NLC Safeguarding Policy

October 2015 

New Life Church Cambridge
First Floor Offices,
10 High Street
Histon
Cambridge
CB24 9JD
 

1. POLICY STATEMENT

Whilst the main focus of this policy is towards those who work directly under the oversight of the leaders of New Life Church with children, young people and vulnerable adults, the principles that undergird this policy must at all times be adhered to by members of, and visitors to, New Life Church.
A definition of a vulnerable adult is given in 'No Secrets' (the Government's Guidance on Adult Abuse) as: 'a person aged 18 years or over, who is in receipt of, or may be in need of, community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation'.
This policy is designed primarily to promote a safe environment for the effective delivery of ministry to children and young people in New Life Church (hereinafter referred to as ‘NLC’). However, the same policy and procedures will apply to those in NLC who are working with vulnerable adults, with changed wording where appropriate (i.e. replacing the words ‘child’ or ‘young person’ with ‘vulnerable adult’).

TO THAT END, NLC:
1. Takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard children and young people entrusted to its care.
2. Recognises that the responsibility for children and young people lies primarily with their parent(s) and/or carer(s).
3. Is committed to encouraging and supporting parents and carers.
4. Will ensure that all workers are responsibly appointed and that support and training is made available for them on an ongoing basis.
5. Will adhere to good practice guidelines for working with children and young people.
6. Has detailed guidelines and procedures relating to dealing with child abuse suspicions or allegations and will ensure that these practices are known to and followed by all workers.
7. Has a Safeguarding Advisor: Tom Watt (07900 160766)
8. Will consider the impact of its plans and decisions on children and young people.
9. Is committed, where necessary, to working with any relevant external agency.
10. Will regularly review this policy and ensure that workers are updated on the latest safeguarding issues. www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/lscb
 

2. AREAS OF POLICY

The church sets out guidelines in the following areas:
a. Appointing children’s/youth workers
b. Codes of Conduct and Good Practice Guidelines
c. Breaches of these Guidelines
d. Responses to suspicions or allegations of abuse
 

a. APPOINTING WORKERS

For new salaried workers, a careful application and induction process will be carried out. This includes a declaration of convictions (DBS check), two references, a formal interview and a supervised probationary period and the signing of these guidelines.
For interns, a careful application and induction process will be carried out. This includes a declaration of convictions (DBS check), talking about previous experience (references may be asked for), a formal interview, a supervised probationary period and the signing of these guidelines.
For interns from overseas we require a letter of commendation from their church leader who is known to the NLC pastor or ‘Global Horizons’. In certain circumstances, police checks in their home country will be sought.
For volunteers, whether members of NLC or not, a careful application and induction process will be carried out. This includes talking about previous experience (references may be asked for), an informal interview, a supervised probationary period and the signing of these guidelines.
A DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check will be carried out (and updated at least every three years) on every volunteer who is rostered to work on a regular basis with children and young people in NLC.

Volunteers working only occasionally with children and young people in NLC will not automatically be DBS checked, but as a consequence they must always work with volunteers who are DBS checked and who have signed these guidelines.
DBS checks will not be required of volunteers under 18 years of age.
In cases with no DBS, a member of church staff will carry out a risk assessment.
When DBS is allocated, Elaine Diamand will take a copy and return the original to the worker.
Anyone who is officially sanctioned to undertake ‘one on one’ discipleship assignments (see below) with children and young people in NLC, whether they are a formally appointed worker or not, must read and sign these guidelines. 

b. CODES OF CONDUCT/ GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES

There should always be a minimum of two workers with any group of children other than in exceptional circumstances. Anyone taking children to the toilet will need to be be DBS checked.
The ratio of children to adults should be adequate to ensure safety. Recommended guidelines are:
0-5s 1:4                11-14s 1:15
5-11s 1:8              15-18s 1:20
Workers should treat children and young people with dignity and respect at all times.
Physical punishments must never be used.
Information on discipline procedures is available on parents request. Parents will be contacted if serious or repeated infringements of good behaviour guidelines occur.
The leaders of all NLC organised groups should keep an accurate register of names of each such group and should monitor both the arrival and the departure of the children and young people.
A First Aid Box should be available to all NLC organised groups and there should be someone available who is able to use it.
Accidents should be recorded in an Accident Book that should be kept with the First Aid Box.
In the event of a ‘serious’ accident (eg: one which requires third party medical intervention) the child’s parent(s)/carer(s) should be contacted immediately.
In the event of a ‘minor’ accident (eg: a small graze caused by falling over, which has been successfully treated using the First Aid Box and from the pain and shock of which the child quickly recovers) the child’s parent(s)/carer(s) should be informed when the child is collected.
During NLC organised youth events, children, youth and adult workers must not consume alcohol.
Contact with young people should always be open, appropriate and safe.
Parental permission is obtained for publishing of photos and full names are not used.
Parental consent for a trip must be given and they must be made aware of transport arrangements. Drivers must be over 21 and have had a driving license for at least 2 years, unless parents specifically agree alternative arrangements. 

INTERACTION WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

All workers should:

  • Treat all children and young people with the respect and dignity befitting their age.
  • Take care with their speech, tone of voice and body language.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. (e.g. not overly provocative clothing or offensive wording on t-shirts.)
  • Learn to manage and discipline children without resort to physical punishment.
  • Make sure another adult is aware if they are helping to take a child to the toilet.
  • Ensure that they are not alone with a child where an activity cannot be seen; this may mean leaving doors open, or having two groups working in the same room.
  • Male youth workers are to counsel male young people and female youth workers are to counsel female young people.

At any point if a young person seeks advice or comfort on a private matter, a worker must try to involve a second worker (male or female, as appropriate) to listen to and pray with the child or young person. If this is not feasible, another worker must be informed of the meeting as soon as possible after it has finished.
‘One on one’ discipleship assignments will be allocated by The Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Coordinator(s) for a fixed period of time and with specific goals in mind. A written record will be kept of those meetings and debriefs will be given to the Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s). Only male to male and female to female assignments will be given. These meetings should, wherever possible, be held in public places.
Group leaders should make sure that the children know who they can contact in the church or via Childline (0800 1111) if they need to speak to someone about a problem. To assist them in this, the Childline number will be prominently displayed in the group meeting area and will be available on the NLC website.
Workers should be aware of any touch or physical activities that could be misconstrued by a casual observer (e.g. rough and tumble games/hugs etc), and should keep everything of that nature public. Prolonged hugging is always likely to be inappropriate and it is best to avoid playing any rough or physical games that necessitate close physical contact.
If you see a member of your team, or an adult in the church, acting in ways that might be misconstrued, you must be prepared to speak to them and/or your team leader about your concerns.
Leaders should encourage an atmosphere of mutual support and care which allows all workers to be comfortable about discussing perceived inappropriate attitudes or behaviour with those in oversight over them.Workers should never:

  • Be sexually suggestive or provocative about or to a child or a young person - even in fun.
  • Touch them inappropriately or intrusively.
  • Scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child or young person.
  • Show favouritism to any one child or young person, or small groups of them. Workers must not develop any exclusive relationships, however small the age gap.
  • Allow children or young people to involve themselves in excessive attention-seeking, especially anything which is overtly physical or sexual in nature.
  • Invite a young person to their home alone. Instead, they should invite a group and make sure that another known adult/worker is present, or meet in public places such as a cafe. It is vital to make sure that on such occasions parents know the whereabouts of their children or young people.
  • Except in cases of emergency, accompany children or young people home, unless it has been fully discussed and approved of by their parents or the Youth Pastor(s) or the Children’s Work Coordinator(s). 

ELECTRONIC CONTACT

All communication between children and adults, by whatever method, should take place within the following boundaries:

  • Workers should ensure that all communications are transparent and open to scrutiny.
  • Where possible, all electronic contact must be made in public spaces. E.g. ‘Wall to Wall’ on Facebook. Private messaging on, text, email, Facebook, other social networking sites or MSN should be logged where possible. If pastoral issues are raised, they should always be reported to the Youth Pastor(s) or Children’ Coordinator(s)
  • E-mail, social networking and text messages (and similar) should be stored for as long as possible. If a message contains anything that causes concern, it must be printed out, forwarded and/or retained on file/hard-drive.
  • Any volunteer should be aware of the implications of their interaction on social media.
  • In cases where a ‘one on one’ discipleship has been allocated, all electronic contact should be discussed with The Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s) as part of their regular debrief session. In the cases of ‘one on one’ allocated discipleship, increased electronic contact would be expected, although it must always be safe and appropriate.
  • An appropriate tone – ie: friendly but not overly personal – should be used. Do not ever suggest or offer a special relationship. Be careful how you sign off: consider, for instance, how 'love ya' or 'xxx' might be misperceived or misinterpreted. Make sure that your communication would not cause embarrassment if it was seen by the child or young person's parent(s)/carer(s) or church leaders. 

A test of ‘reasonableness’ will always be used when applying these guidelines - including concerning what constitutes a church activity.
 

c. BREACHES OF THE CHILD PROTECTION GUIDELINES

If any of the above guidelines are breached there will be a three-step approach to dealing with the allegations:
It is the ongoing role of the Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s), as appropriate to the age group, to give advice and guidance to their team on how best to comply with this Child Protection Policy. If such advice and guidance, in the opinion of the Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s), is not being heeded, then they must initiate the following procedure:
 

  • A meeting between the Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s), and the Child Protection Adviser and the worker will be arranged. If the appropriate named officials agree that the worker has breached the guidelines, a formal verbal warning will be issued. This meeting must be minuted and all agreed actions noted down.
  • If actions agreed following a verbal warning are not completed satisfactorily, or if further concerns are raised, another meeting between the appropriate named officials and the worker will be arranged. If these officials agree that there has been a further breach of the guidelines, a formal written warning will be issued. This meeting must be minuted and all agreed actions noted down.
  • If actions agreed following a verbal and/or a written warning are not completed satisfactorily, or if further concerns are raised, the worker will be required to leave the Children's or Youth work team and be invited to a meeting with the Church Pastor and the Child Protection Adviser, where any further necessary actions will be discussed.  This meeting must be minuted and all agreed actions noted down. 
  • A test of ‘reasonableness’ will always be applied when moving through the various stages of the disciplinary procedure.
  • Notwithstanding this procedure, the Church leaders and the Child Protection Adviser reserve the right to suspend any worker from children's or youth work, or to restrict their contact with children and young people under the care of NLC, for the protection of the worker and/or the children or young person(s).

At each stage of the disciplinary procedure outlined above, the worker has a right of appeal to the Trustees of New Life Church if they feel that any decision made and/or any disciplinary action taken is/are unfair or unjust. In such an appeal the decision of the Trustees will be final.
 

d. RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE

NLC recognises that many children and young people are the victims of neglect or of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Accordingly, NLC has adopted a policy designed to support children and young people where there are suspicions or allegations of abuse.
 

THE DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE ARE AS FOLLOWS:

  • Neglect – The persistent or severe neglect of a child, or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.
  • Physical injury – Actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child including deliberate poisoning, suffocation and Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy.
  • Sexual abuse – Actual or likely sexual exploitation of child or adolescent, i.e. the child/young person involved in something they do not fully understand and therefore not able to give informed consent.
  • Emotional abuse – Actual or likely severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment. 

WHAT TO DO IF A CHILD WANTS TO TALK ABOUT ALLEGED ABUSE.

  • Girls are to be counselled by a female worker. Boys are to be counselled by a male worker.
  • Try to reassure the child that it is alright to talk about it, and that you will take everything that they say seriously.
  • Don’t promise confidentiality. Make it clear that you will need to tell someone else about their allegations.
  • Don’t pre-judge anything, fill in their missing words or finish their sentences.
  • Be aware that the child may have been threatened, or sworn to secrecy.
  • Don’t push for more information than is immediately given.
  • Try not to look shocked
  • Make a written note of any allegation immediately after the conversation is over.
  • Record whether the child told you that anyone else knows of their allegations.
  • If any allegation is unclear or confused, accept this and don’t try to question the child further, but make a careful note of what has been said.
  • Refer any allegations or suspicions immediately to the Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s) (unless they are involved in the allegation or suspicion, in which case the Church Pastor and Child Protection Advisor must be notified about the allegation as soon as possible).
  • The Youth Leader(s) or Children’s Work Leader(s) must in turn notify the Church Pastor and Child Protection Advisor of the allegation or suspicion as soon as possible (unless they are involved in the allegation or suspicion, in which case the Chairman of the NLC Trust must be notified about the allegation as soon as possible). 

There are likely to be slightly different procedures depending on the nature of allegation or suspicion, and the circumstances surrounding them. However in any scenario, formal investigation of a case will be the responsibility of the appropriate Social Services department, the NSPCC or the Police.
 
If an allegation is unclear or confused, advice should normally be taken from the professional agencies named above. If this happens, the Chairman of the NLC Trustees must be informed as soon as is reasonable in all the circumstances.
If an allegation is specific and serious, the case must be referred on to the appropriate professional agencies within 24 hours. If this happens, the Chairman of the NLC Trust must be informed as soon as possible.
If there is reason to fear that the child or young person is at imminent risk of suffering further harm, such referral must be made at once. If this happens, the Chairman of the NLC Trust must be informed immediately. The professional agencies can then decide whether the child is at risk or not.If any allegation is made, or any suspicion voiced, by parents or carers against anyone working with children or young people in New Life Church, the above guidance must be followed - with necessary changes as a result of the origin of the allegation.
 

3. USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS

 
Ian and Carole Rawley (NLC Church Pastors)                                         01223 575571 (Home)
                                                                                                                                             07957 250067 (Ian)
(Carole is also the NLC Youth leader)                                                           07903 127518 (Carole)
Cambridge Social Care Contact Centre (9am to 5pm Mon – Fri)       0345 045 5203
Emergency Duty team Social Services (out of hours)                           01733 234724
Cambridge Police (non emergency)                                                               101 or 01233 358966
‘Childline’                                                                                                                        0800 1111
Tom Watt (Child Protection Advisor)                                                            01223 513243 (Home)
                                                                                                                                               07900 160766 (Mobile)
Liz Currie (NLC Youth Safeguarding Officer)                                             01223 811776
                                                                                                                                               07711 220946 (Mobile)                                                                                               
Andrew Slaymaker (Chairman of NLC Trust)                                             01223 522287 (Home)
                                                                                                                                               07590 851616 (Mobile)