REGISTRATION OF CHILDREN’S GROUPS
Whenever a new Group is formed the Leader should inform the Parish Child Protection Representative. Leaders should inform the Child Protection Representative of existing Groups.
All children and young people under the age of 18 who engage in activities connected with the church should be registered. Group Leaders should ask the parents or guardians to complete a Registration Form*. This form should be sent to the Parish Child Protection Representative, and a copy should be kept in the Parish Office. For one-off events a list of the children should be kept. These lists should be retained
Parents and Guardians should also be asked to complete and sign a Consent Form.* This form should also be sent to the Parish Child Protection Officer and a copy should be kept in the Parish Office. Written parental consent should be obtained for all activities that involve leaving church premises. Full details are contained in the Diocesan Handbook: Page 35-6 and 76-7
*Copies of these forms may be obtained from the Parish Office.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT A CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED AND YOU NEED TO TAKE URGENT ACTION
Ensure you notify your Group Leader, your Child Protection Representative and the Diocesan Child Protection Advisor, Stephen Barber
1 Make a telephone referral to the Social Services Department.
2 Describe the event or disclosure and give information about the child and family e.g. the child’s name, age, address, telephone number and GP (if known)
3 Follow up your telephone call with a completed referral form or letter
4 Remember that the child and family should, wherever possible, be informed about and consent to the referral unless this will put the child’s welfare at risk. However, if you have serious concerns, the absence of consent should not prevent a referral. The Duty Social Worker will give you advice over this if necessary.
6 Be prepared to have further discussions with the social work team or the police investigation team.
7 For out of hours referrals, call the Emergency Social Work Team
LESS URGENT SITUATIONS
If the child is not in immediate danger, if you are not sure if child abuse is involved, or if you have concerns about a child and you need someone to talk things over with, then contact one of:
Your Group Leader
Your Child Protection Representative
Your local Children’s Social Services Department
Stephen Barber, the Diocesan Child Protection Adviser
In all cases, make notes, as accurately as you can, of the details of the allegation, all that happens, and anything that was said, which struck you as particularly significant. Ensure you note from the church’s registration records the child’s name, age, address, telephone number and GP.
Remember that, under the Data Protection Act, you will need to make any notes available to the child and family if they request them.
The notes must be kept in a safe, secure place indefinitely
Notify your Group Leader if you have not already done so
Seek support for yourself from an appropriate person within the church
HEARING A CHILD ABUSE DISCLOSURE
If a child asks to talk in confidence do not promise confidentiality – you have a duty to refer a child/young person who is at risk. Explain that you may have to get other people to help if they are being harmed.
Ensure you have as much privacy as possible but try to have another adult present when the child is speaking to you.
Listen to the child attentively
Maintain eye contact
Allow the child to talk but do not press for information
Tell the child that they are not to blame for anything that has happened
Reassure the child that they were right to tell
Let the child know that other people will have to be told so that the abuse can stop
Try to explain what will happen next in a way the child can understand
Reassure the child that he or she will continue to receive support during the difficult time to come.
Thames Valley Police (all enquiries)
Local Police Child/Family Protection Unit
Local Council Children’s Social Services
Local Emergency Social Work Team (out of hours)
Local General Hospital - Stoke Mandeville
Stephen Barber, Diocesan Child Protection Adviser
Jenny Hyson, Diocesan Children’s Adviser
Ian Macdonald, Diocesan Youth Adviser
Margaret Gordon, Parish Child Protection Representative
CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
All leaders and helpers should be subject to the Diocesan-approved recruitment procedures, which include:
Submitting an application form with references
Completing a Confidential Declaration Form
Having a valid Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau
One of the aims of the policy is for church groups to provide a warm, nurturing environment for children and young people whilst avoiding any inappropriate behaviour. All volunteers must work within sight of another adult.