s' Christian Fellowship
Safeguarding Policy for the Boaters' Christian Fellowship
The Trustees recognise that within its ministry Boaters' Christian Fellowship (BCF) has a responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of all people who put themselves in our care.
As part of its mission, the Charity is committed to:
- Valuing, listening to and respecting people as well as promoting their welfare and protection
- 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.
The Trustees recognise the need to provide a safe and caring environment for vulnerable people. They also acknowledge that all people 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 importance of constructive links with statutory and voluntary child protection agencies.
The Trustees are committed to on-going safeguarding training for all those who work with children and vulnerable adults and will regularly review the operational guidelines included.
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 behaviour which might allow a sexual relationship to develop for as long as the relationship of trust continues.
Protecting People from Abuse
The BCF believes that all people have the right to be protected from abuse.
Responding to Allegations of Abuse
All allegations of abuse shall be taken seriously and reported to an Officer of the Charity acting as the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator.
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.
The Fellowship shall not 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. 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.
Protecting Vulnerable Persons from Abuse and Staff/Volunteers from Allegations of Abuse
A VULNERABLE ADULT is defined as anyone who has reached the age of 18 and:
- in residential accommodation
- is in sheltered housing
- receives ancillary care
- is detained in lawful custody
- is under supervision by virtue of a court order
- receives welfare service of a prescribed description
- receives payments (personally or by a third party) under the Health and Social Care Act 2001.
- requires assistance conducting their own affairs.
- requires assistance due to age, health, physical or mental disability, or substance abuse.
The welfare of those within the network of the Fellowship is paramount. In addition to the above, any person requesting pastoral care or advice of the Fellowship must be considered vulnerable. Adherence to these guidelines will help to protect them, the pastoral workers and the reputation of the Fellowship
Code of Conduct
A member or volunteer engaged in a ministry of the Fellowship shall NOT:
- Visit a vulnerable adult in their home except on a pre-arranged visit. Where there is reason to question the well being of a vulnerable adult, 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 a vulnerable adult 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 play'.
- Allow a vulnerable adult into their home except for a pre-arranged meeting or social gathering with others.
- Condone a vulnerable adult using inappropriate language without correction or comment.
- Make sexually suggestive comments about or to a vulnerable adult, even in fun.
- Let allegations a vulnerable adult makes go unchallenged or unrecorded.
- Do things of a personal nature for a vulnerable adult that they can do for themselves.
- Lend money to or borrow money from a vulnerable adult. 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 vulnerable person being indebted in an inappropriate manner.
- Anyone making home visits must have been DBS vetted. This requirement has been in place since 2002.
- If anyone has concerns about visiting a vulnerable adult 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 Trustees and 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 behalf.
Children and Young Persons
All persons working with Children and Young Persons on behalf of the Fellowship shall:
- Have been DBS vetted before commencing work.
- Work in teams of a minimum of two persons.
- Protect all children and YP 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
- Not involve themselves in or organise any game that could be considered 'horse play' or 'play fighting'.
- To 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 activity.
- Seek advice from parents on food allergies before giving any foodstuff to the children.
- 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.
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 "Co-ordinator" who is an Officer of the Charity 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 Co-ordinator, or if the suspicions in any way involve the Co-ordinator then the report should be made to the "Deputy Co-ordinator". These are named in Appendix A. If the suspicions implicate both the Co-ordinator and the Deputy Co-ordinator, then the report should be made in the first instance to the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0845 120 4550 or, alternatively, contact local Children’s Social Services. The local Children’s Social Services office telephone number is available in the telephone book. The out of hours emergency number is 101 and the police will contact the Out of Hours social work team. The Police Child Protection Team can be contacted on a similar way. These details are included in Appendix A.
- Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns should be made, in accordance with Fellowship procedures, and kept in a secure place.
- Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Coordinator, the absence of the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator should not delay referral to the Children’s Social Services Department.
- The Trustees will support the Co-ordinator/Deputy Co-ordinator 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 CCPAS, although the Trustees hope that members of the Fellowship will use this procedure. If, however, the individual with the concern feels that the Co-ordinator/Deputy Co-ordinator has not responded appropriately, or where they have a disagreement with the Co-ordinator(s) as to the appropriateness of a referral they are free to contact an outside agency direct. 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 co-ordinator/ deputy co-ordinator 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 Co-ordinator/Deputy Co-ordinator will:
- Contact Children’s Social Services (or CCPAS) for advice in cases of deliberate injury, if concerned about a child's safety or if a child is afraid to return home. In a case of serious concern of imminent harm to the child it may be necessary to treat it as an emergency e.g. dial 999.
- Will not tell the parents or carers unless advised to do so having contacted Children’s Social 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 Social Services direct for advice.
- Seek and follow advice given by CCPAS (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 the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Co-ordinator/Deputy Coordinator will:
- Contact the Children’s Social Services Department 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 CCPAS if, for any reason they are unsure whether or not to contact Children’s Social Services/Police. CCPAS will confirm its advice in writing for future reference.
Allegations of Abuse Against a Person who Works with Children
If an accusation is made against a worker (whether a volunteer or paid member of staff), whilst following the procedure outlined above, the co-ordinator, in accordance with Safeguarding Children Board procedures, will need to liaise with children’s social services in regards to the suspension of the worker and making a referral to an Allegations Management Adviser (AMA).
Appointment, Support, Supervision & Training of Leaders & Workers.
The Trustees 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), CCPAS guidance and practice guidelines attached. The same principles will be applied to those appointed to work with vulnerable adults.
Supervision of Group/Children's Activities
The Trustees will provide details of the supervision for each specific activity in the Fellowship practice guidelines.
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.
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 its commitment to the protection of children, set boundaries for that person.
This policy will be reviewed annually in January.
Original Issue:Approved by the Trustees at their meeting on the 30th January 2018.