Policy Statement for the Safeguarding of Children and Adults at risk
As members of Exeter St Sidwell’s and St Matthew’s PCC we commit our church community to the support, nurture, protection and safeguarding of all, especially the young and vulnerable. We recognise that our work with children, young people and adults at risk is the responsibility of the whole church community. We are fully committed to acting within current legislation, guidance, national frameworks and the Diocesan Safeguarding procedures. We will also act in an open, transparent and accountable way in working in partnership with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Children and Adult Social Care Services, the Police, Probation Services and other agencies to safeguard children and adults at risk. Staff and volunteers are recruited in accordance with House of Bishops’ Guidance on Safer Recruitment. This means we will ensure that those who are employed or who volunteer to work with children, young people and adults at risk are suitable for the role, that they know what the role entails and that they are supported in carrying it out.
We recognise that everyone has different levels of vulnerability and that each of us may be regarded as vulnerable at some time in our lives, but there are particular groups of people who need to be cared for:
Children and Young People (In this policy, as in the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. ‘Children’ therefore means ‘children and young people’, and these terms are often used interchangeably. The term ‘young people’ is often used to describe children who are of secondary school age, i.e. aged between 11 and 17. By implication, the term ‘children’ is often used to specifically describe a child between the age of 0 and 10).
Adults who may fall into one or several of these categories:
• A sensory, or physical disability, or impairment.
• A learning disability
• A physical illness
• Mental ill health (including dementia), chronic, or acute.
• An addiction to alcohol, or drugs.
• The failing faculties of old age
• A permanent, or temporary reduction in physical, mental, or emotional capacity brought on by life events e.g. bereavement, trauma, or previous abuse.
• St Sidwell’s & St Matthew’s PCC will follow the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and Guidance for Parishes when recruiting staff and volunteers in accordance with the latest legal requirements and national church guidelines.
Staff and volunteers working with children and young people or with adults at risk will be trained about their responsibilities to these groups when being initiated into their roles, and other training sessions will be held for volunteers and staff when required. Part of this training may involve preparing volunteers and staff for the reporting of concerns, scenario planning about what to do if a child or adult discloses something that has upset or harmed them, a child or adult exhibits behaviour that might show signs of abuse (physical injury), behaviours or attitudes of those who may be abusing a child or vulnerable adult, and information about who would need to be contacted.
Concerns about the wellbeing and safety of children, young people and adults at risk at St Sidwell’s & St Matthew’s can be reported to our safeguarding officer Helen Stephenson (07984431404) or in her absence to Rev Ed Hodges (01392 248322), or to any of the agencies listed on the Quick Reference for Safeguarding information sheets displayed in the church and church hall.
The Quick Reference for Safeguarding includes information about who would need to be contacted (and their contact details) in the event of an incident. Statutory agencies (police and/or children’s or adults’ services as appropriate as listed on the Quick Reference Sheet) should be contacted as a first priority if there is an immediate risk of continuing harm to a vulnerable person. The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser should be contacted as soon as possible in every circumstance to help with the decision on who should be contacted and how the process is managed. It may be necessary to contact:
o the parish’s insurer
o Disclosure and Barring Service or Charity Commissioners
St Sidwell’s & St Matthew’s PCC is committed to co-operating fully with Exeter Diocese and all appropriate statutory agencies during any investigation into abuse, including when allegations are made against a member of the church community.
We follow the guidelines in the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and guidance for Parishes about arrangements for the provision of pastoral care to children and adults at risk and their families and to any member of the church community against whom an allegation is made. Where possible and in consultation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, we would follow the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and guidance for Parishes, in partnership with the Diocese and other agencies, to provide (where it is possible and safe to do so) care and supervision for any member of our church community known to have offended against a child or vulnerable adult, or to pose a risk to them.
These are the people in St Sidwell’s & St Matthew’s Parish who hold formal responsibilities for safeguarding or who we feel, as a PCC, are safe to report a concern to:
Safeguarding Officer: Helen Stephenson (07984431404)
Rev Ed Hodges (01392 248322)
Churchwardens: David Edwards (07710254225) Justin James (01392 257795)
Copies of the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and guidance for Parishes are available for members of the church to examine.