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  • Emotional: changes in mood or behaviour, withdrawn or clingy.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.


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