The parish of St. Mark’s, Kempshott, takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults who may be at risk of harm, and has produced the following safeguarding policy and underpinning procedures in order to set out the standards we wish to uphold.
This policy applies to all church officers and is informed by and supports the House of Bishops’ and Diocesan policy and practice guidance. The term ‘parish’ is used to denote the PCC and the Priest in charge, who together are responsible for ensuring the safety and protection of all vulnerable groups involved with the church. It is also the responsibility of all church officers to assist the PCC in this endeavour.
We recognise that:
- The welfare of the child or young person is paramount.
- All children and adults with vulnerabilities, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, ethnic origin, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to protection from abuse.
- Partnership working is essential to good safeguarding practice.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to without delay.
- All church officers have a responsibility to report concerns to their Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO).
- Church officers must receive support and training to be aware of and understand best practice, and how to manage any welfare or safeguarding issues that may arise.
Promoting a safer environment and culture
We will ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken to safeguard vulnerable groups in order that they can participate fully in any pastoral, social and other PCC endorsed or approved activities and events, safe from harm and abuse.
The following activities and events have been identified as those that are associated with vulnerable groups and run in the name of the church:
- Chat n Play
- God’s Gifts
- The Grid/The Message
- Home communion
- Messy churchTea@2
- Young at Heart
For these activities and events we will:
- Designate a Group Leader
- Ensure an appropriate staffing/supervision ratio of adults to children, taking into account the nature of the activity, the venue and the age, gender and needs of participants.
- Ensure adults do not work alone with children and young people
- Obtain parental/guardian consent for attendance at groups and trips, use of images and transporting children in private cars
- Ensure unaccompanied children are taken care of by a suitably appointed adult and endeavour to establish contact with the parent or carers to gain their consent to their child’s attendance
- Ensure no child or young person is invited into the home of a church officer unless the reason for this has been approved and agreed with parents and the PCC.
- Ensure pastoral carers do not misuse or abuse the trust that is bestowed upon them
- Ensure risk assessments are carried out before an activity/event takes place, and these are reviewed regularly
- Provide appropriate insurance cover for all activities undertaken in the name of the PCC
- Ensure that all activities and events which are not run directly by the church but which take place in church buildings or grounds comply with the relevant safeguarding guidance
We select, vet and train all church officers working or volunteering with vulnerable groups in accordance with the House of Bishop’s and Diocesan safeguarding policy and practice guidance.
- have clear role descriptions and/or person specifications for all posts working or volunteering with children and/or adults
- Ensure all church workers and volunteers with children and adults complete and sign an application form and confidential declaration before appointment
- Ensure we take up written references and carefully check the applicant’s right to work in the UK before appointment
- Seek an enhanced DBS check for anyone eligible before appointment
- Ensure that all applicants for working with children and vulnerable adults are interviewed
- Offer relevant support and training after appointment
- Ensure all church leaders and those who work with children and/or adults complete appropriate safeguarding training at least every three years.
- Adhere to our Policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders.
Responding to safeguarding concerns
We will ensure that anyone who brings any safeguarding suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or non-current abuse to the notice of the church will be responded to respectfully and in a timely manner, in line with legislation, statutory and national safeguarding policy and procedures.
Guidance for reporting concerns can be found in ‘Practice Guidance: Responding to Safeguarding Concerns or Allegations that relate to Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults’.
- Appoint at least one lay Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) for children and adults
- Ensure there are arrangements in place to cover if the PSO is not available
- Ensure that the written procedure for dealing with abuse and allegations and make this available to all church officers
- Clearly display contact details of the PSO and the Diocesan Safeguarding team, as well as local and national services available to get help with safeguarding issues
- Store personal information and safeguarding records securely and ensure information needed in an emergency is readily available
- Ensure all church officers are aware of their responsibilities in regard to the recording, storage and sharing of information
- Adhere to our Policy statement on domestic abuse and violence.
Care for survivors of abuse
We will ensure that those who have suffered abuse will receive a compassionate response, be listened to and taken seriously.
When it is known that a member of the church community may pose a risk to children and/or adults, we will consult without delay with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser so that a safe course of action in accordance with national and local safeguarding policy and procedures is followed, in conjunction with the relevant statutory agencies.
Monitoring and review
This safeguarding policy and the following underpinning procedures will be available to all church officers, parents and participants.
- Church of England House of Bishops ‘Practice Guidance: Responding to Safeguarding Concerns or Allegations that relate to Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults’
- Health and Safety Policy
- Parish Safeguarding Handbook
This policy will be reviewed annually by the PCC and amended as appropriate.
Contact Numbers and Websites
|NSPCC||0808 800 5000|
|Family Lives – building better family lives together||0808 800 2222|
|National Domestic Violence Helpline||0808 2000 247|
|Stop It Now – helping prevent child sexual abuse||0808 1000 900|
|NAPAC – supporting recovery from childhood abuse||0808 801 033|
|Action on Elder Abuse||080 8808 8141|
|Samaritans – more than a 24/7 helpline||116 123|