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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 actively involved within the
  • 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. Safeguarding Trustee

Although the whole board of trustees is legally responsible for safeguarding there is a Safeguarding trustee to ensure this important issue is not overlooked. They will be appointed at the first Trustees’ meeting of the year.

The trustee will:

  • champion safeguarding throughout BCF
  • ensure there is an annual review of safeguarding policies and procedures
  • liaise with the DPS and DDPS
  • report back to the trustees on a regular basis any concerns and issues, although confidential details will not normally be given
  • consider actions to mitigate/ prevent a situation happening again
  • keep copies of DBS’s of Designated persons
  • liaise with leaders of missions, (or similar events where BCF is the lead charity) to ensure they are aware of safeguarding requirements

The safeguarding trustee is Peter Braybook: 07865 086082.

3. 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.

If the DPS or DDPS is not available, or is implicated in the situation, any reports or concerns should be passed to the Safeguarding Trustee.

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

4. 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 possessions.

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 authority.

Other types of Abuse

to be aware of include: discrimination, institutional, domestic abuse, online abuse, self harm, mate crime, cuckooing, modern slavery, human trafficking, radicalisation, honour/forced marriage, female genetal mutilation, peer-on-peer abuse, child-on-child abuse, historic abuse.

A person may suffer more than one category of abuse.

5. 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 seriously;
    • 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 disapproval.
  • 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 ministry.
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 https://thirtyoneeight.org/ or, alternatively, contact local Adult or Children’s Social Care. The details of the local Departments can be obtained from https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-health-services/local-authority-adult-social-care orhttps://www.gov.uk/report-child-abuse-to-local-council
    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.

6. Safer recruitment

BCF does not employ anyone therefore safer recruitment processes are not directly applicable; however, before specific events such as 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 play
  • 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 comment
  • 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 behalf.

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 (e.g. 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 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

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 2024. 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 people.

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 undertaken.

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 and over 2 adults for up to 20 children (preferably one of each gender) with
an extra adult for every 10 additional children
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 10.00pm.
  • If possible e-mails should include a BCF header/footer showing this to be an official communication.
  • 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 appropriate.

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 phones.

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 2024

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