexual assault or sexual acts the adult didn’t consent to or was pressured into consenting.
This includes emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, depriving someone of contact with someone else, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, putting pressure on someone to do something, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or support networks.
FINANCIAL OR MATERIAL
This includes theft, fraud, internet scamming, putting pressure on someone about their financial arrangements (including wills, property, inheritance, or financial transactions) or the misuse or stealing of property, possessions or benefits.
This covers slavery (including domestic slavery), human trafficking and forced labour. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever they can to pressurize, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse and inhumane treatment.
This includes types of harassment or insults because of someone’s race, gender or gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
This includes neglect and poor care in an institution or care setting such as a hospital or care home, or if an organisation provides care in someone’s home. The abuse can be a one-off incident or repeated, on-going ill treatment. The abuse can be through neglect or poor professional practice, which might be because of structure, policies, processes, and practices within an organisation.
NEGLECT AND ACTS OF OMISSION
This includes ignoring medical, emotional, or physical care needs, failure to provide access to educational services, or not giving someone what they need to help them live, such as medication, enough nutrition and heating.
This covers a wide range of behaviour which shows that someone isn’t caring for their own personal hygiene, health, or surroundings. It includes behaviour such as hoarding.
Spiritual Abuse is defined as: “Coercion and control of one individual by another in a spiritual context. The target experiences spiritual abuse as a deeply emotional personal attack. This abuse may include: -manipulation and exploitation, enforced accountability, censorship of decision making, requirements for secrecy and silence, pressure to conform, misuse of scripture or using the pulpit to control behaviour, requirement of obedience to the abuser, the suggestion that the abuser has a ‘divine’ position, isolation from others, especially those external to the abusive context.” (Oakley, 2013 in Oakley & Kinmond, 2013 p21). Forcing religious ideas or practices onto people, particularly those who may be vulnerable to such practices.Extreme pastoral interference in personal matters – reducing individual choice and responsibility.The misuse of scripture or power to control behaviour and pressure to conform.The requirement of obedience to the abuser, or the suggestion that the abuser has a “divine‟ position. Intrusive healing and deliverance ministries, which may result in people experiencing emotional, physical or sexual harm.The denial of the right of faith or opportunity to grow in the knowledge and love of God.
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF ABUSE
Everybody who works with children and vulnerable adults should be able to recognise, and know how to act upon, indicators that a person’s welfare or safety may be at risk. Recognising abuse is not easy, even for individuals who have experience of working in this area as there can be various explanations for the possible indicators of abuse. Any concerns should be immediately discussed with the relevant person who will be able to assess the situation. Warning signs, which may alert you to the possibility of abuse, can include visual indicators, behavioural indicators, verbal indicators or a combination of all three.
The following signs may or may not be indicators that abuse has taken place, but the possibility should be considered.
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF ABUSE (CHILDREN)
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE
Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them; a non-willingness by the person, parent or carer to discuss the injuries; or a deliberate attempt to hide injuries.Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc. Injuries which have not received medical attention. Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games or swimming. Repeated urinary infections or unexplained tummy pains. Bruises, bites, burns, fractures, etc., which do not have an accidental explanation.Cuts/scratchesSubstance abusePhysical signs of being subject to punishment.
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a person withdraws or becomes clingy. Also, depression / aggression, extreme anxiety, or displaying severe tantrums.Nervousness, frozen watchfulnessObsessions or phobiasSudden under-achievement or lack of concentration Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults Attention-seeking behaviour. Persistent tirednessRunning away from home, attempted suicides, self-inflicted injuries.Stealing, lying.Self-deprecating remarks, an inability to accept praise.
INDICATORS OF POSSIBLE SEXUAL ABUSE
Any allegations made by a person concerning sexual abuse.Child with excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour (specific to children), or who regularly engages in age-inappropriate sexual play Sexual activity through words, play or drawing. Child or vulnerable adult who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults.Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with overt or veiled sexual connotations however, the content does not necessarily have to be of a sexual nature.Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimiaBed wetting and/or soiling.Urinary Tract Infections.
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF NEGLECT
Loss of weight without a medical explanation.An inappropriately dressed or ill kept child or vulnerable adultPoor personal hygieneConstant hunger or an unusually large appetite.Lack of assistance with eating or drinking where it is required.Untreated medical conditionsConstant tirednessCompulsive scavenging
INDICATORS OF SELF-NEGLECT
Very poor personal hygieneUnkempt appearanceLack of essential food, clothing or shelterMalnutrition and/or dehydrationLiving in squalid or unsanitary conditionsNeglecting household maintenanceHoardingCollecting a large number of animals in inappropriate conditionsNon-compliance with health or care servicesInability or unwillingness to take medication or treat illness or injury
INDICATORS OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE
Misusing scripture to coerce behaviourCoercing through censorshipRequiring unquestioning obedienceUsing a sense of divine position to exert pressure to conform and suggesting this position is unchallengeableEnforced accountabilityPublicly shaming and humiliating individuals in order to control their behaviourThreats of spiritual consequencesInappropriate mentoring relationships
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF ABUSE (VULNERABLE ADULTS)
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE
No explanation for injuries or inconsistency with the account of what happenedInjuries are inconsistent with the person’s lifestyleBruising, cuts, welts, burns and/or marks on the body or loss of hair in clumpsFrequent injuriesUnexplained fallsSubdued or changed behaviour in the presence of a particular personSigns of malnutritionFailure to seek medical treatment or frequent changes of GP
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR ABUSE
Low self-esteemFeeling that the abuse is their fault when it is notPhysical evidence of violence such as bruising, cuts, broken bonesVerbal abuse and humiliation in front of othersFear of outside interventionDamage to home or propertyIsolation – not seeing friends and familyLimited access to money
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
Bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks and upper arms and marks on the neckTorn, stained or bloody underclothingBleeding, pain or itching in the genital areaUnusual difficulty in walking or sittingForeign bodies in genital or rectal openingsInfections, unexplained genital discharge, or sexually transmitted diseasesPregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourseThe uncharacteristic use of explicit sexual language or significant changes in sexual behaviour or attitudeIncontinence not related to any medical diagnosisSelf-harmingPoor concentration, withdrawal, sleep disturbanceExcessive fear/apprehension of, or withdrawal from, relationshipsFear of receiving help with personal careReluctance to be alone with a particular person
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE
An air of silence when a particular person is presentWithdrawal or change in the psychological state of the personInsomniaLow self-esteemUncooperative and aggressive behaviourA change of appetite, weight loss/gainSigns of distress: tearfulness, angerApparent false claims, by someone involved with the person, to attract unnecessary treatment
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF FINANCIAL OR MATERIAL ABUSE
Missing personal possessionsUnexplained lack of money or inability to maintain lifestyleUnexplained withdrawal of funds from accountsPower of attorney or lasting power of attorney (LPA) being obtained after the person has ceased to have mental capacityFailure to register an LPA after the person has ceased to have mental capacity to manage their finances, so that it appears that they are continuing to do soThe person allocated to manage financial affairs is evasive or uncooperativeThe family or others show unusual interest in the assets of the personSigns of financial hardship in cases where the person’s financial affairs are being managed by a court appointed deputy, attorney or LPARecent changes in deeds or title to propertyRent arrears and eviction noticesA lack of clear financial accounts held by a care home or serviceFailure to provide receipts for shopping or other financial transactions carried out on behalf of the personDisparity between the person’s living conditions and their financial resources, e.g. insufficient food in the houseUnnecessary property repairs
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF MODERN SLAVERY
Signs of physical or emotional abuseAppearing to be malnourished, unkempt or withdrawnIsolation from the community, seeming under the control or influence of othersLiving in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation and or living and working at the same addressLack of personal effects or identification documentsAlways wearing the same clothesAvoidance of eye contact, appearing frightened or hesitant to talk to strangersFear of law enforcers
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT THAT ABUSE MAY HAVE OCCURRED
You must report concerns as soon as possible to your team leader, who will refer to, in the first instance to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) David Lowe or Lois Moore who are nominated by the LT to act on their behalf in referring allegations or suspicions of neglect or abuse to the statutory authorities. In the absence or unavailability of David Lowe or Lois Moore, it is important to immediately report the concerns to one of the Safeguarding team (see Safeguarding Team above). Lois Moore and David Lowe may be required by the conditions of the Church Insurance Policy to immediately inform the Insurance Company. If the concern is of a serious nature, or one in which clarification of the best way to proceed is required then one of the DSL or in their absence one of the Safeguarding team will
ALLEGATIONS OF PHYSICAL INJURY OR NEGLECT TO A CHILD AT RISK OF IMMEDIATE HARM
1. Contact Social Services - Integrated Front Door on 01234 718700 (office hours) or ring 0300 300 8123 (out of hours) or in an emergency, then the police will be contacted on 999.
2. The parents should not be informed by the church/organisation in these circumstances.
3. Where emergency medical attention is necessary it will be sought immediately. David Lowe, Lois Moore / Safeguarding Leaders will inform the doctor of any suspicions of abuse.
4. In other circumstances speak with the parent/carer and suggest that medical help/attention is sought for the child. The doctor (or health visitor) will then initiate further action, if necessary.
5. If appropriate the parent/carer will be encouraged to seek help from the Social Services Department.
6. Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, if appropriate, David Lowe or Lois Moore will offer to go with them. If they still fail to act, David Lowe or Lois Moore should, in cases of real concern, contact Social Services for advice.
7. Where the Safeguarding Leaders are unsure whether or not to refer a case to the Social Services, then advice will be sought from 31.8 previously known as CCPAS.
ALLEGATIONS OF PHYSICAL INJURY OR NEGLECT TO A VULNERABLE ADULT
If a vulnerable adult has a physical injury or symptoms of neglect, the Safeguarding Leaders will:
1. Ask the individual’s consent to inform the Police or to seek medical attention if needed.
2. If the abuse is also a crime, call the police (regardless of whether consent is given) or an ambulance if medical attention is urgently required. Abuse which is also a crime can be: assault, racial harassment, rape or theft. You can call the police on (9)101(non- emergencies) or (9) 999 (in the case of emergency)
3. Write down what is said as soon as possible on the same day. Use the concern form 7a (children) or 7b (Adults) to report the exact words the alleged victim said or write exactly what you saw. Use only objective factual observations if reporting what you have seen (do not speculate). This form can be found in the reception area of Woodside Church.
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE TO A CHILD
In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, then David Lowe, Lois Moore or Safeguarding Leaders will:
1. Contact local Social Services duty social worker at Integrated Front Door for children and families or Police Child Protection Team directly. David Lowe, Lois Moore / Safeguarding Leaders will NOT speak to the parent (or anyone else), unless instructed to by Social Services, Integrated Front Door or the Police.
2. Under no circumstances will David Lowe, Lois Moore / Safeguarding Leaders attempt to carry out any investigation into the allegation or suspicions of sexual abuse. The role of David Lowe, Lois Moore / Safeguarding Leaders is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and to provide this information to the Social Services Department, whose task it is to investigate the matter under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
3. Whilst allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse will normally be reported to David Lowe or Lois Moore / Safeguarding Leaders, in the absence of these, the team leaders / youth / children’s workers should not delay referral to the Social Services Department.
4. Should there be any disagreement between the person in receipt of the allegation or suspicion and David Lowe, Lois Moore or Safeguarding leaders, as to the appropriateness of a referral to the Social Services department, 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.
5. The LT will support David Lowe, Lois Moore, safeguarding leaders 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.
In the event that a safeguarding concern has not been dealt with or it is felt that the concern has not been dealt with properly and effectively then it needs to be brought to the attention of the Woodside Trustees or Bedford Borough Safeguarding Team.
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE TO A VULNERABLE ADULT
If in the event of a sexual abuse allegation, this should be immediately reported to David Lowe or Lois Moore they will then:
1. Ask the individual’s consent to inform the Police or to seek medical attention if needed.
2. If the abuse is also a crime, call the police (regardless of whether consent is given) or an ambulance if medical attention is urgently required. Abuse which is also a crime can be: assault, racial harassment, rape or theft. You can call the police on (9) 101 or (9) 999 in an emergency.
3. Write down what is said as soon as possible on the same day. Use the concern form 7b to report the exact words the alleged victim said or write exactly what you saw. Use only objective factual observations if reporting what you have seen (do not speculate). This form can be found in the reception area of Woodside Church
HOW TO RESPOND TO A CHILD OR VULNERABLE ADULT WANTING TO TALK ABOUT ABUSE
It is not easy to give precise guidance, but the following may help.
Show acceptance of what the person says (however unlikely the story may sound)Keep calm!Look at the person directly. Be honest.Tell the person you will need to let someone else know – don’t promise confidentiality. Even when a child or vulnerable adult has broken a rule, they are not to blame for the abuse. Be aware that the child or vulnerable adult may have been threatened or bribed not to tell. Never push for information. If the person decides not to tell you after all, then accept that and let them know that you are always ready to listen.Use the TED question technique (tell, explain & describe). This may include questions like who, how and where? It is important to remember that questions should only be asked to help clarify whether the child is at risk of harm.
HELPFUL THINGS YOU MAY SAY
I believe you (or showing acceptance of what the person says) Thank you for telling me.It’s not your fault.I will help you.
Why didn’t you tell anyone before?I can’t believe it!Are you sure this is true?Never make false promisesNever make statements such as “I am shocked, don’t tell anyone else.”
Reassure the child or vulnerable adult that they were right to tell you and show acceptance.Let the person know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens (you might have to consider that David Lowe or Lois Moore may have to refer to Social Services or the Police to prevent a child or vulnerable adult or young person returning home if you consider them to be seriously at risk of further abuse)Contact David Lowe or Lois Moore or a safeguarding leader. In the event that they are unavailable contact Martin Tibbert Consider your own feelings and seek pastoral support if needed.
WHAT TO DO ONCE A CHILD / VULNERABLE ADULT HAS TALKED TO YOU ABOUT ABUSE:
1. Make notes as soon as possible (preferably within an hour of being told), writing down exactly what the vulnerable person said, using Concerns Form 7a (Children) or Form 7b (Vulnerable Adult). These are located in reception at the Dover Cresent site and in a chest of drawers next to the lift at the Great Denham site. This form can also be accessed via the Woodside Church website. Write what you said in reply to the person, when he/she said it and what was happening immediately beforehand (e.g., description of activity). Record dates and times of these events and when you made the record. Keep all handwritten notes securely, even if these have been typed subsequently. Concern forms are available from all team leaders.
2. Forms at the west site (Great Denham) can be passed to Hudson Ebenezer or Candy Crowe who will put them in a confidential envelope along with the weekly offering. This is then securely stored until it is handed to either Lois Moore or David Lowe. At the east site (Dover Crescent) concern forms can be placed in the letter box (labelled safeguarding) in reception.
3. Report your discussion, passing any notes over as soon as possible to your team leader who will subsequently contact one of the DSL. Notes will then be centrally kept locked away in the allocated filing cabinet in the main Project 41 office, at the Dover Crescent site. If David Lowe is implicated, report to Lois Moore. If Lois Moore is implicated, report to David Lowe If both are implicated, report to Martin Tibbert or 31.8 or to Social Services.
4. You should not discuss your suspicions or allegations with anyone other than those nominated in the above point.
5. Once a child/ vulnerable adult has talked about abuse David Lowe or Lois Moore (DSL) should consider whether or not it is safe for them to return home to a potentially abusive situation. On rare occasions it might be necessary to take immediate action to contact Social Services and/or police to discuss putting into effect safety measures for the child so that they do not return home.
SUICIDAL THOUGHTS OR INTENTION TO SELF HARM
If any young person or adult has talked about their intention to commit suicide then these concerns should be reported as a matter of urgency to your team leader, who will refer to, in the first instance to David Lowe or Lois Moore In the absence or unavailability of David Lowe or Lois Moore, it is important to immediately report the concerns to one of the Safeguarding team. If it is not possible to contact anyone from the Safeguarding team then consideration should be made to contact NHS 111 option 2 and discuss the concerns with the duty staff or police if there is immediate risk of an adult or child committing suicide. The child’s parent/carer should be informed as a matter of urgency. See attached suicide policy at the end of this document.
If the matter is in relation to suicidal thoughts and involves a child or vulnerable adult, the concerns should be reported as a matter of urgency to your team leader, who will refer to, in the first instance, David Lowe or Lois Moore . In the absence or unavailability of David Lowe or Lois Moore, it is important to immediately report the concerns to one of the Safeguarding team. The child’s parent/carer should be informed as a matter of urgency.
This policy provides guidance for Woodside Church in responding to church members, allegations and disclosures indicating potential self-harm and/or suicide.
Self-Harm – deliberate damage to one’s body without the intent to die (also referred to as self-injury)
Suicide – the act of purposely ending one’s life.Suicide attempt - a potentially self-injurious act intended to end one’s life, but which does not result in death.
Suicidal behaviour - includes the spectrum of activities related to suicide and self-harm including suicidal thinking, self-harming behaviours not aimed at causing death, and suicide attempts
Actively Suicidal - the person has a thought out plan of how to end their life and the means to do this. Suicidal ideation – thoughts about attempting or completing suicide.
Woodside Church is committed to good practice in the prevention of suicide and self-harm.
When responding to suicidal and self-harming behaviour, the physical and emotional safety of the church members, staff and volunteers is paramount.
People presenting with suicidal behaviour are assessed to determine the level and immediacy of suicide and/or self-harm risk. The challenge is to assess the severity and intensity of suicidal intent and the urgency of support needed.
Firstly we need to establish if a person is actively or not actively suicidal. To be actively suicidal means the person has a thought-out plan of how to end their life and the means to do this. Some key information that will help you to make this assessment is to find out if the person:
Have you considered when or where they might take action in this plan?
Do they have access to the necessary means to complete this plan?
Have they attempted suicide before?
If someone is actively suicidal, you need to seek help from them immediately. This will require you to contact the NHS 111 service, selecting option 2. Please also contact the Woodside Church Safeguarding Team.
If you have concerns, but the person is not actively suicidal, encourage them to speak to their GP or the local mental health team, especially if they are showing signs of depression or thought disorder. If the person continues to struggle and you are concerned that they could become actively suicidal do get in contact with the Safeguarding Team.
WORKING WITH OFFENDERS
Where someone attending the church is known to have a conviction or convictions of violence or sexual harm to children or adults, a person who is accused of a violent or sexual offence or a person whose behaviour is of concern and they have ignored advice then whilst extending friendship to the individual, the LT in its commitment to the protection of all vulnerable people will meet with the individual and discuss boundaries that the person will be expected to keep.
At least two members of the LT and one of the Safeguarding Leaders meet with the person and or professionals and establish boundaries for the conduct of the individual laid down in a signed contract (Form 6).
Writing and managing a contract with.
A person who has a conviction/ convictions of violence or sexual harm to children or adultsA person who has been accused of a violent or sexual offenceA person whose behaviour is of concern, and they have ignored advice
STAGE 1 – CALLING A MEETING
The person of concern needs to be invited to attend a meeting with a small group of people who may have professional expertise (police, social worker, prison officer, probation). If this is not possible, the attendees need to be people who are interested in supporting but also monitoring the person of concern. If the person is on the Sex Offenders or Violent and Sex Offenders Register, the police liaison officer can be invited to the meeting.
STAGE 2 – CHURCH ACTIVITIES
A list needs to be made of all the activities which take place in the church building and are the responsibility of the church. This will be all the mid-week groups as well as the Sunday Services, but not the meetings which are leased by outside organisations or freely given to other organisations.
STAGE 3 – RISK ASSESSMENT
Go through all the meetings and state which the person can attend (such as a concert), cannot attend at all (tea and toddlers or a social group for adults with disabilities), or can attend with supervision (worship).
STAGE 4 – THE CONTRACT
State which groups the person cannot attend and should not be in the building. State which groups the person can attend and what the supervision arrangements are. The contract must be signed by the person and all attendees.
STAGE 5 – REVIEW MEETING
The next meeting is arranged and there is discussion about how the terms of the contract have been adhered to, whether there have been any breaches (if so, any statutory authorities must be informed) and whether the terms of the contract need to be changed.
HELPING VICTIMS OF ABUSE
The Church is committed to supporting victims of abuse and encouraging them in their faith.
INDECENT IMAGES (BEING SENT ONE)
It is important that if you (as a ministry area leader) are sent an indecent image then you must report this to the Police immediately and they will advise on the necessary steps to take. It is also important to report it to a designated safeguarding lead as soon as possible.
Sending of any indecent images is a criminal offence so it is vital that this image is not circulated to another member of staff or designated safeguard lead. You can always contact 31.8 for advice.
APPOINTMENT OF WORKERS
In appointing workers, the Church will be responsible for the following:
1. Workers applying for a paid or unpaid position will be required to complete a full application form (Form 2), and a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) form. Paid workers will be appointed after an appropriate interview, selection procedure and DBS clearance. Potential Full-time staff will be interviewed by a member of the church leadership team and a staff member who has completed the safer recruitment course.
2. Workers who are applying for or are invited to work in a voluntary capacity with vulnerable adults or children will be required to complete a DBS check. and a Volunteer’s Application Form (Form 1). Volunteers may also be interviewed (formally or informally) by the Youth / Children’s Leader / Vulnerable Adults leader. The Youth / Children’s Leader / Vulnerable Adults Leader may also refer to the applicant’s Community Group Leader (if appropriate) and the pastoral team for their comments.
3. An interview for volunteers can be informal, but should include discussion of some items not on the volunteer’s application form:
3a. Christian background and experience
3b. Previous experience of working with children
3c. Any medical conditions which may affect work with children
3d. Made aware of the Safeguarding and social media Policy
4. The process to obtain clearance from the DBS for any new member of paid and/or full-time staff or volunteers will be completed before the applicant is appointed. A volunteer will NOT be able to work with U18s in regulated activity unless a DBS form has been completed and cleared. On occasions a prospective volunteer may be invited to attend a session to see whether they are suitable for the role. This must be supervised by a team member and they must not be left alone with a child at any point.
5. If a worker has DBS clearance elsewhere, they will still be required to complete a DBS clearance for Woodside Church. The only exception to this is when a DBS clearance has been completed online using the update service and shows a like for like level of clearance. This is in accordance with advice given by Thirty One Eight.
6. Once a worker has a DBS clearance, they will be required to renew their DBS every three years using the online service.
7. Parents who are accompanying their own children in church organised children’s activities do not need to go through the appointment process. However, if the parent’s role in the activity has the intention to become more of a support / helper role, e.g., helping to take another child to the toilet, or helping another child in an activity, then the appointment process must be undertaken. The parent helper can NOT help in a ‘helper’ capacity until the DBS process has been completed and has been cleared. Parents are able to attend sessions but must be reminded that they are only responsible for their own child/children.
8. Any volunteers under 16 years old will not be required to complete the DBS form, or a Voluntary Disclosure Form, or be processed through the DBS. However, a record will be kept of their 16th birthday, when they will have to complete the forms, and be processed with a DBS. Permission to volunteer must also be obtained from their parents or guardians. This information is recorded by David Lowe who as a DSL keeps a record of all DBS and safeguard training data.
9. When a volunteer comes from overseas, references will be required prior to them working from the sending church for both character and suitability for working with children. If the volunteer comes from a country that has its own DBS scheme, we will endeavor to do a check in the usual way.
10.Anyone who is a known convicted offender who has committed acts of violence against children or sexual offences against children or adults will not be permitted to work with children or vulnerable adults. This includes ANY activity connected with children or vulnerable adults, for example driving a minibus, serving refreshments or operating technical equipment.
11. Children and vulnerable adult workers will be given opportunities to meet together with a leader to discuss work programs and areas of concern including issues relating to discipline.
12. The appointment process of all paid workers will be reviewed on a regular basis. Any voluntary workers are required to complete an application form for voluntary work with children, young people and vulnerable adults (see Form 1 in appendix).
13. When a volunteer wants to serve mid-year, they will be required to read both the Woodside Safeguarding Policy and the social media Policy. Following this, they will be required to fill in the ‘Mid-Year Recruitment Form’, which ascertains key understanding of these policies (Form 8). This will be monitored by ministry area leaders and Designated Safeguard Leads.
14. Employed workers will be given a contract by appointment.
15. When employing any staff on a paid basis at Woodside Church, there will be at least one person present on the interview panel that will have completed the ‘Safer Recruitment Training’.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUPERVISION OF GROUP/CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
(SPECIFIC TO CHILDREN)
All the young people and children’s groups use these guidelines to help protect workers and young people/children in their activities both in and out of Woodside Christian Centre.
1. Parents are informed of the activities that each group runs. A registration form is completed by parents giving consent for the child/young person to participate in the normal activities of group attended (Form 3). Parental consent forms are required for every additional activity or event outside of the normal activity of the group attended (Form 5).
2. The Church will always have at least two leaders supervising its groups and aims to maintain the following minimum adult: child ratio within its children and young people groups. Where possible both male and female leaders should be present.
The following table shows recommended adult to child ratios.
3 - 4 (Excite)
3. A register of attendance for the young people and children is kept for each activity.
4. No children or young people are left without adult supervision.
5. Workers should not be alone in a private place with a child or young person.
6. Adult visitors attend with the permission of the group leader and are only permitted to supervise their own child or young person.
7. Children should only be taken to the toilet by an adult who has been DBS cleared, or who is the parent of the child whom they are taking. Where possible this person should be the same gender as the child. The adult will walk them to the toilet and will wait for them outside the toilet (they will not enter the cubicle with the child).
8. Where nappies need changing the parents of the child will be found.
9. Accidents are recorded in an accident book, situated behind the desk at reception, alongside the first aid box.
10. Permission must be sought and received from parents of young people who are receiving discipline or counselling from a youth leader
11. With regards to any use of technology and social media - please refer to the Woodside Church Social Media Policy
12. Discipline of children during children’s work is carried out using the guidelines outlined in Appendix1
USE OF BUILDING BY OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS
Woodside Church occasionally permits the use of the building by other churches or organisations for work with children or young people under the age of sixteen. Permission will be granted at the discretion of the LT. A copy of the organization’s safeguarding policy will need to be obtained before permission is granted.
All paid and volunteer workers will attend Safeguard training every other year. A record of those trained will be kept centrally. Each mission area lead will be responsible for carrying out safeguard training of their respective teams and for ensuring that each team member is DBS cleared prior to their paid or voluntary work placement.
The next annual children’s safeguard training will be in NOVEMBER 2024
The next annual adult’s safeguard training will be in FEBRUARY 2024
GUIDELINES FOR DISCIPLINE FOR CHURCH WORKERS CARING FOR CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
Discipline is the education of a person’s character. It includes nurturing, training, instruction, chastisement, verbal rebuke, teaching and encouragement. It brings security, produces character, prepares for life, is evidence of love and is God’s heart. (Hebrews 12:5-12 and Proverbs 22:6)
Ask God for wisdom, discernment and understanding and pray for the vulnerable person.
Work on each individual person’s positives, do not compare them with each other, but encourage and build them up, giving them responsibility for simple tasks.
Build healthy relationships with children and vulnerable adults and be a good role model, setting a good example. You can’t expect someone to observe ground rules if you break them yourself.
Take care to give quieter and well-mannered children and vulnerable adults attention and don’t allow any -one person to constantly take all your time and energy.
SPECIFIC TO CHILDREN
Be consistent in what you say and ensure that other team members know what you have said - this avoids manipulation.Look honestly at your program – if children are bored, they misbehave. Is the program at fault?
NEVER smack or hit a child and don’t shout – change voice tone if necessary.
Discipline out of love NEVER anger. (Call on support from other leaders if you feel you may deal with the situation unwisely in your anger.)
Lay down ground rules e.g., no swearing, racism or bullying, a respect for property, and make sure the children understand what action will be taken if not kept.
Each child is unique, special and individual, and each child needs a different method of being dealt with. We need to ask why the child is behaving that way.Separate children who have a tendency to be disruptive when together. Give them a chance, warn them and only separate if they are disruptive as a last resort.
Have the child sit right in front of you or get a helper to sit next to the child.Be pro-active and encourage helpers to be pro-active and not wait to be told to deal with a situation.
Take the child aside and talk to them, challenge them to change, whilst encouraging them on their strengths.Warn a child that you will speak to their parents and do so if necessary. Warn them, send them outside the room (care re supervision), back into the service or ban them for a week. (Never a total ban without reference to your leader and ensure parents are advised in cases of banning.)
If a child’s behavior is constantly disruptive, seek advice and guidance from a leader. Review each session before the next meeting bringing problems to the attention of the group leaders.
Samaritans 116 123
NHS non- emergency 111
Emergency Duty Team 0300 300 8123
SEPT Mental Health Out of Hours Service: 0300 1238123
Bedford Police 01234 271212