Safeguarding Policy and Practice

relating to
Four Oaks Methodist Church

As the people of Four Oaks Methodist Church we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God's purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community, of all ages. It is the responsibility of everyone and every organisation using the premises to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and young people.

This policy and procedures will be reviewed by the Church Council annually.

To that end all members/adherents or users of these premises have responsibility to take all possible steps to ensure that this policy is fully followed in practice. This applies equally to all off-site activities of church groups as well as those taking place on church premises.

Leaders of all groups working with children and young people should ensure that they are familiar with requirements in the publication "Safeguarding: A policy for good practice in the care of children and young people". (A further recommended publication is "Worth Doing Well: Guidance and Good practice for Churches and other Organisations". Both may be purchased through the Methodist Publishing House, and are available from the Church Office.)

It is the duty of all persons working with children and young people to do everything that they can to prevent abuse occurring and to report any concerns about or abuse discovered or suspected to the appropriate person (See Appendix 2).

Child protection is not just a matter for those who are directly involved in working with children and young people, it is the responsibility of every individual and organisation which uses the premises.

TO PROTECT CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE AND YOURSELF YOU MUST

  • Ensure that all activities are open and transparent

  • Treat everyone with respect

  • Provide an example you wish others to follow

  • Plan activities which involve more than one adult being present, or at least within sight or hearing of others.

  • Respect a young person's right to personal privacy.

  • Provide opportunities for young people to talk to their leaders about any concerns they may have.

  • Develop an atmosphere in which children/young people and adults are encouraged and feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.

  • Avoid physical horseplay.

  • Recognise that special care and arrangements are required in sensitive situations, such as when dealing with bullying, bereavement or abuse. Wherever possible, these meetings must take place where they can be observed by a colleague, and must always be reported to the leader and the responsible person.

  • When taking groups away in addition to all other requirements, ensure separate sleeping accommodation for leaders and young people and between age groups.

  • Always remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.

YOU MUST NOT:

  • Permit abusive peer activities (e.g. initiation ceremonies, ridiculing, bullying)

  • Have any improper physical or verbal contact and must ensure that any physical or contact games cannot lead to contacts of this nature.

  • Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour, such as tantrums or crushes.

  • Exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues.

  • Show favouritism to any individual.

  • Make suggestive remarks or gestures.

  • Rely on just your good name to protect you.

  • Believe 'it couldn't happen to me.'

Volunteers and Employees

The policy and procedures as set-out in The Methodist Church "Safeguarding: A policy for good practice in the care of children and young people" are to be followed in respect of all new applicants for paid or volunteer positions with Four Oaks Methodist Church and in respect of all existing staff and volunteers.

Those working directly with children and young people and those to whom they are responsible are required to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau (through the Churches Agency for Safeguarding). A Standard Disclosure is similarly required for those who regularly undertake limited roles which bring them into contact with children and young people (such as tuck shop helpers) and caretakers/cleaners working on the premises when children may be present.

Other organisations using or hiring the premises are required to have procedures which are at least as rigorous.

Office Holders and Key Holders

Holders of an office, duty or responsibility within the church and key holders are required to complete and sign Safeguarding Forms C and D respectively.

Users of our premises

Outside organisations which use the premises are required:

  • to provide copies of their own policies and procedures to show that these are as rigorous as those of the Methodist Church. If these do not exist or are not as rigorous, they are required to follow the church's procedures

  • to sign and complete Safeguarding Form E

Copies of this policy and procedures should be displayed in every area where activities with children/young people take place.


Contacts

The Minister:   Rev John Rowe 0121 354 1454

The Superintendent Minister:   Rev Nichola Jones 0121 373 0595

The Church Safeguarding Coordinator:   Mrs A Thompson 0121 308 1589

 

Appendices to the policy 

Appendix 1


GOOD PRACTICE IN WORKING WITH CHILDREN

Each organisation which works with children and young people on the church premises needs to incorporate the following statements (which are all reproduced from the Safeguarding Booklet Published April 2003) within specific practice statements relating to their own activity. All workers (paid or unpaid) need to be made and kept fully aware of the church policy and the specific good practice they are required to follow.

(1)  Initially and whenever circumstances changes, carry out a risk assessment. Assess the risks based on knowledge of the children or young people involved and take into account (at least) the following factors:

  • venue and environment

  • time of day or night

  • type of work/activity being undertaken

  • how well the children and young people are known (eg new or established group, unpredictable behaviour, special needs)

  • gender of children and young people and the worker(s)

(2)  Think about the use of premises.  For example, do not expect children or young people to have to walk along a dark unsupervised path in order to enter the church hall

(3)  Arrange that, as far as possible, an adult is not left alone with a child or young person where there is little or no likelihood of the activity being observed by others. This may mean groups working within the same room or working in an adjoining room with the door left open. This good practice can be of as much benefit to the adult as to the child or young person

(4)  Ensure that all workers with children and young people, pastoral visitors and others do not meet a child or young person off church premises without a parent or other adult being present

(5)  Always have at least two adults present with a group, particularly when it is the only activity taking place on church premises

(6)  Where children and young people have to be transported by car or minibus arrange as far as possible, to have more than one passenger in the vehicle. Where this is not possible the remaining passenger should sit in a rear seat

(7)  Avoid working with an unknown group or individual unless someone is within calling distance

(8)  Where lone working is unavoidable and is agreed by the Church Council or other responsible body, ensure that the worker indicates his/her movements, particularly if leaving the normal premises. This information would include details about the group or individual, place being visited and expected timetable. S/he should consider taking a personal alarm

(9)  Other examples of safe practice would include:

  • allowing others to see into the room (keep doors/leave curtains open)

  • linking a church steward with each activity for children and young people

  • inviting parents or church members on a rota to 'sit in' on the activity, make drinks or staff the snack bar

  • having activities take place on the ground floor where possible

  • barring access to unwanted visitors

  • having other (appropriate) groups meeting on the premises at the same time

  • encouraging parents to deliver and collect their children

 

Appendix 2

 

DEALING WITH ACTUAL OR SUSPECTED ABUSE

(1)  Do not delay

(2)  Consult with the person to whom you are responsible or with the Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or the Minister

(3)  Record any facts which support your suspicions

(4)  Agree with the person to whom you are responsible, the Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or Minister what action, if any should be taken and by whom

(5)  Advise whoever was not consulted in (2) above, and the Circuit Superintendent of the position

IF A CHILD/YOUNG PERSON DISCLOSES TO YOU ABUSE BY SOMEONE ELSE

(1) Allow the child to speak without interruption, accepting what is said, but DO NOTQUESTION OR INVESTIGATE

(2)  Tell them that they are not to blame, that they are right to tell you and that you take what they have told you seriously. Let them know that you need to tell someone else and do not promise confidentiality.  DO NOT be compromised by agreeing if a child says something like "I'll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone else"

(3)  Let them know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens

(4)  Tell the leader in charge or the Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or the Minister and with their support inform the Local Authority Children’s Services Department (0121 464 2612 or 0121 303 6541) or the Police.

(5)  Make written notes as soon as is practicable, writing down what was said (using the child/young person's own words wherever possible).  Record the dates and times of events, when you were told about them and when you made the record.  Sign and keep a copy of these yourself

(6)  The leader in charge or Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or Minister should inform whichever of these people was not previously involved and the Circuit Superintendent of the situation and the action taken

IF YOU RECEIVE A SERIOUS ALLEGATION ABOUT AN ADULT OR ABOUT YOURSELF

(1)  Immediately tell the leader in charge or Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or Minister.

(2)  Make a written note of the facts, times, dates, when you were informed and when you made the notes.  Sign and keep one copy.

(3) Try to ensure that no-one is placed in a position which could cause further compromise.

(4)  In consultation with the leader in charge, Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or Minister and with their support inform the Local Authority Children’s Services Department or Police

(5)  The leader in charge, Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator or Minister should as soon as possible inform whichever of these people has not been previously involved and the Circuit Superintendent of the situation and action taken.

 NOTE:

If the situation appears to be one of immediate and grave risk to life,you should contact the Local Authority Children’s Services Department or Police without delay, informing the leader in charge, Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator and Superintendent Minister of the situation and the action that you have taken as soon as possible afterwards and making a written note of all aspects.

Similarly, if urgent medical attentionis needed, this should be sought as a priority, informing the leader in charge, Church/Circuit Safeguarding Coordinator and Superintendent Minister of the situation and the action taken and making a written note of all aspects.

YOU MUST NEVER INVESTIGATE ACTUAL OR SUSPECTED ABUSE. That is the responsibility of the Local Authority Children’s Services Department and the Police.

The District Safeguarding Officer or the Connexional Child Protection Adviser may be contacted for advice/guidance/support at any time by anyone involved in any situation of actual or suspected abuse.