A Safer Church
Child Protection; Vulnerable Adult Protection; Domestic Abuse
Guidelines from The Diocese of Canterbury
It is everyone's responsibility to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults.
The main forms of abuse are:
- Physical: bruises, cuts, bites, fractures, etc which do not have an explanation
- Emotional: changes in mood or behaviour, withdrawn or clingy. Depression, aggression or extreme anxiety, nervous, low self esteem
- Neglect: under nourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, inadequate care, dirty, inappropriate clothing, unkempt
- Sexual: knowledge of adult sexual behaviour - words/drawings. Sexually provocative, sexual infections
- Discriminatory: racist, sexist, based on a person's disability
- Spiritual: using faith, spirituality, trust to manipulate and control people
- Financial: money, possessions disappearing, no money for essentials, jewellery, valuables missing
- Institutional: care home etc.
- Grooming: of individuals, family, church.
We may become aware of abuse or concerns about someone's behaviour in a number of ways.
- A disclosure from a person who is or has experienced abuse
- An allegation about someone's conduct;
- A concern about someone's behaviour
All must be taken seriously and acted on.
- Promise to keep a secret, or confidentiality; say you may need to share this.
- Attempt to investigate yourself
- Discuss the case with anyone else
- Speak to the accused
- Ignore it
With a person making a disclosure
- Assure them they are not to blame for what happened
- Reassure the person they have done the right thing by telling you
- React calmly, be aware of non-verbal messages and body language
- Listen, do not ask leading questions or investigate. Avoid making comments or judgements.
- Tell them what you are going to do and that they will be told what is happening at each stage
- Refer as soon as possible to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
- Find support for yourself
- Make full notes of what you are told - including names, the person making the disclosure/referall and date and time. Date and sign your notes.
- Use the words the child/adult used - do not 'translate' into proper names etc. As far as possible use the exact words used in the disclosure.
- If someone else is making an allegation or raising a concern you will need to include their contact details.
- The original document should be kept safely and a copy forwarded to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. If you type up the notes, keep your handwritten notes.
What to record:
- Who was involved - names of key people
- What happened - facts not opinions
- Where it happened
- When it happened - date and time
- Why it happened
- Whom it was referred to
- How it happened
You are not expected to be an expert in these areas so refer on.
ALL ALLEGATIONS AND DISCLOSURES MUST BE REFERRED TO THE DIOCESAN SAFEGUARDING ADVISERS
If you believe a person is at immediate risk of harm when they leave you, make a referral directly to the appropriate agency - Police or Social Services.
All disclosures, allegations, concerns should be referred initially to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers who will inform other appropriate people such as the bishop, vice-dean (safeguarding) etc.
No concern is too small - all disclosures, issues or concerns seen or that you are made aware of must be acted on as soon as possible. Do not investigate yourself.
Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinators:
Name: Gay Adam (children) email: here
Name: Janice Collins (adults) email: here
Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers:
Elaine Rose (01233 720930/ 07831 860218) email: here
Paul Brightwell (01732 384734/07398 009951) email: here
Lesley Weaver (07971 626567) email: here
Diocesan Safeguarding Office (DBS)
01227 459401 email: here
Other contact telephone numbers:
Police 101 (24 hrs)
Kent Social Services - out of hours: 03000 41 91 91
Kent Adult Services: 03000 41 11 11
Kent Adult Services: 03000 41 61 61
Stop it Now Helpline: 0808 1000 900
Childline: 0800 11 11
Action on Elder Abuse Helpline: 080 8808 8141
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0844 804 4999
You can read our Parish Safeguarding Policy Statement here