Christ Church, in common with other churches and organisations taking care of children, is required by law and by the diocese, to have a written policy on Child Protection.
The aim of this policy is two fold - to protect all the children in our care from risk of abuse while they are in our care, and to protect all those who work with children within the church from risk of false accusation and possible legal redress. To ensure good practice, we have also produced guidelines which state clearly the expectations we have of all those working with children within Christ Church, both in the context of Sunday School and all other events run in the name of our church. These guidelines are set out below.
All those working with children within Christ Church have agreed to comply with these guidelines at all times as a condition of service. New recruits will also be required to comply with the Criminal Records Bureau procedures.
We also make our guidelines available to the parents of all children attending groups and activities run under the umbrella of the church, both on- and off-site, so that they know what level of care they can expect from our workers.
While we are happy to take full responsibility for children within groups and activities sponsored by the church, we feel parents need to be aware that workers are only on duty during the groups and activities themselves and we expect parents to make adequate arrangements for delivery and collection to and from these groups. When family events take place in the church, we expect parents to exercise responsibility for their own children. Workers will at all times make every effort to set an example of godly behaviour.
1. Health and Safety Advice
There must be access to a telephone or mobile phone on the premises. Adults should be aware of the fire procedure. Fire extinguishers must be regularly checked and a fire drill carried out.
Parents should be advised that children with infectious illnesses should not attend groups.
No smoking should be permitted in any areas where children are present.
Alcohol and illegal substances should not be used by those caring for children and young people in the name of the church.
Children should not be able to leave the premises unsupervised.
Access to premises should be along well-lit paths.
Parents must sign a consent form before children or young people are taken off-site for activities. Forms are available from group leaders.
A First Aid kit should be available on any premises used by children or young people.
An accident book should be kept with the kit and all accidents recorded in it.
When taking children or young people off-site a detailed programme and list of contacts should be left with the Clergy or Children's Representative.
A register must be kept and be available at all group meetings. As well as attendances, it should include up to date information on parents' contact numbers and any specific medical information on the children or young people.
Activities planned to take place away from church premises must have the permission of the PCC in order to be covered by insurance.
References will be requested for all those working with children and young people.
Each group should have at least 2 workers and it is recommended that the gender balance is maintained.
For mixed groups, there should ideally always be a male and female leader present.
These are the required staffing levels for children's groups. 1 - 2 years 1 person for every 3 children 1 : 3 2 - 3 years 1 person for every 4 children 1 : 4 3 - 8 years 1 person for every 8 children 1 : 8 Over 8 years 1 person for the first 8 children and then one extra person for every extra 12 children
4. Good Practice Guidelines
All workers should :
treat all children and young people with the respect and dignity befitting their age.
watch their speech, tone of voice and body language.
learn to control and discipline children without physical punishment, even if they have the parents' explicit permission for this.
make sure another adult is aware if they are helping toilet or wash a child.
ask parents' permission if they need to see a child on his or her own.
make sure another adult is present nearby and that the child knows this.
ensure that they are not alone with a child where an activity cannot be seen. This may mean leaving doors open, or two groups working in the same room.
in a counselling situation with a young person, where privacy and confidentiality are important, make sure that there is another adult in the building who knows the meeting is taking place and with whom.
Group leaders should make sure that children know they can speak to their Children's Representative or can contact Childline (0800 1111), if they need to speak to someone. Telephone numbers should be prominently displayed.
Workers should not:
invade a child's privacy while washing or toileting.
play rough physical or sexually provocative games.
be sexually suggestive about or to a young person even in fun.
touch inappropriately or intrusively.
scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child or young person.
show favouritism to any one child.
allow children to involve them in excessive attention-seeking that is overtly physical or sexual in nature.
give lifts to children or young people on their own. If this is unavoidable ask the child to sit in the back.
share sleeping accommodation with young people.
invite a young person to their home alone. (Instead invite a group and make sure that another known adult/worker is present. Also make sure that parents know the whereabouts of young people.)
allow any abusive activities such as initiation ceremonies, ridiculing or any form of bullying. (Visitors should be accompanied by a known person; all adults involved in activities should have been vetted.)
5. Policy for Alcohol and Illegal Substances
Workers should seek to demonstrate by example and teaching a positive and responsible attitude to alcohol and illegal substances.
They should not:
procure for, or accept alcohol from, young people under 18.
consume alcohol when they are caring for young people in the name of the church.
6. Transport Policy
It is the responsibility of those who transport children on behalf of Christ Church to ensure they comply with the following guidelines at all times.
All those who drive on Church organised activities should be over 21 and should have held a full driving licence for over two years.
All cars that carry children should have fully comprehensive insurance.
All cars should be in a roadworthy condition.
All children must wear suitable seat belts.
If there are no seat belts children should not be carried.
At no time should the number of children in the car exceed the number of seat belts available.
Where a child is known to have a disability or special requirement, a non-driving adult should travel in the car.
This adult should sit in the back, behind the driver, with the child in the seat beside him/her.
Drivers must comply with all speed restrictions and other driving regulations.
Drivers must not consume alcohol when there are young people in their care.
If in an emergency a driver has to transport one child on his/her own, the child must sit in the back of the car.
Parents should be made aware of all transport arrangements and their permission should be sought for front seat travel.
To ensure that these guidelines are adhered to, drivers will be required to give a signed undertaking, covering these issues. Drivers may be required to show their licence and insurance documents.
7. Good Practice with Colleagues
If you see another member of your team, or an adult in the church, acting in ways which might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to them or to the Children's Representative about your concerns.
Leaders should encourage an atmosphere of mutual support and care which allows all workers to be comfortable enough to discuss inappropriate attitudes or behaviour.
8. What to do in an Emergency
Contact the emergency services.
Share the problem - advise all adults present that accident procedure is in operation.
Make sure all in the Group are accounted for.
Establish the name of the injured and the extent of any injuries.
Ensure an adult accompanies any young person to hospital.
Collect the names and addresses of all witnesses as soon as possible and make notes of what you saw and did.
Ask others to do likewise.
Contact the parents of any injured young people.
Contact Kathryn Rogers our Children's Representative (01784-245602) or Stephen Sizer our Vicar (01344 842374) immediately.
If any form of Child Abuse is suspected, contact Kathryn or Stephen, (as above).
Parish Child Protection Policy Statement
Parish of Virginia Water
The following policy was agreed at the PCC meeting held on 8th April 2004
As members of this PCC we commit our parish to the nurturing, protection and safeguarding of all, especially the young and vulnerable. We recognise that our work with children and young people is the responsibility of the whole church community. We are committed to following the Home Office Code of Practice, Safe from Harm, and the Diocesan guidelines. We undertake to select all our workers with care, to support them and train them. We are committed to supporting our families in their parenting role. We review this policy annually. We have appointed Kathryn Rogers as the children's representative for the parish. She may be contacted on 01784-245602.