The United Benefice of Holland Park is committed to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults to worship and grow in Christ safely.
If you have information about a safeguarding situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention call the emergency services on 999. Do not delay.
For any other conversation on the subject, do not hesitate to email or call us on 020 3602 9873 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Safeguarding Policy - General
This is the Safeguarding Policy of the United Benefice
Sunday School and Youth Group for Sunday School Volunteers:
Make sure you fill in a DBS form and a confidential disclosure. Ask Margaret Houston or the Parish Office for help with this.
Treat all children, young people and adults with respect and dignity, keeping your own language, attitude and body language respectful
Avoid being alone with a child and always aim to work within sight of another adult and keep others aware of your actions (Note: I know that in a church of our size, this is frequently not possible. I have asked the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer for advice on this.)
Never use illicit drugs or alcohol when responsible for a child.
Keep physical contact specific to the needs of the activity.
Never use rough play, sexually provocative words and games or any forms of physical punishment.
Never scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child, group or adult or allow others to do so.
Avoid showing favouritism or encouraging a child or young person’s infatuation with you.
Never give lifts to children or young people on their own or on your own, without parental permission.
Do not allow unknown adults access to children.
For All Parishioners, and Sunday School Volunteers in particular
If you have a concern about a child ...
IF A CHILD IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, DIAL 999. Within 24 hours, follow the steps in #2. If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, make a note of what happened to make you suspect this, and the date, and pass this information to the Church Safeguarding Officer (Margaret Houston) or Children’s Champion (Clare Heard). Include what was said, any behaviour the child or parent showed that made you suspect abuse, any signs of abuse such as bruises, and any action you took.
Signs and symptoms of neglect or abuse can be found here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/signs.cfm
If a child tells you about abuse or neglect, do not promise that you will keep it secret. Do not write anything down while the child is talking to you, but write a full explanation of what you were told as soon as possible and pass it to the Children’s Champion or Church Safeguarding Officer. When in doubt, report. Very often, a picture of abuse is built up not from one major incident but from many different people in a child’s life all mentioning a minor “it’s probably nothing, but ...” issue. Err on the side of caution and report anything you suspect.
All our Sunday School leaders and volunteers have a DBS check.
You do not need a DBS check if you are acting in a supervisory capacity for your child only.
For the Families Pastor/Church Safeguarding Officer/Children’s Champion
Ensure all new volunteers complete a DBS check and Confidential Declaration.
All information in the DBS and Confidential Declaration is confidential.
If there is an issue of concern in the DBS or Confidential Declaration, the Families Pastor will first discuss it with the person concerned. Further advice may be sought from the Churchwardens, Vicar, and/or Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.
Ensure steps identified in the Safeguarding Audit are taken.
Ensure information about the Church Safeguarding Officer and Children’s Champion is posted in the Community Area, and that children know who the Children’s Champion is.
Update training on Safeguarding issues for Church Safeguarding Officer and Children’s Champion at least every three years.
Special Programmes, e.g. Family Days
For the Families Pastor: risk assessments to be filed with the Churchwardens before any off-site visits or overnights.
Parents to be notified in permission slip letter if programme includes off-site visits, use of public transport, crossing roads, etc. Parents given an opportunity to ask questions and given contact information of programme leader.
Ofsted-recommended adult: child ratios to be followed.
Information about any allergies or medical issues to be gathered from parents before programme begins.
Children to change into pyjamas in private.
Boys and girls to sleep in separate rooms UNLESS the following conditions are met – an adult is present in the mixed sleeping area and that adult stays awake until ALL young people are asleep. However, boys and girls over the age of 13 should still have separate sleeping areas, each with their own chaperone, who has a DBS check.
Information about any allergies or medical issues to be gathered from parents and permission to give medicine obtained.
First Aid Kit to be brought on any off-site visits.
Permission obtained from parents for use of public transport, etc.
Children will be given safety briefings before off-site visits and counted before departure, at every transport interchange, upon arrival, upon departure for the return to church, and at arrival back at church.
At least one adult to be present for every six children.
All adults to have mobile phones and contact information for trip leader.
The Toddler Group leader is not required to have a DBS check, as all children attending the group have a parent or carer present at all times.
Toddler Group leader to know of location of First Aid Kit.
At All Times:
For Families Pastor:
Before using any photographs or identifying details of children in our programmes in our publicity material, permission will be taken, in writing, from parents or carers.
Should a member of the congregation pose a potential threat to children (i.e. ex-offender), the Vicar, Churchwardens, and Families Pastor will decide together on a course of action, with the advice of the Bishop’s Advisor on Child Protection issues, if necessary.
“Positive Discipline” is used to build trust and respect between children and adults and to value the dignity of the child as a full member of the Body of Christ.
If there is an issue of concern about the Church Safeguarding Officer, Children’s Champion, or Families Pastor, it should be reported to the Churchwardens. Any concerns about other adults, including the Vicar and Churchwardens, should be passed to the Church Safeguarding Officer.
Church Safeguarding Officer: Natasha Tatha – Natasha.Tahta@qebhw.co.uk, 0203 602 9873
Children’s Champion: Clare Heard - email@example.com
Churchwarden with responsibility for DBS checks: William James, firstname.lastname@example.org
© Margaret P. Houston, 2016
Further information on Safeguarding
The Diocese of London Safeguarding team can be contacted on their Safeguarding Helpline number 020 7932 1224. The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Annette Gordon, can be reached on email@example.com, 020 7932 1124.
If you wish to report any safeguarding concerns directly to the Church of England National Safeguarding Team please email firstname.lastname@example.org. They will ensure that any concerns are referred to the relevant diocese and/or statutory agency, as appropriate.
Finding support to be discussed with Fr James Heard. Need to know if this stays on our website or can we provide a link to the council page which includes all this information already.
Here are the contact details of other agencies that are available to assist either on a 24-hour basis or through specialist helplines and services:
NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are worried about a child.
Child-line: 0800 1111 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are a child or young person and are worried about anything.
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 ((lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse.
Samaritans Helpline: 08457 90 90 90 (open 24 hours). Phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to.
Action on Elder Abuse Helpline: 0808 808 8141 (free phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm)