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St Luke's Church, Eccleshill, Bradford, UK

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Safeguarding at St Luke's Church, Eccleshill

The Diocesan Synod of West Yorkshire and the Dales debated a draft policy statement on safeguarding at its meeting on 12th March 2016, and although there were quite a lot of queries expressed during the debate about the details of the wording, there was no basic disagreement with the main thrust of the motion, which approved the statement for the diocese, and commended it to PCCs for them to adopt. Accordingly, Eccleshill PCC discussed the statement. We felt there were some broad aspirations in the statement that perhaps needed to be qualified in the setting of a local parish church which cannot offer specialist ministries from within its own resources, and accordingly we decided to adopt the bullet-points in the statement (the left-hand column below) but also to provide an expanded commentary on what we feel these mean in our situation (as detailed in the right-hand column).

 

Safeguarding Policy Statement

This Policy Statement on Safeguarding in the Church was adopted by St Luke’s Church Eccleshill at a Parochial Church Council meeting held on 19th July 2016.

Each person who works within this church will be asked to agree to abide by these recommendations and the guidelines established by this church. This church appoints Linda Gibson as the Parish Safeguarding Officer. The application of this policy will be reviewed each year and a report provided by the Parish Safeguarding Officer to the PCC.

Every person has a value and dignity which comes directly from the creation of male and female in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things, this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.

The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales and all parishes within it adopt Church of England polices and practice guidance relating to safeguarding.

We will endeavour to safeguard children, young people and adults by: We understand this to mean that we will:
Ensuring the care, nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children, young people and adults. (We take this as our basic responsibility towards all our members and visitors.)
Carefully selecting and training all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with safer recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records disclosures and registration with the relevant vetting and barring schemes. We will ask all those working unsupervised (including escorts on transport) to comply with the relevant vetting and barring schemes. We will ask all those with any responsibilities to complete self-certification forms of disclosure *.
Supporting, resourcing, training and regularly reviewing those who undertake work with children, young people and adults. We will ask those without background trainings in other settings to attend training on safeguarding as provided by the church or voluntary service agencies.
Establishing safe, caring communities which provide an environment where there is a culture of ‘informed vigilance’ as to the dangers of abuse. We will always work with people in an open setting so everyone can be seen, and we will encourage everyone to take notice of what is going on and to be concerned about all aspects of safety.
Recognising that it is the responsibility of each of us to prevent the physical, emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse of children, young people and adults, and to report any such abuse that we discover or suspect. We will remind all our members each year about the principles of (i) noticing any changes in behaviour and drawing them to the safeguarding officer’s attention; (ii) what any of us should do if approached by someone who discloses any abuse. **
Responding without delay to every complaint made which suggests that a child, young person or adult may have been harmed, co-operating with the police and local authority in any investigation. We will report any such complaint to our vicar, safeguarding officer, and the police or social services, ask them to investigate, and commit ourselves to cooperating with the investigation.
Seeking to work with anyone who has suffered abuse, developing with him/her an appropriate ministry of informed pastoral care. We will offer a welcome and a listening ear to anyone who has suffered abuse, and we will refer such people on to specialist ministries if appropriate with our support; but we recognize we cannot provide specialist counselling services ourselves.
Committing ourselves to promoting safe practice by those in positions of trust. We will make it clear that allegations against the vicar and safeguarding officer should be taken up with the other, who will take them further with the police or social services.
Challenging any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust.
Offering pastoral care and support, including supervision and referral to the proper authorities, to any member of our church community known to have offended against a child, young person or adult. (i) We will make it clear that everyone is welcome to attend church services, irrespective of any background; (ii) we will come to a written and signed agreement with any known offender to limit his/her contact with any member of a group s/he has offended against, and we will monitor compliance with this agreement; (iii) we will notify the authorities of anyone who discloses any abusive offences. We will offer friendship and a listening ear to everyone, but we will refer anyone who needs specialist support on to appropriate agencies.

* The confidential declaration forms referred to in the above text, which we will use, are those which appear as Appendix 5 (pages 24-26) of the Church of England's document "Practice Guidance: Safer Recruiting", which appear here, and we will have applicants complete these face-to-face with our officer so that we can be assured they understand the meanings and significance of the questions.

** To remind our members of these principles, a poster containing the following words is on display on a notice board in the church building, and we draw people's attention to it. It functions as our "syllabus" of what we say to people when we are reminding them.

 

Safeguarding Guidelines

Safeguarding Guidelines for all people working with children, young people and adults.

Always:

  • Respect everyone as an individual. Provide a good example of acceptable behaviour.
  • Respect everyone’s right to personal privacy.
  • Be available as a listening ear and if necessary, refer for more appropriate help.
  • Be sensitive to other people’s likes and dislikes.
  • Try to ensure that your actions cannot be misunderstood or cause offence.
  • Show understanding when dealing with sensitive issues.
  • Plan to have more than one adult present during all activities.

Never:

  • Never permit abusive behaviour, e.g. bullying, ridiculing or taunting.
  • Never have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with others.
  • Never jump to conclusions or make assumptions about others without checking facts.
  • Never encourage inappropriate attention seeking behaviour.
  • Never show favouritism to anyone.
  • Never make suggestive remarks or actions even in jest.
  • Never deliberately place yourself or others in a compromising situation.
  • Never believe it could never happen to you.

Never promise to keep what you have been told a secret.

If you suspect someone is being abused physically, sexually or emotionally:

  • Keep calm. Do not be shocked. Try to act normally.
  • Do not investigate – do not question
  • Do not challenge parents/carers/others about your concerns.
  • Record all details which support your suspicions. Sign, date and keep these.
  • Agree with your Safeguarding Officer *** what action should be taken.

If someone talks to you about abuse by someone else:

  • Listen carefully to what the person tells you, accepting what is said
  • Offer immediate support, understanding and reassurance.
  • Explain that you cannot keep a secret.
  • Tell them “I believe you, it’s not your fault” and “I am going to help you”.

NEVER AGREE TO KEEP A SECRET. YOU MUST INFORM OTHERS.

*** If it is about the Safeguarding Officer, raise your concerns with the vicar or with the police / social services directly.

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This web page was last updated on 20th July 2016.