Church should be a place where everyone can feel safe. We will never be perfect, but we can work together to make our churches safer. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility - and it needs to be at the heart of everything we do - so we all need to be on the look-out for signs of harm and abuse.

We need to be vigilant so that if something doesn’t seem right, then we’ll spot it. We can’t assume ‘that kind of thing’ won’t happen here – it can and it does. But we can work together to make our churches safer and to minimise the risks of harm and abuse.

To do that we need to listen to that gut feeling that tells you when something isn’t right. And, in safeguarding, if it doesn’t feel right then chances are it’s not. If there’s a situation that doesn’t feel right then our Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors are here to help. If you’re concerned about someone or something, just call them (details below) and they’ll offer support and advice. Don’t worry that you might be wasting their time – they’re here to help and a two minute phone call may be all it takes to get you the support and reassurance you need. In making that call, you could be providing the missing piece of a jigsaw that helps to keep someone else safe.

Safeguarding is about caring for one another and looking out for one another – and each of us has a crucial role to play in that. Our churches can be safer if we all work together.


Parish of High Downs

This Parochial Church Council (PCC) has adopted the safeguarding policies and procedures of the Church of England.

In particular we are committed to:

the safeguarding of all children, young people and vulnerable adults

carefully selecting and training paid and voluntary staff who might come into contact with children or vulnerable adults, using the Disclosure and Barring Service amongst other tools, to check their suitability

responding without delay to every complaint made which suggests that an adult, child or young person may have been harmed

cooperating fully with the police, local authority and any other appropriate statutory body in any investigation

ministering appropriately to anyone, child or adult, who has experienced abuse

extending pastoral care to those known to have offended against children or vulnerable adults whilst ensuring that children and vulnerable adults are protected from them

We have appointed Mark Harlow as the Parish Safeguarding Officer

Tel: 01795 890338‬ or 07979864000 (There is a 24/7 voicemail)

Email:  [email protected]

At High Downs we want to make everyone feel welcome and safe. To help with this, Mark Harlow is our lead Safeguarding Officer for Children and Vulnerable Adults. His role, with parish clergy and colleagues in our different churches, include looking out for those within High Downs Parish who may need support. They are all available to contact about any issues or concerns you may have.

Every volunteer who helps with children and youth work has to complete an application form, a DBS check, and two references. As a Parish, we are fully signed up to the Diocesan Safeguarding Training framework.

Click here for Canterbury Diocesan Safeguarding

Reporting Abuse

If you have information regarding a safeguarding situation where someone is in immediate danger or requires medical attention call the emergency services on 999 without delay.

Otherwise if you wish to report anything you can contact Mark using the information on this page, or follow the link to the Diocese of Canterbury safeguarding page for their contact information.

Finding support

We here at the High Downs Parish understand that reporting abuse may be very difficult and distressing to you and as we are not equipped to respond at all hours of the day here are contact details for other agencies that can offer more specialist advice and may be more easily available.

‣ NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000

(lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are worried about a child.

‣ Child-line: 0800 1111

(lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are a child or young person and are worried about anything.

‣ National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247

(lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse.

‣ Samaritans Helpline: 116 123

(open 24 hours). Phone if you are struggling to cope and need someone with whom to talk.


The Parish of High Downs complies with current GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

This means that all data that we collect concerning a person’s (known as a data subject) identity and privacy, is treated with strict protection and security, and is subject to the person’s rights and privileges detailed below. We have a parish privacy notice available for download and consent forms are available, where consent is required.

Eight Rights of Data Subjects

1. The right to be informed

2. The right of access

3. The right to rectification

4. The right to erasure

5. The right to restrict processing

6. The right to data portability

7. The right to object

8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

The right to be informed. In order to ensure that personal data is processed fairly, PCCs must provide certain minimum information to data subjects, regarding the collection and further processing of their personal data. GDPR states that such information must be provided in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language.

The right of access. Data subjects have the right to file a subject access request (SAR) and obtain from PCCs, via the data compliance officer, a copy of their personal data; together with an explanation of the categories of data being processed, the purposes of such processing, and the categories of third parties to whom the data may be disclosed. GDPR requires PCCs to respond to SARs with information, including details of the period for which the data will be stored (or the criteria used to determine that period) and information about other rights of data subjects. SAR must be responded to within one month.

The right to rectification. Data subjects have the right to require PCCs to correct errors in

personal data held.

The right to erasure. Data subjects can request PCCs delete their personal data when the details are no longer needed for its original purpose, or where the processing is based on the consent and the data subject withdraws that consent (and no other lawful basis for the processing exists).

The right to restrict processing. This is a new feature of GDPR. In certain circumstances when personal data either cannot be deleted because the data is required for the purposes of exercising or defending legal claims or where the data subject does not wish to have the data deleted, the PCC may continue to store the data, but the purposes for which the data can be processed are strictly limited. E.g. A marriage certificate is a legal document and a data subject could not request the information is deleted.

The right to data portability. This is a new feature of GDPR. This permits the data subject to receive a copy of his or her personal data in a commonly used electronic format. E.g. Microsoft Word

The right to object. Data subjects have a right to object to processing of their personal data on certain grounds, in addition to the right to object to processing carried out for the purposes of profiling or direct marketing.

Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling. Data subjects have the right not to be subject to decisions based solely on automated processing which significantly affect them. In reality, for PCCs automated decisions are unlikely to be an issue, but it is important to be aware of this right.

GDPR requires that personal data must be:

1. processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;

2. collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;

3. adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;

4. accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that inaccurate personal data is erased or rectified without delay;

5. kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;

6. processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.

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