Child and Adult Safeguarding
We believe that safeguarding is everyone’s business and that it is underpinned by scripture as a command to “love one another as I have loved you”. None of us are exempt from understanding this as a way of expressing our faith and values.
As leaders we must recognise the need to provide a safe and caring environment for children, young people and vulnerable adults. We must acknowledge that children, young people and vulnerable adults can be the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect.
As leaders within the Church it is important that we do what we can to prevent abuse. It is important that we have in place certain practices surrounding the recruitment of volunteers to work with children and vulnerable adults in our Missional Communities.
There are now guidelines within the Elim Safeguarding Policy that outline what must be put in place before a volunteer starts in their role in working with children/vulnerable adults.
If you wish to start a group or activity that will involve working with children and/or vulnerable adults it is requested that you make contact with the Safeguarding Coordinator or Deputy. This must be done before the group is started. They will then discuss with you any safeguarding work that may need to be completed before the group is able to start and explain any policies that may need to be followed. The purpose of this is to make sure that we are making good decisions for the children and vulnerable adults in our Church.
Concerns about a child
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
King’s Church will provide safeguarding training for all volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults and it is important that volunteers are encouraged to attend. In addition to this there is a Safeguarding Policy in place which all groups working with children should have access to.
Under no circumstances should a worker carry out their own investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse.The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse should report concerns as soon as possible to the Safeguarding Coordinator who is nominated by the Leadership to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse. If the Safeguarding Coordinator is not available, please contact the Deputy.
Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Coordinator, if this is not immediately possible this should not delay referral to Children’s Social Care or the Police if a child is concerned to be at significant risk of harm.
Types of child abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.
It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
A copy of our full Safeguarding Policy is available on request. Please talk to your Missional Community leader, or alternatively speak to our safeguarding officer Julia Shutt.