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MISSION STATEMENT The Church Management (hereafter referred to as CM) recognises the importance of its ministry to children and young people and its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people entrusted to the Church’s care.
As part of its mission, the Church is committed to:
• Valuing, listening to and respecting children and young people as well as promoting their welfare and protection. • Safe recruitment, supervision and training for all the children’s/youth workers within the church. • Adopting a procedure for dealing with concerns about possible abuse. • Encouraging and supporting parents/carers. • Supporting those affected by abuse in the Church. • Maintaining good links with the statutory childcare authorities and other organisations.
CHURCH POLICY The CM recognises the need to provide a safe and caring environment for children and young people. It also acknowledges that children and young people can be the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. The CM has therefore adopted the procedures set out in this document (hereafter “the policy”). It also recognises the need to build constructive links with statutory and voluntary child protection agencies. The policy and attached practice guidelines are based on a model published by the Churches’ Advisory Service thirtyone:eight. The CM undertakes to file a copy of the policy with thirtyone:eight and social services, and any amendments subsequently published. The CM agrees not to agree to the document being copied, or used by other organisations. The CM is committed to on-going child protection training for all children/youth workers and will regularly review the operational guidelines attached.
The CM also undertakes to follow the principles found within the Abuse of Trust guidance issued by the Home Office and it is therefore unacceptable for those in a position of trust to engage in any behaviour which might allow a sexual relationship to develop.
RLC-(P)19 Safeguarding Policy (Children & Young People)-Issue 1 (February 2019)
RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE Under no circumstances should a church worker carry out their own investigation into the allegation or suspicion of abuse. The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse will do the following: • Concerns must be reported as soon as possible to Anita Wise (hereafter the “Safeguarding Lead”) tel no: 01803 291 156 (work), 07595 921 318 (mobile) who is nominated by the CM to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse, including referring the matter on to the statutory authorities. • In the absence of the Safeguarding Lead, or if the suspicions in any way involve the Safeguarding Lead then the report should be made to Chrissie Slaney (hereafter the “Deputy Safeguarding Lead”) tel no: 07804 797 655 (mobile). If the suspicions implicate both the Safeguarding Leads, then the report should be made in the first instance to thirtyone:eight, PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0845 120 4550 or alternatively contact Children’s Services. The local office telephone number between 9.00am and 5.00pm is 01803 208 102. The out of hours emergency number is 01803 524 519. The Police Child Protection Team can be contacted by phoning 08452 777 444. • Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns should be made in accordance with church procedures and kept in a secure place. • Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Leads, in their absence report to be made to thirtyone:eight, PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0845 120 4550 or alternatively contact Children’s Services. • The CM will support the Safeguarding Leads in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a “need to know” basis. • It is, of course, the right of any individual as a citizen to make a direct referral to the child protection agencies or seek advice from thirtyone:eight, although the CM hopes that members of the Church will use this policy/procedure. If, however, the individual with the concern feels that the Safeguarding Lead/Deputy Safeguarding Lead has not responded appropriately, or where they have a disagreement with the Safeguarding Lead as to the appropriateness of a referral they are free to contact an outside agency directly. We hope by making this statement that the CM demonstrates the commitment of the Church to effective child protection.
The role of the Safeguarding Leads is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to the Children Services. It is Children’s Services task to investigate the matter under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
ALLEGATIONS OF PHYSICAL INJURY OR NEGLECT If a child has a physical injury or symptom of neglect, the Safeguarding Lead(s) will: • Contact thirtyone:eight (or Children’s Services) for advice in cases of deliberate injury, if concerned about a child’s safety or if a child is afraid to return home. • Will not tell the parents or carers unless advised to do so having contacted Children’s Services. • Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions. • For lesser concerns, (e.g. poor parenting), encourage parent/carer to seek help, but not if this places the child at risk of injury. • Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, offer to accompany them. In cases of real concern, if they still fail to act, contact Children’s Services direct for advice. • Seek and follow advice given by thirtyone:eight (who will confirm their advice in writing) if unsure whether or not to refer a case to Social Services.
RLC-(P)19 Safeguarding Policy (Children & Young People)-Issue 1 (February 2019)
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Safeguarding Lead/Deputy Safeguarding Lead will: • Contact thirtyone:eight (or Children’s Services), Duty Social Worker for children and families or Police Child Protection Team direct. They will NOT speak to the parent/carer or anyone else. • Seek and follow the advice given by thirtyone:eight if, for any reason they are unsure whether or not to contact Children’s Services/Police. Thirtyone:eight will confirm its advice in writing for future reference.
APPOINTMENT, SUPPORT, SUPERVISION & TRAINING OF LEADERS & WORKERS The CM will ensure all workers will be appointed, trained, supported and supervised in accordance with the principles set out in government guidelines “Safe from Harm” (HMSO 1993), the Criminal Records Bureau/Scottish Criminal Records Office/PECS Codes of Practice, CCPAS guidance. The same principles will be applied to those appointed to work with vulnerable adults.
SUPERVISION OF GROUP/CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES The CM will provide details of the supervision for each specific activity in the church on request. SUPPORT TO THOSE AFFECTED BY ABUSE The CM is committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support to those attending the Church that have been affected by abuse.
WORKING WITH OFFENDERS When someone attending the Church is known to have abused children, the CM will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care, but in its commitment to the protection of children, set boundaries for that person which they will be required to keep.
Quick Reference Guide to the External Parties referred to in this Policy: thirtyone:eight PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0845 120 4550
Children’s Services. The local office telephone number between 9.00am and 5.00pm is 01803 208 102. The out of hours emergency number is 01803 524 519.
The Police Child Protection Team 08452 777 444.
INTRODUCTION There has been growing awareness of the vulnerability of some adults to abuse or neglect. Riviera Life Church, its Trustees, Staff and Volunteers (hereafter referred to as RLC) are likely to have regular contact with vulnerable adults or their carer’s and in the course of their duties may become aware of situations where a vulnerable adult is at risk of abuse, or is being abused. It is important that RLC are alert to signs of abuse and take appropriate action to safeguard vulnerable adults.
This policy is intended to help raise awareness of the ways in which vulnerable adults may be being abused and advice on what RLC should do if abuse is suspected. The key principles are set out in the box below.
2. DEFINITION OF VULNERABLE ADULT A vulnerable adult is someone who is aged 18 years or over who ‘Is or may be in need of community care services by reasons of their mental health or other disability, age or illness’ and ‘Is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation’ (Who Decides – Lord Chancellors Dept 1997)
A vulnerable adult may be a person who • Is elderly or frail • Has a learning disability • Suffers from mental illness (e.g. dementia, personality disorder) • Has a physical disability • Is a substance misuser • Is homeless • Is in an abusive relationship (It should be noted that disability or age alone does not signify that an adult is vulnerable)
RLC should: • Be alert to and act on indications when a vulnerable adult may be being abused or at risk of abuse. • Know how to access details of local policies for the protection of vulnerable adults • Act in accordance with local policies to protect vulnerable adults
RLC-(P)20 Safeguarding Policy (Vulnerable Adults)-Issue 1 (February 2019)
3. ABUSE OF ADULTS Abuse can consist of a single or repeated act of harm or exploitation. It may be perpetrated as a result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance. Abuse can be physical, verbal, psychological, emotional, or a result of neglect or an omission to act. Abuse can also occur when a vulnerable adult is persuaded to enter into a financial arrangement or sexual relationship to which they have not, or could not, consent to or understand e.g. as a result of mental or physical incapacity.
Vulnerable adults may be abused by a wide range of people including family members, friends, professional staff, care workers, volunteers or other service users.
Abuse can occur in a variety of circumstances. It may take place within the vulnerable adult’s own home, nursing, residential or day care facilities, hospitals or other institutional settings. Incidents of abuse can be either to one person or more than one person at a time. Some instances of abuse will constitute a criminal offence for example, assault, rape, theft or fraud.
Patterns of abuse vary and can include: • Serial abusing, where the perpetrator seeks out and ‘grooms’ vulnerable adults (sexual abuse and some forms of financial abuse usually fall into this pattern). • Situational abuse, as a result of pressures building up and/or because of difficult or challenging behaviour. • Long term abuse in the context of an ongoing family relationship, for example domestic violence. • Neglect of a person’s needs because others are unable to take responsibility for their care e.g. the carer has financial, alcohol or mental health problems. • Institutional abuse arising from poor standards of care, inadequate staffing, and lack of response to individual patient’s complex needs, insufficient knowledge base and expertise. • Unacceptable treatment programmes including over medication, unnecessary use of restraint, withholding food, drink or medication. • Inability or failure to access key health and social care services. • Misappropriation of benefits and/or use of vulnerable adult’s money by other members of the household. • Fraud or intimidation in connection with wills, property or other assets.
4. FRAMEWORK FOR THE PROTECTION OF ADULTS Autonomy, capacity and the ability to consent are key components in working with vulnerable adults. All vulnerable adults have a right to live and receive services in an environment which is free from prejudice and safe from exploitation or abuse. A vulnerable adult’s wishes should be taken into account at all times.
At present, there is no specific legislation which directly protects vulnerable adults, instead the applicable duties and powers to assess and intervene are contained with a range of legislation. The primary aim should be to prevent abuse where possible, but if preventative measures fail, robust procedures should be in place to deal with incidents of abuse effectively and sensitively. Social Service authorities (and where a criminal offence may have been committed, the police) have a responsibility to make inquiries into concerns about the welfare of a vulnerable adult. At a local level agencies involved in the care and protection of vulnerable adults (e.g. commissioners, providers and regulators of health and social care services; the police; local housing and education departments; voluntary and private sector organisations) are beginning to work in partnership to ensure robust procedures are in place.
RLC-(P)20 Safeguarding Policy (Vulnerable Adults)-Issue 1 (February 2019)
Work has also been undertaken to develop lists of people who are considered unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults. In England and Wales, the Protection of Vulnerable Adults Scheme for care homes and domiciliary care agencies introduced a list of care workers who have harmed a vulnerable adult or put them at risk of harm. Full details of this scheme can be obtained at www.doh.gov.uk. In Scotland, the Scottish Executive has consulted on proposals to compile and maintain a list of people who are considered unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults (www.scotland.gov.uk).
RLC are advised and know, if required, how to access details about local policies and procedures (e.g. via local primary care organisation, trust or social service) and ensure they act in accordance with them.
5. WHAT TO DO IF ABUSE IS SUSPECTED Concerns must be reported as soon as possible to Anita Wise (hereafter “Safeguarding Lead” tel no: 01803 291 156 (work), 07595 921 318 (mobile) who is nominated by the trustees to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse, including referring the matter on to the statutory authorities.
In the absence of the Safeguarding Lead, or if the suspicions in any way involve the Safeguarding Lead then the report should be made to Chrissie Slaney (hereafter the Deputy Safeguarding Lead) tel no: 01803 328 820 (home), 07804 797 655 (mobile). If the suspicions implicate both the Safeguarding Leads, then the report should be made to the relevant statutory authority.
RLC may become concerned that a vulnerable adult is being abused, or is at risk of abuse, as a result of one or more of the following: • Direct disclosure by the vulnerable adult • A complaint or expression of concern by another person, or • Observing the behaviour of the vulnerable adult.
It is important that Riviera Life Church’s trustees, staff and volunteers do not discuss concerns about abuse with the alleged perpetrator. Care must also be taken not to disturb or destroy articles that may be used in evidence during a criminal investigation or ultimate prosecution.
If abuse is suspected or reported, RLC should act in line with local policies and procedures to: 1. Discuss with Safeguarding Lead suspected abuse and action required to be taken 2. Obtain permission from the vulnerable adult before disclosing confidential information about them (see below for further guidance on confidentiality and consent) 3. Take reasonable steps to ensure the adult is in no immediate danger. 4. Seek appropriate medical treatment for the adult if required. 5. Contact the police if it is believed that a crime may have been committed. 6. Consider the need to inform the vulnerable adult’s GP or treating doctor. 7. If, after discussion, abuse or neglect is still considered to be a possibility a referral should be made to the Social Services Department. 8. Where a child is also at risk child protection procedures should be followed. 9. Records should be kept of all concerns and discussions about the adult, the decisions made and reasons for these decisions and dated and signed appropriately. As abuse can often be a culmination of events, it is important to maintain appropriate records of concerns whether or not further action is taken at the time.
RLC-(P)20 Safeguarding Policy (Vulnerable Adults)-Issue 1 (February 2019)
6. CONSENT A key issue in the protection of vulnerable adults is one of consent. RLC must help individuals to make informed decisions about whether they wish to use particular services or treatment options, and ensure that when a patient is not legally competent, any treatment or care provided is in accordance with the appropriate legal requirements. Vulnerable adults have a fundamental human right to decide how and with whom they live. A person who is able to make decisions for themselves is entitled to refuse protection. However, if the person lacks mental capacity to make this decision or there is an overriding public interest (e.g. other vulnerable adults are at risk) the need for referral should be considered. Wherever possible, the vulnerable adult should be informed that a referral will be made and the reasons for this.
The law relating to consent is complex. RLC are unlikely to be in a position to accurately assess a person’s mental capacity. Therefore where there is a concern about a vulnerable adult’s mental capacity to consent to protection, it is advisable to discuss concerns with other appropriate professionals and person involved in the adults care. If this is not possible RLC should use their judgement, based on the information they have, to act in the vulnerable adult’s best interests.
7. CONFIDENTIALITY RLC have a duty to respect and protect the confidentiality of any information they have relating to a vulnerable adult. Such information should not normally be disclosed without the vulnerable adult’s consent. However, there is an underlying requirement to act in the interests of a vulnerable adult and other members of the public. Consideration may need to be given to disclosure without the vulnerable adult’s consent in situations where: • A vulnerable adults health renders them incapable of consent (e.g. mental incapacity) • Disclosure is necessary to prevent serious injury or damage to the health of the vulnerable adult, third party or to public health (e.g. other vulnerable adults are also at risk). • Disclosure is required by law or under an order of the Court.
Information should only be disclosed to relevant persons or agencies on a ‘need to know’ basis.
RLC should not give a vulnerable adult assurance of absolute confidentiality of information disclosed to them, especially in situations where other vulnerable people may be at risk. Wherever possible, the vulnerable adult should be informed of any decision to share information that is contrary to their wishes. They should be aware of what information is being shared and with whom.
8. APPOINTMENT, SUPPORT, SUPERVISION & TRAINING The Trustees will ensure all workers will be appointed, trained, supported and supervised in accordance with the principles set out in government guidelines “No Secrets” and “In Safe Hands”.
9. FURTHER INFORMATION AND ADVICE RLC will get advice about any local procedures for the protection of vulnerable adults by contacting their primary care organisation, NHS Trust, Health Board or Social Services Authority. Further information can also be obtained from the following sources:- 1. No secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. Department of Heath/Home Office. London: Department of Health; 2000. Available at www.doh.gov.uk/scg/nosecrets.htm 2. Protection of vulnerable adult’s scheme in England and Wales for care homes and domiciliary agencies. Department of Health. London: Department of Health; 2004. Available at www.doh.gov.uk