NEW APOSTOLIC CHURCH SAFEGUARDING POLICY
Name: New Apostolic Church UK Ltd
Address: Office 1, Fenwick 2, Pikes Hill
Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7NG
Tel No 02380 283336 Email address: admin-hq[at]btconnect.com
The Trustees of the New Apostolic Church UK Ltd charity recognise the duty to ensure that arrangements to safeguard and to promote the welfare of all persons within the scope of the activities of the charity.
These arrangements reflect the needs of the children that we deal with and to protect vulnerable adults from abuse or the risk of abuse. As part of its mission, the charity is committed to:
• Valuing, listening to and respecting all persons as well as promoting their welfare and protection.
• Safe recruitment, supervision and training for all persons tasked, employed or volunteering within the charity.
• Adopting a procedure for dealing with concerns about alleged abuse.
• Encouraging and supporting all individuals within the charity.
• Supporting those affected by alleged abuse in the charity.
The Trustees, or those appointed by the Trustees, recognise the need to provide a safe and caring environment for all persons. It also acknowledges that all persons can be the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. The Trustees have therefore adopted the procedures set out in this document (hereafter “the policy”). It also recognises the need to build constructive links, as appropriate, with statutory and voluntary child protection agencies. The policy and attached practice guidelines are based on a model published by the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service, now known as ‘thirtyone:eight’. The Trustees undertake to file a copy of the policy and practical guidelines with thirtyone:eight and any amendments subsequently published. The Trustees agree not to allow the document to be copied by other organisations.
The Trustees are committed to on-going safeguarding training for all persons tasked, employed or volunteering within the charity.
The Trustees also undertake 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 inappropriate behavior.
RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE
Under no circumstances should any persons tasked, employed, volunteering or associated with the charity, carry out their own investigation into the allegation or suspicions of neglect or abuse. The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse will do the following:
• Concerns must be reported as soon as possible to
- the Safeguarding Committee chairman, Dr Neil Sinclair Tel: 07753985675, (hereafter known as the ‘committee chair’) who is nominated by the Trustees to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion or neglect of abuse, including referring the matter on to the statutory authorities; OR
- The Police and Social services
• The committee chair may also be required by conditions of the church insurance policy to immediately inform the Insurance company.
• If the suspicions implicate the committee chair then the report should be made to thirtyone:eight PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent BR8 7UQ, Tel: 0845 120 4550 (24 hour service).
• Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns should be made in accordance with the church procedures and kept in a secure place.
• Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the committee chair, the absence of the Committee chair should not delay referral to thirtyone:eight.
• The Trustees will support the committee chair 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 direct contact with thirtyone:eight
• The role of the committee chair is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to the Children’s Social Services Department. It is Children’s Social Services task to investigate the matter under section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
ALLEGATIONS OF PHYSICAL INJURY, NEGLECT OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE
If a child has a physical injury, a symptom of neglect or where there are concerns about emotional abuse the minister, volunteer, member is to notify to the committee chair. The Committee chair will:
• Contact children’s social services (or thirtyone:eight) 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 by Children’s social services.
• Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions
• 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 Children’s Social Services.
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
In event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Committee chair will:
• Contact the Children’s Social Services Department Duty social worker for children and families or Police Child Protection 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 the Children’s Social Services/Police.
APPOINTMENT, SUPPORT, SUPERVISION & TRAINING OF MINISTERS & VOLUNTEERS
The Trustees will ensure all persons tasked, employed or volunteering within the charity will be appointed, trained, supported and supervised in accordance with the policies set out in government guidelines ‘’Safe from Harm’’(HMSO 1993), the Criminal Records Bureau, thirtyone:eight guidance and the Church practice guidelines. The same principle will apply to those appointed to work with vulnerable adults.
SUPERVISION OF GROUP/CHILDRENS ACTIVITIES
The Trustees and those appointed by the Trustees will provide details of the supervision for each specific activity in the charity’s practical guidelines.
SUPPORT TO THOSE AFFECTED BY ABUSE
The Trustees and those appointed by the Trustees are committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support those attending charity activities that have been affected by abuse.
IDENTIFIED OR SUSPECTED OFFENDERS
The charity reserves the right to implement policy to exclude any known or suspected offenders from attending any regulated or unregulated activity. The Safeguarding committee will present alternative pastoral care to identified or suspected offenders.
A Safeguarding Committee will be formed to ensure compliance with the Child Protection Policy and practice guidelines which may be amended from time to time as well as relevant legislation. The Committee will be comprised of at least 4 members as described in the quorum defined under minutes of the committee’s meeting number 02/13 dated 20/1/13. The Committee shall monitor the appointment of ministers and volunteers to ensure compliance with the Child Protection Policy and relevant legislation. In consultation with the District Apostle the Committee shall have power to approve appointments, apply restrictions and conditions on any minister or volunteer where there is risk to children or vulnerable persons or if appropriate require the minister or volunteer to be removed from office. The Committee document is one of the Child Protection Policy documents which may be amended from time to time.
This policy will be reviewed annually.
CHILD SAFEGUARDIN GPOLICY–PRACTICE GUIDELINES
The Church is a member of thirtyone:eight. Churches and groups working with children need to take special care in the work they undertake, including ensuring a comprehensive Child Protection Policy is operating. It is worth noting that the Charity Commission requires a written child protection policy to be in place before it will grant charitable status to any organisation working with children and vulnerable people. The Church’s insurers also require the Church to have an effective Child Protection Policy.There are two main aspects to the Church’s Child Protection Policy:
i) To be able to detect child abuse and to have a process for dealing with these issues. For example, a) what could a child or vulnerable person do in such circumstances or b) what should a minister, volunteer or church member do if they suspect someone is abusing children or vulnerable persons.
ii) To have appropriate and compliant procedures for the appointment and monitoring of ministers and volunteers who work with children or supervise children’s activities.
2. Detecting Child Abuse
i) Definitions of Child Abuse
The following definitions of child abuse are recommended as criteria throughout England and Wales by the Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills and the Home Office in their joint document, Working Together to Safeguard Children England 1999.
Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.
ii) Physical Abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This is commonly described using terms such as ‘fictitious illness by proxy’ or ‘Munchausen Syndrome by proxy’.
iii) Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and continuous adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
iv) Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
vi) Suspected Child Abuse
Where Child Abuse is suspected please refer to the Child Protection Policy for full detail and report as soon as possible in the first instance to the Co-ordinator.
vii) Recognising Possible Signs of Abuse
When a child wants to talk about abuse, it is important for the worker to listen carefully to what the child says without prompting or using leading questions. The church minister or volunteer should make a careful written record of what has been observed as follows:
• Make notes as soon as possible (preferably within one hour of the child talking) including a description of any injury, its size, and a drawing of its location and shape on the child’s body.
• Write down exactly what the child has said and when s/he said it, what was said in reply and what was happening immediately beforehand (e.g. a description of the activity).
• Write down the dates and times of these events and when the record was made.
• Write down any action taken and keep all hand written notes even if subsequently typed up.
• These notes should be passed to the Committee chair to assist them should the matter need to be referred to Social Services.
• All documents should be signed, dated and kept for an indefinite period in a secure place.
3. Guidance for specific circumstances
i) Taking care of touching
• Keep everything public. A hug in the context of a group is very different from a hug behind closed doors.
• Touch should be related to the child’s needs, not the minister’s or volunteers.
• Touch should be age-appropriate and generally initiated by the child rather than the minister or volunteer.
• Avoid any physical activity that is, or may be thought to be, sexually stimulating to the adult or the child.
• Children are entitled to privacy to ensure personal dignity.
• Children have the right to decide how much physical contact they have with others, except in exceptional circumstances when they need medical attention.
• When giving first aid (or applying sun cream etc), encourage the child to do what they can manage themselves, but consider the child’s best interests and give appropriate help where necessary.
• Team members should monitor one another in the area of physical contact. They should be free to help each other by constructively challenging anything which could be misunderstood or misconstrued.
• Concerns about abuse should always be reported.
ii) Family Visits
Children’s ministers and volunteers will need to visit children and their families at home from time to time. The parents/carers may or may not attend church and it is important therefore they have been given information about the group including contact telephone numbers. It may also be useful for the church/organisation to issue formal identification.
Guidelines for visiting:
• Inform the team/leadership of the proposed visit.
• Never go into a child’s home if a parent/carer is absent.
• Keep a written record of the visit detailing the following:
o Time you arrived and left
o Who was present?
o What was discussed?
• If the parent/carer is absent when the call is made, leave some means of identification and explanation for the visit that can be given to them if the child is home alone or with other children.
• The invitation of a child to a minister’s or volunteer’s home must be done with the knowledge of the team/leadership and the permission of the parent/ carer.
The church has for some time had a policy of not visiting single female members unaccompanied. Ministers are reminded of this policy.
iii) Transporting Children
As a church we have many scattered members who are transported to church by members with cars and also, we often have youth and other meetings which require transportation for members.
In addition to the guidance below from 18 September 2006 there are regulations on transporting children up to the age of 12 which must be complied with. This includes members who regularly take families with children to church. The website for full details on the law is: www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/campaigns/childcarseats/pdf/law-leaflet.pdf
iv) Guidelines for Transporting Children
These guidelines should apply to all drivers involved in the transportation of children and young people, organised by or on behalf of the Church. They do not apply to private arrangements for transportation made, for example, between parties with parental responsibility.
Our advice on transporting children is as follows:
• Only those who have gone through the church/ organisation recruitment procedures for ministers or volunteers should transport children.
• All drivers should have read the Child Protection Policy of the Church and agree to abide by it.
• Parental consent should be given, and all journeys should be carried out with the knowledge of the leadership of the Church.
• Any motor vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers for hire or reward is regarded in law as a Public Service Vehicle (PSV). A small bus permit is therefore required for all mini buses used to carry between 6 and 16 passengers. All minibuses used to transport children should therefore have a small bus permit, the necessary insurance, a driver with a valid driving licence that entitles them to drive a minibus.
• If the Church uses a mini-bus and the children/young people are asked to make a contribution towards the trip, there is a legal requirement to obtain a Section 9 permit from the Department of the Environment, Transport & the Regions.
• The law no longer permits car drivers who passed their test after 1st January 1997 to drive mini-buses without passing a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) driving test or unless they are driving under a section 19 permit. This does not apply to licence holders who were over 21 years of age in 1997. Check what categories a minister or volunteer is entitled to drive by examining their driving licence. Whilst there is no law forbidding young or inexperienced drivers from transporting young people, some churches stipulate that they will use legislation relating to minibuses as a guide ie the driver should be 21 or over and have held a full driving licence for at least two years.
• The driver must hold a full driving licence, have adequate insurance and the vehicle should be road worthy. (The Church should have sight of supporting documentation prior to approval bring given. This can be done annually to provide a pool of approved drivers)
• Having checked drivers, (application form, interview, references etc) it is reasonable to expect that they may be alone with a child for short periods e.g. dropping off the last child. Consideration could be given to dropping off the least vulnerable child last and plan routes accordingly. Two workers in a car does not in itself guarantee protection for a child – there have been incidents where workers have acted abusively together and in this situation a child could be less protected.
• Drivers should not spend unnecessary time alone in a car with a child. If a child wants to talk to a driver about something and has waited until other children have been dropped off, the driver should explain that it isn’t convenient to talk there and then but arrange to meet the child / young person at a location where there are other adults around. (Remember a child / young person may want to talk to the driver about an abusive situation).
• When travelling in groups with more than one vehicle it is good practice to insist children stay in the same groups on the out-going and return journey. This will avoid the confusion over whether a child has been transported home or at worst left behind.
• If travelling in convoy with cars and minibuses, please note that the maximum speed for a minibus is 50 mph on single carriageway roads, 60 mph on dual carriageways, and 70 mph on motorways.
• At collection or dropping off points do not leave a child on their own. Make sure that children are collected by an appropriate adult.
• It is advisable to be aware of instances where it may be unwise for a particular driver to transport a particular child e.g. where there has been a disagreement or where a child / young person has a ‘crush’ on a driver.
• If parents transport children around e.g. to and from activities, ensure that all are made aware that such arrangements are the responsibility of the parents involved and not the church or organisation.
• thirtyone:eight recommends that when using minibuses for transporting children, seatbelts should be fitted for all passengers. This is compulsory for vehicles registered on or after 1/10/01.
Members should avoid transporting unaccompanied children below the age of 18. A parent should always be present to supervise and control the child(ren)
v) False Allegations
False allegations are, of course, possible but not very common. It is unlikely someone would invent a story and go through the process of making statements etc, if there is no basis of truth. Do not assume that the retraction of an allegation means that it is untrue. The personal cost of pursuing an allegation can sometimes be more than anyone, particularly a child/young person is able to cope with.
A minority of disturbed/damaged young people make malicious allegations. It can be particularly distressing if false allegations are made against ministers or volunteers. Should a young person make frequent throw away comments a log should be kept and the matter should be discussed with the team/leadership.
It is important to stress that all allegations should be properly investigated in an endeavour to establish the truth.
vi) Publishing photographic information
See Appendix A to this policy.
4. Health & Safety
Buildings being used for children’s groups should be properly maintained. The external fabric of the building, plus all internal fixtures, fittings, lighting, fire exits and equipment should meet the required safety standards and an annual review should be carried out to consider all aspects of safety for children and young people using the premises.
There should be adequate toilets and wash hand basins and when food is being prepared, hygiene requirements must be observed. It is recommended that at least one worker should hold a valid Basic Food Hygiene Certificate.
Provision should be made for an appropriately qualified first-aider to be available together with an adequate first aid kit.
5. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVG Act) 2006, the UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable groups including children and wants to see a focused and effective safeguarding system, where harm or risk of harm is identified, acted upon effectively and ultimately prevented. The Government asserts, however, that arrangements prior to The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, over-emphasised protection by the State and did not sufficiently emphasise the vital role played by organisations. The Government maintains that the State has a key role to play in, for example, barring unsuitable individuals from working with vulnerable groups including children, and in ensuring that organisations can access criminal record information on individuals when the role justifies it.
Under the Act, employers have certain responsibilities and the following regulations apply:
• Since our organisation works with children or vulnerable adults and you dismiss a member of staff or a volunteer because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or you would have done so if they had not left prior to your intended dismissal, we are beholden to advise the Disclosure and Barring Service.
• A person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law (and liable to prosecution incurring imprisonment and/or a fine) if they work or volunteer or try to work or volunteer with those groups. An organisation which knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will also be breaking the law (and liable to prosecution incurring imprisonment and/or a fine).
• It is therefore a requirement in the New Apostolic Church UK that all ministers and church workers who deal with children and adults who are at risk, undergo an enhanced DBS check. The DBS check is valid for a period of 3 years.
•The organisation recognises that, should a minister produce a valid and current enhanced DBS certificate achieved through another source, that this certificate may be considered as sufficient for the recruitment decision making process. Notwithstanding the above, if the committee determine that there is sufficient reason, they may approach the update service for an updated DBS / request that re-application for an enhanced DBS certificate be carried out.
6. Confidentiality and Keeping of Records
Adequate steps shall be taken to maintain confidentiality at all times. The church shall comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and other relevant legislation. Special requirements for Disclosure Information are set out at paragraph 7 below
7. Secure Storage, Handling, use, Retention & Disposal of Disclosures and Disclosure Information
i) General principles
As an organisation using thirtyone:eight’s Disclosure service to help assess the suitability of applicants for positions of trust the Church complies fully with the DBS/ thirtyone:eight Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosure information. It also complies fully with its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 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 available to those who wish to see it on request.
ii) Storage and access
Disclosure information should be kept securely, in lockable, non-portable, storage containers with access strictly controlled and limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their duties.
In accordance with section 124 of the Police Act 1997, Disclosure information is only passed to those who are authorised to receive it during their duties. We maintain a record of all those to whom Disclosures or Disclosure information has been revealed and it is a criminal offence to pass this information to anyone who is not entitled to receive it.
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.
Once a recruitment (or other relevant) decision has been made, we do not keep Disclosure information for any longer than is necessary. This is generally for a period of up to 6 months to allow for the consideration 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, we will consult thirtyone:eight and DBS about this and will consider the data protection and human rights of the individual before doing so. Throughout this time, the usual conditions regarding the safe storage and strictly controlled access will prevail.
Once the retention period has elapsed, we 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 secure receptacle (e.g. waste bin or confidential waste sack). We 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, we may 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.
Policy for publishing photography on NAC UK & IE official publications and / or websites
The internet is a wonderful tool for sharing our moments of joy. We cannot, however, ignore the risk of exploitation or misuse of images that the internet brings, especially to children and vulnerable adults. We have therefore developed some guidance for publishing photography at church events and uploading images onto the church website, and for those who wish to withdraw photos from the church website.
This policy is based on the following principles:
• The need to protect children and vulnerable adults from becoming victims of or targets for grooming as a result of photography at church events or images placed on the church website.
• The right of the church to place images of church activities, events and services on websites in order to share these events with members who were not able to attend and to advertise the church’s range of activities.
• The principles contained in the Human Rights Act (1988), particularly Article 8, the right to a family and private life, and Article 10, The right of freedom of expression.
• Until written consent has been given by or on behalf of all subjects, no photograph will be published.
Guidelines for photographers.
The various points below must be read in conjunction with all points as many of them clarify each other.
• Photographers are not to take photographs for their own personal use or storage, except of their own family members or friends, and then only if consent is given (see 1 above).
• Photographs of children shall not be used in our official church publications or on our Church website.
• For any church event (Excluding Divine Service) where photographs will be taken for the purpose of updating a congregational web-site, then a clear and appropriate announcement is to be made by the photographer, event organizer or the senior minister asking for any objections to be made clearly known to the announcer or photographer.
• Avoid images that show a single vulnerable adult without no surrounding context of what they are learning or doing.
• Ensure that all vulnerable adults are appropriately dressed.
• The smaller the group and the more invasive of someone’s identity or privacy the photograph will be, the more explicit consent needs to be. When photographs are taken of a church service or large activity, for example, an announcement may be made that large group photos will be taken, and members who do not give their consent can be asked to let the photographer know (and should be given an opportunity to do so). This does not have to be in writing.
• Reports accompanying photographs should not contain any negative or sensitive statement.
Guidelines for Church Officers taking photographs or uploading images to websites accessible on the internet.
• Any images uploaded should be unambiguous as to the context, tasteful as to the dress and activity portrayed in the image, and wholesome in terms of what it conveys about the subjects in the image and the church as a whole.
• Particular care should be taken not to include any photos or images of children.
• Will one of the people pictured be brought into disrepute by the publication?
• Will someone’s feelings be hurt?
• Is a person’s privacy violated?
• Would I be unhappy with the publication of such an image of myself?
Guidelines for members or others who want an uploaded image removed or wish to comment on the policy or guidelines.
• Members should approach the local organiser of the event in the first instance and raise their concern or contact the church’s officer on this matter.