SAFEGUARDING POLICY

This is the Safeguarding Policy for the Okeford Benefice (parishes of Child Okeford with Manston, Hammoon, Okeford Fitzpaine and Shillingstone). Where “Okeford Benefice” is mentioned below it should be deemed to include each of the four parishes within the benefice.

Date: 15 June 2017, re-confirmed April 2018

This policy was agreed at the joint PCC meeting held on 11th July 2017 and will be reviewed annually at each of the 4 Annual Parochial Church Meetings held in April of each year.

The Church of England, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation of male and female in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this as fulfilled by God’s recreation of us in Christ. Among other things, this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.

The Okeford Benefice is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable are paramount.

The Okeford Benefice recognises that none of us is invulnerable but that there is a particular care for those whose vulnerability is increased by situations, by disabilities or by reduction in capacities. It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.

This policy addresses the safeguarding of individuals. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children, young people, adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.

The Okeford Benefice recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children, and adults who may be at risk and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual or institutional abuse or neglect. It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace. The Okeford Benefice commits itself to respond without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child, or adult who may be at risk of abuse or neglect may have been harmed, whether in the church or in another context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.

The Okeford Benefice commits itself to the provision of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and adults.

The Okeford Benefice affirms and gives thanks for the work of those who are workers with children, and adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect and acknowledges the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding children and adults who are on our premises.

The Okeford Benefice appoints Mrs Sue Chandler as Parish Safeguarding Representative and supports her in her role which is to:

  • support and advise the Rector, Ministers and Lay Workers in fulfilling their roles
  • provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
  • promote safeguarding best practice within the Okeford Benefice

Mrs Chandler can be contacted on 01258 861432 or her mobile 07554 425971.

Purpose

The purposes of this safeguarding policy is to ensure procedures are in place and people are clear about their roles and responsibilities regarding children, and adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect in our care and using our premises. To be read in conjunction with ‘The Diocese of Salisbury Framework for Safeguarding and Good Practice’.

Good Practice

We believe good practice means that:

  • All people are treated with respect and dignity.
  • Those who act on behalf of the Church should not meet or work alone with a child or adult who may be at risk of abuse or neglect where the activity cannot be seen unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons, in which case a written note of this will be made and kept noting date, time and place of visit.
  • The church premises have been assessed for safety for children, and adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect and the risk assessment report will be updated annually to the Okeford Benefice in written form. This will include fire safety procedures. The Okeford Benefice will consider the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more suitable.
  • Any driver using their own vehicle for the transportation of children, or adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is roadworthy and comprehensively insured. (Drivers to check with their Insurance Company re the requirement for business cover)
  • Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable all God’s people to reach their full potential.

Appointment and training of LPAs and LWLs

LPAs and LWLs will be appointed after a Safer Recruitment process and completion of a safeguarding course at the appropriate level.

Pastoral visitors

In terms of safeguarding, Pastoral Visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.

Guidelines for working with children, young people and adults who may be at risk

The Guidelines exist and are reviewed annually. These are accessible to each worker with children and young people and adults who may be at risk of abuse, outlining good practice.

Events with church groups off the premises

Adequate staffing will be ensured for such events. Notification of the event will be given to the relevant PCC and approved by them in writing in advance.

Safeguarding Complaints procedure

It is hoped that complaints can be dealt with internally. However, a complaint may be made to the Parish Safeguarding Representative. If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed on to the Parish Safeguarding Representative who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved orally the complaints procedure of the Church of England will be invoked.

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Okeford Benefice.

Key concepts and definitions

  • Adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect: any adult who
    1. has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs),
    2. is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
    3. as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
  • Safeguarding and protecting children or adults who may be at risk: preventing maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
  • Adult/child protectionis a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
  • Abuse and neglectmay occur in a family, in a community and in an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or adult or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.