All Saints' Church, Sherbourne has adopted the Safeguarding Policy of the Church of England which is set out below. A notice entitled "Promoting a Safer Church" is on display in the church and contains details of the people who can be contacted if you have any safeguarding concerns relating to our church. A copy of our Complaints Procedure can also be viewed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
Safeguarding Policy Statement of the Church of England
The Church of England, its Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and leaders are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church.
Safeguarding means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture. This means we will promote the welfare of children, young people and adults, work to prevent abuse from occurring, seek to protect those that are at risk of being abused and respond well to those that have been abused. We will take care to identify where a person may present a risk to others, and offer support to them whilst taking steps to mitigate such risks.
The Church of England affirms the ‘Whole Church’ approach to safeguarding. This approach encompasses a commitment to consistent policy and practice across all Church bodies, Church Officers and that everyone associated with the Church, who comes into contact with children, young people and adults, has a role to play.
The Church will take appropriate steps to maintain a safer environment for all and to practice fully and positively Christ's Ministry towards children, young people and adults; to respond sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.
In developing and implementing the Safeguarding Policy, the Church of England is guided by the following foundations.
The Church is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has.
2. Human Rights and the Law
The Church recognises the personal dignity and rights of all children, young people and adults, as enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Safeguarding work is undertaken within a legislative framework supported by government guidance which sets out a range of safeguarding duties, responsibilities and best practice.
3. Core Principles
The following core principles underpin the Church’s approach to safeguarding practice:
• The welfare of the child, young person and vulnerable adult is paramount;
• Integrity, respect and listening to all;
• Transparency and openness;
• Collaboration with key statutory authorities and other partners;
• Use of professional safeguarding advice and support both inside and outside the Church;
• A commitment to the prevention of abuse;
• The active management of risk;
• Promoting a culture of informed vigilance;
• Regular evaluation to ensure best practice.
4. Good Safeguarding Practice
The following key features will help Church bodies promote and maintain a safer culture that protects and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults. These features are:
• A leadership commitment, at all levels, to the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults;
• A safeguarding policy available to Church Officers;
• A clear line of accountability within the Church for work on safeguarding;
• Clear reporting procedures to deal with safeguarding concerns and allegations;
• Clear roles for Church Officers;
• Practice and services informed by on- going learning, review and by the views of children, young people, families and vulnerable adults;
• Safer recruitment procedures in place;
• Clear arrangements for support and/or supervision;
• Safeguarding training for all Church Officers working with or in contact with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults;
• Effective working with statutory and voluntary sector partners;
• Publicly advertised arrangements for children, young people and vulnerable adults to be able to speak to an independent person, as required;
• Complaints and whistleblowing procedures that are well publicised;
• Effective information sharing;
• Good record keeping.
5. Learning from the past
In the July Synod 2013 Archbishop Justin Welby stated:
“The reality is that there will always be people who are dangerous and are part of the life of the Church. They may be members of the congregation; we hope and pray that they will not be in positions of responsibility, but the odds are from time to time people will somehow conceal sufficiently well. And many here have been deeply affected, as well as the survivors who have so rightly brought us to this place. Many other people here have been deeply affected and badly treated. So we face a continual challenge and reality. …There has to be a complete change of culture and behaviour.
And in addition, there is a profound theological point. We are not doing all this, we are not seeking to say how devastatingly, appallingly, atrociously sorry we are for the great failures there have been, for our own sakes, for our own flourishing, for the protection of the Church. But we are doing it because we are called to live in the justice of God, and that we will each answer to Him for our failures in this area. And that accountability is one that we must take with the utmost seriousness.”
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote in their joint forward to 'Safeguarding: Follow-up to the Chichester Commissaries' Reports', June 2013:
“We cannot overestimate the importance of responding appropriately today. Sadly for many this comes far too late. History cannot be rewritten, but those who still suffer now as a result of abuse in the past deserve this at least, that we hear their voices and take action to ensure that today’s safeguarding policies and systems are as robust as they can be. This work is an essential and prior Gospel imperative, for any attempts we make to grow the Church, to seek the common good, and to reimagine the Church’s ministry.”
The statutory reports and independent reviews into abuse that have involved the Church of England and other faith organisations highlight past errors and significant lessons to be learnt to improve safeguarding.
As a Church we continue to commit to a journey of truth, healing, learning and abuse prevention.
Based on the foundations outlined above the Church of England commits to the following:
1. Promoting a safer environment and culture
All Church Officers will respect all children, young people and vulnerable adults and promote their well-being.
The Church will strive to create and maintain environments that are safer for all, that promote well-being, that prevent abuse, and that create nurturing, caring conditions within the Church for children, young people and vulnerable adults. It will work to continue to strengthen and review these environments. This will be done by training, support, communication, learning, governance and quality assurance processes.
The Church will strive to support all Church Officers to adhere to safer working good practice and to challenge the abuse of power. It will ensure that processes are in place that listen to and advocate on behalf of children, young people and vulnerable adults within the knowledge that they will be cared for.
2. Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children and vulnerable adults within the Church
The Church will select and vet all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the Church, in accordance with the House of Bishops safeguarding policy and practice guidance.
It will train and equip Church Officers to have the confidence and skills they need to care and support children, young people and vulnerable adults and to recognise and respond to abuse. This will be done by supporting the roll-out of consistent and accessible safeguarding training in accordance with House of Bishops safeguarding policy and practice guidance, which can be found at www.churchofengland.org/more/safeguarding
3. Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation
Anyone who brings any safeguarding suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or non-current abuse to the notice of the Church will be responded to respectfully and in a timely manner, in line with statutory child and adult safeguarding procedures and the House of Bishops safeguarding policy and practice guidance.
All safeguarding work will be recorded in line with the House of Bishops safeguarding practice guidance.
All suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations, that reach the threshold for reporting to the statutory authorities, will be reported via the diocesan safeguarding adviser or designated safeguarding adviser/officer in another church body to the appropriate statutory authorities. This will be done irrespective of the status of the person.
All Church Officers will cooperate with the statutory authorities in all cases.
In responding to concerns or allegations of abuse relating to Church Officers, the Church will act in accordance with the requirements of criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law, and so will respect the rights and uphold the safeguards afforded in these, both to the victim/survivor and the subject of concerns or allegations.
4. Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons
The Church will endeavour to offer care and support to all those that have been abused, regardless of the type of abuse, when or where it occurred.
The Church is committed to continuing to learn how to respond in a supportive and healing way to the needs of those who have suffered abuse.
Those who have suffered abuse within the Church will receive a compassionate response, be listened to and be taken seriously. The Church will respond to any disclosure of abuse in accordance with House of Bishops policy and practice guidance. This will be done in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies in accordance with criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law. They will be offered appropriate pastoral care, counselling and support - according to the agreed need.
An appropriate pastoral response to the family, parish, congregation or order will be considered, with due regard to the right of privacy of those directly involved, and to the administration of justice.
5. Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons
The Church in exercising its responsibilities to suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations of abuse will endeavour to respect the rights under criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law of an accused Church Officer including the clergy. A legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory and Church inquiry processes. As the process progresses additional assessment, therapy and support services may be offered.
The Church will take responsibility for ensuring that steps are taken to protect others when any Church Officer is considered a risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults. This will be done by working to mitigate any identified risks according to a safeguarding agreement.
Church Officers who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse belong to families, congregations and church communities. The Church will be mindful of the need to provide support to members of families, parishes and congregations affected by the Church Officers in such situations.
6. Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others
The Church, based on the message of the gospel, opens its doors to all. It will therefore endeavour to offer pastoral care and support to any member of the church community who may present a known risk.
The Church will ensure that any risk has been assessed and is being managed in a safeguarding agreement in accordance with House of Bishops policy and practice guidance. This will be done in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies in accordance with criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law.