We recognise that our work with children and young people is the responsibility of the whole church.
LWCC is committed to:
The nurturing, protection and safekeeping of everyone, especially children and young people.
• Listening to, relating effectively to and valuing children and young people whilst ensuring their protection within church activities.
• Preventing the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children and young people. It is also our responsibility to report any abuse discovered or suspected, following the agreed procedure of the church, and respond to allegations of abuse, including those made against leaders or other members of the church.
• Helping victims of abuse with appropriate pastoral care.
• Communicating with the statutory authorities where necessary.
• Encouraging and supporting parents and carers.
• Appointing children's/youth workers.
• Training and resourcing those who work with children and young people.
• Supervision of activities and practice issues.
If you have any concerns for a child or in relation to any child protection matter then speak to one of the following, who have been approved as child protection co- ordinators for this church
Co-ordinator: David Donoghue Tel. 01277 656346
Deputy Co-ordinator: Terry Everett
Tel (01375) 671146
This document is based on a Model Child Protection Policy supplied by the Churches Child Protection
Advisory Service - a project of PCCA Child Care. A copy of this policy and all amendments will be
filed with CCPAS. This policy must not be copied by other Churches/organisations without the written
permission of CCPAS.
GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR THE PREVENTION OF ABUSE
GOOD PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
The church should ensure that:
DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE
The definitions of child abuse recommended as criteria throughout England and Wales by the
The children's/youth worker should:
Wherever possible, a worker is not left alone with a child or young person where their activity cannot be seen.
Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity befitting their age.
Watch his/her language, tone of voice and body language in all situations where children or young people are concerned.
• Avoid paying too much attention to anyone child/YP or group to the exclusion of the others.
• Not invite a child to his/her home alone. Always ensure a group is invited, or that there is another responsible adult in the house. Also make sure that the parents/carer know where the child/YP is.
• Avoid giving regular lifts to child/YP on their own, other than for short journeys.
The chiJdren's/youth worker should NOT engage in any
of the following:
• Invading the privacy of children/YP when they are in the toilet
• Physically rough or sexually provocative games/activities
• Making sexually suggestive comments about or to a YP, even in fun
• Any behaviour including touching which could be misunderstood, either by the child/YP or another present. Likewise, the children' s/ youth worker should not tolerate such behaviour from a child or young person,
• Scapegoating, ridiculing, rejecting a child for any reason
GOOD PRACTICE WITH COLLEAGUES
GOOD PRACTICE WITH SUPERVISION
If you see another worker acting in ways which might be misconstrued or compromise the work with the children and YP, be prepared to speak to them yourself and/or talk to whoever is in charge of the children's work or an elder.
All leaders should make an effort to encourage and support each other, and foster an atmosphere which allows all workers to be comfortable enough to discuss any inappropriate attitudes, speech or behaviour.
Always remember that as workers with children and young people we are in a position of influence, authority and responsibility and we should act accordingly.
Becoming too much of a 'buddy' may well be fun but may also lead to a confusion of roles.
Remember that we are leaders, then friends. We should neither do nor say anything that will undermine our ability to function as leaders. We must model consistency to the young people in conduct, speech, attitude and discipline. If we do this, our friendship will impact their lives to a far deeper level.
Meet together on a regular basis to review, plan and delegate the work.
Discuss working and personal relationships with the children/YP.
Ideally keep a written note of each meeting, including anything of note that was observed, by any worker.
Pray together regularly for the work, the childrenlYP and for each other.
The Children's Work Leader and elders should act appropriately and sensitively if there are doubts about a worker's practice. They should keep an eye out for any child/YP receiving any exceptional treatment, being highly favoured or treated unduly harshly.
PRACTICAL GUIDELINES FOR SAFETY AND PROTECTION
• Make the environment as comfortable and safe as is appropriate to the age of the children
• Have experienced first-aiders on call
• Have access to a telephone for emergencies
• Keep a fully-equipped first-aid box with an accident record book
Keep an attendance register in a secure place and at each session record:
date and time of session
names of children and adults and helpers responsible for them
dates of birth, addresses and contact phone numbers (use back of book)
• Note anything significant, e.g. accident, upset.
Child Supervision Ratio
Adults (over 16) Children
0 to 2 yrs 1 3
2 to 3 yrs 1 4
3 to 8 yrs 1 8
• Children of 5+ years should be able to take themselves to the toilet. It may be necessary to escort them to the door and make sure they come straight back again.
• If taking children outside, ensure that they are well supervised and cannot wander off. Check the area for safety beforehand.
• If a child's behaviour causes concern or he/she is distressed call for his/her parent/ carer.
Parents/carers should collect young children at the end of the session.
Those working closely with children need to be sensitive to their needs. Care must be taken so that anything we do does not make a child feel uncomfortable or cause them to misinterpret our actions.
Ask God for wisdom, discernment and understanding in all our dealings with the children
Encourage each child's positives; do not compare them with each other publicly
Build healthy relationships with children and be a good role model, setting a good example. You can't expect children to observe ground rules if you break them yourself
Take care to give quieter and well-behaved children attention and don't allow some children to take up all your time and energy.
Be consistent in what you say and ensure that other team members know what you have said - this avoids manipulation.
Look honestly at your programme - if children are bored, they misbehave. Is the programme at fault?
NEVER smack or hit a child and don't shout - change voice tone if necessary.
Discipline out of love, NEVER anger. (Call on support from other leaders if you feel you may deal with a situation unwisely in your anger.)
Do not tolerate swearing, racism, calling each other names, etc.
Each child is unique, special and individual, and each child needs a different method of being dealt with. We need to ask why the child is behaving that way.
Separate children who have a tendency to be disruptive when together. Give them a chance, warn them and only separate as a last resort.
Have the child sit right in front of you or get a helper to sit next to the child.
Be actively aware, anticipate situations and encourage other helpers to do the same.
Take the child aside and talk to them, challenge them to change, whilst encouraging them on their strengths.
Warn a child that you will speak to their parents and do so if necessary. It may be necessary to send them back into the service or to consider a short ban on attendance.
If a child's behaviour is consistently disruptive, seek advice and guidance from a leader.
• Keep everything public. A hug in the context of a group is very different from a hug behind closed doors.
• Touch should be related to the child's needs, not the workers.
• Touch should be age-appropriate and generally initiated by the child rather than the worker.
• Avoid any physical activity that is, or may be thought to be, sexually stimulating to the adult or child.
• Children have the right to decide how much physical contact they have with others, except in exceptional circumstances when they need medical attention.
• Team members should monitor one another in the area of physical contact. They should be free to help each other by pointing out anything that could be misconstrued.
Concerns about abuse should always be reported, following the church policy.
Department of Health, Department for Education and Employment and the Home Office in their
joint document, Working Together to Safeguard Children
(1999) are as follows:
Abuse and Neglect
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.
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 feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom
they are looking after. This situation is commonly described using terms such as factitious illness
by proxy or Munchausen syndrome by proxy .
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment 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 feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations
being imposed on children. It may involve 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 ill-treatment 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,
whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical
contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include
non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of,
pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in
sexually inappropriate ways.
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. It may involve a parent
or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from
physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or
treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional
Organised or multiple abuse may be defined as abuse involving one or more abuser and a
number of related or non-related abused children and young people. The abusers concerned
may be acting in concert to abuse children, sometimes acting in isolation, or may be using an
institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children for abuse.
Organised and multiple abuse occur both as part of a network of abuse across a family or
community, and within institutions such as residential homes or schools.
(A child may suffer more than one category of abuse).
GUIDELINES REGARDING ABUSE
RECOGNITION OF ABUSE
Physical Signs of Abuse
• Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them.
• Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc.
• Injuries which have not receive medical attention.
• Reluctance to change for, or participate in games or swimming.
• Repeated urinary infections or unexplained stomach pains.
• Bruises, 'burns, bites, fractures, etc. which do not have an accidental explanation
• Cuts, scratches, substance abuse.
Signs of Neglect
Emotional Signs of Abuse
Failure to grow
Constant hunger, stealing or gorging food
Inadequate care, e.g. frequently wearing dirty clothes, lack of washing and personal hygiene
• Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging. Also depression/aggression, extreme anxiety
• Nervousness, frozen watchfulness
• Obsession or phobias
• Sudden under-achievement lack of concentration
• Inappropriate relationships with peers or adult
• Attention-seeking behaviour
• Persistent tiredness
• Running away, stealing, lying,
Signs of Possible Sexual Abuse
• Any allegation made by a child concerning sexual abuse
• Excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult
sexual behaviour, regular engagement in age-inappropriate sexual play
• Sexual activity through words, play or drawings
• Sexual provocation or seduction towards adults
• Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home
• Severe sleep disturbance with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with veiled sexual connotations
• Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia
Who abuses children?
WHAT TO DO IF ABUSE IS SUSPECTED OR DISCLOSED
Rarely a stranger
Usually someone who knows the child, e.g. parent, babysitter, sibling, relative, friend of the family
Sometimes, someone in authority such as teacher, youth worker, children's worker or church worker/leader
Sometimes, paedophiles and others who set out to join organisations (including churches) to obtain access to children
If any abuse is suspected, or if disclosures are made, do not jump to conclusions or start to investigate. You must report your concerns as soon as possible to David Donoghue (hereafter the 'Co-ordinator'), telephone 01277 656346 who is nominated by the elders on their behalf in seeking advice from the CCPAS ( see below) and referring allegations or suspicions of abuse to the statutory authorities where necessary. In the absence of the co-ordinator the matter should be brought to the Deputy Co-ordinator,
Simon Farrow telephone 01277 622559
If the suspicions in any way involve the Co-ordinator the report should be made to the Deputy Co-ordinator. If the suspicions implicate both the Co-ordinator and the Deputy Co-ordinator then the report should be made in the first instance to:
PCCA Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (hereafter CCPAS), PO Box 133,
Swanley, Kent. BR8 7UQ Telephone 01322 660011 (or 01322667207).
Suspicions will not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. Our
aim will be to work in an open way with the statutory authorities where necessary.
How to respond to a child wanting to talk about abuse
Show acceptance of what the child says - don't show doubt or disbelief.
Tell the child you will need to let someone know - don't promise confidentiality.
Never push for information ..
Reassure the child they were right to tell you.
Let the child know what you are going to do next.
Allegations of Physical Injury or Neglect
Contact the church child protection Co-ordinator as soon as possible.
Write down what was said immediately. It is important not to change words - you will be asked for this report at some point.
Do not try to investigate the matter yourself or talk to the parent, guardian or alleged abuser. This could seriously hamper any future investigation.
On very rare occasions there may be a need to contact Social Services directly; if it is not safe for the child to return home and you cannot get in touch with the Co- ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator, for example.
The Co-ordinator will contact CCPAS for advice in cases of deliberate injury or where concerned about the child's safety; the church in these circumstances should not inform the parents. Where emergency medical attention is necessary it will be sought immediately. In other circumstances he will speak with the parent/carer and suggest that medical attention be sought for the child; the doctor (or health visitor)
will then initiate further action if necessary. If appropriate the parent/carer will be encouraged to seek help from the Social Services Department. Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, if appropriate the Co-ordinator will offer to go with them; if they still fail to act the Co-ordinator should, in cases of real concern, contact Social Services for advice. The Insurance Company may also need to be informed.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse
The Co-ordinator will usually contact CCPAS for advice. CCPAS will confirm its advice in writing in case this is needed for reference purposes in the future. In a serious situation Social Services may need to be contacted immediately (if the child is at risk if they go home, for example), The Co-ordinator will not speak to the parent (or anyone else) about the matter and will not attempt to carry out any investigation
into the allegations or suspicions of abuse; the role of the Co-ordinator is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and to provide this information to the Social Services Department, if necessary, The co-ordinator may also need to contact the Insurance Company,
Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Co- ordinator, the absence of the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator should not delay reference to the Social Services Department in the case of an immediate, serious situation. Exceptionally, should there be any disagreement between the person in receipt of the allegation or suspicion and the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator as to the appropriateness of a referral to Social Services, that person retains a responsibility as a member of the public to report serious matters to the Social Services Department and should do so without hesitation,
The elders will support the Co-ordinator or Deputy Co-ordinator in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
If abuse by a member of the church is suspected
The Co-ordinator will take appropriate action, in accordance with the procedures outlined above. He will arrange pastoral support from a church member for both parties and also for the person to whom the matter was reported. All information will be shared on a 'need to know' basis. Our desire is to protect all parties from any injustice.
Offenders in the church
If someone known to have been an abuser becomes involved with the church, we would aim to show them love and pastoral care but also to set appropriate boundaries for them so that others are not placed at risk.