Safeguarding & Vulnerability Policy & Procedures
Good Practice Guidelines for Working with Children and Young People
Everyone in the Church has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the well-being of those who worship in our Church or who join us for any activity facilitated by Church members. When Church activities are organised well, with regard for the safety and well-being of all, we reduce the risk of avoidable harm to all participants and create spaces of welcome in which relationships which are respectful and enriching can grow. Good procedures outline essential requirements and also provide practical guidance on how to organise these activities well with regard to the dignity, safety and well-being of all concerned so that avoidable risks are anticipated and minimised and that relationships with Church representatives are positive, healthy and life giving.
Children and adults should always be treated with respect and consideration. Those engaging in ministry should portray at all times a positive role model by maintaining an attitude of respect, courtesy and maturity.
GUIDANCE ON PHYSICAL CONTACT
Appropriate affection between adults and between adults and children is important for development, as well as being a positive part of ministry. Touching is an essential part of life and necessary for:
- Basic care
- Showing love and reassurance
- Praise and communication
It should be safe, appropriate and according to need. It should be remembered that touch can be perceived as warmth and friendliness or as a sign of dominance. Touch should always be related to the recipient in terms of:
- Their needs at the time
- Limited duration
- Appropriateness of age, development, gender, disability and culture
- All people have the right to decide how much or how little physical contact they have with others. Except in exceptional circumstances, such as when in need of urgent medical attention, their wishes should always be respected.
GOOD PRACTICE FOR PHYSICAL CONTACT
It may be appropriate to hold and comfort a distressed child but be aware of how this may be interpreted by the child and others:
- Everything should be in public. A hug or touch in a group or openly visible to others is quite different from that done behind closed doors or in an unobservable place. However, a hug in an open place can also be unwelcome to the recipient. Caution should always be exercised, as people who have experienced abuse in the past may find any physical contact difficult and intrusive.
- When ground rules for activities are being discussed, those supervising activities should introduce the idea of safe touch.
- Providing care for those with additional needs or disabilities may require levels of physical contact. In some circumstances, consultation with the individual, their parents, carers etc is essential to fully understand the requirements and abilities of the person being cared for.
- Children and adults with additional needs may require higher levels of personal support in such areas as washing, dressing, toileting, feeding and mobility. Special arrangements may have to be made in these circumstances and agreed and supported by the individual, their parents, carers, care workers etc
- As far as possible support the person in their own care. Avoid doing things for them if they are able to do it for themselves, albeit slower. Where the person is dependent on help, offer choices
- In a group, team members, as part of good practice, should monitor one another in relation to physical contact. They should be able to help each other by pointing out anything that could be misunderstood or uncomfortable for a child, young person or adult at risk
- If an adult engages in inappropriate touch with a child, young person or adult at risk, this must be challenged. If there are any concerns about an adult’s contact this must be reported to the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator or Diocesan Safeguarding Office for advice.
GUIDANCE ON MANAGING CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR
An important part of the way we care for others is shown in the way we cope with disruptive or difficult behaviour. Children, young people and adults at risk need to feel safe and be prevented from harming themselves or others, or getting into situations where this may happen. The first step to creating a safe environment where people feel safe and therefore cared for is to establish clear expectations and boundaries for all concerned. Where possible, ie where age and ability permit, leaders and participants will together agree what expectations they can reasonably have of each other and what will happen if these expectations are not kept.
GOOD PRACTICE FOR CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR
- Leaders set and maintain safe, consistent and understandable boundaries
- Explain expectations re behaviour. Develop an ethos of care and control with activities
- Each individual’s circumstances are taken into account in deciding measures to be taken in responding to them in relation to what is appropriate touch and any physical restraint
- Positive behaviour will be rewarded
SANCTIONS FOR CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR
Sanctions must always be used as the final resort after instruction and problem solving. Under no circumstances is physical chastisement acceptable.
- Sanctions to be utilised by leaders should be explored and agreed prior to the activity taking place
- Any sanction must be proportionate to the misbehaviour and only about the issues in hand. Do not bring up previous incidents to confuse the issue
- Any sanction should be for a short period of time
- No sanction is an end in itself and should assist the individual in understanding how they should be behaving.
It is the behaviour and not the person that is not welcome.
SUPERVISION AND RATIOS
It is important that whatever activity or event is taking place it has an appropriate level of adult supervision. There may be additional factors to take into consideration that may affect or determine staffing rations, for example
- Age of group members
- Gender of those participating
- Children or adults with special needs
- First aid cover Nature of the activity
- Accommodation arrangements
There MUST always be a minimum of two adults linked to every group activity or event.
NSPCC guidelines for minimum supervision are: -
- For 0 to 2 years – 1 leader to every 3 children (1:3)
- For 2 to 3 years – 1 leader to every 4 children (1:4)
- For 4 to 8 years – 1 leader to every 6 children (1:6)
- For 9 to 12 years – 1 leader to every 8 children (1:8)
- For over 12s – 1 leader to every 10 (1:10)
Supervision ratios for adults at risk should be based on your assessment of need. For example if an adult at risk is infirm of wheelchair bound, the ratio should be as minimum of 1:1. When children, young people or adults at risk are identified as having additional needs that are likely to require additional supervision, specialist care or support, this must be discussed with the person’s parent or carer. Where possible try to also obtain the views of the child or adult concerned. Consideration can then be given to increasing the levels of supervision so as to meet the assessed needs.
During any activities, if you are splitting into sub groups it is good practice to ensure you have close proximity between groups, so as to permit adult leaders being able to support each other while safeguarding the interests of all.
During activities, there may be occasions for leaders to provide medical assistance or emotional or physical support to those they are supervising. At the discretion of the leader, a parent, guardian or carer of the vulnerable individual will be informed. All incidents and accidents recorded in the accident book will be reported to parents, guardians or carers.
Young people under 18 are welcome and encouraged to assist with outings or activities. However their involvement should be monitored so they do not have the responsibility of a group leader or are used to meet the supervision criteria above.
All activities take place where appropriate sanitation is provided.
WARM AND CLEAN
Group areas should be warm, adequately lit and ventilated. All workers should aim to maintain high standards of cleanliness.
Workers should be able and willing to accommodate children and young people with additional needs. Workers should be aware of potential barriers to participation, such as access to buildings and toilet facilities.
ENTRANCES AND EXITS
Entrances and exits should be well lit and easily accessible.
MORE THAN ONE LEADER
There should always be more than one leader for any group. (If possible have at least one male and one female leader if the group is mixed).
Time alone with any child, young person, group or vulnerable adult should always be within clear boundaries. If it is important to be isolated with an individual ensure that another member of staff is informed of where you will be and why. If possible remain in the view of another worker. Try never to be behind a closed door but if necessary make sure someone else is in the building and they know where you are and how long you will be there. Keep a record of the lone working situation; date, time, content of discussion and any other relevant details.
Keep up-to-date registers and records of children and young people, their parents and contact phone numbers, attendance and other specific information (such as medical needs, food and other allergies, etc.).
St Peter's PCC and, by extension, St Peter's Hubs will approve all activities undertaken and will ascertain and acquire the relevant insurance for such activities.
GOOD PRACTICE WITH COLLEAGUES
If you see another worker, employed or voluntary, acting in ways which might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to them or to your supervisor about your concerns. Workers should encourage an atmosphere of mutual support and care which allows all workers to be comfortable enough to discuss inappropriate attitudes or behaviour.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
- Child Information Forms should be completed for each child or young person attending activities and should be updated at least every three years.
- Children and young people with infectious illnesses should not attend activities.
- Activity Permission Slips should be completed and submitted before any activity.
- All activity leaders should have a working mobile or static phone with reception.
- All adults should be aware of the safety / fire procedures for any of the buildings in which they are working. Fire drills should be carried out regularly and fire extinguishers should be available and regularly checked.
- Smoking is not permitted on church premises.
If possible do not give lifts to children and young people on their own, other than for short journeys. If they are alone, children and young people should sit in the back seat and seatbelts must always be worn. Designated drivers should hold a full, clean driving licence and business insurance should be held. Copies of both of these should be held with the Parish Office.
Volunteers, particularly those under the age of 18, should never work unsupervised and should be given clear guidance and support. Appropriate training and support should be given where necessary and training records should be kept.
Casual visitors i.e. those who have not been authorized as workers or helpers, should not have access to children and young people without the presence of an adult who is deemed to be responsible for the group.
PCC members, the relevant Hub members and parents should be clearly informed of all the activities in which children and young people can participate in at or through St Peter's.
GOOD PRACTICE OF WORKERS
All workers, both employed and voluntary, should treat all children and young people with respect and dignity befitting their age. Be aware of language, tone of voice, where you put your body and what you ask others to do.
Do not engage in or actively encourage any of the following:
- invading the privacy of children and young people when they are showering or toileting
- rough, physical or sexually provocative games
- making sexually suggestive comments about or to a young person, even in fun
- inappropriate and intrusive touching of any form
- any scape-goating, ridiculing, or rejecting a child or young person
Learn to control and discipline children and young people without using physical punishment. Do not let children and young people involve you in excessive attention-seeking that is overtly sexual or physical in nature and do not encourage children and young people to engage in this behaviour between themselves.
Do not invite a child or young person to your home alone: invite a group, or ensure that someone else is in the home. Ensure parents know where their child / young person is.
On residentials, do not share sleeping accommodation with children or young people.
Within this Diocese a system has been put in place whereby people can access an Authorised Listener by telephoning the following confidential number 0845 120 4551. This facility is operated by the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) which acts independently of the Diocese of Chester. A prompt response will be provided and an appropriate Authorised Listener will be made available to hear the concern and to support an individual.
Independent helpline numbers eg NSPCC (0808 800 5000) and Childline (0800 1111) should be displayed on the noticeboard at children’s height inside all church entrances.
Workers may make use of a variety of outdoor pursuits and holiday centres that are in line with St Peter's values and beliefs. Workers should make preliminary visits before the use of any venue and have close liaison with the organizers / owners. Please see the Residentials Policy for more good practice information.
Detached work should never be undertaken alone and workers should carry mobile phones at all times. Line Managers should be informed of times and routes/locations. Refer to Detached Work and Outreach Policy.
When working with other agencies or at residential centres there should be clear agreement on whose policy and procedures are applicable and where responsibility and coordination lies. St Peter's workers, both employed and voluntary, are under no obligation to provide personal details to partner organizations, other than full name, date of birth and DBS disclosure number and issue date.