DCF Safeguarding Policy
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
Section 6. Leadership safeguarding statement.
Appendix 1. Definition of abuse
Appendix 2. Possible signs of abuse
Appendix 3. How to respond to concerns or allegations.
Appendix 4. Safeguarding Posters
The Safeguarding Policy
Details of the place of worship / organisation
Name of Place of Worship / Organisation:
DAWLISH CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Unit 2 Black Swan Business Park, Black Swan Road, Dawlish, EX7 0FQ
Tel No: 01626 888469
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership of Denomination/Organisation: PARTNERSHIP
Charity Number: 1178345
Insurance Company: CONGREGATIONAL. Buildings, contents, public liability and employer’s liability.
The following is a brief description of our place of worship and the type of activities we undertake with children and adults who have care and support needs:
At present we use our premises as an office and an occasional meeting room.
We provide the following:
- Junior Church and Anchor Youth on Sundays at Dawlish College Dawlish.
- Thursday Club for the elderly and lonely: usually at Dawlish Methodist church hall.
- Sunday evening Youth Group at homes of various church members.
- Sunday morning service at Dawlish College, Dawlish.
- Life groups at homes of various church members.
- Be-Dazzled at Westcliff and Gatehouse schools and Bounce at Dawlish College
- Various other occasional groups.
As a Leadership we 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. 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 31:8.
The 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 Equality Act 2010 and all other relevant legislation, and that it is welcoming and inclusive.
- Support the Safeguarding Coordinator(s) in their work and in any action they may need to take in order to protect children and vulnerable adults.
- The Leadership agrees not to allow the document to be copied by other organisations.
Recognising and responding appropriately to an allegation or suspicion of abuse
Understanding abuse and neglect
Defining child abuse or abuse against an 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 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:
1. 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.
2. 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: appendix 1
Signs and symptoms of abuse: appendix 2
How to respond to a child wishing to disclose abuse: appendix 3
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 usually provided by 31:8.
The Leadership will also ensure that children and adults with care and support needs 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 Jane Coombes (hereafter the “Safeguarding Co-ordinator”) tel no: 07399572192 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 «position vacant» (hereafter the “Deputy “). If the suspicions implicate both the Safeguarding Co-ordinator and the Deputy, then the report should be made in the first instance to the thirty one:eight Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0303 0031111. 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 thirty one:eight as above.
The local Children’s Social Services office telephone number (office hours) is 0845 155 1071 or 0345 155 107. The out of hours emergency number is 0345 600 0388.
The local Adult Social Services office telephone number (office hours) is 0845 155 1007 or 0345 155 1007. The out of hours emergency number is 0345 600 0388.
- The Safeguarding Co-ordinator may need to inform others depending on the circumstances and/or nature of the concern (for example the Chair of Trustees to log that a safeguarding concern is being dealt with, Insurance company to log that there is a possibility of a serious incident concerning safeguarding or a Designated Officer (formerly LADO) if allegations have been made about a person who has a role with under 18’s elsewhere.
- 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 thirty one:eight.
- 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 thirty one:eight, although the Leadership hope that members of the place of worship / 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 thirty one:eight) 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 thirty one:eight (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 thirty one:eight if, for any reason they are unsure whether or not to contact Children’s Social Services/Police. thirty one:eight will confirm its advice in writing for future reference.
Detailed procedures where there is a concern that an adult is in need of protection:
Suspicions or allegations of abuse or harm including; physical, sexual, organisational, financial, discriminatory, neglect, self neglect, forced marriage, modern slavery, domestic abuse
If there is concern about any of the above, Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy will:
- Contact the Adult Social Care Team who have responsibility under the Care Act 2014 to investigate allegations of abuse. Alternatively thirty one:eight can be contacted for advice.
- If the adult is in immediate danger or has sustained a serious injury contact the Emergency Services, informing them of any suspicions.
Allegations of abuse against a person who works with children/young people
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 designated officer formerly called a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
Allegations of abuse against a person who works with adults with care and support needs.
The Care Act places the duty upon Adult Services to investigate situations of harm to adults with care and support needs. This may result in a range of options including action against the person or organisation causing the harm, increasing the support for the carers or no further action if the ‘victim’ chooses for no further action and they have the capacity to communicate their decision. However, this is a decision for Adult Services to decide not the church.
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 disclosure and barring check has been completed where necessary (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.
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 adults with care and support needs.
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 place of worship / organisation.
Working with offenders
When someone attending the place of worship / organisation is known to have abused children, or is known to be a risk to vulnerable adults the Leadership will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care, but in its safeguarding commitment to the protection of children and vulnerable adults, set boundaries for that person which they will be expected to keep. A risk assessment has been carried out with respect to dealing with a known offender trying to gain entry to any activity involving children or vulnerable adults. Group leaders will be notified on a strictly need to know basis of the presence of known offenders.
As a place of worship working with children, young people and vulnerable adults we wish to operate and promote good working practice. This will enable workers to run activities safely, develop good relationships and minimise the risk of false or unfounded accusation.
As well as a general code of conduct for workers we also have specific good practice guidelines for every activity we are involved in and these will be developed.
We use parent/guardian consent forms for any off site activities involving children or youth. Contact details and medical issue forms are required for any child/youth taking part in Junior church or Youth Group.
We have an E-safety policy in operation.
Signed by: _________________________
Leadership Safeguarding Statement
The Leadership of Dawlish Christian Fellowship recognises the importance of its ministry /work with children and young people and adults in need of protection and its responsibility to protect everyone entrusted to our care.
The following statement was agreed by the leadership/organisation on: _____________________
This place of worship/organisation is committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and ensuring their well-being.
- We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect of children and young people (those under 18 years of age) and to report any such abuse that we discover or suspect.
- We believe every child should be valued, safe and happy. We want to make sure that children we have contact with know this and are empowered to tell us if they are suffering harm.
- All children and young people have the right to be treated with respect, to be listened to and to be protected from all forms of abuse.
- We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, psychological, financial and discriminatory abuse and neglect of adults who have care and support needs and to report any such abuse that we discover or suspect.
- We recognise the personal dignity and rights of adults who find themselves victims of forced marriage or modern slavery and will ensure all our policies and procedures reflect this.
- We believe all adults should enjoy and have access to every aspect of the life of the place of worship/organisation unless they pose a risk to the safety of those we serve.
- We undertake to exercise proper care in the appointment and selection of all those who will work with children and adults with care and support needs.
We are committed to:
- Following the requirements for UK legislation in relation to safeguarding children and adults and good practice recommendations.
- Respecting the rights of children as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Implementing the requirements of legislation in regard to people with disabilities.
- Ensuring that workers adhere to the agreed procedures of our safeguarding policy.
- Keeping up to date with national and local developments relating to safeguarding.
- Following any denominational or organisational guidelines in relation to safeguarding children and adults in need of protection.
- Supporting the safeguarding co-ordinator/s in their work and in any action they may need to take in order to protect children/vulnerable adults.
- Ensuring that everyone agrees to abide by these recommendations and the guidelines established by this place of worship/organisation.
- Supporting parents and families
- Nurturing, protecting and safeguarding of children and young people
- Supporting, resourcing, training, monitoring and providing supervision to all those who undertake this work.
- Supporting all in the place of worship/organisation affected by abuse.
- Adopting and following the ‘Safe and Secure’ safeguarding standards developed by thirty one:eight.
- Children’s Social Services (or equivalent) has lead responsibility for investigating all allegations or suspicions of abuse where there are concerns about a child. Adult Social Care (or equivalent) has lead responsibility for investigating all allegations or suspicions of abuse where there are concerns about an adult with care and support needs.
- Where an allegation suggests that a criminal offence may have been committed then the police should be contacted as a matter of urgency.
- Where working outside of the UK, concerns will be reported to the appropriate agencies in the country where we operate, and their procedures followed, and in addition we will report concerns to our agency’s headquarters.
- Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
We will review this statement and our policy and procedures annually.
If you have any concerns for a child or adult with care and support needs then speak to one of the following who have been approved as safeguarding co-ordinators for this place of worship/organisation.
Jane Coombes Child Safeguarding Coordinator
Position vacant Deputy Child Safeguarding Coordinator
Jane Coombes Adult Safeguarding Coordinator
Position vacant Deputy Adult Safeguarding Coordinator
A copy of the full policy and procedures is available from Dawlish Christian Fellowship Office.
A copy of our safeguarding policy has been lodged with thirty one:eight
Signed by leadership
signed __________________________ ________________________
Definitions of Abuse Physical Abuse. Sexual Abuse.
Neglect Emotional abuse The Children Act 1989 requires that if the local authority has ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives or is found in their area is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm*, they must make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as they consider necessary……’ Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institution or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. A child may suffer more than one category of abuse. The following definitions of child abuse recommended for registration are as stated in the joint government departments’ document, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ published in 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. 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. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. 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.
*These signs may indicate the possibility that a child or young person is self-harming, mostly by cutting, burning and self-poisoning.
Signs of possible abuse
When considering whether there is evidence to suggest a child or young person has been abused there are a number of possible indicators (listed below). However, there may be other explanations, so it is important not to jump to conclusions but rather seek advice from Children’s Services, the Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit or thirty one:eight . There may not be any signs or symptoms. This does not mean that a report of abuse is false.
Signs Suggesting Physical Abuse
1) Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them.
2) Injuries that occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc.
3) Injuries that have not received medical attention.
4) Neglect – under nourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, untreated illnesses, inadequate care, etc.
5) Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games or swimming
6) Repeated urinary infections or unexplained tummy pains.
7) Bruises, bites, burns, fractures etc. that do not have an accidental explanation*
8) Cuts/scratches/substance abuse*
9) Changes in routine
Signs Suggesting Emotional Abuse
1) Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clingy. Also depression/aggression, extreme anxiety.
2) Nervousness, frozen watchfulness.
3) Obsessions or phobias.
4) Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration.
5) Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults.
6) Attention-seeking behaviour.
7) Persistent tiredness.
8) Running away/stealing/lying.
Indicators of Possible Sexual Abuse
1) Any allegations made by a child concerning sexual abuse.
2) Child with excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, or who regularly engages in age-inappropriate sexual play.
3) Sexual activity through words, play or drawing.
4) Child who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults.
5) Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home.
6) Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with overt or veiled sexual connotations.
7) Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia*.
8) Bed wetting and soiling
*These signs may indicate the possibility that a child or young person is self-harming, mostly by cutting, burning, self-poisoning.
How to respond to concerns or allegations
It is very important to have someone within the church or group whose role it is to be child protection coordinator, who can immediately record in writing what they have seen or heard that has worried them and/or what they have been told by someone else.
In the case of suspected sexual abuse or deliberate injury, if there are concerns for a child’s safety or if a child is afraid to return home, the correct way to respond to an allegation or concern is for the person responsible for child protection matters to phone the local authority’s Children’s Services or the police child abuse investigation unit to explain what has happened.
Other people who have knowledge of the situation may consider contacting the parents of the child involved. thirty one:eight would not advise this course of action because it is often not clear who is responsible for the abuse. So, rather than jumping to what might be the wrong conclusions and possibly damaging a police investigation, it is important to speak first to Children’s Services or the police and act on their advice. Medical help should be sought in an emergency, and the doctor treating the child should be informed of any concerns.
The relevant phone numbers will be in the local telephone directory, and if not listed, the police child protection unit can be contacted via the main police number. Children’s Services and the police are used to dealing with this type of call and will respond sensitively and appropriately. However, if the child protection worker in the church is unsure whether or not they need to contact them, they can ring thirty one:eight on 0303 003 11 11 and talk to someone on our helpline.
Sometimes people are worried about speaking to the police or Children’s Services because they are afraid that it might affect their stay in the UK if, say, they are an asylum seeker or refugee. Police officers who work in child abuse investigation are there to find out what has happened to the child and keep them safe, irrespective of their or their family’s legal status.
For Christians, the bible makes it clear that it views offences against children very seriously, and should be dealt with by the governing authorities (Matthew 18 & Romans 13). It also teaches respect for the authorities (1 Peter 2 v 13-17).This means that when people commit crimes against children, as in the case of abuse, the authorities should be informed so that justice can be done, those who abuse children are stopped, and children are protected from harm.
Guidelines for responding to a child who may have been abused
- Don’t ask questions.
- Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep e.g. not telling anyone else.
- Accept what you hear without passing judgement.
- Tell the child what you are going to do.
- Make careful notes (the circumstances, what the child said, what you said etc.) as soon as possible, preferably within an hour. Include dates and times of incident/recording and keep the notes safely.
- Contact the person responsible for child protection concerns or, in their absence, take action yourself without delay.
- Listen and pass on to the church child protection co-ordinator – do not question or investigate.
- The Child Protection Co-ordinator should contact Children’s Services, the police or thirty one:eight.
Appendix 4 – Safeguarding Posters
Download the safeguarding poster here: