Purley United Reformed Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation of human beings in God’s own image and likeness. This implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm. We acknowledge that safeguarding is the responsibility of the whole church.
We acknowledge children’s, young people and adult’s right to protection from abuse, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. We consider that the welfare of children and young people is paramount. We will follow legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice in order to protect vulnerable people in our church.
We recognise that none of us is invulnerable but that there is a particular care for those whose risk is increased by age, situations, disabilities or reduction in capacities. It is recognised that this increased risk 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 adults at risk. It is intended to be a dynamic policy that is subject to regular review. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children, young people, adults at risk, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.
Our Safeguarding Policy Statement is attached at Appendix 1
Aim and purpose of this policy
The aim of this policy is to ensure that protecting people from abuse harm or neglect is central to our culture. This includes clear procedures for taking appropriate action when safeguarding concerns are raised involving children, young people and adults within our church, or those who attend our activities and events.
Who this policy applies to
This policy is approved and endorsed by the Elders and applies to:
- all those who attend our church and its services
- our trustees and elders,
- paid staff (both internal and external (such as consultants)
- organisations and groups which hire our building with written agreement to operate under the church safeguarding policy
The values and safeguarding principles within the United Reformed Church are described in Appendix 1. The policy and procedures should be interpreted in accordance with these principles and the most recent URC good practice guidance (currently, Good Practice 5). Children, young people and parents/carers, adults at risk and those responsible for safeguarding them will be informed of this policy and our procedures.
The term(s) ‘children and young people’ refer(s) to those under the age of 18 years.
The term ‘adult at risk’ refers to any adult aged 18 or over who, by reason of mental or other disability, age, illness or other situation, are permanently, or for time being, unable to take care of themselves, or to protect themselves against significant harm, abuse or exploitation.
Duty of care and confidentiality
We have a duty of care to all beneficiaries of the church, whether adults, children or young people. We will always maintain confidentiality at all times, except in circumstances where to do so would place the individual or another individual at risk of harm or abuse.
The church has appointed a Safeguarding Coordinator and Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for safeguarding children and young people, and a Safeguarding Coordinator and Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for safeguarding adults.
Activities are organised in accordance with URC‘s safeguarding policy and guidance to promote a safe environment and healthy relationships, whilst minimising opportunities for harm, misunderstanding or false accusation. For each event, a risk assessment is carried out, appropriate consent forms are used (for children’s and young people’s activities), appropriate records are kept and adequate insurance is in place.
We are committed to safer recruitment and selection of all paid staff and volunteers with emphasis on those in regulated activities. We will treat applicants who have a criminal record fairly and do not discriminate because of a conviction or other information revealed and ensure that all safer recruitment-related procedures are followed
- asking applicants to complete an application form
- providing workers with job or role descriptions and person specifications
- completion of self-declaration forms
- obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)/Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG) checks for eligible roles and positions
- taking up two references (not from family members)
- interviewing candidates
- providing workers/volunteers with written contracts/agreements
All elders, trustees, paid staff and volunteers work within the code of conduct outlined (code for workers attached as Appendix A3 working with children and young people) and understand that there may be action taken if this code is not followed, possibly involving suspension or termination of people’s service.
If we become aware of someone within our congregation known to have harmed children, young people or adults, we will inform the Church Safeguarding Co-ordinators or Synod Safeguarding Officer within 24 hours and co-operate with them and the relevant statutory authorities to put in place a plan to minimise the risk of harm to children, young people and adults.
When any church premises are let to an external, informal group or individual, those hiring the premises should hold and abide by their own safeguarding policy. If a hirer does not have a policy, they must abide by the church’s own safeguarding policy, a copy of which should be made available. Each hiring body is required to ensure that children and adults at risk are always protected by taking all reasonable steps to prevent injury, illness, loss or damage occurring.
How to recognise abuse
It is important to be aware of the possible signs and symptoms of abuse. Appendix 6: Signs and Symptoms of Abuse provides definitions of different forms of abuse and further help and guidance. Some signs could be indicators of several different categories of abuse.
It is essential to note that these are only indicators of possible abuse. There may be other, innocent, reasons for these signs and/or behaviour. There might be domestic abuse that requires a different approach. The indicators will, however, be a guide to assist in assessing whether abuse of one form or another is a possible explanation for a child, young person’s or adult’s behaviour.
Church workers and members also pay attention to online safety and their electronic communications with children and adults. Grooming and abuse of any form can occur offline (both physically and verbally) and online.
What to do if there is a disclosure or allegation of abuse
If a child, young person or adult makes a disclosure that they are being abused and/or an allegation of abuse against someone, it is important that the person being told:
- stays calm and listens carefully
- reassures them that they have done the right thing in telling
- does not investigate or ask leading questions
- explains that they will need to tell someone else if anyone is at risk of harm, in order to help them
- does not promise to keep secret what they have been told
- informs the relevant church Safeguarding Coordinator within 24 hours (if they are implicated in the allegation, informs the relevant Deputy or the Synod Safeguarding Officer)
- makes a written record of the allegation, disclosure or incident and signs and dates this record (using the template in Appendix 5 should be given to the relevant church Safeguarding Coordinator and stored securely in a locked filing cabinet).
Procedure in the event of a concern of abuse
If there is an immediate threat of harm, the Police should be contacted without delay.
Where it is judged that there is no immediate threat of harm, the following will occur:
- The concern should be discussed with the relevant church Safeguarding Coordinator or the Synod Safeguarding Officer within 24 hours and a decision made as to whether the concern warrants a referral to the statutory authorities (see Key Contacts, at the end of this document) for the relevant statutory contacts)
- A confidential record will be made of the conversation and the circumstances surrounding it using the template at Appendix 5. This record will be kept securely and a copy passed to statutory authorities if a referral is made.
- The person about whom the allegation is made must not be informed by anyone in the church if it is judged that to do so could place a child or adult at further risk. If the statutory authorities are involved, they should be consulted beforehand.
- The Synod Safeguarding Officer should be kept informed of any serious concerns and referrals to police and statutory authorities.
Prior to any referral to children’s services, the child’s wishes and rights should be considered when determining what action to take. There should also be a verbal consultation with local authority’s children’s services to ensure that making a referral is an appropriate action. The parent/carer will normally be contacted to obtain their consent before a referral is made. However, if the concern involves, for example alleged or suspected child sexual abuse, domestic abuse, Honour Based Violence, fabricated or induced illness, or the Synod Safeguarding Officer has reason to believe that informing the parent at this stage might compromise the safety of the child or a staff member, nothing should be said to the parent/carer ahead of the referral, but a rationale for the decision to progress without consent should be provided with the referral.
In the case of referrals to adult social care or other services for adults at risk, information should be shared with consent if the adult has capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act and if this does not place the referrer, them or others at an increased risk. A person’s right to confidentiality is not absolute and may be overridden where there is evidence that sharing information is necessary to support an investigation or where there is a risk to others. See section 14 of Good Practice 5 for further advice and guidance.
If the allegation is regarding a church staff member or a church volunteer
If someone in the church is alleged or known to have harmed children, young people or adults we will inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer so that they can offer advice and support, and we will contact the relevant statutory authority.
For any concerns relating to children or young people, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be contacted. The timing and method of any action to be taken will be discussed and agreed with the LADO. This will cover communication with the worker, suspension, investigation and possible strategy meetings. A decision will be taken by the LADO about when to inform the worker and the church will follow this advice. For LADO contact details, see Key Contacts at the end of this document.
For concerns relating to adults, Adult Social Care will be contacted. See Key Contacts, at the end of this document for details.
In accordance with the law, a referral will be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for consideration of barring to share information about any individual in regulated activity where for safeguarding reasons the church has either terminated the employment, failed to appoint, or would have terminated the employment had that individual not moved on through resignation, retirement or redeployment. In such cases, the synod safeguarding officer will be advised/informed.
Depending on the seriousness of incidents or allegations, a report to the Charity Commission, will be considered at the elders’/trustees meeting as they deem such a referral to be a ‘serious incident’ and therefore require notification.
Managing those who may pose a risk to the welfare of people
The use of rigorous and careful supervision is paramount to protect people from the risks associated with known offenders within the congregation, including implementing safeguarding contracts with known or alleged offenders and those who have been assessed as posing a risk. Where it is known that someone has a caution or conviction for committing a sexual offence, the church can play an important role in the prevention of further abuse by helping the offender to live an offence-free life.
If anyone is made aware that a person attending their church has been convicted of an offence against a child or has had an allegation of this nature made against them at any time, we immediately inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer and Minister or Interim Moderator. Note that in Scotland, the Church of Scotland Safeguarding Service should be contacted.
It is important to provide known or alleged offenders with a group of people who will offer support, friendship and supervision. Following advice from the Synod Safeguarding Officer, when appropriate, a formal safeguarding contract will be drawn up between the church, the person who is considered to pose a risk to the welfare of people in the church, and any statutory agencies when involved.
Safeguarding training will be provided and volunteers and paid staff will be given support and supervision in their role. All relevant staff members and volunteers will receive appropriate safeguarding training delivered by the synod. The Safeguarding Coordinator(s) should ensure that trustees/elders and people involved in regulated activities with children or adults (including Ministers, staff and volunteers) have undergone safeguarding training, as recommended by the URC.
Concerns, Complaints and Compliments
Should anyone have any concerns, complaints or compliments, please contact:
Gillian Harrison – Church Secretary
020 8656 8463
If would be helpful to have complaints in writing, as this avoids any possible misunderstanding about what the issue is. However, whether verbal or in writing, complaints will be acted upon. Any written complaint will be responded to within 10 days.
The Elders will review this policy annually, amending and updating it as required, and informing the Church Meeting that this has been done.
Date of the most recent review: November 2023
Date of the next review: November 2024
(Church Secretary – on behalf of the Church Elders)
Key Contacts: Sources of advice and support
Purley URC safeguarding email address [email protected]
Purley United Reformed Church’s Safeguarding Coordinator for children and young people and the person to whom all concerns and allegations should be addressed:
Ms Jill Berry
07952 268785/020 8681 2990
Purley United Reformed Church’s Safeguarding Coordinator for adults at risk can be contacted:
Mrs Jill Denison
United Reformed Church – Southern Synod
Synod Safeguarding Officer – Children and Young People and Adults
Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) (This should only be used for urgent advice if you are unable to contact your Synod Safeguarding Officer)
24 hour helpline: 0303 003 1111
Contact in the case of a child or young person at risk
Single Point of Contact (SPOC)
020 8255 2888- Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Contact in the case of an adult at risk
020 8726 6500
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
020 8755 2889
4th Floor, Zone F
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon, CR0 1EA
Safeguarding Policy Statement
The following statement was agreed by the Elders/Trustees of Purley United Reformed Church
Safeguarding is taken seriously by Purley United Reformed Church. We define safeguarding as the promotion of the safety and welfare of children, young people and adults who are at risk of, or experiencing harm, abuse or neglect in all forms. We acknowledge children’s, young peoples and adults’ right to protection from any form of abuse or neglect regardless of age, gender reassignment, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. Therefore, as members and workers of the church, we are committed to:
- the care and nurture of all children, young people and adults
- the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults at risk
- the establishment of a loving church environment which is safe and caring for all people and where the dignity of each person is respected
- an informed vigilance about the dangers of all forms of abuse, harm and neglect within all aspects of work in the Church, and how to respond appropriately
- ensuring everyone who engages with the life of the Church is responsible for keeping people safe
- working together with voluntary/statutory agencies and other denominations and faith-based organisations.
We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent any form of abuse and neglect of children, young people and adults and ensure the well-being and pastoral care of those who are or may be at risk.
We will prevent abuse for extremist or other purposes and put all suitable health and safety arrangements in place as well as safeguarding, first aid, fire safety and online safety policies that everyone understands.
We will create and maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all, especially children, young people and adults at risk, in which the dignity and rights of each person are respected.
We believe that domestic abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living and it can affect adults, children and young people.
We will always acknowledge that the welfare of the child, young person and adult at risk is paramount, and that the priority is always to act in their best interests, following legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice guidance to enable them access to support and protection.
We will support everyone to ensure that as a place of worship all will work within the agreed procedures of our safeguarding policy. The Safeguarding Coordinator or the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator (when available) are the persons to whom all concerns or allegations should be addressed for appropriate actions to be taken. In the absence of a Safeguarding Coordinator the Synod Safeguarding Officer should be contacted. Their contact details will be always available in our posters, websites, or other communications with the public.
We will exercise proper care in the appointment and selection of trustees and those who will work with children, young people or adults at risk within the Church, whether paid, volunteers, lay or ordained. We will ensure that trustees, staff and volunteers are suitable and legally able to act in their positions. We will use DBS/PVG checks as part of a wide range of checks on trustees, staff and volunteers to ensure that we have a broad and informed view to assist us in minimising the risk of abuse, harm or neglect.
We will support, supervise, resource and train all those who undertake work with children, young people and adults in need of protection.
We will respond without delay to every concern, incident or complaint which suggests that a child or adult has been harmed, or is at risk of harm and cooperate with ecumenical partners, the Police, LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer), Local Safeguarding Boards (in Wales), Children’s Partnership Boards (formally Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards) and Children’s and Adult Social Care Services in any investigation, while maintaining confidentiality of any investigations to those directly involved.
We are committed to working with those who have suffered or suffer any form of abuse, offering appropriate pastoral support where possible as well as to challenging any abuse of power, especially where it involves someone in a position of trust.
We will manage risks and those who might pose a risk to the welfare of people and the life of the Church and offer support to those known to pose a risk to children, young people and/or adults, including supervision, referral to the appropriate agencies, and implementation of safeguarding contracts, when appropriate.
We are committed to ensuring that any allegations, concerns and complaints about abuse or neglect that we discover or suspect are recorded accurately, reported promptly and shared safely within and outside the denomination.
We will review our safeguarding policy, practices and procedures annually, considering lessons learned from safeguarding cases and changes in legislation, statutory guidance and good working practice.
We will ensure processes and practices in all aspects of safeguarding, including discipline, risk management, whistleblowing and bullying/harassment in alignment with Good Practice 5 – United Reformed Church’s Policy and Guidance in Safeguarding Children, Young People and
Adults at Risk.
Any local policy changes will be formally approved by the local church trustees.
The Role of a Church Safeguarding Coordinators
We believe that children, young people and adults at risk deserve the best possible care that the church can provide and that the church should be a safe place for everyone involved. We recognise and give thanks for the time and devotion given by anyone carrying out this role.
Purpose of the role:
• To coordinate safeguarding policy and procedure in the church.
• To be the first point of contact for safeguarding issues.
• To be an advocate for good safeguarding practice in the church.
To coordinate safeguarding policy and procedure in the church
- To familiarise themselves with church policies and procedures and URC good practice guidelines in safeguarding and to keep abreast of any changes and developments.
- To ensure that church policies and procedures are reviewed annually, kept up to date, and are fit for purpose.
- To make sure that elders and others in the church are aware of the church safeguarding policies and procedures, including URC guidelines and Charity Commission responsibilities.
- To collaborate with the other Safeguarding Coordinator and Deputy Safeguarding Coordinators, the minister, the DBS.PVG signatory people and the Synod Safeguarding Officer on all matters relating to safeguarding.
- To review and ensure others’ safeguarding policies and arrangements are in place when any church premises are let to an external organization, informal group or individual
To be the first point of contact for safeguarding issues
- To be a named person that children, young people/adults at risk, church members and outside agencies can talk to regarding any issue to do with safeguarding.
- To be aware of the names and telephone numbers of appropriate contacts within Social Care and the Police in the event of a referral needing to be made.
- To be aware of when to seek advice, and when it is necessary to inform Social Care, the Police or the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or the equivalent in Scotland and Wales of a concern or incident.
- To take appropriate action in relation to any safeguarding concerns which arise within the church.
- To ensure safe practice is in place for supporting people who pose a risk to children, young people and adults at risk at church.
- To cooperate with Social Care or the Police in safeguarding investigations relating to people within the church.
- To ensure that appropriate records are kept by the church and that information in relation to safeguarding issues is handled confidentially and stored securely.
- To inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer at the time of any referrals made to the statutory authorities, or of any information received from the statutory authorities.
- To report safeguarding information annually to the Eldership/Church Meeting and the Synod Safeguarding Officer, using the GP5 Appendix H1 to enable them to monitor safeguarding in the Synod.
To be an advocate for good safeguarding practice in the church
- To promote sensitivity within the church towards all those affected by the impact of abuse.
- To promote positive safeguarding procedures and practice and ensure procedures are adhered to.
- To arrange and/or promote opportunities for training in safeguarding to any relevant members of the leadership team and congregation, (including Ministers, staff and volunteers) as recommended by the synod and ensure that their training is renewed every three years.
- To attend appropriate training for the role, including refresher training every three years and keep updated on matters related to safeguarding.
- To seek appropriate support and advice in carrying out this role.
- To make arrangements for the deputy to carry out this role when they are on leave, and to publicise who this is and the dates of the alternative arrangements.
Requirements for the role
- To have knowledge of policy and practice for safeguarding children, young people and/or adults at risk
- Good communication (written and oral) skills
- Be willing to attend appropriate safeguarding training/refresher training organized by the synod
- Be willing to be easily contactable and prepared to make contact details public to enable direct contact when needed.
Code of Conduct for Working with Children or Young People
All workers of the church should agree to the following code of conduct when working with children and young people. The word ‘child’ referrers to all those under the age of 18 throughout this document
- Do treat all people with dignity and respect
- Respect and promote the rights of children to make their own decisions and choices
- Encourage respect for difference, diversity, beliefs and culture
- Act inclusively, seeking to make everyone feel welcome and valued
- Use appropriate language
- Be a good role model
- Treat people with equal care and concern
- Take all reasonable adjustments for young people with disabilities and special
- Listen to children and tell the Church Safeguarding Coordinator if you have any
concerns about a child’s welfare
- Refer to a more senior worker if a child does not respond to your instructions despite encouragement and warning
- Encourage everyone to follow any behaviour agreement
or ground rules and apply sanctions consistently
- Seek to diffuse aggressive or threatening behaviour without the use of physical contact
- Interact with children in a public place. If a child wants to talk one-to-one about an issue, tell another worker and find somewhere quieter, but still public, to talk
- Make sure that any electronic communication is done with parental consent and is transparent, accountable, recorded and adheres to safeguarding policies. Using church platforms and not private accounts
- Have a designated photographer to take, store and share photos of your group’s activities, in line with URC good practice guidelines
- Use physical contact wisely; it should be:
- in public
- appropriate to the situation and to the age, gender and culture of the child
- in response to the needs of the child, not the adult
- respectful of the child’s wishes, feelings and dignity
- Respect children’s and young people’s privacy
- Ensure that any communication online is done through a work or church account – this may require setting up an account specific for that purpose
- Ensure, where possible, parents or guardians are present in the building or other workers are aware when young people are communicating with you via social media. Communication with a child via social media should only ever take place when their
parent or guardian and other adult workers are aware of these online interactions.
- Inform your line manager or point of contact of your intention to communicate online with families or young people and keep a record of times and dates when you do this.
- Keep up to date on policies, procedures and training, including safeguarding and health and safety
- Understand that your conduct outside of work including on line can impact on your work with children and young people
- Do not abuse the power and responsibility of your role for example do not belittle, scapegoat, put down, or ridicule a child or young person (even in ‘fun’) and don’t use language or behaviour with sexual connotations (e.g. flirting or innuendo)
- Exclude children or workers from conversations and activities unless there is a good reason
- Overshare about your own situations
- Show favoritism (e.g. in selection for activities, in giving rewards, etc.) or encourage excessive attention from a particular child (e.g. gifts)
- Threaten or use sanctions which have not been agreed
- Feel you have to deal with every problem on your own
- Use physical restraint unless they are causing harm to themselves or others
- Spend time alone with children out of sight of other people
- Contact them through private messaging
- Keep communication with children secret, while still respecting appropriate confidences
- Use child/young person’s personal data for other purposes than activities consented
- Take photos or videos without consent
- Engage with children or young people through your personal social media or mobile account
- Assume that children should tell you anything you ask just because you are a worker
- Promise to keep anything a secret, it may be that if a child or young person is being harmed or at risk of harm, that you will need to share that information but only on a need to know basis
- Work in ways that puts your needs and interests before those of the children you work with
- Discriminate or leave discrimination or bullying unchallenged
- Interact with children you are working with from personal social media accounts
I agree to abide by the above code of conduct while working with children and young people on behalf of Purley United Reformed Church.
Name of worker: ………………………………………………………………………………………………
Code of Conduct for Working with Adults
This code describes the standards of conduct, behaviour and attitude expected of all church workers working with adults, including adults at risk, to ensure that you are providing a compassionate, caring and supportive environment.
Safeguarding adults at risk means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect (14.7 of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance issued under the Care Act 2014). The safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:
- has care and support needs (whether or not the adult is being provided any services from the local authority or other statutory body to meet their needs) and;
- is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.
All workers of the church should agree to the following code of conduct when working with adults. You are responsible for and have a duty to ensure that your conduct does not fall below the standards detailed in this code, which are also supported and detailed in the Care Act 2014 (14.1.99).
- Be honest with yourself and others about what you can do, whether or not the adult is being provided with any services.
- Recognise your abilities and limitations.
- Only carry out or delegate tasks agreed in your role description.
- Be able to justify and be accountable for your actions.
- Ask your leader/supervisor for guidance if you feel inadequately prepared to carry out any aspect of your role.
- Tell your leader/supervisor about any issues that might affect your ability to perform your role.
- Always establish and maintain clear and appropriate boundaries in your relationships with people.
- Never accept any offers of loans, gifts or benefits from anyone you are supporting or anyone close to them.
- Comply with United Reformed Church (URC) policies and procedures.
- Tell your leader/supervisor or person in charge of safeguarding if you are concerned that another worker is acting outside of this code of conduct.
Promote the privacy, dignity, rights and wellbeing of people
- Always protect the rights of people and treat them with dignity, respect, and compassion.
- Ensure that a vulnerable adult is not treated, without justification, any less favourably than the way in which a person who is not an “adult at risk” would be treated in a comparable situation.
- Always act in the best interest of people, with their present and past wishes and feelings being considered.
- Put the needs, views and wishes of people first, helping them to control and choose the helpand support they receive.
- Always gain consent before providing help and support. You must respect a person’s right to refuse if they can do so, but also report any concerns if you feel that someone does not have the capacity to consent.
- Always maintain the privacy and dignity of people who have help and support, and their carers.
- Promote people’s independence, while helping them maintain existing family and social contacts.
- Always make sure that your actions do not harm an individual’s health or wellbeing.
- You must never abuse, neglect, harm or exploit anyone.
- Challenge and report dangerous, abusive, discriminatory or exploitative behaviour.
- Always take comments and complaints seriously; respond to them in accordance with Good Practice 5 and inform your leader/supervisor/safeguarding designated person.
Work effectively with other volunteers/colleagues
- Understand and value your contribution and the vital part you play in the church.
- Recognise and respect the roles of other church workers/colleagues and those from other denominations and agencies; work in partnership with them.
- Work openly and co-operatively with other church workers/colleagues, including those from other denominations and agencies, and treat them with respect.
- Work openly and co-operatively with people who have help and support, including their families or carers, and treat them with respect.
- Honour your commitment to the church and be reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
- Make efforts to assist and facilitate communication, using whatever method is appropriate to the needs of the individual.
- Always explain and discuss any help and support you are offering/providing with the person; only continue if they give consent.
- Communicate respectfully with people in an open, accurate, effective and straightforward way.
- Communicate effectively with other church workers/colleagues as appropriate.
- Maintain clear and accurate records of the help and support the church provides, as appropriate.
- Recognise both the extent and the limits of your role, knowledge and ability when communicating with people who have help and support.
Respect people’s right to confidentiality and decision-making
- Treat all information about people who need help and support, and their carers, as confidential.
- Ensure people participate as fully as possible in any decisions being made, with support in place to help that participation in a way understood by the adults.
- Only discuss or disclose information in accordance with legislation and URC policy.
- Always seek guidance from your leader/supervisor regarding any information or issues that you are concerned about.
Training, policy and procedure
- Attend all necessary training which helps to support you in your role.
- Complete all necessary safeguarding training at least every three years.
- Have a good awareness of URC policy and procedures, including Good Practice 5.
Uphold and promote equality, diversity and inclusion
- Respect the individuality and diversity of all people, including those we encounter and work with.
- Treat all adults equally and inclusively and do not discriminate on grounds of age, gender reassignment, ethnicity, race, religion/belief, cultural background, sexual orientation and disability.
- Promote equal opportunities and inclusion for the people we encounter and work with.
- Report any concerns regarding equality, diversity and inclusion to a leader/supervisor as soon as possible.
I agree to abide by the above code of conduct while working with adults, including adults at risk, on behalf of Purley United Reformed Church.
Name of worker: ………………………………………………………………………………………………
Safeguarding Incident/Concern Form A
Where a person is in imminent danger of harm or a criminal act may have been committed, the police must be notified immediately on 999. Otherwise, call 101 to report a crime or any other concerns that do not require an emergency response.
- Please fill in this form with the information available within 24 hours after becoming aware of a safeguarding incident or concern. You do not have to fill in all sections.
- Please ensure you are as accurate and detailed as possible. Use quotes wherever possible, and do not interpret what was said using your own words.
- Record what you said as well as what the child, young person or adult said.
- Include details such as tone of voice, facial expression and body language.
- If you have formed an opinion please state it, making it clear that it is your opinion and give reasons for forming that opinion.
- The completed form must be passed on or sent by secure email to the designated safeguarding person, and immediately followed up after sending.
|Date on which this form is completed
|Full name of the person reporting the concern/incident
|Relationship to child, young person, or adult concerned of being at risk
|Church details, if known
|Contact details of church or organization, if known
|Full name of child, young person, or adult concerned of being at risk
|Date of Birth, if known
|Contact details, if known
|Has the individual given consent to report? (or report as appropriate)
|Reason for no consent:
|If under 18, have the parents/carers /guardians of the child been informed?
|Reason for no consent:
|Please give a summary of the safeguarding incident/concern
|Date/time of incident
|What happened? Please provide detailed information about the circumstances and the person experiencing or being at risk of harm, abuse or neglect (preferably as a timeline)
|When did it happen? (date, time)
|Where did it happen?
|What action/s were taken, and by whom?
|Name of anyone involved and in what way, including witnesses
|Other services or agencies involved Note: If referred to statutory authorities, or other services, please include name and contact details
|Next steps or recommendations
|Full name of
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
It is important to be able to recognise the possible signs of abuse. Observing any of the signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person is being abused; there could be a perfectly ordinary explanation. However, the observation of multiple signs and symptoms, together with explanations which are inconsistent or do not ‘ring true’, should give more cause for concern.
Below is a comprehensive table of definitions, signs and symptoms of some of the types of abuse. The table has been compiled from a number of different sources, including Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018. Please note: it is not an exhaustive list, and relates to the abuse of both children and adults.
|Some of the key indicators
|To inflict pain, physical injury, impairment or suffering
|Hitting, slapping and beating. Shaking, pinching, throwing and pushing. Kicking, biting, burning, drowning and hair pulling. Squeezing, suffocating, poisoning and using inappropriate restraint. Parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. Inappropriate use of restraint techniques or other physical sanctions. Isolation or confinement.
|Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them. Cuts, lacerations, puncture wounds, open wounds, welts. Bruising and discoloration particularly if there is a lot of bruising of different ages and in places not normally exposed to falls, rough games etc.in unusual places (e.g. around the mouth), in unusual patterns (e.g. symmetrical) or in particular shapes (e.g. fingertip bruising or belt marks).Black eyes, burns, broken bones and skull fractures. If the person is seen to have injuries that recur or are in the same place on more than one occasion or are without plausible explanation. Any injury that has not received medical attention or been properly cared for. Poor skin condition or poor skin hygiene. Loss of hair, loss of weight and change of appetite .Repeated or unexplained tummy pains. Person flinches at physical contact and/or keeps fully covered, even in hot weather. Person appears frightened or subdued in the presence of a particular person or people.
|Some of the key indicators
|The use of threats, fear or power gained by another’s position, to invalidate the person’s independent wishes. Such behaviour can create very real emotional and psychological stress. In children it can cause severe and persistent adverse effects on their emotional development.
|Mocking, coercing, threatening or controlling behaviour. Bullying, intimidation, harassment or humiliation. The lack of privacy or choice, denial of dignity, deprivation of social contact or deliberate isolation. Making someone feel worthless, a lack of love or affection or ignoring the person. Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. Emotional abuse may well be indicative of other forms of abuse. All forms of abuse have an emotional component.
|Changes in mood, attitude and behaviour. Becoming quiet, clingy or withdrawn or conversely becoming aggressive or angry for no apparent reason. Denial and hesitation to talk openly. Excessive fear or anxiety Behaviour such as rocking, hair twisting or thumb sucking. Changes in sleep pattern or persistent tiredness. Loss of appetite. Low self-esteem, helplessness or passivity. Confusion or disorientation. Implausible stories and attention seeking behaviour. Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults. Running away, school non-attendance, stealing or lying.
|Some of the key indicators
|For a child – forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities. For an adult – Any non-consenting sexual act or behaviour. No one should enter a sexual relationship with someone for whom they have pastoral responsibility or hold a position of trust.
|Rape, sexual assault or sexual acts to which the person has not consented, could not consent or was pressurised into consenting. Indecent assault, incest, being forced to touch another person in a sexual manner without consent. Making sexual remarks, suggestions and teasing. Indecent exposure, being forced to watch pornographic material or sexual acts.
Filming or photographing a child in sexual poses or acts. Enforced or coerced nakedness or inappropriate photography of a person in sexually explicit ways. Being spied on while a person is undertaking or receiving personal care activities. ‘Sexting’, grooming and using social media to share inappropriate content.
|Emotional distress. Preoccupation with anything sexual and age-inappropriate knowledge of sexual behaviour. Mood, attitude or behaviour changes. Expressions of feelings of guilt or shame. Itching, soreness, bruises or lacerations, particularly around the genital areas. Difficulty in walking or sitting, or unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding. Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections. A child who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults. Disturbed sleep patterns.
Torn, stained or bloody underclothing. Significant changes in sexual behaviour or outlook. A very young girl or a woman who lacks mental capacity to consent to intercourse becomes pregnant. Underage Pregnancy/Termination.
|Some of the key indicators
|A person’s wellbeing is impaired and their care needs (physical and/or psychological) are not met. In a child, neglect is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect can be deliberate or can occur as a result of not understanding what someone’s needs are.
|Failing to provide access to appropriate health, social care or education services. Failing to provide a warm, safe and comfortable environment. Ignoring medical or physical care needs, including not providing adequate food or assistance with eating/drinking, or not providing sufficient or appropriate clothing. Leaving alone or unsupervised. Failing to intervene in behaviour which is dangerous (particularly when the person lacks the mental capacity to assess the risks to themselves or to others).Deliberately withholding medication or aids, such as walking sticks or hearing aids. Denying social, religious or cultural contacts, or denying contact with the family.
|Person looking unkempt or dirty and has poor personal hygiene. Person is malnourished, has sudden or continuous weight loss and is dehydrated – constant hunger, stealing or gorging on food. Person is dressed inappropriately for the weather conditions. Dirt, urine or faecal smells in a person’s environment. Developmental delay in children. Low self-esteem, socially isolated and poor concentration. Home environment does not meet basic needs (for example no heating or lighting).Health and safety hazards in the living environment. Untreated medical conditions, pressure sores, rashes, lice on the person. Depression or low mood. Person and/or carer have inconsistent or reluctant contact with Heath and Social Services. Callers/visitors are refused access to the person. Prolonged isolation or lack of stimulation. Person who is not able to look after themselves is left unattended and so put at risk. Not being helped to the toilet when assistance is requested. Change leaving alone to ‘child/vulnerable person being left alone or unsupervised’.
|Some of the key indicators
|An unwillingness or inability to care for oneself and/or one’s environment.
|Hoarding or having no possessions at all. Living in squalor and neglecting self-care and hygiene. Failure to provide oneself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare and safety precautions.
|Dehydration, malnutrition or obesity. Untreated medical conditions and poor personal hygiene. Unsanitary living conditions. Inappropriate and/or inadequate clothing and lack of necessary medical aids. Homelessness. Not adhering to medical advice. Not taking medication as advised/prescribed.
|Some of the key indicators
|The inappropriate use, misappropriation, embezzlement or theft of money, property or possessions.
|Theft, fraud or embezzlement of monies, benefits or goods. Exploitation or profiteering. Applying pressure in connection with Wills, property or inheritance, or financial transactions. The abuse of influence, power or friendship to persuade a person to make gifts or change their will. Being charged excessive amounts for services such as minor building works on a property. Loans made under duress, threat or dishonestly extracted. Mate-crime – where vulnerable people are befriended by those who go on to exploit them.
|Unexplained loss of money. Missing personal belongings such as art, jewellery and silverware. Deterioration in standard of living, not having as much money as usual to pay for shopping or regular outings. Unexplained lack of money, inability to pay bills or getting into debt. Sudden changes in a person’s finances or a disparity in assets and living conditions. Person unable to access their own money or check their own accounts. Cheques being signed or cashed by other people without someone’s consent. Recent acquaintances expressing sudden or disproportionate interest in the person and their money. Reluctance on the part of the family, friends or the person controlling the person’s funds to pay for necessary food, clothes or other items. Recent changes of deeds/title of home. Inappropriate granting and/or use of Power of Attorney.
Sudden change or creation of a will to benefit an individual significantly. Someone else having possession of money/ bank cards. Someone else reported making financial decisions. Fraud.
|Some of the key indicators
|The inappropriate treatment of a person because of their age, gender, race, religion, cultural background, sexuality or disability.
|Ageist, racist, sexist, or abuse based on a person’s disability. Abuse linked to a person’s sexuality. Harassment, slurs or similar inappropriate use of language and treatment. Withholding services without proper justification, or lack of disabled access to services and activities. Lack of respect towards a person’s culture, or deliberate exclusion.
|Low self-esteem. Withdrawal and social isolation. Anger.Person puts themselves down in terms of their age, race, gender identity or sexuality. Abuse may be observed in conversations or reports by the person of how they perceive themselves. Preference not to receive care from particular individuals. Feeling as though there is a lack of control based on age, gender, religion. Signs of substandard service offered (health/education).
|Some of the key indicators
|The mistreatment of a person by a regime or individuals within an institution. It can occur through repeated acts of poor or inadequate care and neglect, or poor professional practice or ill-treatment. The church as an institution is not exempt from perpetrating institutional abuse.
|The inability of an institution to safeguard people from emotional or even physical harm and neglect. Having fixed rules and routines by which people are controlled. People prevented from acting within their rights. No access to personal possessions or personal allowance. Inadequate staffing, poorly trained staff and a lack of leadership and/or supervision of staff or volunteers. Inappropriate use of physical interventions and poor practice in the provision of intimate care.
|Inappropriate or poor care. Being routinely referred to in a condescending fashion. Disrespectful language and attitudes. Adult being spoken to or treated like
a child. A person’s privacy and dignity being routinely compromised. Failure to recognise the individuality of each person and applying a ‘one size fits all’ approach to support. No evidence of support services care plans that focus on the individual’s needs. Inadequate staffing levels and the absence of individual care. Lack of adequate procedures. Poor record keeping/missing documents.
|Some of the key indicators
|Any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults or young people, who are or have been intimate partners, family members or extended family members, regardless of age, gender or sexuality or social status. Rarely is domestic abuse a one-off incident.
|Physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse. Patterns of controlling and coercive behaviour. Child to parent/carer abuse. Abuse towards elderly family members. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).Honour based violence, committed to protect or defend the honor of the family and community. Forced marriage. Children can experience it by seeing and/or hearing the abuse, or seeing the injuries or distress afterwards, as well as being directly targeted.
|Unexplained bruises or injuries. Unusually quiet or withdrawn. Fear, anxiety or panic attacks. Frequent absences from work or other commitments. Stops talking about their partner/family member. Is always accompanied by their partner/family member. Becomes isolated and withdrawn from friends and other family. Doesn’t have control over possessions or money. Anxious about being away from home and rushes to get back.
|Some of the key indicators
|The inappropriate use of religious belief or practice. Coercion and control of one individual by another in a spiritual context. The abuse of trust or misuse of power by someone in a position of spiritual authority (such as a minister). The person experiences spiritual abuse as a deeply emotional personal attack.
|Forcing religious ideas or practices on to people, particular those who may be vulnerable to such practices. Extreme pastoral interference in personal matters – reducing individual choice and responsibility. The misuse of scripture or power to control behaviour and pressure to conform. Oppressive teaching and isolation from others. The requirement of obedience to the abuser, or the suggestion that the abuser has a “divine‟ position. Intrusive healing and deliverance ministries, which may result in people experiencing emotional, physical or sexual harm. The denial of the right to have a faith or the opportunity to grow in the knowledge and love of God. Exclusion of people from the full range of church life (no arrangements for gluten-free wafers or non-alcoholic wine at Communion, or promoting
fear of involving those who are HIV positive).Oversimplification of forgiveness and healing without regard to pain or suffering.
|It is often difficult for churches to identify spiritual abuse because its definition may be more an issue of personal interpretation of common practices in the church or denomination. Pastoral practices that ‘force’ people into accepting religious values or ideas. A Feeling of confusion and uncertainty as to who, what or why they believe any more. Deeply scarred – emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Feelings of betrayal leading to deep distrust, self-isolation and powerlessness. A changed and damaged view of church – loss of church as a safe space.
|Some of the key indicators
|The use of the internet (via email, mobile phones, websites, social media, instant messaging, chatrooms, online games, live-streaming etc) to harm or harass in a deliberate manner. It can happen at any time and is not limited to a specific location – can be experienced even when alone. It can affect anyone at any age.
|Communications seeking to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, humiliate. Threatening earnings, reputation, employment, safety. Cyberbullying/Harassment – repeated offensive, rude, insulting messages. Denigration – derogatory information and/or digitally altered photos. Flaming – posting insults using vulgar/profane language. Impersonation – hacking accounts and taking on someone else’s identity. Outing/Trickery – sharing someone’s secrets or tricking them into revealing embarrassing information.
Cyber stalking – repeated online threats/activity making someone afraid for their safety. Trolling – online provocations, starting arguments, threats and insults. Grooming – building emotional connection to gain trust for exploitation/abuse. Sexting – sharing or coercion into sharing sexual, naked or semi-naked images/videos/ messages.
|Withdrawn, time spent alone, exclusion from social events. Spend a lot more/less time than usual online, texting, gaming, on social media. Reluctance to let anyone near their phone/ tablet/laptop etc. Change in personality – anger, depression, anxiety etc. Changing appearance, trying to ‘fit in’ Staying away from school/work Nervous behaviour .Losing self-confidence. Distressed/withdrawn.
|Some of the key indicators
|The illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. Includes human trafficking, where people are moved from one place to another into a situation of exploitation, using deception, coercion and violence.
|Domestic servitude – forced to work in private houses with restricted freedoms, long hours,
no pay. Criminal exploitation –
pick pocketing, shoplifting, drug trafficking. Forced labour – long hours, no pay, poor conditions, verbal and physical threats. Sexual exploitation – prostitution and child abuse. Organ removal, forced begging, forced marriage and illegal adoption. Travel and identity documents removed.
|In a dependency situation, under the control and influence of others. Malnourished or unkempt, wearing the same clothes all the time. Travel, identity and financial documents held by someone else, or use of false/forged documents. Living in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation, living and working at same address, few personal possessions. In debt to others, low or no pay, excessive deductions made for food, accommodation, transport. Unfamiliar with the neighborhood, unsure of home/work address. Scared, untrusting, withdrawn, anxious, avoiding eye contact. Showing signs of abuse, having old/
untreated injuries and healthcare issues. In fear of the authorities and in fear of removal or consequences for family.
|Some of the key indicators
|The process that moves a person to legitimize their support for or use of violence. The promise of an ideology which gives purpose and belonging. Can take place over a long time period or happen quickly. The person may not understand that they have been radicalised.
|Exposure to violent and inappropriate material. Being recruited in person – online or face-to-face. Joining extremist organisations. Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues. Seeking to recruit others to
an extremist ideology. Extremist recruiters speak directly to the vulnerabilities people experience at times in their lives, e.g. sense of not belonging, low self-esteem, issues at home, involvement with gangs/criminal groups or identity crisis with their cultural heritage.
|The expression of extremist views Accessing extremist websites/social networks or possessing extremist, violent literature. Behavioral changes, anger and use of inappropriate language. Becoming disrespectful and intolerant of others. Using words and phrases that sound scripted, talking about ‘us’ and ‘them’. Sympathies, admiration or associations with known extremists. Advocating violent actions or means. Changing name or friends.
|Child Sexual Exploitation
|Some of the key indicators
|A type of sexual abuse. The child is given gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. The tricking or grooming of children to believe they are in a loving and consensual relationship. Can be both in person or online. The child may not understand that they have been abused. They may seem to be condoning or even encouraging the abusive behaviour.
|The use of violence, coercion and intimidation to force the child into sexual activity. Invitations to parties where drugs and alcohol are freely given in exchange for sex. Deceiving children into producing online indecent images/films of themselves. Children being used to recruit other children into sexual exploitation. Children being trafficked into or within the UK to be sexually exploited. Sexual exploitation as part of gang initiation, status, protection or punishment.
|Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones etc. they can’t or won’t explain. Unhealthy or inappropriate sexual behaviour. Swings and changes in mood or character, being secretive. Gang-association and/or isolation from friends and social networks. Relationships with controlling or significantly older individuals or groups. Sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy. Being frightened of some people, places or situations. Physical signs of abuse, like bruises or bleeding in their genital or anal area. Alcohol or drug misuse. Going missing for periods of time. Skipping school.
|Some of the key indicators
|The intentional damage or injury to a person’s own body. It is often used as a way of coping with, expressing or releasing overwhelming emotions and distress. It may also be about converting emotional pain into physical pain, expressing something that is hard to put into words or feeling that they are in control.
|Cutting Burning Bruising Scratching Hair pulling Poisoning Overdosing Intentionally putting themselves in risky situations Overeating or undereating Inserting objects into their own body Hitting themselves or walls Exercising excessively Self-neglect (adults) Some may self-harm to create a reason to physically care for themselves, or to feel something instead of numbness or disconnection.
|Unexplained cuts, bruises and burns, which are likely to be on wrists, arms, thighs and chest. Keeping themselves fully covered, even in hot weather. Signs of depression, including low mood, tearfulness and a lack of motivation or interest. Becoming withdrawn and a reluctance to speak to others. Weight loss or weight gain due to changes in eating habits, including being secretive about eating. Low self-esteem, such as an inclination to blame themselves for external problems and expressing that they are not good enough. Alcohol or drugs misuse. Bald patches from pulling out hair.
- It is unlikely that just one type of abuse will occur in isolation from another
- There can be an overlap of the signs and symptoms with different types of abuse
- All abuse involves the misuse of power
- There is an emotional abuse aspect to all types of abuse, including the witnessing of abuse
- If a child witnesses (including hearing) domestic abuse, this is considered to be child abuse
- Any type of abuse committed within the church can also have a negative impact on someone’s faith and relationship with God
- It is not our role to determine which type of abuse it may be or to investigate.
For more information about specific forms of abuse, useful contacts of relevant organisations and details about those who are vulnerable to abuse, see:
- GP 5 Appendix R: A Guide to Domestic Abuse
- GP 5 Appendix V: Safeguarding and Digital Communications
- GP 5 Appendix X: Responding to Allegations of Bullying and Harassment
- GP 5 Appendix E: A Guide to Working with People with Disabilities
- GP 5 Appendix U: Useful Contacts – For All Forms of Abuse of Children and Adults a
Purley United Reformed Church is committed to safer recruitment and appointment of all paid staff and volunteers in order to deter and identify the small minority who seek to harm children, young people and adults at risk.
We will ensure that these procedures are followed, which may include:
- asking applicants to complete an application form
- providing workers with job descriptions and person specifications
- completion of self-declaration forms obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)/Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG) checks wherever legally entitled to do so
- taking up two references (not from family members); If, however, the candidate is a member of the congregation (normally, for more than 2 years) it would be reasonable for references to be taken from the Minister, Church Secretary and/or Pastoral Assistant.
- interviewing candidates.