Sycamore Chapel safeguarding policy (based on ‘Thirtyone:eight’ policy© August 2017)
Reviewed and approved by the Trustees on ……6/1/2022………………
Safeguarding Policy Version 1.1
Along with details of the organisation and a statement of intent and commitment to safeguarding, the policy covers the following sections:
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
Appendix 1. Leadership safeguarding statement
Appendix 2 Definitions of abuse Adults
Appendix 3 Signs of possible abuse Adults
Appendix 4 Definitions of abuse Children
Appendix 5 Signs of possible abuse Children and Young People
Appendix 6 How to respond to an allegation of abuse
Appendix 7 Report of suspicion of abuse
Appendix 8 Recruitment to a kids/youth/adult related role
Appendix 9 Principles of good working
Appendix 10 Online Safety Policy
The Safeguarding Policy
Details of the place of worship / organisation
Name of Place of Worship / Organisation: Sycamore Chapel
Address: Sycamore Road, Tewkesbury, GL20 8PZ
Tel No: 07734 906281 Email address: Dan@sycamorechapel.org
Charity Number: 280833
Insurance Company: Ecclesiastical
Sycamore Chapel is a Christian Church meeting regularly for services.
The Sunday services incorporate groups for young people aged 0-18 years. In addition there are weekly youth meetings (11-18 yrs). We run a variety of services for families in need. Most of the team who work with children, youth and adults classed as vulnerable are volunteers. Events occur both within church sites and off site in a variety of community locations and homes of members of the church. Regardless of location this safeguarding policy will be applied.
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 the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service, CCPAS which is now called ‘Thirtyone:eight’.
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.
- Make every endeavour to 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 adults with care and support needs.
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:
- 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.
- 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 indicators of abuse, as well as how to respond to a disclosure of abuse, are included here in our policy.
Definitions of abuse – Shown in Appendices 1 and 3
Signs and indicators of abuse – Shown in Appendices 2 and 4
How to respond to a child wishing to disclose abuse – Shown in Appendix 5
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. Employed members of the team will attend ‘Thirtyone:eight’ courses or complete online courses. Volunteers will attend in-house Safeguarding training which they will repeat as they feel necessary (as per the guidance supplied by thirtyone:eight to HW Sept 2017). Annually those the policy covers will be required to confirm they have read the current policy.
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 (hereafter the “Safeguarding Co-ordinator”) email@example.com 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 involve Children, Youth and adults that are classed as vulnerable or in any way involve the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, then the report should be made to ‘Thirtyone:eight’ Alternatively contact Social Services or the police.
- Where the concern is about a child the Safeguarding Co-ordinator should contact ‘Thirtyone:eight’ first. tel no. 03030031111
The Multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) on 0345 155 1071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If a child is at immediate risk contact the police on 999
Where the concern is regarding an adult in need of protection contact ‘Thirtyone:eight’ first as above.
In an emergency, call the Police on 999
If it isn’t an emergency but you need help fast, call the Police on 101.
The local Adult Social Services, Care Direct, office telephone number is: 01452 614194 – only for social care emergencies out of hours
Office hours are 08.00-20.00 Mon-Fri and 9.00-13.00 Sat. At all other times the number connects to the emergency social services team and should ONLY BE USED IN AN EMERGENCY
The Police Protection Team telephone number is 0845 1135000.
- The Safeguarding Co-ordinator may need to inform others depending on the circumstances and/or nature of the concern. The nominated Safeguarding trustee is Dan Browne. He will log that there is a safeguarding concern being dealt with. He will inform the Insurance company if necessary to advise that there is a possibility of a serious incident concerning safeguarding if allegations have been made about a person who has a role with under 18’s.
- 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 Deputies should not delay referral to Social Services, the Police or taking advice from ‘Thirtyone: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 thirtyone: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 ‘Thirtyone:eight’ or Children’s Social Services 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 ‘Thirtyone: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 ‘Thirtyone:eight’ if, for any reason they are unsure whether or not to contact Children’s Social Services/Police. ‘Thirtyone: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 ‘Thirtyone: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.
If there is a concern regarding spiritual abuse, Safeguarding Co-ordinator will:
- Identify support services for the victim i.e. counselling or other pastoral support
- Contact ‘Thirtyone:eight’ and in discussion with them will consider appropriate action with regards to the scale of the concern.
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).
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.
Where a prospective team member is from overseas we will complete the same reference checks and request references from their previous country of residence.
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 – for more Social Care online information and booklet see link details below, ‘Preventing the Abuse of Trust Caring for young people and the Vulnerable’ which makes it clear that no personal, sexual relationships should be formed by those in a position of trust with those who are under 18 years of age or who may be considered vulnerable.
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. Our pastoral care support will be provided through our Safeguarding Co-ordinator and other pastoral team, both voluntary and employed, who will work in conjunction with other agencies to provide practical support.
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 adults with care and support needs the Leadership will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care, but in its safeguarding commitment to the protection of children and adults with care and support needs, set boundaries for that person, which they will be expected to keep.
In practice individual written guidelines will be produced and communicated to those who need to supervise the boundaries set in place. We will also produce a code of behaviour that will be agreed with the individual and that they must follow. Appropriate boundaries may include exclusion from certain events involving children or vulnerable adults, limits relating to their church attendance and limits on the teams they can contribute toward.
As an organisation / place of worship working with children, young people and adults with care and support needs 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.
Consent forms will be supplied to all parents and carers of under 18’s, who regularly attend church activities.
Working in Partnership
The diversity of organisations and settings means there can be great variation in practice when it comes to safeguarding children, young people and adults. This can be because of cultural tradition, belief and religious practice or understanding, for example, of what constitutes abuse. We therefore have clear guidelines in regards to our expectations of those with whom we work in partnership, whether in the UK or not. We will discuss with all partners our safeguarding expectations and have a partnership agreement for safeguarding. It is also our expectation that any organisation using our premises, as part of the letting agreement will have their own policy that meets ‘Thirtyone:eight’ safeguarding standards.
Good communication is essential in promoting safeguarding, both to those we wish to protect, to everyone involved in working with children and adults and to all those with whom we work in partnership. This safeguarding policy is just one means of promoting safeguarding.
Signed by: _______
To be reviewed by: _____25/10/2023_______________________
APPENDIX – 1
Leadership Safeguarding Statement
The Leadership Dan Browne (Senior Pastor) 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.
We are committed to creating and enabling a healthy culture in order to minimise any coercion and control within our church.
The following statement was agreed by the leadership/organisation on: __6/1/2022___________________
This place of worship/organisation is committed to the safeguarding of children and adults with care and support needs 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 believe in the necessity of creating a healthy culture in our church where the value of all people is recognised and challenges are responded to appropriately.
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/adults with care and support needs.
- 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 the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service.
- 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 in which 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.
Dan Browne: Safeguarding Coordinator
A copy of the full policy and procedures is available from Dan Browne (Dan@sycamorechapel.org)
Signed by Leadership Team:
______________________ Dan Browne
Signed __________________________ Trustee
Definitions of Abuse (Adults)
The following information relates to the Safeguarding of Adults as defined in the Care Act 2014, Chapter 14. Safeguarding, this replaces the previous guidelines produced in ‘No Secrets’ (Department of Health 2000)
The legislation is relevant across England and Wales but on occasions applies only to local authorities in England.
The Safeguarding duties apply to an adult who;
- has need for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and;
- is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.
Organisations should always promote the adult’s wellbeing in their safeguarding arrangements. People have complex lives and being safe is only one of the things they want for themselves. Professionals should work with the adult to establish what being safe means to them and how that can be best achieved. Professional and other staff should not be advocating ‘safety’ measures that do not take account of individual well-being, as defined in Section 1 of the Care Act.
Link: The Care Act 2014
Link: Care and Support Statutory Guidance under the Care Act 2014
This section considers the different types and patterns of abuse and neglect and the different circumstances in which they may take place. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but an illustrative guide as to the sort of behaviour which could give rise to a safeguarding concern.
Physical abuse – including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
Domestic violence – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.
Sexual abuse – including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.
Psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.
Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
Modern slavery – encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
Discriminatory abuse – including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
Organisational abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an Institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.
Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
Self-neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. Incidents of abuse may be one-off or multiple, and affect one person or more.
Signs of Possible Abuse in Adults
History of unexplained falls, fractures, bruises, burns, minor injuries.
Signs of under or over use of medication and/or medical problems left unattended.
Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them
Bruising and discolouration – particularly if there is a lot of bruising of different ages and in places not normally exposed to falls, rough games etc.
Recurring injuries without plausible explanation
Loss of hair, loss of weight and change of appetite
Person flinches at physical contact &/or keeps fully covered, even in hot weather;
Person appears frightened or subdued in the presence of a particular person or people
Unexplained injuries or ‘excuses’ for marks or scars
Controlling and/or threatening relationship including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence and Female Genital Mutilation.
Age range extended to 16 yrs.
Pregnancy in a woman who lacks mental capacity or is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
Unexplained change in behaviour or sexually explicit behaviour
Torn, stained or bloody underwear and/or unusual difficulty in walking or sitting
Infections or sexually transmitted diseases
Full or partial disclosures or hints of sexual abuse
Disturbed sleep patterns
Alteration in psychological state e.g. withdrawn, agitated, anxious, tearful
Intimidated or subdued in the presence of a carer
Fearful, flinching or frightened of making choices or expressing wishes
Changes in mood, attitude and behaviour, excessive fear or anxiety
Changes in sleep pattern or persistent tiredness
Loss of appetite
Helplessness or passivity
Confusion or disorientation
Implausible stories and attention seeking behaviour
Financial or material abuse
Disparity between assets and living conditions
Unexplained withdrawals from accounts or disappearance of financial documents or loss of money
Sudden inability to pay bills, getting into debt
Carers or professionals fail to account for expenses incurred on a person’s behalf
Recent changes of deeds or title to property
Missing personal belongings
Inappropriate granting and / or use of Power of Attorney
Physical appearance; unkempt, inappropriate clothing, malnourished
Movement monitored, rarely alone, travel early or late at night to facilitate working hours.
Few personal possessions or ID documents.
Fear of seeking help or trusting people.
Inappropriate remarks, comments or lack of respect
Poor quality or avoidance care
Person puts themselves down in terms of their gender or sexuality
Abuse may be observed in conversations or reports by the person of how they perceive themselves
Person puts themselves down in terms of their gender or sexuality
Abuse may be observed in conversations or reports by the person of how they perceive themselves
No confidence in complaints procedures for staff or service users.
Neglectful or poor professional practice.
Neglect and acts of omission
Deteriorating despite apparent care
Poor home conditions, clothing or care and support.
Lack of medication or medical intervention
Hoarding inside or outside a property
Neglecting personal hygiene or medical needs
Person looking unkempt or dirty and has poor personal hygiene
Person is malnourished, has sudden or continuous weight loss and is dehydrated – constant hunger, stealing or gorging on food
Person is dressed inappropriately for the weather conditions
Dirt, urine or faecal smells in a person’s environment
Home environment does not meet basic needs (for example not heating or lighting)
Definitions of Abuse Children
Child protection legislation throughout the UK is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Each nation within the UK has incorporated the convention within its legislation and guidance.
The four definitions of abuse below operate in England based on the government guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015)’.
What is abuse and neglect? Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
Physical abuse : 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.
Emotional abuse : 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 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 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 (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, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse : Sexual abuse 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 in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect : 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, 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 basic emotional needs.
Further Definitions of Abuse (Children)
This relates to the degree of harm that triggers statutory action to protect a child. It is based on the individual child’s health or development compared to that which could reasonably be expected of a similar child. E.g. severity of ill treatment, degree and extent of physical harm, duration and frequency of abuse and neglect, premeditation. Department of Health guidance suggests that ‘significant’ means ‘considerable, noteworthy or important.’
Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced (formerly known as Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy)
This is a form of child abuse in which the parents or carers give false accounts of symptoms in their children and may fake signs of illness (to draw attention to themselves). They seek repeated medical investigations and needless treatment for their children. The government guidance on this is found in ‘Safeguarding Children in whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced’ (2002).
Linked with emotional abuse, spiritual abuse could be defined as an abuse of power, often done in the name of God or religion, which involves manipulating or coercing someone into thinking, saying or doing things without respecting their right to choose for themselves. Some indicators of spiritual abuse might be a leader who is intimidating and imposes his/her will on other people, perhaps threatening dire consequences or the wrath of God if disobeyed. He or she may say that God has revealed certain things to them and so they know what is right. Those under their leadership are fearful to challenge or disagree, believing they will lose the leader’s (or more seriously God’s) acceptance and approval.
In 2013 spiritual abuse was defined as “Spiritual abuse is 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 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 & Kinmond, 2013)
The shared Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and government definition of domestic violence is: ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.’ (Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.)
In 2004 the Government’s definition of domestic violence was extended to include acts perpetrated by extended family members as well as intimate partners. Consequently, acts such as forced marriage and other so-called ‘honour crimes’, which can include abduction and homicide, can now come under the definition of domestic violence.
The Government revised its definition of domestic violence and abuse in March 2013 as:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.” This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
“Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependant by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.”
“Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”
Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents whether directly related, in-laws or step-family. However, this is not an exhaustive list and may also be extended to uncles, aunts and cousins etc.
The Home Office (2009) What is Domestic Violence? London: Home Office defines domestic violence as:
“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”
Nearly a quarter of adults in England are victims of domestic violence. Although both men and women can be victimised in this way, a greater proportion of women experience all forms of domestic violence, and are more likely to be seriously injured or killed by their partner, ex-partner or lover. Forced marriage and honour-based violence are human rights abuses and fall within the Government’s definition of domestic violence.
In 2016 the HM Government published a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy which can be accessed here
Investigating complex (organised or multiple) abuse
This abuse may be defined as abuse involving one or more abusers and a number of children. The abusers concerned may be acting in concert to abuse children, sometimes acting in isolation, or may be using an institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children for abuse.
Complex abuse occurs both as part of a network of abuse across a family or community, and within institutions such as residential homes or schools. Such abuse is profoundly traumatic for the children who become involved. Its investigation is time-consuming and demanding work, requiring specialist skills from both police and social work staff. Some investigations become extremely complex because of the number of places and people involved, and the timescale over which abuse is alleged to have occurred. The complexity is heightened where, as in historical cases, the alleged victims are no longer living in the setting where the incidents occurred or where the alleged perpetrators are also no longer linked to the setting or employment role. (Working Together 2010 Sections: 6.10 – 6.11)
Sexually exploited children and young people
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a number of new offences to deal with those who sexually exploit children and young people. The offences protect children up to the age of 18 and can attract tough penalties. They include:
- paying for the sexual services of a child;
- causing or inciting child prostitution;
- arranging or facilitating child prostitution; and
- controlling a child prostitute.
Children who are sexually exploited into prostitution
Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2006) Section 6.2 stated:
Children involved in prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation should be treated primarily as the victims of abuse, and their needs require careful assessment.
See also ‘Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution (2000)
With regards to the addressing sexual exploitation of children at a more international level, the Interpol has also specified as list of appropriate terminology when referring to sexual crimes against children. The details for the same can be accessed here.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The World Health Organization defined FGM as all procedures involving partial or total removal or stitching up of the female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.
Working Together (2010) stated that:
“Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for procedures which include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for cultural or other nontherapeutic reasons. 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 procedure is typically performed on girls aged between four and thirteen, but in some cases FGM is performed on new born infants or on young women before marriage or pregnancy. A number of girls die as a direct result of the procedure from blood loss or infection, either following the procedure or subsequently in childbirth.”
FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 was passed. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 replaced the 1985 Act and made it an offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal.
A mandatory reporting duty for FGM requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under 18-year-olds to the police. The FGM duty came into force on 31 October 2015.
Signs of Possible Abuse (children & young people)
The following signs could be indicators that abuse has taken place but should be considered in context of the child’s whole life.
- Injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them
- Injuries that occur in places not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc
- Injuries that have not received medical attention
- Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games or swimming
- Repeated urinary infections or unexplained tummy pains
- Bruises on babies, bites, burns, fractures etc which do not have an accidental explanation*
- Cuts/scratches/substance abuse*
- Any allegations made concerning sexual abuse
- Excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour
- Age-inappropriate sexual activity through words, play or drawing
- Child 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
- Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia*
- Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging.
- Depression, aggression, extreme anxiety.
- Nervousness, frozen watchfulness
- Obsessions or phobias
- Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration
- Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults
- Attention-seeking behaviour
- Persistent tiredness
- Running away/stealing/lying
- Under nourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, Untreated illnesses,
- Inadequate care, etc
*These indicate the possibility that a child or young person is self-harming. Approximately 20,000 are treated in accident and emergency departments in the UK each year.
How to respond to an allegation of abuse
- Stay calm, you can do this!
- Listen carefully if someone is telling you about abuse – physical, sexual, emotional or neglect
- Don’t ask questions – it could prevent them from saying more or you might put things in their mind that were not already there
- Show acceptance of what you are told – even if it seems unlikely or too awful to be true Reassure the person that they have done the right thing in telling you and you are taking the information seriously
- Don’t promise to keep the matter secret but explain that you may have to share what they say with others on a ‘need to know’ basis only. It will be the named people in your safeguarding policy
- Explain what you intend to do and don’t delay in taking action
- Ensure the immediate safety of the individual
- Use the reporting form found in Appendix 7, this is also in the leaders folder for each kids group and on the google drive for Youth Leaders. If the concern is about what has been observed, for example bruises, marks, suspicions of neglect or sexually explicit/abusive behaviour, then it is important to write a full account of what was seen. Include:
- Size, shape, colour, position on the body of any bruises or marks, consider taking a picture unless location of that picture is inappropriate.
- Person’s appearance eg ragged or dirty clothing, smell, emaciated body, pain or difficulty in moving.
- Description of sexually explicit or abusive behaviour.
- The date and time of your report and your signature.
- Once completed give this form to Dan Browne immediately or contact him on Dan@sycamorechapel.org. These will then be stored appropriately.
- If the child, young person or adult is at risk of immediate harm, please get in touch with Paul Welch. If you are unable to contact either one of us then call the police.
- Consider medical intervention if required – does the child, young person, adult need medical attention?
- Use language that is appropriate.
Reporting a suspicion of abuse
Name of Child/Young Person
Date of Birth
Name of Person Reporting Incident
Date and Time of Incident
Sequence of Events/Actual Words Used/Observations
Action Taken (including person(s) contacted)
Date and Time
Name of Team Member:
NB If relevant please also complete Skin Maps (Draw a body outline and mark the specific areas affected)
Recruitment to a kids/youth/adult related role This impacts the recruitment of new cell leaders we need to ensure they too receive the appropriate training and selection as they may have responsibility for adults who find themselves vulnerable for a variety of reasons.
Stage 1: Potential volunteer is identified and referred to the team leader.
Stage 2: Team Leader supplies initial Safeguarding application and Safeguarding policy.
Stage 3: Applicant receives an Interview where they are given paper copies of the above if they have not already been completed. There suitability for team is assessed.
Stage 4: The Safeguarding Administrator sends the electronic DBS link and requests documentation to support the application. Their identity documents are checked. (This is only applicable to children/youth leaders).
Stage 4: Applicant joins a team for a probationary period (up to 2 months) whilst being closely monitored in their role. During this time if a DBS disclosure is appropriate their form is processed and their references are checked & followed up if necessary.
Stage 5: On receipt of their disclosure certificate and satisfactory references, and in liaison with the team leaders, the applicant can become a full team member. If there are any grounds for concern, these will be discussed fully with the applicant and an appropriate course of action decided upon.
Principles of Good Working Practice
All volunteer workers are strongly advised to adhere to these principles of good working practice outlined below wherever possible. They should also be aware of the Home Office guidelines for Caring for Young people and Vulnerable Adults, which are attached.
- Treat ALL children, young people and adults with warmth, respect and dignity relevant to their age.
- Be aware of your own language style, voice tone, body language, and dress and how the individual child, young person, adult might perceive this.
- Ensure that you are never alone with a child or young person where your activity cannot be seen. This may mean leaving doors open, or two groups working in the same room.
- Keep all physical contact public e.g. hugs.
- Touch should be related to the child/young person/adult’s needs, not the worker’s.
- Touch should be age-appropriate and generally initiated by the child/young person/adult rather than the worker. (N.B. In the case of babies, they will initiate the need for a cuddle, usually by crying)
- Team members should support one another in the area of physical contact. They should be free to help each other by pointing out anything that could be misconstrued.
- In a counselling situation with a young person over the age of 11, where privacy and confidentiality are important, make sure that there is another worker in the building who knows the meeting is taking place and with whom. Leave doors open where possible.
- Under no circumstances should physical punishment be used.
- Where a child requires the toilet the following should apply:-
- Nappies will not be changed by workers – only by the child’s parent or carer.
- Children under 5 who need to be assisted in the toilet will be taken by 2 adults or in a group.
- Children (5-11) cannot visit the toilet by themselves during Kids Ministry times because all our toilets are open to the general public. They must go in groups accompanied by two adults who should stand outside to monitor.
- If a child needs their clothes removed due to soiling or a medical accident then a parent will be called to deal with the situation immediately. If this is not possible then a second adult must be present when removal of a child’s clothing is essential.
- We aim to staff children’s according to the following minimum ratio of adults to children:-
Age 0-2 yrs: 1 adult to 3 children
Age 2-3 yrs: 1 adult to 4 children
Age 3-5 yrs: 1 adult to 8 children
Age 5-8 yrs: 1 adult to 8 children
We also have young leaders who are under 16 years assisting in our children’s groups. These young leaders help us to expand these ratios under the guidance of the Overseers for each session.
- No person under 16 years of age should be left solely in charge of any children of any age.
- Children or young people attending a group should not be left alone at any time.
- Mobile Phones should not be used for personal calls or taking photos during sessions. Calls concerning emergency matters arising in Kids/Youth ministry can be made to Pastoral staff. All photographs / video of children should be taken on a designated camera with the permission of the Safeguarding/Deputy Safeguarding Co-ordinator. Photographs should only be taken of children for whom you have permission to photograph.
- Any internet use during a session should be safe, appropriate and closely monitored.
- Serious concerns about a colleagues behaviour should always be reported to the Safeguarding Co-ordinator (see Section 2 for details).
- Behaviour to Avoid
Workers should NOT engage in any of the following behaviour:-
- Participation in physical or sexually provocative games, however “innocent” they may appear.
- Inappropriate or intrusive touching of any form.
- Intimidating, ridiculing, belittling or apparent rejecting of a child/young person/adult.
- Making racist or sexist remarks of any kind.
- Showing favouritism to any child/young person/adult.
- Invading the privacy of children/young people/adults either toileting, changing, washing or showering.
- Making sexually suggestive remarks to or about children/young people/adults – even in “fun” is absolutely unacceptable.
- Allowing young people/adults to develop excessive attention seeking behaviour – especially if it is of a sexual or physical nature.
- Additional Activities
Where additional activities, trips or socials are organised for the children/young people/adults, the group leader should arrange adequate supervision for those attending. It is recommended that when planning and undertaking additional activities the following guidelines should be followed:-
- A Risk Assessment is completed for each activity.
- Young People up to the age of 18 must have a completed parent consent form before being allowed to attend a trip. This can come under the annual consent form for trips, photographing and videos (See Appendix H) as long as the trip doesn’t involve an overnight stay or a sporting activity.
- When transporting children, workers should try to avoid being left alone with one child in the car. If this is unavoidable ask the child to sit in the back.
- When planning residentials/sleep overs the ‘Thirtyone:eight’ guidelines and checklist should be followed.
Workers should be aware of the potential dangers involved when meeting with young people in a one on one situation at home or on trips. They should consider taking steps to avoid such dangers i.e. meeting in a public place, informing others of the meeting, leaving the door to a room open if appropriate.
Online Safety Policy
When responding to concerns of abuse please refer to our ‘Online Safety Flowchart’ which follows.
CCPAS Online Safety definition:
Online safety is the collective term for safeguarding involving the use of electronic devices and applications to communicate and access the Internet; often referred to as Information and Communications Technology. An online safety policy should be adopted and adapted to reflect all communications between church/organisation’s workers and children (those under 18 years of age).
Policy guidelines for Church Workers/Volunteers
- Generally maintain good and open relationships with parents and carers regarding communication with them and their children.
- Use an appropriate tone: friendly, but not over-familiar or personal.
- Be warm and friendly, but do not suggest or offer a special relationship.
- Be clear and explicit about information that you need to share; don’t abbreviate or short-cut your communications.
- Be circumspect in your communications with children to avoid any possible misinterpretation of your motives or any behaviour which could be construed as grooming.
- Do not share any personal information with children, or request or respond to any personal information from a child other than that which might be appropriate as part of your role.
- Only give personal contact details to children that are within the public domain of the church / organisation, including your mobile telephone number.
- If children want you to have their mobile phone numbers, e-mail addresses or similar, and communicate with them this way, make sure that their parents know and have agreed.
- Only make contact with children for reasons related to the work of the church/organisation and maintain a log of all electronic contact with individuals or groups including messaging and texting.
- Where possible only use equipment provided by the church/organisation to communicate with children.
- Respect a child’s right to confidentiality unless abuse/harm is suspected or disclosed.
- Ensure your church/organisation domain name/logo appears with every Internet post made by a church computer user. Any user may thus be viewed as a representative of your church/organisation while conducting business on the Internet.
- Email should only be used to communicate specific information. (e.g. times and dates of events). It should not be used as a relationship building tool.
- Email History should be kept and dated.
- When using email/internet for communication with children, it is advised that it should take place between the hours of 9am-5pm. Where working with children outside normal office hours workers should seek advice from their leader but there should be no email communication after 9pm.
- Use of skype and any other web camera or visual communication via the internet is generally not permitted.
- Workers should refrain from using such methods on a one to one basis as they cannot be recorded. (It can be used for conference calls and is considered appropriate if a project or group uses a web camera/Skype in a group environment for project purposes, and has clear aims and objectives for its use).
Social Media Policy
- All social media interaction between workers, paid or voluntary, and children under 18 shall be limited to monitored/administrated groups.
- Text and any other media posted shall be subject to the acceptable use policy
- All interaction on social media groups shall be recorded for safeguarding purposes
- Any private messages shall be recorded for safeguarding purposes
- Any safeguarding concerns/allegations arising from social media shall be referred onto the safeguarding co-ordinator.
- All users of social media must be above the minimum age limit i.e. 13 for Facebook
- Workers should ensure their privacy setting ensure the highest levels of security in order to restrict children being able to see any more than what is relevant to communication within the group
- All social media groups should provide links to statutory authorities such as CEOP, to enable children to report online abuse.
Consent for photographic images and videos online
- Photographs that include children will be selected carefully and will endeavour to prevent children from being easily identified.
- Children’s full names will not be used on the website in association with their photographs.
- Permission will be sought before any images are taken or displayed and images will only be used for the specific purpose for which permission was sought for and how the image will be stored if not destroyed. If the intention is to use an image on the internet this must be clearly stated and further permission must be acquired if an image is to be used in a way not originally stated.
- Use of images will reflect diversity of age, ethnicity and gender of the activity.
- Live streaming of events must be clearly advertised in advance and where children are involved permission should be sought in line with the photographic guidelines.
Acceptable Use Policy
- Where access to the internet is provided on our organisation devices or devices owned by an individual via WiFi, we will exercise our right to monitor usage which includes access to websites, interception and deletion of inappropriate or criminal material or unlawfully copied text, video, images or sound.
- WiFi Access will be via a secure password that will be changed quarterly.
- Social media groups must be used in compliance with this policy on social media.
Children and Workers should not:
- Search for or download pornographic, racist or hate motivated content.
- Illegally copy or play copyrighted content where permission has not been given.
- Send, request or display offensive messages or pictures.
- Harass, insult or bully others.
- Access the internet using another person’s login details.
- Access, download, send or receive any data (including images), which Birmingham Vineyard considers offensive in any way, including sexually explicit, discriminatory, defamatory or libellous material.
Sanctions for violating the acceptable use policy in the opinion of Sycamore Chapel may result in:
- A temporary or permanent ban on internet use.
- Additional disciplinary action in line with existing practice on inappropriate language or behaviour.
- Where applicable, police or local authorities may be involved.