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Safeguarding policy

Safeguarding Policy - Children & Adults

Trinity church Totton

What are we protecting people from?

The definitions of abuse differ between children and adults at risk. A copy of the definitions relating to children is attached to this policy at Appendix 7. The definitions of abuse in relation to adults at risk is attached as Appendix 8.

How to recognise abuse

It is important to be aware of possible signs and symptoms of abuse. A list of such possible signs and symptoms in relation to children is attached at Appendix 9 and in relation to Adults at Appendix 10. Some signs could be indicators of a number of different categories.

It is essential to note that these are only indicators of possible abuse. There may be other, innocent, reasons for any of these signs and/or behaviour. They will, however, be a guide to assist in assessing whether abuse of one form or another is a possible explanation for a child or adult’s behaviour.

What to do if there is a disclosure or allegation of abuse

If a child trusts an adult/or other child enough to disclose abuse it is vital s/he is taken seriously and is crucial that all workers are aware of how to respond. It is important to explain to children that confidentiality cannot be promised, when they make such disclosures, and depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to get other people involved to help if they or someone else, is being harmed or is at risk of being harmed.

It is not always possible to stop children in mid-flow, but when you are listening to children making a disclosure:


  • Stay calm

  • Let the child talk and listen attentively, giving the child your complete attention

  • Accept what is said without judgement

  • Reassure the child that they are right to share these sort of things

  • Seek medical attention if necessary

  • Reassure the child that you will make sure that they will be supported during the difficult time to come

  • Tell the child that they are not to blame for the abuse they have suffered

  • Explain what you will do next


Do not:

  • Panic

  • Confront people alleged to be responsible for, or be involved in, the abuse

  • Press for information or put words into children’s mouths

  • Promise confidentiality, but explain that you will tell someone who can help

  • Investigate

  • Ask questions especially leading questions, such as ‘so if it sounds like you have been abused’.

  • Ask the child to repeat the disclosure over and over

  • Take any action which would undermine any future investigation or disciplinary process

  • Say everything will be alright

  • Give any reassurance about what is likely to happen to them

  • Keep it to yourself


If abuse is discovered, disclosed or suspected:

  • Consult your church’s safeguarding coordinator*, deputy co-ordinator* or the Synod Safeguarding Officer in the first instance (*if either of these are implicated, only discuss the matter with the co-ordinator who is not implicated). Do not discuss the situation with anyone else in the church unless they have a safeguarding remit with the church, for example, the minister for pastoral matters.

  • If the child is at risk if they were to return home, contact Children’s Services/Social or the police.

  • Record conversations as soon as possible and certainly within 24 hours.

  • Make a written record of the allegation, disclosure or incident and sign and date this record (using the template in Appendix 11). This should be given to the Church Safeguarding Coordinator.  Any such records will be stored securely in a locked filing cabinet.

  • Keep copies of handwritten notes made at the time, even if these are subsequently typed up.

  • Do not delay.

  • Do not act alone.


Procedure in the event of a concern of abuse

Trinity church recognises the need to refer concern to, and consult with, the Church Safeguarding Co-ordinator as laid out below. There may be occasions where this is not possible, because of the need for immediate action/decision which will need to be taken by the worker present. Actions taken/decisions made, will need to be reported to the Church Safeguarding Co-ordinator as soon as practically possible.

Actions taken in response to concern of abuse will be in accordance with URC Good Practice Guidelines, so as to work in line with legislation, government recommendations and statutory authority practices. If there is an immediate risk of harm the Police will be contacted.

Where it is judged that there is no immediate risk of harm the following will occur:-

  • The concern should be discussed with the Church Safeguarding Co-ordinator and a decision made as to whether the concern warrants a referral to statutory agencies (see page 4 for the relevant statutory contacts)

  • A confidential record will be made of the conversation and circumstances surrounding it using the template at Appendix 11. This record will be kept securely and a copy passed to statutory agencies if a referral is made.

  • The person, about whom the allegation is made, must not be informed by anyone involved with the church, if it is judged that to do so would increase the risk of harm to the child or adult at risk.


If an allegation is regarding someone from within the Church

We will inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer, so that they can offer advice and support, and we will contact the relevant statutory agency. 


If an allegation is regarding a Church worker

Most workers work well and safely with children. However, some people will cause harm to those they work with. On occasion, this is intentional and, regrettably, a part of their motivation to work with children. For others, it may be as a result of poor attitudes, low standards of care or inadequate awareness of professional boundaries.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding harm caused to children by workers, the URC believes it is never acceptable.


Referral criteria

It is essential that local Churches know how to manage allegations of abuse against workers. We endorse and follow the guidance issued in ‘Working together to safeguard children 2015’ which details clear criteria for the referral, by churches, of concerns about workers’ (paid and unpaid, lay or ordained) to the Local Authority Designated officer (LADO).

Referrals can also be made to the police.

LADO Telephone number:    01962 867 364

LADO Email:               


This guidance states that a referral must be made without delay where it is alleged a worker has:

  • Behaved in a way which has harmed a child or may have harmed a child

  • Or possibly has committed a criminal offence against or related to a child

  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way which indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children


These procedures may also be used where concerns arise about:

  • A person’s behaviour in their personal life, which may impact on the safety of children to whom they owe a duty of care

  •  A person’s behaviour with regard to their own children


If an allegation requiring immediate attention is received outside normal office hours, the out of hours emergency duty team or police should be contacted and the LADO informed the next working day.


Concerns outside the referral criteria

Concerns which fall outside these criteria may nevertheless amount to inappropriate conduct. The church should seek advice from the Synod Safeguarding Officer to decide whether to handle this by way of advice, supervision, training, disciplinary processes or a combination of some or all of these.

A record should be kept of all allegations made.


Who should be informed of a referral?

The Synod Safeguarding Officer should be informed in respect of any referral made to a LADO. The Synod Moderator should be informed if the allegation relates to an ordained or commissioned minister. Moderators will inform the URC General Secretary as appropriate.

Where there is potential reputational risk to the Church, the URC press office should also be informed.

The worker concerned should be informed as soon as possible after consultation with the LADO, with due regard for protecting evidence. A decision about who should inform the worker will be made in consultation with the LADO and the Synod Safeguarding Officer.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

In accordance with the law, a referral will be made to the DBS if the church withdraws permission for an individual to engage in work with children or adults at risk or would have done so had that individual not resigned, retired, been made redundant.

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