Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy for Drighlington Methodist Church
This policy was agreed at a Church Council held on 13th September 2022
The Methodist Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things, this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
Drighlington Methodist Church is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are paramount.
Drighlington Methodist Church recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether by disabilities or by reduction in capacities or by their situation. It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.
This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children, young people, vulnerable adults, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.
Drighlington Methodist Church fully agrees with the statement reiterated in Creating Safer Space 2007:
As the people of the Methodist Church we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community of all ages.
Drighlington Methodist Church recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media or human trafficking (slavery). It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development, including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.
The Drighlington Methodist Church commits itself to:
1. RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed, whether in the church or in another context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.
2. Ensure the IMPLEMENTATION of Connexional Safeguarding Policy; government legislation and guidance and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
3. The PROVISION of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults who may be vulnerable.
4. AFFIRM and give thanks for those who work with children and vulnerable adults and also acknowledge the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding vulnerable adults who are on our premises.
Church Council of the Drighlington Methodist Church
It is the responsibility of each Church Council to appoint a Church Safeguarding Officer and there should be no gaps in this crucial provision. It is not appropriate for the minister to fill any gap, because of the potential conflict of roles. The role will usually be undertaken on a voluntary basis although expenses should be met.
Appoints Mary Goldsworthy as church Safeguarding Officer for Adults and Children and supports her in her role, which is to:
support and advise the minister and the stewards in fulfilling their roles
provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
liaise with circuit and district safeguarding officers
promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of circuit ministers
ensure proper records are kept of all incidents/concerns according to Methodist policy and practice (see Safeguarding Records: Joint Practice Guidance for the Church of England and the Methodist Church - Updated Jan 2015)
ensure that all safeguarding training which is required is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records kept and made available
attend training and meetings organised to support the role
oversee safeguarding throughout the whole life of the church (e.g. lettings, groups, property etc)
report to the Church Council annually
ensure the church completes a yearly audit/monitoring on safeguarding confirming that policies are in place for the church and all groups and lettings in the church and that these have been annually reviewed
ensure that the church recruits safely for all posts
ensure that the church has a safeguarding notice board with a copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national help lines and other suitable information.
The purposes of this safeguarding policy are to ensure procedures are in place and people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children, young people and vulnerable adults in our care and using our premises. It is to be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church (2017).
b) Good practice
We believe that good practice means:
All people are treated with respect and dignity.
those who act on behalf of the Church should not meet or work alone with a child or vulnerable adult where the activity cannot be seen unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons, in which case a written note of this will be made and kept noting date, time and place of visit.
The church premises will be assessed by the church safeguarding officer with the property steward and/or their representatives at least annually for safety for children and vulnerable adults and the risk assessment report will be given annually to the Church Council in written form. This will include fire safety procedures. The Church Council will consider the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more suitable.
Any church-organised transport of children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort are appropriate. An agreed record to be kept in the church file for each driver/car.
Activity risk assessments will be undertaken before any activity takes place to minimise the risk of harm to those involved. Approval will be obtained from the event leader/minister. A written record of the assessment will be retained securely in case they need to be seen at a later date.
Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable all God’s people to reach their full potential. The Church Council will actively consider the extent to which it is succeeding in this area.
These things are to safeguard those working with children, young people and those adults who may be vulnerable.
c) Appointment and training of workers
Workers will be appointed after a satisfactory DBS disclosure and following safer recruitment procedures of the Methodist Church. Each worker will have an identified supervisor who will meet at regular intervals with the worker. A record of these meetings will be agreed and signed and the record kept. Each worker will be expected to undergo basic safeguarding training, within the first 6 months (agreed by Methodist Conference in 2011 -Creating Safer Space Report) of appointment. The other training needs of each worker will be considered (e. g food hygiene, first aid, lifting and handling, etc).
d) Pastoral visitors
In terms of safeguarding, pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.
e) Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
A leaflet outlining good practice and systems will be produced and given to everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This leaflet will be reviewed annually. Church Councils may produce their own material or use appropriate connexional leaflets (e. g the Quick Reference Guide or Code of Safer Working Practice).
f) Photography and video recordings - the internet and publicity
Photography and video recording are important ways of recording Methodist activity and providing a record – illustrating and validating important moments in people’s lives and the life of our Church. It is, however, a powerful and personal process, and we must respect the rights of everyone to choose whether or not to be photographed. Children’s names must not be used in photographs
g) Consent forms
Consent forms must be used to obtain parental permission prior to taking, use or storage any images of children including video. Information must be provided to parents and carers to allow Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church – Updated October 2019 enables them to understand the use of images of their child and give informed consent. A child’s permission to use their image, in addition to parents, carers or guardians should be obtained, where they are 12 or over. Information about the taking, use and storage of images must be provided in language appropriate to age. Consent forms for parents, carers and young people are available on the Methodist Church website. https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/safeguarding/policiesprocedure-and-information/forms/
Only use images of children in suitable clothing to reduce the risk of inappropriate use. Some activities, for example swimming and drama, present a much greater risk of potential misuse. Address how images of children on an organisation’s website can be misused. Images accompanied by personal information, such as the name of a child and their hobby, could be used to learn more about a child before grooming them for abuse.
For professional photographers or the press invited to an event state in writing what you expect from them in relation to child protection. Do not allow photographers unsupervised access to children. Do not approve photography sessions outside the event or at a child’s home.
Any church club or organisation will need to ensure that parents, carers, family members and others understand the policy. At large events, arrange video or photographic stills of the participants in action or set up photo opportunities at the end. This allows the performance to go ahead with limited interruption, and allows any child who is not to be photographed to take part. If there are children or young people at the event for whom you do not have a completed consent form, put the notice about photographs in prominent places or in the event programme. Make sure that official photographers are aware of the guidelines for photography.
h) Procedures for photographers at church events
Do not photograph any child who has asked not to be photographed or who is under a court order
Photography or recording should focus on the activity, not on a particular young person.∙
Images should focus on small groups rather than individuals.
If a young person is named, avoid using their photograph.
All children must be appropriately dressed when photographed.
All people taking photographs or recording footage for official use at the event should register with the event organiser.
All concerns regarding inappropriate behaviour or intrusive photography should be reported to the event organiser.
i) Methodist churches and organisations creating their own social media
Methodist churches and organisations creating their own websites should adhere to these safeguarding policies and procedures and regularly review the pages of their sites so that they remain up to date, effective and safe. The Internet is constantly evolving and changing, and the Methodist Church guidelines change accordingly. You are strongly advised to review the guidelines regularly to ensure your compliance. See Methodist Church Social Media Guidelines: www.methodist.org.uk/socialmediaguidelines
Anyone designing a website for a Methodist church, circuit or district must ensure that it promotes opportunities for all ages – including children and young people – to get involved in the life of the church. While it is important to reflect the full mix of participation in church worship and other activities, care should be taken to ensure the safety of children and young people. Photographs are personal data as far as data protection legislation is concerned, and must be used responsibly.
j) Social Media guidelines
Photographs are personal data as far as data protection legislation is concerned, and must be used responsibly.
Obtain written and specific consent from parents or carers before using photographs of anyone under 18 on a website. This should include providing a privacy notice where the person in the picture is 12 or over, their consent should also be sought, in addition to that of parents, carers or guardians.
Children and young people under the age of 18 should not be identified by name or other personal details, including email or postal addresses and telephone numbers.
When using photographs of children and young people, it is preferable to use group pictures.
When a photograph of an individual child or young person is used, names or other personal details should not be used in any captions.
Care must be taken when advertising special events for children and young people. Ensure that the image files are appropriately named – do not use names in image filenames or alt tags.
Only use images of children in suitable attire to reduce the risk of inappropriate use.
Consider advertising events simply by giving contact details of the adults responsible.
When posting activity ideas for children or young people, ensure they comply with good
k) Using the Internet with children
There may be occasions when church officers, youth or children’s workers wish to demonstrate the internet to children or young people, or encourage them to access information online as part of an activity. When this happens, workers are encouraged to follow these guidelines:
Ensure that parents or carers are aware of what their children or young people are doing and have given their written permission in advance. When demonstrations are being given, plan beforehand to ensure that all websites visited have material that is appropriate for the age group taking part.
Where children and young people are given access to undertake their own searches on the internet, use a search engine facility appropriate for children and young people
Where children and young people are encouraged to undertake subsequent searches on the Internet at home, they must only do so with the knowledge of their parent or carer.
Warn children and young people about the dangers of giving out personal details on the Internet. Children and young people should be regularly informed and reminded of safe internet use and accessing social media. They must be encouraged to access websites such as NSPCC or Childline or talk to an adult if they have any concerns or fears.
Encourage children and young people to obtain parental consent if they wish to develop internet friends into face-to-face friendships. Even then, they should always be accompanied on any first meeting. As technology progresses, so must our vigilance in protecting against its abuse. Mobile phones and the Internet provide new and imaginative ways of gaining information and communicating, but the darker side offers new opportunities to those intent on harming children
Communication and common sense are the two key elements to these guidelines and the primary aim is to protect the individual and work to ensure they are aware of their rights and empowered to exercise them, while still offering the freedom to families and friends to record important events in their lives and the lives of those close to them. exercise them, while still offering the freedom to families and friends to record important events in their lives and the lives of those close to them.
l) Ecumenical events
Where ecumenical events happen on church premises, safeguarding is the responsibility of this Church Council.
m) Events with church groups off the premises
Adequate staffing, a risk assessment and notification of the event to be given to the church safeguarding officer PRIOR to the agreement for any event or off site activity. Notification of the event will be given to the church council secretary -Trevor Martin
If the activity is unusual or considered to be high risk the church safeguarding officer will contact the circuit safeguarding officer in order that it can be ratified or any queries raised.
n) Other groups on church premises
Where the building is hired for outside use, the person signing the letting agreement will be given a copy of the churches Safeguarding Policy, will have a written contract and will sign the appropriate safeguarding forms The lettings secretary will consider the various users of the building in making lettings. All lettings will be notified to the church safeguarding officer who will keep the records and take advice as appropriate from both the District safeguarding officer and Circuit Safeguarding Officer if and when necessary
o) Complaints procedure
It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisation. However, if the complaint is of a safeguarding nature, relating to possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults, then it is very important that your district safeguarding officer is consulted as statutory services may need to be informed.
A complaint should be addressed to the superintendent minister, the Revd. [Nigel Rodgers If a complaint is made to another person it should be referred to her/him. Meetings will be arranged with the person making the complaint and, usually, the person against whom the complaint has been made, in an attempt to resolve it. If the complaint is against the superintendent, it should be sent to the District Chair.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council. The date of the next review is: June 2021.
q) Key concepts and definitions
A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the armed forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.
Vulnerable Adults: Any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
Safeguarding and protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community and in an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.