The Church Trustee(s) have designated the following leads of specific Life Groups working with children and young people to receive any report, suspicion or allegations of abuse. They will assess information, obtain additional information if appropriate but not investigate. They will pass on all reports to the designated Safeguarding lead/s and or to the senior minister.
The Life Group leads are as follows:
- Sunday School – Abbi Pinnock Donna Pinnock
- Creche -Rebecca Cartledge
- Youth – Zoe & Steve Hardy
- Make Lunch / Pre-Loved Uniform – Ps Terence & Vivienne Williams
- Name/s Designated Safeguarding Lead:
- Name of Senior Minister: Ps Jim Master.
In the absence of the Senior Minister, it will be passed on to Chris Thompson.
If the allegation in any way involves the designated Safeguarding lead/s, it should be reported directly to the Senior minister. If the allegation is against any of the ministers, then the Assemblies of God procedures must be followed and head office to be informed either by the senior minister or a member of the board of Trustee. Where necessary they will consult with Sheffield children’s Safeguarding team to test out any doubts about the concern/allegations and to make if appropriate a formal referral to Social Services or the Police. It is not our role to decide whether a child has been abused or not. There may be times when a referral is made immediately to Social Services depending on the nature of the allegation/evidence seen.
Responding to concerns:
- Individual raising concern will speak to the life group lead. They will in turn pass all written concerns/ allegations onto to the designated safeguarding lead who will continue to follow procedures.
- Parents should normally be contacted, and their agreement should be given to Social Services being contacted.
- Parents need not be contacted if to do so would put a child at increased risk of harm or would interfere with criminal enquiries. (Where this is the case the designated safeguarding lead should agree that this is the case). Note – parents also need not be contacted if to do so would place a member of the team at risk.
- Any notes made should be signed and dated. Do NOT destroy original notes even if a subsequent write up is made. (All notes /referral information should be kept SECURELY in the church office).
What to do if you suspect that abuse may have occurred?
You MUST report concerns as soon as possible to the safeguarding Lead
N.B: The Senior Minister must be contacted before outside agencies are involved.
N.B. Suspicions MUST NOT be discussed with ANYONE other than those nominated above.
RESPONSIBILITIES IN DEALING WITH ABUSE
Recognising the signs of abuse
At CLIC, we will endeavour to recognise the signs of abuse. We acknowledge that some of these signs may not indicate that abuse has taken place. Typical definitions of abuse and typical signs to recognise when abuse may have taken place are included within this safeguarding
Responding to Abuse
At CLIC, we will endeavour to respond appropriately to signs of abuse and to allegations of abuse.
Dealing with an allegation/concern/incident
At CLIC, we are committed to responding to allegations/concerns and we recognise the need for confidentiality, yet, within this we recognise the legal principle that the ‘welfare of the child is paramount’. Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality when an allegation or an incident has occurred.
Recording information (keep confidential)
Notes should be made, if possible at the time of the allegation/incident and reported to the life group lead as soon as possible. These can be mental notes or written notes which should be passed onto designated person or persons as soon as possible.
RECOGNISING AND RESPONDING TO SIGNS OF ABUSE
Indicators of abuse:
There are many indicators/factors that abuse of some form is / or has taken place. The following are only guidelines to assist volunteers. Some of these factors may not be worrying in isolation but linked to a sequence of other incidents could give serious cause for concern.
Identification of abuse is often difficult. It is useful to consider:
- Is there a pattern of unexplained injury or illness?
- Note explanations that are inconsistent
- What has the child said spontaneously?
- A sudden change in behaviour?
Physical Abuse INCLUDE
- To the eyes, mouth or ears
- Fingertip bruising (grasp mark)
- Bruises of different ages in the same place
- Outline bruises (i.e. of a shoe, belt)
- Bruises without obvious explanations
- Bruising to non- mobile babies
Burns, Bites and Scars:
- Burns, bites and scars:
- Clear impressions of teeth
- Burns or scalds with clear outlines
- Small round burns (cigarettes)
- Large number of different aged scars
- Scars that indicate a child did not get medical treatment
- Unusual, shaped scars
- Fractures in children under 1 year
- Alleged unnoticed fracture
- Poisoning, injections, ingestion or other applications of damaging substances including drugs and alcohol
- Signs of shaking including any bruising to a young baby
- Facial petechiae (small blood spots.)
Neglect – children who are:
- Not receiving adequate food
- Exposed through lack of supervision to injuries
- Exposed to inadequate, dirty and/or cold environments
- Abandoned or left in circumstances without appropriate adult supervision
- Prevented by their carers from receiving appropriate medical advice/treatment
- Sexual transmitted diseases
- Recurrent urinary infections
- Genital and rectal itching and soreness
- Bruising in the genital region
- Sexual play/masturbation that is inappropriate to a child’s age, development and circumstances
- Sexually explicit behaviour/language
- Young children with an inappropriate level of sexual knowledge
- Sexual abusive behaviour to other children, especially younger children
- Abnormally passive, lethargic or attention seeking behaviour
- Specific habit disorders e.g., faecal smearing
- Severely delayed social and speech development
- Excessively nervous behaviour such as rocking
- Low self esteem
- Unusual aggressive behaviour
- Onset of enuresis – day or night
- Sleeping and eating disturbance
- Recurrent abdominal pains
- Social withdrawal
- Restlessness and aimlessness
- Poor trust and secretiveness
- Running away
- Self harm
- Hysterical fits, faints etc.
- A child may confide in a trusted adult
- Observation of bullying by another individual
The general indicators may occur in any child being abused but are particularly important in cases of sexual and emotional abuse where outward signs may not be present.
**DEALING WITH INCIDENTS**
Each Life Group Leader is responsible for keeping a mental note of anything significant, such as a confrontation with a child or sensitive concern or an ‘odd’ remark which must be reported to the designated people named earlier in the document.
An incident is something that has happened that is not an accident but did need adult intervention. It maybe something that is out of character in relation to the child’s behaviour. Incidents such as these should be recorded by the volunteer / life group lead and discussed with the designated people and a decision made whether to inform parents or not.
Completed forms MUST BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL AND STORED AT THE CHURCH.
Dealing With Incidents / safeguarding allegations
If the incident /allegation is against a particular worker then the following procedure should be followed:-
- All incidents/ allegations need to be reported to the Life Group Lead as soon as possible away from the children / young people.
- The Life Group lead will make a written and dated record including the time.
- In the first instance the Senior Pastor will listen to the incident / allegation and will decided whether it is a Code of Conduct issue or safeguarding.
- Make a written record of any discussion and action to be taken.
From a child
- Stay calm and listen carefully to what is said, don’t overreact.
- Do not promise to keep secrets – explain that such information will need to be shared but offer reassurances that they have done the right thing.
- Allow the child to continue at his/her own pace
- Ask questions only for clarification
- Avoid any questions which may suggest a particular answer
- Tell them what you are going to do next and who you are going to share the information with.
- Record in writing, as soon as possible, what was said, using the child’s words if possible. Note time, date, any names mentioned. Sign and date the record.
- The Life Group Lead will then Inform the designated safeguarding lead and or senior minister who will then decide on the relevant action.
How to safeguard children /young people
- Ensure that there is always more than one adult present during activities with children/ young people or that you are at least in the sight of hearing of other adults.
- Be aware that physical contact may be misunderstood – do not engage in ‘horseplay’ The following practices are strongly discouraged:
- Spending excessive amounts of time with individual children / young people away from their peers and other leaders.
- Meetings with individual children / young person
- Taking children /young people alone on car journeys even if it is around the corner
from where you live (unless permission has been given by parents).
- Meeting with children outside of organised activity/session times.
Sometimes these situations do happen, occasionally unavoidably. Should this be the case, it is wise to inform the leader in charge and/or the child’s parents. One to one contact with children should take place in an environment which is open to being observed. Other leaders should be aware of what is happening
At CLIC, we are committed to recruiting safely. We recognise that to recruit an unsuitable person could cause untold damage to a child and to families.
All workers with direct access to children should initially submit a Self -Declaration form. Where it is considered appropriate, references should be taken up. All of these workers should then be checked through the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS), this includes existing workers and those who have worked for a long period.
All members of the Church Council namely, The Senior Minister, Elders & Trustees, including those with no direct contact with children’s work, should also be checked through the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS).
This process shall be undertaken by an individual appointed by the Senior Pastor. Following completion of the self – declaration form, the applicant will then complete an application form for a Disclosure check available from a Registered Body (AoG Children’s Department).
- The form is completed and the appropriate documents are verified by an approved verifier. The form is then forwarded to the same Registered Body.
- The Disclosure form is checked and countersigned by the Registered Body and forwarded to the Disclosure & Barring Service.
- The applicant will receive a Disclosure detailing any convictions and a copy of this is also forwarded to the Registered Body.
- Verifiers may register with the Children’s Department to receive the Registered Body copy of the Disclosure; however certain conditions must be satisfied as to the safe storage, use and disposal of such documents.
Working with offenders/ex-offenders
Anyone with a previous offence against children will NOT be accepted as a member of a children’s team. If there is someone in the church who is known to have harmed children, the leadership will meet with that person and discuss conditions which that person will be expected to keep. Supervision will be given.
At City Life Int’l Church we seek to treat all people equally and with respect. We are committed to a fair system for the recruitment and selection of volunteers. We are also committed to the safety and protection of children and young people in our care and for this reason there are some appointments within the church for which it is necessary that an Enhanced Disclosure check is carried out.
Enhanced Disclosures will be carried out for the following positions:
- Senior Pastor
- Church Council/Trustee(s)
- Children’s Leaders/workers/volunteers
The people responsible for the recruitment and selection of children’s workers/ is the Senior Pastor and the children’s life group lead.
It is absolutely vital that we recruit the best people for the job and that we recruit safely. A minimum of six months attendance at City Life is required before any involvement with children will be considered. The safety of children must be paramount in all recruitment policies. The following advice/procedures are to be followed when recruiting children’s workers.
The Disclosure process will be made sensitively and fairly. In the event of a problem/query/complaint – these will in the first instance be dealt with by the above roles but may also be referred to the registered body for advice. Confidentiality is a key issue at stake when Disclosure checks are requested by the church. Disclosures may be shown to either the Children’s Life Group Lead and/or the Senior Pastor. A record shall be maintained by CLIC . This record should be kept in a secure place. Where an individual has a Disclosure which does have a conviction shown the disclosure will be discussed with the applicant, the Senior Pastor and appropriate Life Group Lead. Circumstances, relevance and dates of the conviction shall be taken into account.
In cases, where there is agreement from the Senior Pastor and appropriate Life Group Lead for the individual to take up the volunteering role, there will be an agreed probationary period, supervision and setting of clear boundaries.
*All applicants need to be made aware of the recruitment of ex-offenders’ policy available from all registered bodies. Churches need to be involved with the rehabilitation of offenders but will exclude working with children/ young people where the offence has involved children/ young people.
Supervision and Staffing
The safe supervision of children is crucial. CLIC workers and leaders need to minimise any opportunity for harm whilst a child is in our care. The opportunity for an allegation to be made against a worker should be minimised. We need to protect everyone and appropriate levels of supervision are a means of ensuring this protection.
Children and Personal Care Needs
Some children, particularly younger children, need help with matters of a personal nature and it is wise to think through which of the adults on your children’s teams are the most appropriate to assist such children. It is also advised to consult with parents about this issue and to include their views in guidance offered.
It is crucial to safeguard the adults as well as the children. Parents should be informed if their child had a specific need on a particular day and perhaps needs help with changing.
NB: Adults should never help with matters of a personal nature if a child can do it for themselves. If a parent is not happy with this then he/she will have to take the children themselves. Please see designated person if there is a problem.