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Child Protection Policy

All Saints is committed to being a safe and caring environment for all people, and especially for those who are vulnerable. Our Child Protection Procedures are available to view below.

Diocese of Chichester 2009 Diocesan Children and Young People Safeguarding Policy

Diocese of Chichester 2011 Diocesan Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Policy

All Saints Church Child Protection Procedures

All the following guidelines and directives are copied from the Diocese of Chichester Child Protection Procedures (Green Section). Certain sections are omitted as being less relevant in this shortened document. Numbers of sections are retained as per the original document for clarity and ease of reference.

This document should be used in conjunction with the shorter All Saints Church Child Protection Procedure Implementation Document.

Chichester Diocesan administrative routines and other directives that must be followed.

These procedures are consistent with The House of Bishops’ Policy
“Protecting all God’s Children 2010”

Section A: Procedure for safe recruitment of volunteers

Section B: Procedure for responding to concerns about possible abuse

Section C: Procedure for Whistleblowing

Section D: Guidelines for Outside Groups and Bookings

Section A:
Procedures for the safe recruitment of paid employees and volunteers – including disclosure from the CRB and vetting by the ISA (after autumn 2009)

Guidance from the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority tells us to treat all volunteers as if they were employees for the purpose of recruitment.

G6. General information

  • The PCC should agree, as part of the child protection implementation document, how new employees and volunteers will be recruited and appointed, and who will be involved in the process. It should be agreed who will be responsible for taking up references, seeking a confidential declaration and checking the identity of applicants for CRB disclosures. These tasks can be completed by different people
  • Leaders of groups should inform the person managing recruitment of new employees or volunteers at an early stage so that these procedures are followed. New staff and volunteers must complete the recruitment process before starting work.
  • It is advised that normally people should be part of the parish for at least 6 months before being asked to help with work with children, young people or vulnerable adults
  • People who help in groups less than once a month should be treated as “visitors”. They should be supported and supervised by an officially appointed helper
  • Young people between 14-18 may help with groups but should be supervised and supported by an adult helper who will be responsible for ensuring that good practice and the child protection procedures are followed
  • People such as vergers, caretakers and mini-bus drivers may have regular contact with children and need to be part of these procedures.
  • For any position, decide on a job description, which will include a statement of the tasks and responsibilities and to whom the person will be accountable.
  • Decide whether or not any new appointment requires a disclosure from the CRB. For disclosures at the standard or enhanced level there must be an expectation that the role will include regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, see the introduction to the CRB
  • Ask applicants to fill in the Parish application form (see Appendix 4) which includes information about the policies required by the CRB. These policies should be made available to the applicant on request
  • Seek two references including at least one that can comment on a person’s suitability to work with children or vulnerable adults. If possible, ensure that one reference is from outside the present congregation. Obtain a further reference from the incumbent of any previous church.
  • Ask each applicant to complete a confidential declaration form. This gives them the opportunity to declare any convictions or allegations at an early stage. It should be made clear to the applicant to whom the form should be returned and who will see any confidential information it contains. Information contained on a declaration should be discussed with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. The manager of the recruitment procedure should be informed when a satisfactory confidential declaration has been obtained.
  • Interview the candidates. For volunteers the interview can be informal and conducted in a relaxed and inclusive manner. Nevertheless it should be focussed and cover the following areas:
    • Relevant knowledge and experience
    • Attitude and aptitude
    • Sensitivity and behaviour towards others
    • Awareness and understanding of safeguards in working with children and young people.
  • Complete the CRB and ISA process – see separate guidance.

It is the responsibility of the parish to seek evidence of criminal background for those people who have lived outside the UK. The CRB administrator, Diocesan House (01273 421021) may be able to give advice. If an equivalent certificate to CRB is not available references should be sought to cover the period spent abroad after the age of 18.

It is important that once all the checks have been completed and the person has been appointed that follow up action is taken:

    • New volunteers are made aware and asked to adhere to the Diocesan Child Protection policy and procedures, best practice guidelines and codes of conduct.
    • Training needs are established and actioned
    • The roles and responsibilities of the new volunteer are signed up to – A sample job role/description should be included
    • A period of supervision/observation or mentoring is used to support the new volunteer.

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Section B:
Procedure for responding to concerns about possible abuse

G8. Introduction

As Christians, we are called to recognise the unique status and infinite worth of each human being. The Children Act 1989 emphasises the importance of children in society by introducing the principle that the welfare of the child is paramount. The Act states that it is the duty of the Local Authority:

      • To take reasonable steps to prevent children suffering ill treatment or neglect
      • To share information about any child within the area who is likely to suffer harm
      • To investigate where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm
      • To safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need and their families by the provision of services

It is the duty of every Christian to be vigilant about the care of children in the congregation. Those church members who have direct contact with children are more likely than most to become aware of potential problems. Such people are typically other parents, youth workers (including leaders of uniformed organisations), clergy, head servers, children’s workers, music group leaders, choir directors and organists.

These particular roles do not however remove the responsibility of every member of the congregation. Anyone who is worried about the behaviour of another member of the congregation or the demeanour of a child has a duty to voice those concerns to the person designated to co-ordinate child protection in the parish or organisation or directly to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

If the concerns are about a prominent member of the congregation or someone in a\position of leadership, this can lead to considerable anxiety, however doing nothing could result in continuing harm to the child or other children. It is important that anyone expressing concerns should be respected and his or her anxieties taken seriously.4 Anyone formally hearing a complaint should keep a careful record of all conversations and all decisions and actions taken. These records should be kept in a secure place and in accordance with data protection requirements.

Disclosures of Abuse

G9. Disclosures concerning non-church organisations

Clergy or lay-people may hear about concerns regarding their Church School or uniformed organisations. These concerns should be reported using the School’s or the uniformed organisation’s Child Protection procedures.

G10. Disclosures from a child or young person

As a church worker you may get to know your children and young people very well. They may trust you enough to be able to tell you about unhappy things that are happening – at home, at school, at church. This is both a privilege and a responsibility.

It is worth considering the following if you do find yourself in such a situation:

      • Remember that the child may want the abuse to stop but still love the abuser
      • The child may think that it is possible to stop the abuse without anything else happening
      • If a child asks to talk in confidence ALWAYS tell them that that will depend on the circumstances. It will be necessary to get other people to help if they are being harmed
      • If it is possible, try to have another adult present whilst the child speaks, but do not prevent the child from speaking

When you are listening to a child:

      • Listen positively to what the child says and take it seriously
      • Accept what is being said (this is not the same as deciding whether the allegation is true or not – others will address this later)
      • Avoid leading the child or young person and keep any questions to the absolute minimum. Ask only what is necessary to ensure a clear understanding of what has been said
      • Be aware of interpreting what the child says, especially if they have learning or physical disabilities which affect their ability to communicate or English is not their first language
      • Reassure the child that they were right to tell
      • Do not promise complete confidentiality. Explain to the child or young person “I will only tell people whose job it is to keep children safe”
      • Try to explain what will happen next in a way that the child can understand
      • Make careful notes (the circumstances, what the child said, what you said etc) as soon as possible, preferably within an hour. Include dates and times of incident/recording and keep the notes safely
      • Inform either the incumbent or the Child Protection Co-ordinator
      • Check that an appropriate referral has been made
      • Make sure support is in place for the child and seek support for yourself
      • Make a record of what actions you have taken and keep in a secure place (if completing the form electronically, do not save copies to the hard drive or floppy disk. Print a copy, sign and date and then delete immediately. Pass the record to Children’s Services or the Police and to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser that day)

You must not:

      • Speak directly to the person against whom allegations have been made
      • Attempt to investigate the situation yourself

If the child or young person needs immediate medical treatment, take them to hospital or telephone for an ambulance, inform doctors of concerns and ensure that they are aware that this is a child protection issue.

Sharing Concerns with Parents

Where there are concerns that the parent(s) may be responsible for or have knowledge of the abuse, sharing concerns with the parent(s) may place the child at further risk. In such cases advice must always firstly be sought from the Police or Children’s Services as to who informs the parents.

The child’s views should also be considered in deciding whether to inform the family in some circumstances, particularly where the child is sufficiently mature to make informed judgements about the issues, and about consenting to that.

For a further discussion about information sharing and confidentiality see section G15 .

G11. Disclosures of abuse from adults

Adults may speak of concerns about a child or the behaviour of an adult. These should be listened to carefully and responded to. The conversation should be recorded. The adult will need to know that if it is considered that a child is suffering significant harm the information will have to be passed on whether or not the adult wishes this to happen.

G12. Disclosures of historical abuse

In the course of their work many ministers and those offering pastoral support in the Church will find themselves hearing disclosures from adults of abuse that happened to them when they were children.

When such allegations are made, they should be responded to in the same way as contemporary concerns, in terms of prompt referral to Children’s Services and discussion with the Police if it appears that a criminal offence has been committed.

If possible the person hearing the disclosure should establish if the adult is aware of the alleged perpetrator’s recent or current whereabouts and contact with children.

The adult should be asked whether s/he wants a police investigation and must be reassured that the Police Child Protection Team is able and willing to undertake such work even for those adults who are vulnerable as a result of mental health or learning difficulties. Whether the Police become involved in an investigation will depend on a number of factors including the adult’s wishes and the public interest.

The pastoral care of the person who has been abused should be a priority and reassurances given that, even without her/his direct involvement, all reasonable efforts will be made to look into what he/she has reported.

Remember as adults we are all responsible for trying to ensure the safety of children and young people. We should be alive to the possibility that people who have committed sexual abuse against someone years ago could well be abusing children today.

G13. Disclosure from an abuser

People who abuse children rarely admit to what they have done. It is however possible that admissions may be made to clergy and pastoral counsellors.

It is necessary to tell a person who admits an offence against a child or young person that such information cannot be kept confidential.

A priest must be clear about the status of such a conversation and make sure there is no misunderstanding about whether the seal of confession applies.

Further advice about information sharing and matters of confidentiality can be found in section G15 and in Appendix 3 of the House of Bishops’ Policy document “Protecting all God’s Children”.

Be supportive but do not seek further details. A person who gives information which could incriminate themselves, should have access to legal advice.

Explain you have a duty to pass on the information to the Police and Children’s Services for child protection purposes unless you judge that such a statement could place a child at risk of harm.

The motive for admitting what has happened may be a desire to address the problem and obtain help. The avenue which enables this to happen and protects children is the criminal justice system.

G14. Seeking advice after hearing a disclosure

It is not a church worker’s (clergy, paid or unpaid worker) responsibility to decide if the abuse has or has not occurred; they must always discuss the concern with the appropriate person. Clergy should consult with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser; Church workers should inform their incumbent or their Parish Child Protection Co-ordinator. If possible a course of action should be agreed between the incumbent and the co-ordinator.  In most cases any referral to the social care agencies will be made, if appropriate, by the coordinator but in exceptional circumstances this should not prevent any other person making a referral if they think it is necessary.

It can often be the case that there is uncertainty about whether the concerns are a matter of child protection or a family in need of support and services. In any cases of doubt the circumstances should be discussed with Children’s Services who will decide which type of referral is required.

The Parish Child Protection Co-ordinator should discuss all concerns with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. If the adviser is not available it is always possible to discuss the matter with Children’s Services. If in doubt it is always better to make a referral to the statutory agency rather than do nothing.

G15. Sharing information – government guidance

Six key points on information sharing[1]5 for all those working with children or those needing to make decisions about making a child protection referral:

      • You should explain to children, young people and families at the onset, openly and honestly what and how information will, or could be shared and why, and seek their agreement. The exception to this is where to do so would put the child, young person or others at increased risk of significant harm or an adult at risk of serious harm, or if it would undermine the prevention, detection or prosecution of a serious crime[2]  including where seeking consent might lead to interference with any potential investigation
      • You must always consider the safety and welfare of the child or young person when making decisions on whether to share information about them. Where there is a concern that the child may be suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm, the child’s safety and welfare must be the overriding consideration
      • You should, where possible, respect the wishes of children, young people or families who do not consent to share information. You may still share information, if in your judgment on the facts of the case, there is sufficient need to override that lack of consent
      • You should seek advice where you are in doubt, especially where your doubt relates to a concern about possible significant harm to a child or serious harm to others
      • You should ensure that the information you share is accurate and up-to-date, necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, shared only with those people who need to see it, and shared securely
      • You should always record the reasons for your decision – whether it is to share information or not

G16. Making a referral

All disclosures or allegations where the alleged offender is part of the child’s family must be referred to the appropriate assessment team of the Children’s Services.

When the disclosure or allegation relates to a person working with children[3]7 or in a position of trust in the Church the referral must be made to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who is responsible for managing allegations in these circumstances.

When making the referral give the appropriate person as much detail as possible, describing the event or disclosure, as well as information about the child and family. Distinguish between fact and opinion, what is first hand knowledge and what has been heard from others. Agree who is to be told of the referral e.g. the parents and by whom they will be told. This will usually be the responsibility of the Children’s Services. The referral should be followed up with a letter, a copy of which must be sent to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

If it is decided that the concerns refer to a child in need, agree how the family will be supported.

The person directly involved with a disclosure or observation should be prepared to:

      • Have further discussions with the Children’s Services and Police
      • Give evidence in court if required to do so

G17. Following a referral about a person in a position of trust

Once a concern has been identified that a child may have been harmed by a member of the Church community and a referral made to the statutory authorities, it is important to liaise closely with them during any investigation. This is always a difficult time and needs to be carefully managed. It is the responsibility of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser to coordinate the Diocesan response, attend strategy meetings with the other agencies and interested parties and work with them during the investigation. The incumbent, or the Archdeacon in the case of clergy referrals, will be responsible in consultation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser for the co-ordination of support in the parish.

The highest degree of confidentiality should be maintained and only the people who need to know should be informed of the circumstances. The Diocesan Director for Communications should manage all media relations.

G18. The role of the senior strategy meeting

A multi-agency strategy meeting is convened in any cases where the investigation of the alleged abuse could be complex or the alleged offender occupies a position of trust. The alleged offender may work in a setting where a number of children from different families are at risk or more than one institution may be involved. The organisations involved will provide background information and be involved in the plan for the investigation. In Church cases the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and the Incumbent or Archdeacon are likely to attend. Advice on various topics will be provided including:

  • Support for the alleged victim/s and alleged offender
  • The possibility of suspension from normal duties
  • An agreed response to any media interest

At the end of any investigation the multi-agency strategy meeting will consider:

  • Whether the alleged offender might be a continuing risk to children
  • The provision of a report to be used in disciplinary proceedings
  • Whether a referral needs to be made to lists of barred individuals or the Independent Safeguarding Authority (after Autumn 2009)

G19. Suspension

In all circumstances where an allegation is made relating to beneficed or licensed clergy, licensed, or accredited lay-workers, paid lay staff or volunteers, consideration must be given to whether a person should be suspended from their duties whilst the statutory agencies undertake any investigation. Suspension should be seen as a neutral act.8  Suspension allows for an individual to stand down or stand aside while matters of concern are considered. The suspension is primarily for the protection of children but the needs of the person themselves and their family should also be considered particularly in the light of media attention. In order to decide whether or not to suspend the person, the Bishop (or employer or manager) should seek legal advice and consult with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser who will have taken advice from the statutory agencies involved in the multi-agency strategy meeting. This advice will assist in determining whether it is possible and appropriate to suspend the person temporarily or ask them to take leave of absence or have their duties curtailed to prevent contact with children. Decisions should always err on the side of caution. Any information provided to the individual regarding the reasons for suspension must not prejudice any subsequent investigation. A person should always be suspended if he or she is charged with a criminal offence against a child or young person.

G20. Pastoral support

During the investigation the child or young person and their family will need support.

Another person will need to support the alleged offender. People involved in support should be uninvolved with the investigation or disciplinary proceedings and may be chosen from outside the diocese to ensure neutrality. The Police advise that it is important that these parties should not communicate with each other about the allegation so that evidence is not contaminated. In the case of allegations against a priest the Archdeacon will need to manage the impact of the investigation on the parish.

G21. Communications with the media

In the event of an incident all communications both within and outside the Diocese must be handled by the Diocesan Director for Communications who will consult with the Bishop and the relevant Archdeacon, the parish and the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. Particular care should be given regarding any public statements or public prayer, which should be agreed with the Bishop. Statements for possible media use will normally be agreed at a multi-agency strategy meeting.

G22. Insurance advice

The PCC should make sure that they have adequate insurance, including Public Liability Insurance to cover all their activities both on and off site. The Council should also make sure that the policy includes Legal Protection Insurance to cover legal costs resulting from allegations made against its employees or volunteers.

The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group has issued a document on child protection which states –

Ecclesiastical considers that the implementation of the House of Bishops’ Policy document by all church organisations is essential for the maintenance of liability insurance in relation to the issues it addresses“.

The insurance company also expects that good practice as laid down by the Diocese will be followed as closely as possible.

The Church’s insurance company must be notified of any allegations of abuse which are likely to affect the insurance held by the parish. They should be notified once a referral has been accepted by the Children’s Services. A copy of such notification should be sent to both the Archdeacon and the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. Advice should be sought about the insurance position and any steps needed to be taken to safeguard it. The Claims Manager will also need to be kept in touch with developments.

This notification should be directed to:

The Managing Director
Ecclesiastical Insurance Group
Beaufort House
Brunswick Road

It should be marked Strictly Private and Confidential. Failure to notify the insurers could prejudice the cover under the insurance policy.

Parishes insured by other companies should follow a similar procedure.

Any person accused of abuse where they have the benefit of insurance should also inform their insurance company.

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Section C:
Procedure for “whistle-blowing”

G29. Introduction

Every member of a congregation needs to acknowledge their individual responsibility to bring matters of concern to the attention of the incumbent, Parish Child Protection Coordinator, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser or a relevant agency. Although this can be difficult this is particularly important where the welfare of children may be at risk.

A colleague may be the first to recognise that something is wrong but may not feel able to express concerns feeling that this would be disloyal; he or she may fear harassment or victimisation. These feelings, however natural, must never result in a child or young person continuing to be unnecessarily at risk. Remember it is often the most vulnerable children or young people who are targeted. They need someone to safeguard their welfare.

G30. Reasons for whistle-blowing

  • Each individual has a responsibility for raising concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour
  • To prevent the problem worsening or widening
  • To protect or reduce risks to others
  • To prevent becoming implicated themselves

G31. What stops people from whistle-blowing

  • Starting a chain of events which spirals out of control
  • Disrupting the work or project
  • Fear of getting it wrong
  • Fear of repercussions or damaging careers
  • Fear of not being believed

G32. How to raise a concern

  • Concerns, suspicions or uneasiness should be voiced as soon as possible. The earlier a concern is expressed the easier and sooner action can be taken
  • Try to pinpoint exactly what practice is concerning; what has been heard or what has been observed
  • Approach the incumbent, Parish Child Protection Co-ordinator or the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
  • If the concern is about a member of the clergy contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser or the Archdeacon
  • Make sure a satisfactory response is made – don’t let matters rest
  • Ideally concerns should be put in writing, outlining the background and history. Dates and times should be provided if possible
  • It is important to provide as many facts as possible and not rely on rumour or opinion

The whistle-blower is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation or investigate.

G33. What happens next

  • The whistle-blower should be given information on the nature and progress of any enquiries
  • The incumbent should make sure the whistle-blower is not harassed or victimised
  • No action will be taken against a whistle-blower if the concern proves to be unfounded and was raised in good faith
  • Malicious allegations may be considered very seriously and will be a disciplinary offence for those in employment

G34. Self reporting

There may be occasions where a church worker has a personal difficulty, perhaps a physical or mental health problem, which they know to be impinging on their professional competence. Clergy and church workers have a responsibility to discuss such a situation with the person to whom they are accountable so that professional and personal support can be offered. Whilst such reporting will remain confidential in most instances, this cannot be guaranteed where personal difficulties raise concerns about the welfare or safety of children.

Further advice and support

It is recognised that whistle blowing can be difficult and stressful. Advice and support is available from the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

“Absolutely without fail – challenge poor practice or performance. If you ignore or collude with poor practice it makes it harder to sound the alarm when things go wrong”

(reproduced with acknowledgement to “Sounding the Alarm” – Barnardos).

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Section D:
Guidelines for Outside Groups and Bookings using All Saints Premises

G38. Procedure for outside groups using church premises

Every PCC must decide which groups and which activities are their responsibility. Although other groups and functions that involve children on church premises are not the PCC’s direct responsibility, there is a duty of care which means informing outside groups of the procedures that they should follow.

Booking forms

The following clause should be incorporated in any booking form for church premises for which the PCC is responsible, both for one-off bookings and regular bookings:

“You are required to ensure that children are protected at all times, by taking all reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of any injury, loss, damage or harm. Appropriate adult supervision should be provided”.

G39. One-off bookings

Give the organiser a copy of “Keeping Children and Young People Safe in Church” pocket guide for workers with children and young people. Advise the organiser of the ratio of helpers required for the numbers of children attending. Helpers will not need to fill in declaration forms.

G40. Regular bookings

Some organisations (guides, scouts, playgroups etc) will have their own Child Protection procedures which they must follow. Other groups must follow the recommendations in the government guidance “Working Together To Safeguard Children 2006”. They could be advised to adhere to the Diocesan Child Protection procedures and recommended good practice. Hiring could be made contingent on adherence to the Diocesan policy.

Minimum requirements are:

  • Safe recruitment of adults with CRB disclosures for all leaders and helpers
  • At least two workers for every group whatever the size, keeping a gender balance
  • If a child or young person is alone with a worker for any reason, there must always be another adult nearby and the child must be informed where that person is
  • No person under 18 should be left in charge of a group
  • A register must be kept of children attending the group which includes name, address, date of birth and next of kin

Approved by the Vicar and PCC

Last revised September 2012

[1]  From “Information Sharing: Practitioners’ guide 2006. Non-statutory guidance from the Department of Education and Skills (now the DCSF), page 5

[2]  Serious crime for the purposes of this guidance means any crime which causes or is likely to cause significant harm to a child or young person or serious harm to an adult.

[3]  See G29 for the procedure on whistle-blowing

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All Saints Church Child Protection Procedure Implementation Document

1. Purpose and aim of the procedures

This procedure applies to all adults who volunteer or help out with children’s activities at All Saints Church or Hove Hut Youth Group, in any capacity, including those employed by All Saints in other capacities.

The purpose of the procedures is to ensure that any concerns are swiftly and efficiently reported in the correct quarters so that all children are safe when under our care.

2. Different categories of abuse

These are physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect. More information about these types of abuse is available on www.safenetwork.org.uk or via the NSPCC website. Their document “Child Protection Fact Sheet: The Definitions and Signs of Child Abuse” is a useful and concise reference.

3. How to recognise the signs of abuse

Recognising abuse is key but is not easy. Please refer to the NSPCC “Child Protection Fact Sheet: The Definitions and Signs of Child Abuse” for full information.

4. How to respond to signs or suspicions of abuse

If you are concerned about any child at All Saints, you should first speak to one of the people listed below:

Fr. Phil Ritchie (Vicar) – 07590 514884

Revd. Talisker MacLeod (Assistant Curate) – 07927 948092

Sue Atkins (the Parish Child Protection Officer) – 01273 705923

Colin Perkins (Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser) – 01273 421021

5. How to respond to allegations of abuse against a member of staff, other worker or volunteer.

All allegations against a member of staff, other worker or volunteer should be passed on to Fr. Phil (in person or by phone 07590 514884).If the allegation is against him, it should be passed to Sue Atkins (01273 705923) or Colin Perkins (01273 421021).

Fr Phil will report allegations of abuse to the Diocesan authorities and will take actions as they direct.

6. How to respond to a child telling you about abuse

Remember that you cannot promise confidentiality, but that you can promise that the only people you will tell are those who will help make things better.  If the child is concerned that you should not tell their parents, you can assure them that you will not do so if to do so would put them at risk of harm.  You must be clear that you will keep a record of what is said and you will report it to the proper authorities but never directly to the person against whom the allegation is made.

A child may say that they need to tell you something but that you can’t tell anyone about it. To come in heavy handed at this point may not be helpful – it may be that they just want to tell you about a secret birthday present! You will need to feel your way carefully – a good question might be, “is it a nice secret or a nasty secret?”

For fuller information see Section G10 of the All Saints Child Protection Procedures Document.

When you are listening to a child:

  • Listen positively to what the child says and take it seriously
  • Accept what is being said (this is not the same as deciding whether the allegation is true or not – others will address this later)
  • Avoid leading the child or young person and keep any questions to the absolute minimum. Ask only what is necessary to ensure a clear understanding of what has been said
  • Be aware of interpreting what the child says, especially if they have learning or physical disabilities which affect their ability to communicate or English is not their first language
  • Reassure the child that they were right to tell
  • Do not promise complete confidentiality. Explain to the child or young person “I will only tell people whose job it is to keep children safe”
  • Try to explain what will happen next in a way that the child can understand
  • Make careful notes (the circumstances, what the child said, what you said etc) as soon as possible, preferably within an hour. Include dates and times of incident/recording and keep the notes safely
  • Inform either the incumbent or the Child Protection Co-ordinator
  • Check that an appropriate referral has been made
  • Make sure support is in place for the child and seek support for yourself
  • Make a record of what actions you have taken and keep in a secure place (if completing the form electronically, do not save copies to the hard drive or floppy disk. Print a copy, sign and date and then delete immediately. Pass the record to Children’s Services or the Police and to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser that day)

You must not:

  • Speak directly to the person against whom allegations have been made
  • Attempt to investigate the situation yourself

7.  How to respond to allegations of abuse against someone not working in the group

This may be a parent or carer, another child, school teacher or anybody else.

You should follow the guidelines in section 6 above “How to respond to a child telling you about abuse” and pass this information as quickly as possible to the clergy, the parish child protection officer, or the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser as per section 4 above.

8. How information will be recorded

It is parish and Diocesan policy that all allegations are treated seriously until proven otherwise.

You should record all information given to you either at the time of disclosure or (if this is inappropriate in the context) as soon as possible afterwards.  All notes should be either made on paper, or if typed must be printed, signed, and dated, and handed to the appropriate person (see section 4 above).

The information will be kept confidential to those who have a need to know in order to investigate the allegation made.

All information should be passed on as quickly as possible so that no child stays at risk for longer than absolutely necessary.

9. Confidentiality policy

The legal principle is that the “welfare of the child is paramount”

Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first. Remember:

  • Legally, it is fine to share information if someone is worried about the safety of a child.
  • Not everyone needs to know when a concern or worry is raised. This respects the child’s, family’s and/or staff’s rights to privacy. So only people who need to know should be told about it. Otherwise there might be gossip and rumours or other people may be genuinely concerned.
  • It is fine to say that a concern has been raised and it is being dealt with following the group’s procedures.

10. It is not child protection but I am still concerned

Sometimes concerns about a child may not be about abuse. You may be concerned that a child or family need some help in making sure all the child’s needs are met to address a particular problem. Examples of this might be where a child is suffering because of poverty, getting into trouble in the community, or has a disability and needs extra help.  In these instances you can get them help by using the Common Assessment framework .

If you have concerns of this type, please raise them with the clergy or with Sue Atkins.

Approved by the Vicar and PCC

Last revised September 2012