“It is the responsibility of each individual within the fellowship of the Church to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and protected adults”
From Policy Statement of General Assembly, May 1997
What to do
If a child or young person discloses to you abuse by someone else:
- Allow him or her to speak without interruption, accepting what is said but do not investigate.
- Alleviate feelings of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgement.
- Let them know you are glad they have shared this information with you.
- Advise the child or protected adult that you must pass on the information.
If you suspect a child or protected adult is being abused; emotionally, physically or sexually:
- Report the matter to the head of your group, the Minister and/ or the Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
- Immediately tell the head of the group, the Minister and/or the Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
- Try to ensure that no-one is placed in a position that could cause further compromise
In all cases:
- Record the facts and report these to the Minister and/or the Safeguarding Co-ordinator for the congregation.
- You must refer, you must not investigate.
- Treat all children and protected adults with respect.
- Provide an example of good conduct you wish to follow.
- Ensure that, wherever possible, there is more than one adult present during your organisation’s activities with children or protected adults, or at least that you are within sight or hearing of others.
- Respect a young person’s or protected adult’s right to privacy.
- Encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.
- Remember that someone else might interpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.
- Beware that even caring physical contact with a child or protected adult may be misinterpreted.
- Recognise that special caution is required in moments when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or protected adults.
- Operate within the Church’s Code of Good conduct and the procedures of the organisation.
You must not…
- Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with children or protected adults.
- Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention seeking behaviour.
- Make suggestive/derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or protected adults.
- Jump to conclusions about others without checking facts.
- Exaggerate or trivialise child or protected adult abuse issues.
- Show favouritism to any individual.
- Rely on your good name or that of the Church to protect you.
- Believe “it could never happen to me.
- Take a chance when common sense, policy and practice suggest another more prudent approach.
- Ignore the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Guidelines and Procedures operating within the organisation.