“Children are Our Future”
Child Protection Policy And Procedures
SECTION 1 - CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Everyone who participates in Church is entitled to do so in an enjoyable and safe environment.
The SPLXIII has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that, when given responsibility for children, Ministers and volunteers provide them with the highest possible standard of care.
The SPLXIII is committed to devising and implementing policies so that everyone in Church accepts their responsibilities to safeguard children from harm and abuse.
This means to follow procedures to protect children and report any concerns about their welfare to appropriate authorities.
The aim of the policy is to promote good practice, providing children and young people with appropriate safety / protection whilst in the care of the Church/ affiliated Organisations and to allow staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (Children’s Act 1989)
1.2 Policy Statement
The SPLXIII is committed to the following:
the welfare of the child is paramount
- all children, whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity should be able to participate in church in a fun and safe environment
- taking all reasonable steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and to respect their rights, wishes and feelings
- all suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
- all involved in church and who work with children, will be recruited with regard to their suitability for that responsibility, and will be provided with guidance and/or training in good practice and child protection procedures
- working in partnership with parents and children is essential for the protection of children
1.2 Legal and Procedural Framework
The practices and procedures within this policy are based on principles contained within UK and International legislation and Government guidance:
- The Children’s Act 1989
- Caring for the young and vulnerable’ Home Office guidance for preventing the abuse of trust (1999)
- Working Together to Safeguard Children and Young People (1999)
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Criminal Justices and Court Services Act (2000)
- The Protection of Children Act 1999
- The Data Protection Act (1998)
- Human Rights Act (1998)
SECTION 2 - PROMOTING GOOD PRACTICE
*To provide children with the best possible experience and opportunities in the Society of Pope Leo XIII, everyone must operate within an accepted ethical framework such as the Societys Code of Conduct and the policy.
It is not always easy to distinguish poor practice from abuse. It is therefore NOT the responsibility of employees or participants in the Society to make judgments about whether or not abuse is taking place. It is however their responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and act if they have concerns about the welfare of the child, as explained in section 4.
This section will help you identify what is meant by good practice and poor practice.
2.2 Good Practice
- All personnel should adhere to the following principles and action:
- Always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets
- Make the experience of attending the Church fun and enjoyable: promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying
- Treat all children equally and with respect and dignity
- Always put the welfare of the child first,
- Maintain a safe and appropriate distance with children (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to
have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them)
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with children. Where any form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and with the consent of the child and an additional adult present. Physical contact can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the child’s consent has been given and an additional adult present.
- Involve parents/carers wherever possible, e.g. where children need to be supervised, encourage parents to take responsibility for their own child. If groups have to be supervised always ensure parents, coaches etc work in pairs
- Request written parental consent if church officials are required to transport children in their cars and be accompanied by an additional adult.
- Ensure that if mixed day trips are taken away, a male and female should always accompany them member of staff
- Ensure that at any day events adults should not enter a child’s room or invite a child to their rooms
- Be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of children
- Always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the child and do not risk sacrificing welfare in a desire for church or personal achievements. This means avoiding excessive training or competition in choir competitions and not pushing them against their will.
- Secure written parental consent for the Church to act in loco parentis, to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical treatment if the need arises, again assisted by an additional adult.
- Keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given.
2.3 Poor Practice
The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all personnel:
- Unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others
- Taking children alone in a car on journeys, however short
- Taking children to your home where they will be alone with you
- Sharing a room (one to one tuition) with a child
- Allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form
- Allowing children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
- Making sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
- Reducing a child to tears as a form of control
- allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
- Do things of a personal nature that the child can do for itself
- Where cases arise where it is impractical/impossible to avoid certain situations e.g. transporting a child in your car, the tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of the parent/carer and the child involved. If during your care you accidentally hurt a child, the child seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions and/or if the child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to another colleague and make a written note of it. Parents should also be informed of the incident.
2.5 Use of Alcohol
*Whilst actively working with young people ALL adults must adhere to the code of conduct. If an adult is reported to have breached the code of conduct with regard to the use of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, they will be investigated under the Church disciplinary procedures
*Within the Church setting or on day trips or tours, it is not appropriate, and it is illegal, for adults, volunteers, ministers to allow young people to consume alcohol, smoke or take illegal substances. If a report is received with allegations of this taking place, the individuals will be seen to have breached the code of conduct and will be investigated under the Church disciplinary procedures and may be reported to the Police.
SECTION 3 - DEFINING CHILD ABUSE
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
There are four main types of abuse:
- Physical abuse,
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Bullying and Neglect
The abuser may be a family member, someone the child encounters in residential care or in the community, including a religious activities. Any individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming the child. Abuse in all of its forms can affect a child at any age. The effects can be so damaging that if not treated, may follow the individual into adulthood
Children with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse has occurred.
3.2 Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse: where adults physically hurt or injure a child e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating, drowning. Giving children alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also constitute child abuse
Emotional and verbal Abuse: the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child, likely to cause severe and lasting adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve telling a child they are useless, worthless, unloved, inadequate or valued in terms of only meeting the needs of another person. It may feature expectations of children that are not appropriate to their age or development. It may cause a child to be frightened or in danger by being constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted which may make the young person frightened or withdrawn. Ill-treatment of children, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse in church activities may occur when the child is constantly criticised, given negative feedback, expected to perform at levels that are above their capability. Other forms of emotional abuse could take the form of name calling and bullying.
Bullying may come from another young person or an adult. Bullying is defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves.
There are four main types of bullying.
It may be physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive text messages), emotional (e.g.tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating from the group), or sexual (e.g.unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
Neglect occurs when an adult fails to meet the child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, to an extent that is likely to result in serious impairment of the child’s health or development. For example, failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect from physical harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. Refusal to give attention can also be a form of neglect.
Sexual Abuse occurs when adults (male and female) use children to meet their own sexual needs. This could include full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling. Showing children pornography or talking to them in a sexually explicit manner are also forms of sexual abuse.
3.3 Indicators of Abuse
Even for those experienced in working with child abuse, it is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place. Most people are not experts in such recognition, but indications that a child is being abused may include one or more of the following:
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries
- An injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent
- The child describes what appears to be an abusive act involving them
- Another child or adult expresses concern about the welfare of a child
- Unexplained changes in a child’s behaviour, e.g. becoming very upset, quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper
- Inappropriate sexual awareness
- Engaging in sexually explicit behaviour
- Distrust of adult’s, particularly those whom a close relationship would normally be expected
- Difficulty in making friends
- Being prevented from socialising with others
- Displaying variations in eating patterns including over eating or loss of appetite
- Losing weight for no apparent reason
- Becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt
Signs of bullying include:
- Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go to training or competitions
- An unexplained drop off in performance
- Physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, bingeing e.g. on food, alcohol or cigarettes
- A shortage of money or frequent loss of possessions, It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is NOT the responsibility of those working in the Catholic Apostolic National Church to decide that child abuse is occurring. It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.
3.4 Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment at Church Events
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of children. All persons, voluntary, visitor, parent, minister should be vigilant and any concerns should be reported to the priest in Charge, or nearest adult.
All parents and congregants should be made aware when ministers use video equipment it is being used
as a coaching aid.
SECTION 4 - RESPONDING TO CONCERNS & ALLEGATIONS
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in SPLXIII in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities so that they can then make inquiries and take necessary action to protect the young person. This applies BOTH to allegations/suspicions of abuse occurring within churches and to allegations/suspicions that abuse is taking place elsewhere.
This section explains how to respond to allegations/suspicions.
4.2 Responding to concerns/allegations
We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways. We may see it happening, we may suspect it is happening because of signs such as those listed in section 3 of this document, it may be reported to us by
someone else or directly by the young person affected.
In the last of these cases, it is particularly important to respond appropriately. If a young person says or indicates that they are being abused, you should:
Stay calm so as not to frighten the young person
Reassure the child that they are not to blame and that it was right to tell
Listen to the child, showing that you are taking them seriously
Keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said.
The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested during questioning. Only ask questions to clarify
Inform the child that you have to inform other people about what they have told you. Tell the child this is to help stop the abuse continuing.
•Safety of the child is paramount. If the child needs urgent medical attention call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are made aware that this is a child protection issue
Record all information.
Report the incident to the priest in charge / Bishop
In all cases if you are not sure what to do you can gain help from NSPCC 24 hour help line Tel No: 0800-800500
4.3 Recording Information
To ensure that information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern. In recording you should confine yourself to the facts and distinguish what is your personal knowledge and what others have told you. Do not include your own opinions.
Information should include the following:
- The child’s name, age and date of birth
- The child’s home address and telephone number
- Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their concern or someone else’s
- The nature of the allegation, including dates, times and any other relevant information
- A description of any visible bruising or injury, location, size etc. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes
- Details of witnesses to the incidents
- The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising/injuries occurred
- Have the parents been contacted? If so what has been said?
- Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details
- Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details
4.4 Reporting the Concern
All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty to a colleague. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.
The SPLXIII expects it’s members and staff to discuss any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child immediately with the person in charge and subsequently to check that appropriate action has been taken.
If the nominated child protection officer is not available you should take responsibility and seek advice from the NSPCC Helpline, the duty officer at your local social services department or the police. Telephone numbers can be found in your local directory.
Where there is a complaint against an employee or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation.
- Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved
- Child protection in which case the social services (and possibly) the police will be involved
- Disciplinary or misconduct in which case the Catholic Apostolic National Church will be involved
As mentioned previously in this document the SPLXIII are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. All suspicions and allegations must be shared with professional agencies that are responsible for child protection.
Social services have a legal responsibility under The Children’s Act 1989 to investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and making inquiries jointly with the police.
NB: If there is any doubt, you must report the incident: it may be just one of a series of other incidents which together cause concern
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by an employee or a volunteer should be reported to the Bishop of the SPLXIII, who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. This will include the following:
- The SPLXIII will refer the matter to the social services department
- the parent/carer of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department
- the Archbishop - Bishop should be notified to decide who will deal with any media enquiries and implement any immediate disciplinary proceedings
- the Archbishop – Bishop should also notify the College of Bishops.
Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometimes after the event. Where such an allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter reported to social services.
4.5 Whistle Blowing
It is important that the Church has well known procedures for enabling staff and volunteers to share, in confidence with a designated person, concerns they may have about a colleague’s behaviour
This may be behaviour linked to child abuse or behaviour that pushes boundaries beyond acceptable limits. If this is consistently ignored a culture may develop within an organisation whereby staff and young people are ‘silenced’.
The SPLXIII is fully supportive of ‘whistle blowing’ for the sake of the child, and will provide support and protect those who ‘whistle blow’. While it is difficult to express concerns about colleagues, it is important that these concerns are communicated to the Archbishop - Bishops of the SPLXIII. All staff and volunteers will be encouraged to talk to the Bishops and Archbishops if they become aware of anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
4.6 Concerns outside the immediate Church Environment (e.g. a parent or carer)
- Report your concerns to the priest in Charge / Bishop
- If the priest in Charge or Bishop is not available, the person being told or discovering the abuse should contact their local social services department or the police immediately
- Social Services and the priest in charge / Bishop will decide how to inform the parents/carers
- The priest in Charge or Bishop should also report the incident to the Archbishop. The SPLXIII will ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the
incident plays a role in the organisation and act accordingly
- Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
- The priest in charge / bishop
- The parents of the child
- The person making the allegation
- Social Services/police
- The Archbishop
- The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child)
Seek Social Services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser.
All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.
4.8 Internal Inquiries and Suspension
- The SPLXIII will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries
- Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the Churches Disciplinary Sub Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; especially where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases the Churches Disciplinary Sub Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on the balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.
4.9 Working with the Aftermath
After a suspicion or allegation about a child protection concern has been investigated, there are likely to be strong feelings amongst staff, parents and children and possibly among the wider community, which will need to be addressed.
There are likely to be issues of:
Communication - if rumour or fact
Guilt and blame - if suspicions had been around for some time
Impact - on individuals, or the nature of what occurred and to whom
Gaps in the organisation in terms of roles and post held
Careful thought will need to be given to the sharing of information and the provision of appropriate support
SECTION 5 - RECRUITING & SELECTING
It is important that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent unsuitable people from working with children. This applies equally to paid staff and volunteers, both full and part time. Anyone who has a previous conviction for offences related to abuse against children is automatically excluded from working with children.
To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children the following steps should be taken when recruiting.
5.2 Controlling Access to Children
- All staff and volunteers should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about the applicants past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record
- Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children should be obtained. These references MUST be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact
- Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo)
5.3 Interview and Induction
All employees and volunteers will be required to undertake an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction during which:
- A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full, including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures
- Their qualifications should be substantiated
- The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified
- Child Protection Procedures are explained and training needs identified e.g. basic child protection awareness
In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after
recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
- Analyse their own practice against what is deemed good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations
- Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice and/or abuse
- Respond to concerns expressed by a child
- Work safely and effectively with children.
The SPLXIII requires:
- All staff and volunteers who have access to children to undergo a CRB check
- All employees, volunteers, priests and team bishops to undertake relevant child protection training or undertake a form of home study, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection
- All staff and volunteers to receive advisory information outlining good/bad practice and informing them what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person
5.5 RECRUITMENT OF PEOPLE WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD
The Recruitment of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 was introduced to ensure that ex-offenders who have not re-offended for a period of time since the date of their conviction are not discriminated against when applying for jobs.
The Act allows that ex-offenders are no longer legally required to disclose to organisations convictions that have become ‘spent’
However in order to protect certain vulnerable groups within society, there are a large number of posts and professions that are exempted from the Act and additionally include employment within positions of trust.
In such cases, organisations are legally entitled to ask applicants for details of all convictions, whether unspent or spent.
The SPLXIII is determined to make all efforts to prevent discrimination and other unfair treatment against any of its staff, potential staff or uses of its service regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical disability or offending background that does not create a risk to children and vulnerable adults
The SPLXIII will ensure that any criminal record information given by an individual is kept confidential and according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act, and, where appropriate, CRB Code of Practice
All recruitment will follow the SPLXIII set policies procedures and according to the SPLXIII Canons and Constitution outlined below.
Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar applicants from working with the SPLXIII . This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of any offences
4. The SPLXIII Code of Practice
The SPLXIII written Equal Opportunities and Recruitment of ex-offenders policy is made available to all applicants at the start of the recruitment process.
The SPLXIII actively promotes equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from a wide range of candidates including those with criminal records.
Applicants with criminal records should be treated according to their merits and in conjunction with any special criteria for the post (e.g. caring for children and vulnerable adults, which debars some in this category).
The SPLXIII will ensure that all those within the organisation who are involved in the recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences
The SPLXIII will also ensure such staff have received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders e.g. the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Unless the nature of the position entitles the SPLXIII to ask questions about an applicant’s entire criminal record, then we only ask about ‘unspent’ convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This information is requested at the initial application stage.
A Disclosure is only requested after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a Disclosure is required, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested in the event of an individual being conditionally offered the position
Where a Disclosure is to form part of the recruitment process, The SPLXIII will encourage all applicants called for interview to provide details of their criminal record at an early stage in the application process and before Disclosure is undertaken. For such positions, The SPLXIII will request that this information is volunteered by the applicant and is sent under separate, confidential cover to a designated person within the ISPLXIII, and the SPLXIII will guarantee that this information is strictly confidential and only seen by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process.
At interview or in a separate discussion, The SPLXIII will ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter revealed by the applicant and/or through Disclosure, if undertaken, that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of a conditional offer of employment. If an applicant reveals a serious criminal record, the recruiter within the SPLXIII will consult the appropriate Bishop.
A decision to reject an applicant because of, or partly because of, a criminal record should relate to an aspect of person specification which is seen to be unmet. If possible, in these circumstances, The SPLXIII will advise the applicant why their application has been unsuccessful
The SPLXIII will make every applicant for a position that is subject to a Disclosure, aware of the existence of CRB Code of Practice and make a copy available on request
5. 6 SECURE STORAGE, HANDLING, USE, RETENTION AND DISPOSAL OF DISCLOSURES AND DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
All organisations using the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Disclosure Service to help assess the suitability of applicants for positions of trust and who are recipients of Disclosure information must comply fully with the CRB Code of Practice. The Code places an obligation on such organisations to have a written policy on the correct handling and safekeeping of Disclosure information. The following principles contained in this policy will ensure compliance with the Code in this respect
As a church using the CRB Disclosure Service to help assess the suitability of applicants for positions of trust, The SPLXIII complies fully with the CRB Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosures and Disclosure information.
The SPLXIII complies fully with its obligations under the Data Protection Act and other relevant legislation pertaining to the safe handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosure information and has a written policy on these matters, which is recorded below.
3. Society of Pope Leo XIII. Code of Practice
Storage and Access: Disclosure information is never kept on an applicant’s personnel file and is always kept separately and securely, in a lockable, non-portable, storage containers with access strictly
controlled and limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their duties.
Handling: In accordance with section 124 of the Police Act 1997, of Disclosure information is only passed to those who are authorised to receive it in the course of their duties.
The SPLXIII will maintain a record of all those to whom Disclosures or Disclosure information has been revealed and the SPLXIII recognise that it is a criminal offence to pass this information to anyone who is not entitled to receive it.
Usage: Disclosure information is only used for the specific purpose for which it was requested and for
which the applicant’s full consent has been given.
Retention: Once a recruitment (or other relevant) decision has been made, The SPLXIII will not keep Disclosure information for any longer than is absolutely necessary. This isgenerally for a period of up to six months, to allow for theconsideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints.
If in very exceptional circumstances it is considered necessary to keep Disclosure information for longer than six months, The SPLXIII will consult the CRB about this. The CRB will give full consideration to the Data Protection and Human Rights of the individual subject to access requirement before giving consent.
Disposal: Once the retention period has elapsed, The SPLXIII will ensure that any Disclosure information is immediately destroyed by secure means i.e. by shredding, pulping or burning.
While awaiting destruction, Disclosure information will not be kept in any insecure receptacle (e.g. waste bin or confidential waste sack).
The SPLXIII will not keep any photocopy or other image of the Disclosure or any copy or representation of the contents of a Disclosure.
However, notwithstanding the above, The SPLXIII will keep a record of the date of issue of a Disclosure, the name of the subject, the type of Disclosure requested, the position for which the Disclosure was requested, the unique reference number of the Disclosure and the details of the recruitment decision taken.
SECTION 6 - USEFUL CONTACTS
NSPCC Child Protection Helpline
National Helpline 0808 800 5000
Welsh Helpline 0800 100 2524 (Mon-Fri 10am-6.00pm)
Asian Helpline 0800 096 7719
Deaf User’s Textphone 0800 056 0686
London N1 OBR
Tel - 0800 1111
Criminal Records Bureau
PO Box 91 Liverpool L69 2UH
Helpline 0870 90 90 811
Police and Social Services
Consult your telephone directory for the most relevant local numbers
SPLXIII EQUITY POLICY
- The SPLXIII recognises the importance of affording equity, equal opportunity and fair treatment to all present and potential employees and members.
- The SPLXIII aims to ensure that all people irrespective of their age, gender, ability, race, religion, ethnic origin, creed, colour, nationality, social status or sexual orientation has a genuine and equal opportunity to participate in religious at all levels and in all roles.
- It is the aim of the SPLXIII in its relationships with its members, employees, job applicants and in the provision of its services, not to disadvantage any individual by imposing any conditions or requirements which cannot be justified. Failure to comply may result in Disciplinary action being taken.
- Advice and training will be given to all those working for or on behalf of the Church.
- Direct discrimination is defined as treating a person less favourably than others are or would be treated in the same or similar circumstances.
- Indirect discrimination occurs when a requirement or condition is applied which, whether intentional or not, adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of people of one race, sex or marital status than another and cannot be justified on grounds other than race, sex or marital status.
The ICABUK-AUS Equity policy has the following objectives:
- To adopt a planned approach to eliminating perceived barriers, which discriminate against particular groups. This will include widening the traditional approach and include communities currently under-represented in the religious Christian field or experiencing disadvantage, poverty and health inequalities.
- To ensure that no-one working or wishing to work for or on behalf of the SPLXIII receives less favourable treatment on the grounds outlined in the Policy Statement above.
- To give clear guidance to individuals working within the,SPLXIII either employed or as volunteers, on the commitment to equal opportunities.
- To ensure that all those who participate in SPLXIII, at all levels and in all roles, receive fair and equitable treatment.
- To ensure that the format and content of all competitions, regulations and assessments provide equity for all, except where specific situations and conditions properly or reasonably prevent this.
- To ensure that all materials prepared, produced and distributed by or on behalf of the SPLXIII promotes a clear image of the profile of all those who are a part of the Church
The SPLXIII will seek to promote equity and equality through:
- The monitoring of practices, procedures and data relating to the operations of competitions, schemes, initiatives and development materials.
- A regular review of existing rules and regulations to ensure that they do not inhibit the participation of people from groups, which may suffer discrimination.
- Increasing collaboration with partner organisations to ensure equity, fair and consistent treatment of all members.
•The provision of appropriate training for all employees, and other key volunteers of the SPLXIII to raise awareness of both collective and individual responsibilities, to support their progress within the Church and, where appropriate, provide specialised facilities, equipment and individual training.
- In pursuance of this policy, the SPLXIII may take special measures or positive action in favour of any group which is currently under represented in its membership, representative bodies or its workforce. In this the SPLXIII recognises its legal obligations under the following acts of Parliament but also that of church and state:
Race Relations Act 1976 (amendment 2000)
Equal Pay Act 1970
Sex Discrimination Acts 1975, 1986, 1999
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Human Rights Act 1998
- The SPLXIII will continuously monitor and review the selection criteria and procedures in relation to participation and employment to ensure individuals are selected, promoted and treated solely on the basis of the skills and abilities, which are appropriate to the position
- The SPLXIII will work with key equity partners and accountable officers within the respective organisations to ensure that all programmes and initiatives are inclusive
The SPLXIII reserves the right to limit to persons of specific age, gender or disability groups where this is necessary to ensure equitable, safety and equality.
- The SPLXIII expects all those acting on behalf of the organisation to adhere to this policy.
- In pursuance of this policy the SPLXIII reserves the right to discipline any of its members or employees who practice any form of discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age, gender, ability, race, religion, ethnic origin, creed, colour, nationality, social status or sexual orientation.
Guidelines for Transporting Children & Young People
It is important to ensure that all steps are taken to ensure the safe transport of children and young people. Within your church you need to develop and inform parents of your transport policy i.e.
the dropping off and collection of young people to the church.
The following principles will help inform the policy:
- Ministers and voluntary staff will be responsible for young people in their care when on the church premises
- It is the responsibility of parent/carer to transport their child/children to and from the church
- It is not the minister or volunteer’s responsibility to transport the young people to and from the church
- The church must receive permission from parents/carers for young people to participate in all competitions and away events
- The church will provide a timetable of activities at the beginning of a season and notify parents/carers of any changes to this timetable in writing where practically possible
- The church will require contact numbers for parents/carers, and any alternative numbers if they are not contactable on number provided
- The church will provide the parents/carers with a contact number, which may be used if the parent/carer will be late to collect their child/children
- If a parent /carer is late the church will:
- Attempt to contact the parent/carer
- Check the church contact number for any information regarding the young person
- Contact the alternative contact name/number
- Wait with the young person at the church with wherever possible other staff/volunteers or parents
- Remind parents/carers of the policy relating to late collection
- If parents/carers remain uncontactable staff will need to report the situation to social services or the police
- Staff/volunteers should avoid
- Taking the child home or to any other location;
- Asking the child to wait in a vehicle or the church with you alone
- Sending the child home with another person without permission.
If children are to be transported by coach the following should be considered:
Use a reputable company providing transport and necessary insurance
Ensure sufficient supervisors are on each coach
All children have a seat and seat belt regulations are adhered to
Parents/carers are issued with detailed information of pick up and drop off points and times
All supervisory staff are issued with all relevant information of passengers e.g. name/contact number, pick up/drop off point, name of parent/carer to collect, emergency telephone number.
Children are not to be left unsupervised i.e. dropped off and a parent/carer is not there
If private cars are used for transport, you should ensure parental consent has been obtained.
The SPLXIII recognises that junior choir/ altar servers exists on the support of volunteers and parents
and that often private cars are used as a form of transport to away events.
The SPLXIII strongly advise that private cars, other than parents, are not used by ministers, church volunteers to transport young children at any time, either to and from choir / altar server training session.
If for any reason this is the ONLY feasible method of transport the following guidelines must be followed:
- Drivers must register their vehicle with the church
- Drivers must ensure the safety of passengers
- Drivers must ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy and that they have a valid licence and insurance cover
- Drivers must only use vehicles with seat belts and ensure that their passengers are wearing these when in transit
- Drivers must be aware of their legal obligations when transporting young children
- Parents/guardians/or carers must give written permission if their child/children are being transported in another adults car
- Clear information on the expected time of departure and arrivals need to be communicated to relevant people i.e. parents/guardian or carer
- Drivers should not be alone with a young person in the car at any time. If this situation arises drivers need to ensure that the young person is in the back of the car
- The driver must have been checked and complied with the recruitment procedures set out in Section 5
If hiring transport
Ministers and volunteers are not authorized to hire any form of transport for any church purposes but for their own.
Medical forms must be completed, signed by the parent/guardian or carer and returned to the church
A member of staff must carry medical details and relevant information
The staff must be aware of any specific medical conditions
Staff should have access to calling the emergency services and the minimum first aid provision
Staff has a common law duty of care to act as a prudent parent would
Staff must act in an emergency and take life saving action in extreme situations
If an emergency occurs:
Establish the nature of the emergency. Names of any casualties
Ensure the rest of the children are safe and supervised
Ensure all members of the party are aware and are following emergency procedures
Ensure that a member of staff accompanies any casualties to hospital
Notify the police if necessary
Complete an incident form
Ensure that no one in the group speaks to the media. All media enquires should be managed through HRCAC Communications Director
Ensure that the minister and staff do not discuss the incident due to legal liability
Contact the ‘Church who will contact’ home:
Contact parents and keep them informed about the situation
Liaise with the church staff, and if necessary the ICABUK-AUS
Liaise with the media contact if applicable
Report the incident to the insurers
Churches must ensure that they have insurance.
Supervision of Children and Young People
Prevention is the most important aspect of supervision of children and young people.
From the moment the child arrives at the Church, staff and volunteers are acting in loco parentis and have a duty of care towards them.
Appropriate supervision ratios and systems for monitoring the whereabouts of children are essential. It must be clear at all times, who in the team is responsible for supervision. This is particularly important for events involving children under the age of 8; The supervision ratio is a minimum
of 1:8 for a team of under 8’s and no more than 26 children involved in the party. For children over the age of 8, experience has shown that a ratio of one adult to 10 children is the minimum required.
The supervisor must ensure that there is clear guidance on reporting missing children. As a general rule where a child is reported missing there should be a maximum of 20 minutes before the police are called. This may need to be reduced where a young child is involved.
For residential events, it is recommended that the event coordinator has access to photos of children/young people (attached to their consent form) in the event of them having to report a child missing to the police.
Anti Bullying Policy
Bullying is not easy to define, can take many forms and is usually repeated over a period of time. The three main types of bullying are: physical (e.g. hitting, kicking), verbal (e.g. racist remarks, threats, name calling), emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities). They will include:
Deliberate hostility and aggression towards the victim
A victim who is weaker than the bully or bullies
An outcome, which is always painful and distressing for the victim
Bullying behaviour may also include:
Other forms of violence
Sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing or theft
Tormenting, ridiculing, humiliation
Racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
Unwanted physical contact or abusive/offensive comments of a sexual nature
Emotional and verbal bullying is more likely, however, it is more difficult to cope with or prove. It is of paramount importance that all churches develop their own anti bullying policy to which all its members, staff and volunteers and parents subscribe to and accept.
Every church should be prepared to:
Take the problem seriously
Investigate any incidents
Talk to bullies and victims separately
Decide on appropriate action, such as:
Obtain an apology from the bully(ies) to the victim
Inform parents of the bully(ies)
Insist on the return of items ‘borrowed’ or stolen
Insist bullies compensate the victim
Hold church discussions on bullying
Provide support for the coach of the victim
Photographic/ Recorded Images
While the ISPLXIII recognises that publicity and pictures/recordings
of young people enjoying Church services are essential to promote the religion and a healthy lifestyle, the following rules should be observed:
Ensure parents/guardian/young person have granted their consent for the taking and publication of photographic images and have signed and returned the Parent/Guardian and young Permission Form
All young people must be appropriately dressed for the activity taking place. Photography or recording should focus on the activity rather than a particular young person and personal details, which might make the young person vulnerable, such as their exact address, should never be revealed.
Anyone taking photographs or recording must have a valid reason for doing so and seek permission from the organisers/person in charge.
They should make themselves known to the event organiser/person in charge and be able to identify themselves if requested during the course of the event.
Churches’ should be allowed to use video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid and means of recording special occasions however care should be taken in the dissemination and storage of the material
Participants and parents must be informed that a photographer/camera person will be in attendance at an event and ensure consent to both taking photographs and publishing them is given.
Do not allow unsupervised access to changing areas with photographers/camera people or one to one photo sessions at events.
Parents and spectators taking photographs/recordings should be prepared to identify themselves if requested and state their purpose for photography/filming.
Parents and children should be informed that if they have any concerns they should report them to the event minister or any Church official and recorded in the same manner as any other child protection concern.
Responding to Concerns About Parent/Carer
This guide is designed to inform the most appropriate action in relation to concerns about a parent or carer
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE BEHAVIOUR OF A PARENT/CARER? YES
Report your concerns to the designated Record what the child has said.
Person. If the person in charge is not Include times, dates and if
available, refer your concerns to possible send a copy to social
Social services or police immediately services
Ensure the person in charge follows up with social services
Every church should designate a person or persons to be responsible for dealing with any concerns about the protection of children.
The churches Child Protection Policy should include the name of this person, their role/responsibities and how they can be contacted. The person designated should ensure they are knowledgeable about child protection and that they undertake any training considered necessary to keep themselves updated on new developments.
Establish contact with senior members of social services staff responsible for child
protection in the Church catchment area.
Provide information and advice on child protection within the Church
Ensure that the church’s child protection policy and procedures are followed and particularly to inform social services of relevant concerns about individual children
Ensure that appropriate information is available at the time of referral and that the referral is confirmed in writing
Liaise with social services and other agencies as appropriate
Keep relevant people within the church, particularly the head or leader of the Churches, informed about any action taken and any further action required
Ensure that an individual case record is maintained of the action taken by the church, the liaison with other agencies and the outcome
Advise the church of child protection training needs
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enables employers of private paid and voluntary Churches in England and Wales to do checks related to the applicant’s suitability to work with children. Access to the CRB is available to all churches working with children and young people, either directly as registered bodies or through ‘umbrella’ organisations.
For more information on CRB checks:
PO Box 91
Recommended Legislation/Guidance & Publications
The Protection of Children Act 1999
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Our Duty to Care
The Children Act 1989. (England and Wales)
Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
The Human Rights Act 1998
The Data Protection Act 1984 and 1998
Sexual Offences (Amendments) Act 2000
Working Together to Safeguard Children
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