NEW LIFE COMMUNITY CHURCH CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

New Life Community Church is an inclusive, non- discriminatory Church welcoming all people from a diversity of backgrounds.

The purpose of this document is to inform those working with children of our policy on child protection and safe practice and to advice them of the procedure to be carried out if abuse is suspected or disclosed to them.

This policy applies to all Group Leaders and Volunteer workers (over 16 years old) who minister (serve as a responsible person) to children and young people through their age-related groups. This relates to all New Life Community Church activity which currently includes Creche, Rock, Wiggle and Giggle, Momentum, Life Groups and events such as NewDay and WestPoint.

The aims of the policy are to:

  • Promote the highest standards of welfare and protection for children/young people (0-18 years)
  • Give all staff and volunteers clear Child Protection procedures, roles and responsibilities
  • Ensure the use of safe recruitment procedures, supervision and training as a means to protecting children/young people
  • Issue guidance on how to deal with disclosure or discovery of abuse
  • Plan the work of the Church to minimise situations where the abuse of children could occur
  • Establish a code of conduct and routine that protects those working with children/young people
  • Establish a continuous rota of CRB completion and updating

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Everyone in Church is responsible for safeguarding our Community.  This includes being aware of what is written in our Policy and helping put these principles into practice.

ELDERS

The Elders have overall responsibility for the Church and will have the final say in situations where the policy is not adhered to. Any situation will be reported to the Elders.

Any adult who is known to be on the Child Offenders Register should be brought to the attention of the Elders as quickly as possible and not communicated generally within the Church for reasons of privacy.

The Elders would agree, with the individual, the limits on participation within the Church and will also determine who else would need to be informed within the Church. This information would not generally be communicated for reasons of privacy.

An annual report is prepared by the Child Protection Officer in September and presented for review by the Trustees at the next meeting.

The Nominated Elder for Safeguarding is Mr. Paul Williams. Contact 07814 505107 | paul@newlifefordingbridge.com

Where a completed form or returned DBS check indicates an offence the child protection officer will refer the information to the Safeguarding Elder for a decision.

NOMINATED CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER

The nominated child protection Officer for Disclosure and Barring Service checking and DBS Form processing is Mrs Jenny Elbro. Contact 07596 709342 | jkelbro@gmail.com

Criminal Record Bureau standard or enhanced checks are carried out on all NLCC employees and volunteers over the age of 16 years working with children prior to taking up their roles or at the discretion of the Elders. Forms can be obtained from the Child Protection Officer.

Completed forms are verified by the Coordinator on sight of the original documents indicated on the form. These forms are then sent to Community First, Archstone House, Pullman Business Park, Pullman Way Ringwood, Hants.  BH24 1HD.

The clearance will be returned to the individual and a copy is kept securely in the Church Office.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A VOLUNTEER

  • To report any concerns to the Elder for Safeguarding or Child Protection Officer and no one else!
  • Not to divulge any information about a child to anyone other than the designated people previously mentioned.  This confidentiality is required even when workers are off duty.

PARENTS

  • Children must be registered in the appropriate group with details of any medical issues or Special Needs. (Church registration sheet)
  • Parents have full responsibility for their child/children at all times.  This is particularly so before and after any Church activity.

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

All Volunteer Workers over the age of 16 years hold an enhanced CRB check which is regularly updated.  Any volunteer under the age of 16 is supervised by a checked volunteer.

All volunteers work under the supervision of their respective leaders of that day.

Children and young people should be treated with dignity and respect in attitude; this includes language, tone of voice and body gestures. Volunteers should be mindful of the safety of children in all circumstances.

  1. As far as possible, volunteers should avoid being on their own with any child and should carry out all their activities where they can be seen.
  2. Never take a child/young person home on your own (always have another helper with you). In an emergency situation and where Parents have given consent to transport their child alone the child must sit in the back of the car.
  3. Never make a promise of confidentiality to children /young people
  4. Only people CRB checked are able to accompany any child/young person to the toilet.
  5. All nappy changes must be done by the Parent\Carer or with prior consent of the Parent\Carer. A signed consent of Parents is necessary for any intimate care for those with disabilities.
  6. Volunteers do not engage in rough physical games or play where language or behavior could be construed to be sexually provocative.
  7. Children/Young people should never be ridiculed, rejected or used as a scapegoat by volunteers.
  8. Volunteers never use physical punishment
  9. Where confidentiality is important (eg. Discipling a young person) ensure that another knows that the interview is taking place and that someone else is around in the building.
  10. Another person must be present at any mixed gender meeting.

OFF SITE ACTIVITIES

  1. Any off site activity must have the prior consent of the Elder for Safeguarding.
  2. Any off site activity must be risk assessed by the Group Leader or Safeguarding Elder.
  3. For a specific event Parental consent must be given in written form with contact numbers and any medical needs recorded.
  4. The Activity must not deviate from the agreed plan without prior consent from the Elder for Safeguarding and Parent.

RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OR SIGNS OF ABUSE

If a child or young person makes a disclosure or makes an allegation of inappropriate behavior or abuse against them

  1. Thank them for telling you and reassure them that they have done the right thing.
  2. Tell them that to sort the problem out safely you will need to talk to one or two other people to get advice. (Never promise to keep it a secret or discuss it with the perpetrator!)
  3. Try to write down the exact words used as soon as possible. Date and sign the account of what you heard and give this record to the Elder for Safeguarding.
  4. Never push for more information or question the child.  Say things like ‘can you tell me more?’  -“is there any more you need to say?”
  5. Don’t comment or say things like ‘that’s dreadful’ ‘how shocking’
  6. Don’t begin to investigate!!
  7. Report your concerns to Church Elders.
  8. Don’t discuss the conversation with anyone else.

What happens next?

If the disclosure is considered serious then a Church report form is completed and the concerns will be passed for assessment to the Children Services Child Protection Department or Police.  They will investigate and keep Church Leaders informed.  If the concern does not need outside support then the Elder for Safeguarding will decide if pastoral intervention would be helpful.

Possible Signs of Abuse

The Church acknowledges that the following can be subjective. Training will be provided to all Volunteers working with children.  Appropriate reference should be made to the policy if a Volunteer has any concerns.

Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect

  • Bruising, unexplained injury or an injury that has not received medical attention
  • Self harm
  • Extreme changes in mood or behaviour (aggressive or withdrawn)
  • Over-sexualised behaviour (verbal and/or physical)
  • Changed or inappropriate relationships with peers or adults
  • Undernourishment or inadequate care

ATTACHMENTS

  • Report Form of suspected abuse
  • Registration form for off site activity
  • Church registration sheets (Creche, JAM Time, Rock, JAM Tinies, Momentum)

Attachment available from the church office: office@newlifefordingbridge.com