The Boaters' Christian Fellowship

Safeguarding Policy for the Boaters' Christian Fellowship

Mission Statement

The Trustees recognise that within its ministry, Boaters' Christian Fellowship (BCF) has a
responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of all people.

As part of its mission, the Charity is committed to:

  • valuing, listening to and respecting people as well as promoting their welfare and
  • safe recruitment, supervision and training for those who work within the Fellowship
  • adopting a procedure for dealing with concerns about possible abuse
  • encouraging and supporting people
  • supporting those affected by abuse in the Fellowship
  • maintaining good links with the statutory authorities and other organisations

Fellowship Policy

The BCF believes that all people have the right to be protected from abuse. It recognises
that some “children” (anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday) and “adults at risk”
(any adult aged 18 years or over who due to disability, mental function, age, illness or
traumatic circumstances may not be able to take care or protect themselves against the risk
of significant harm, abuse, bullying, harassment, mistreatment or exploitation. A person may
be an “adult at risk” temporarily or permanently due to their circumstances – as defined by
Thirtyone:eight formerly CCPAS)
are the victims of neglect, or physical, sexual, emotional,
financial and spiritual abuse. The Trustees have therefore adopted the procedures set out in
this document (hereafter “the policy”). It also recognises the importance of constructive links
with statutory and voluntary safeguarding agencies.

The Trustees are committed to on-going safeguarding training for all those who work with
children and adults at risk and will regularly review the operational guidelines included.

The Trustees undertake to ensure there is no abuse of trust. See section 9.

1. Working in conjunction with other charities or organisations

If members of BCF are working alongside other charities and organisations, such as Canal
Ministries or a local church, for a period of time then the policies for the leading charity
should be adopted for the course of the collaboration.

2. Designated Persons for Safeguarding

A designated person for safeguarding (DPS) and a deputy designated person for
safeguarding (DDPS) will be appointed at the first Trustees’ meeting of the year when the
policy is also reviewed. They are nominated by the Trustees to act on the charity’s behalf in
referring allegations or suspicions of neglect or abuse to the statutory authorities, In the
absence of the DPS, or if the suspicions in any way involve the DPS then the report should
be made to DDPS.

To contact DPS Mark Macaulay 07866 0740612
To contact DDPS Ann Murphy 07986 567105

3. Definitions of Abuse

Abuse and Neglect

come from the misuse of power and control that someone has over another. It can be
perpetrated by an individual or a group, or from child to child, or from one adult at risk
towards another. Abuse can occur in a family, in an institutional or community setting or via
the internet and social media; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.

Physical Abuse

To inflict pain, physical injury or suffering. This includes, hitting, slapping, beating, shaking,
pinching, throwing, pushing, kicking, burning, drowning, hair pulling, squeezing, suffocating,
poisoning, and using inappropriate restraint. It also includes when a parent or carer
fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional Abuse

The use of threats, fear or power gained by another’s position, to invalidate the person’s
independent wishes. This includes mocking, coercing, threatening, controlling behaviour,
bullying, intimidation, harassment, humiliation, lack of privacy or choice, denial of dignity,
deprivation of social contact or deliberate isolation. Making someone feel worthless, a lack of
love or affection or ignoring the person. Such behaviour can create very real emotional and
psychological stress. In children it can cause severe and persistent adverse effects on their
emotional development. All forms of abuse have an emotional component.

Sexual Abuse

For an adult, any non-consenting sexual act or behaviour. For a child, forcing or enticing a
child to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening or
has given consent. The activities may or may not involve physical contact. No one should
enter a sexual relationship with someone for whom they have pastoral responsibility or hold
a position of trust.


A person’s wellbeing is impaired and their care needs are not met. In a child, neglect is likely
to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect can be
deliberate or can occur as a result of not understanding what someone’s needs are.

Financial Abuse

The inappropriate use, misappropriation, embezzlement or theft of money, property or

Spiritual Abuse

The inappropriate use of religious belief or practice; coercion and control of one individual by
another in a spiritual context; the abuse of trust by someone in a position of spiritual

A person may suffer more than one category of abuse.

4. Recognising and Responding to Suspicions of Abuse

All allegations of abuse shall be taken seriously and reported to the DPS or DDPS.
Everyone has their part to play in helping to safeguard children and adults at risk within the
life of the fellowship.

  • • If the behaviour of a child or adult at risk gives any cause for concern
    • If an allegation is made in any context about a child or adult at risk being harmed
    • If the behaviour of any individual towards children or adults at risk causes concern

What to Do

What Not to Do

  • Listen to and acknowledge what is
    being said.
  • Try to be reassuring & remain calm.
  • Explain clearly what you will do and
    what will happen next.
  • Try to give them a timescale for when
    and how you / the DPS will contact
    them again.
  • Take action – don’t ignore the situation.
  • Be supportive.
  • Tell them that:
    • they were right to tell you;
    • you are taking what they have said
    • it was not their fault;
    • you would like to pass this
      information on to the appropriate
      people, with their permission;
  • Be open and honest.
  • Give contact details for them to
    report any further details or ask any
    questions that may arise.
  • Do not promise confidentiality.
  • Do not show shock, alarm, disbelief or
  • Do not minimise what is being said.
  • Do not ask probing or leading questions,
    or push for more information.
  • Do not offer false reassurance.
  • Do not delay in contacting the DPS.
  • Do not contact the alleged abuser.
  • Do not investigate the incident any further.
  • Never leave a child or adult at risk waiting
    to hear from someone without any idea of
    when or where that may be.
  • Do not pass on information to those who
    don't need to know; not even for prayer
Children: If you have any concerns about a child’s welfare or if a child discloses abuse to
you, you must ALWAYS PASS THIS ON.
Adults: If you have any concerns about an adult’s welfare or an adult discloses abuse to
you they have the right to tell you not to pass it on. Adults have the right to refuse help. You
may only report concerns to the appropriate authorities against their wishes when: the adult
lacks the mental capacity to make such a choice, there is a risk of harm to others or in
order to prevent a crime. Even when an adult doesn’t give consent a clear record should be
kept and the situation monitored.

Those who receive an allegation shall make an immediate note of it in writing, recording the
facts in language used by the person making the allegation. If possible get the maker of the
allegation to agree the statement. Leading questions should not be asked or any action
taken to enhance the allegation.

Neither the person who is reporting the abuse or the DPS/DDPS shall engage in any form of
investigation. A report will be made to the appropriate authorities and advice immediately
sought from a professional body e.g. Thirtyone:eight (formally CCPAS).

The person making the allegation should be supported at all steps. The person must be
made aware that confidentiality cannot be kept where a serious allegation has been made.

Priority shall be given to the safety and welfare of the individual.

Under no circumstances should a Fellowship member 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 the DPS 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 DPS, or if the suspicions
    in any way involve the DPS then the report should be made to the DDPS. If the
    suspicions implicate both the DPS and the DDPS, then the report should be made in
    the first instance to Thirtyone:eight PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ.
    Telephone 0303 003 1111 or, alternatively, contact local
    Adult or Children’s Social Care. The details of the local Departments can be
    obtained from
    The out of hours emergency number is 101 and the police will contact the Out of
    Hours social work team.
  • Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A
    written record of the concerns should be made using the form in Appendix 1, and
    kept in a secure place.
  • Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the DPS, the
    absence of the DPS or DDPS should not delay referral to the Adult or Children’s
    Social Care Department.
  • The Trustees will support the DPS/DDPS 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 Trustees
    hope that members of the Fellowship will use this procedure. If, however, the
    individual with the concern feels that the DPS/DDPS has not responded
    appropriately, or where they have a disagreement with the DPS/DDPS as to the
    appropriateness of a referral they are free to contact an outside agency directly. We
    hope by making this statement that the Trustees demonstrate the commitment of the
    Fellowship to effective child and vulnerable persons protection.
  • The role of the DPS/ DDPS is to collate and clarify the precise details of the
    allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to the Adult or Children’s Social
    Care Services Department. It is Social Care‘s task to investigate the matter under
    Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

5. Safer recruitment

BCF does not employ anyone therefore safer recruitment processes are not directly
applicable; however, before specific events such a mission, those taking the lead shall
confirm that relevant checks have taken place as well as ensuring that volunteers have the
appropriate skills and background.

6. Training

All members actively involved within BCF should be aware of the Safeguarding policy and
hence aware of good practice and procedures. This should be part of any pre-mission
discussion and planning. The trustees will facilitate any safeguarding training that a member
feels they need to support the work of the Fellowship.

7. Support to Those Affected by Abuse

The Trustees are committed to offering pastoral care and support to those who have been
affected by abuse, working with statutory agencies as appropriate.

8. Working with Offenders

When someone attending the Fellowship is known to have abused children, the Trustees will
supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care and, in their commitment to the
protection of children, set boundaries for that person.

9. Best Practice Guidelines

Abuse of Trust

Abuse of trust is any situation where a leader uses or misuses their position of authority in
terms of their relationship with, treatment of, or contact with someone who is under their
authority. Once you are in a leadership role it is easy to forget that others may behave
differently towards you because of that position you hold. We know, for example, that it is
easy for younger people or adults at risk to form strong attachments to adults who they feel
they can relate to. Every leader should be aware of the potential risk of this positive sense of
trust and connection turning into romantic or sexual feelings or actions, and should know
how to react when this happens.

Working with adults at Risk

A member or volunteer engaged in a ministry of the Fellowship shall NOT:

  • visit an adult at risk in their home or boat except on a pre-arranged visit. Where there
    is reason to question the well-being of an adult at risk, visits may be made by two
    members or volunteers. It is recommended that consideration be given to the gender
    of the person being visited
  • transport an adult at risk in their car unless prior arrangement has been made or in a
    medical emergency. Consideration should always be given to another person being
    in the car as well as the driver
  • make comments with sexual overtones, even in humour, or partake in any 'horse
  • allow an adult at risk into their home except for a pre-arranged meeting or social
    gathering with others
  • condone an adult at risk using inappropriate language without correction or
  • make sexually suggestive comments about or to an adult at risk, even in fun
  • let allegations an adult at risk makes go unchallenged or unrecorded
  • do things of a personal nature for an adult at risk that they can do for themselves
  • lend money to or borrow money from an adult at risk
  • agree to make any purchases or undertake any financial transactions on behalf of a
    person under pastoral care. Such need should be referred to the Trustees. This will
    prevent the adult at risk being indebted in an inappropriate manner.

In addition:

  • Anyone making home visits must have been DBS (enhanced level) vetted.
  • If anyone has concerns about visiting an adult at risk they should ensure another
    person attends with them.
  • All persons working for the Fellowship shall take note and comply with any
    requirements of Risk Assessments pertinent to their area of ministry.

These points are to be followed by those acting on behalf of the Trustees in a pastoral
role. They do not preclude friendships and associations being formed on an individual
basis. The Fellowship is intended to be part of God's family and the people within it
should act in a brotherly/sisterly way. All should note that vulnerable adults can make attachments that are not helpful and could lead to inappropriate behaviour on their

Working with Children and Young People

All persons working with Children and Young People on behalf of the Fellowship shall:

  • have been DBS (enhanced level) vetted before engaging in children’s work and
    evidence of this held by the DPS
  • work in teams of a minimum of two persons
  • whenever possible an individual helper or leader should not be left alone with a child
    or young person. If this is essential (eg where confidentiality is important) then
    another adult should be nearby, doors should be left open, others should be aware
    that you are meeting; or meet in a public or visible place
  • protect all children and young people from verbal, physical, and emotional abuse
    while in their care and control
  • work in adequate ratio of adults to children as appropriate to the age of the children
    and young people (See Appendix 2)
  • not involve themselves in, or organise any game that could be considered, 'horse
    play' or 'play fighting'
  • restrict bodily contact with the children in their care to that which is appropriate to
    the activity that is being undertaken
  • respect the privacy of all children and young people in toileting and other personal
  • seek advice from parents on food allergies before giving any foodstuff to the
  • listen carefully
  • report any concerns that arise immediately
  • not invite any child into their home or boat on their own except for a pre-arranged
    activity or meeting in the company of others or with express consent of their parent
  • not visit a child in their own home except for a pre-arranged meeting with the
    express consent of their parent
  • have regard to the Risk Assessment pertaining to the activities to be undertaken

Photographs taken for the Charity’s use

Members should make sure that they have the person’s (or in the case of a child, their
parent/carer’s) permission to take a picture, and that the subject is happy with the intended
use of the pictures. When taking group pictures, members should remember to get
permission from everyone who will be photographed.

Electronic Communications – Cyber safety

Care must be taken when communicating using electronic media. (see Appendix 3).

BCF Safeguarding Policy 2023. This policy will be reviewed annually at the first Trustees meeting of the year.

Appendix 1 – Safeguarding Incident Form

This form should be completed by the Designated Person for Safeguarding.

Click here for pdf of the Safeguarding Incident Form. Please contact us if you require an accessible version.

Appendix 2 - Supervision of Group Activities

The Fellowship is committed to safe and adequate supervision for children and young

Children and young people should be supervised at all times. The number of adults present
should be related to the needs and age of the group and the nature of the activities

When working with children the following recommended minimum ratios of workers to
children apply:

Age Range Recommended minimum ratio for
INDOOR activities
Recommended minimum ratio for
OUTDOOR activities
0 – 2 years 1:3 (minimum 2) 1:3 (minimum 2)
3 years 1:4 (minimum 2) 1:4 (minimum 2)
4 – 7 years 1:8 (minimum 2) 1:6 (minimum 2)
8 – 12 years 1 adult for the first 8, then one for
every additional ten children
(preferably one of each gender)
2 adults for up to 15 children (preferably
one of each gender) with an extra adult
for every 8 additional children
13 + years 2 adults for up to 20 children
(preferably one of each gender) with
an extra adult for every 10 additional
2 adults for up to 20 children (preferably
one of each gender) with an extra adult
for every 10 additional children

Appendix 3 - Guidelines for Cyber Safety

  • People should have opted in to receive electronic communication.
  • Electronic communication must never become a substitute for face to face contact.
  • People working on behalf of BCF (hereafter called Workers) should not put any
    pressure on people to reveal their email address, mobile phone number etc.
  • Direct electronic communication with children of primary school age is inappropriate
    and should be avoided.
  • Only workers who have been appointed under our agreed safeguarding procedures
    should use any electronic means of communication to contact young people on
    behalf of BCF.
  • Contact with young people by electronic communication should generally be for
    information giving purposes only and not for general chatter.
  • Workers should not share any personal information with children/young people and
    should not request or respond to any personal information from the child or young
    person other than that which is necessary and appropriate as part of their role.
  • Workers should be careful in their communications to avoid any possible
    misinterpretation of their motives.
  • Clear, unambiguous language should be used, avoiding the use of unnecessary
    abbreviations eg LOL or xx.
  • Electronic communication should only be used between the hours of 8.00am and
  • If possible e-mails should include a BCF header/footer showing this to be an official
  • Workers should keep a log of significant “conversations” /texts / emails / messages. And
    any that raise concerns should be passed onto the worker’s supervisor and DPS as

Mobile Phones

  • Mobile phone usage should be primarily about information sharing.
  • ‘Text conversations’ should usually be avoided (that is a series of text
    messages/emails being sent to and fro between mobile phones).
  • Workers should not take photos of children, young people or adults at risk unless
    permission is sought in advance and should not store such photos on personal

Instant Messaging Services (eg: WhatsApp, Instagram)

The use of instant messenger services should be kept to a minimum. Workers should save
significant conversations and keep a log stating with whom and when they communicated.

Social Networking Sites

Workers should have a site that is used solely for children’s / youth work communications
and is totally separate from their own personal site. This is to ensure that all communication
with children and young people is kept within public domains.

  • Workers should not send private messages to children/young people on social
    networks. Workers should ensure that all communications are transparent and open
    to scrutiny.
  • Workers should not accept ‘friend’ or ‘following’ requests from children on their
    personal site, nor seek to be ‘friends’ or a ‘follower’ of any child known to them in a
    church context.
  • Minimum age limits of social networking sites should be adhered to (this varies for
    each site)

BCF Safeguarding Policy 2023

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