Safeguarding & Vulnerability Policy & Procedures
Procedure to Respond to and Report Concerns about Children and Young People
Concerns and allegations about a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer some form of significant harm can come to the notice of an adult within the church at any time and in different ways. It may be an observation of a change in a child or a pattern of concerns over time. It may be that a child tells an adult something about themselves or often one child tells an adult about another child. Sometimes it will be the parents of another child who has been told by their own child.
If, as a result of the information, there is a concern that a child may have suffered, or is likely to suffer Significant Harm, a referral to the Children’s Social Care Services or Police must be made. Whatever the source of the information, the adult receiving the information needs to observe some basic rules when responding to the information they have been given:
- Listen to the information and acknowledge what you hear without passing judgement or minimising the information
- Do not put words into the person or child’s mouth or make judgemental statements about any person
- Take into account the person or child’s age and level of understanding, their culture and use of language
- Do not interrogate the child. You only need to obtain sufficient information to confirm their information meets the requirement for referring. The fewer times a child has to repeat their story the better.
- Remain calm and reassuring. Never show you are shocked by what they are telling you. They may stop sharing their story, believing you might not be able to cope with the information.
- Never promise you will not tell anybody. Explain that the information will be treated with great care and, where necessary, to safeguard the child, the information may be shared appropriately between specific adults trained to deal with safeguarding children matters.
- Make careful notes as soon as you can and include dates, times of the incident, and when the recording was made, who was present, and then sign the notes. Make sure you keep these securely.
- Provide the child or adult with some means to contact you and be clear about how and when you will contact them to feed back what will happen next.
- Do not contact the adult about whom the allegation or concerns are being raised to tell them about the information. You could be putting the child or another child in danger.
- Be clear about what you will do next and when. A child will need reassurance.
- All disclosures should be passed on to the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator or Diocesan Safeguarding and Vulnerability Officer. However if the child is in immediate danger the police or Cheshire East's Children's Services should be contacted.
- All external communications (press and media) must be handled in a sensitive manner and should be steered by the Diocesan Communications Department. Should a journalist or broadcaster make an enquiry, they should be referred to the Diocesan Communications Department at Church House.