Parish safeguarding

Please find below a selection of material for parishes to download to help them provide safer churches for all, including guidance for video and photography and hiring out your church hall. There is also information on domestic abuse.

Parish Safeguarding Policy Statement

The draft outline safeguarding policy is aimed at parishes who want a concise safeguarding policy statement to share with the Church Community. It is a brief summary of the full National Policy.

It can also be used as a basis for developing a parish safeguarding policy and procedure where one doesn’t presently exist – each paragraph can be taken individually, and a discussion held about “How will we do that in our parish? Who will take responsibility for it?”

You can personalise the document to meet the needs of your parish, including adding your parish or benefice logo, parish name (for example, where it says “This/our parish” throughout), names of Parish Safeguarding Officers, Churchwardens and Clergy etc. Once agreed it can be adopted by the PCC as the Safeguarding Policy that the parish agrees to uphold. This includes agreement to follow the House of Bishops Practice Guidance, and the National Church Safeguarding Policy. The latest versions of the Guidance and Policy are in this section, and will be updated as new information comes out from the House of Bishops.

Parish Safeguarding Officer role

With the support of the diocesan safeguarding team, the Parish Safeguarding Officer is involved in:

  • Safer recruitment, including ensuring that the Church of England Safer Recruitment policies are followed whenever someone is being recruited to a paid or volunteer role in the parish; and the administration of the DBS checking system;
  • Responding to any disclosure made or concerns raised if somebody believes that a child, young person or vulnerable adult may have suffered, may be suffering or is at risk of harm though abuse, exploitation or neglect. This response includes keeping clear records of any concerns raised, and liaising with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. It may also involve helping to arrange support for any victims of abuse, and reporting concerns to the statutory authorities such as Police and Social Services;
  • Working with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and the Incumbent to support and monitor the attendance at church of people who have been accused or convicted of violent or sexual offences, or other offences against vulnerable people;
  • Raising the profile of safeguarding in their parish, by providing regular reports to the PCC, putting up on noticeboards or distributing copies of the Safeguarding Newsletter, encouraging relevant people to attend safeguarding training and ensuring that the parish has adopted and follows diocesan safeguarding policies. If you would like a course to be delivered in your parish, please contact the safeguarding team so that arrangements can be made. Ideally, you will have at least 12 people requiring training, but if you don’t think that you have this number of people locally, the course can be advertised more widely across the diocese on the safeguarding training pages of our website.

Safeguarding young bell ringers

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has produced a guidance note gives advice to ringers, Parochial Church Councils and Clergy regarding child protection in towers where bells are rung manually. You can download it below.

Theological resources for the local church

At the bottom of the page can be found some excellent resources for churches who wish to consider how they might discuss and develop their approach to protecting and valuing all the members of their community, including those who have suffered abuse in church settings in the past; and those who have harmed others in the past but now wish to make a new life in Christ. Safeguarding from abuse and responding well to it needs to be grounded in Christian theology and so should be part of the Church’s regular ministry of preaching and teaching. Good safeguarding is integral to the mission of the Church.

Domestic abuse

There is a selection of material below covering the subject of domestic abuse, and there is also a section on domestic abuse in the Church of England Parish Safeguarding Handbook

General guidance

South-West Child Protection Procedures – multi-agency child protection guidelines

Social Care Institute for Excellence –  vulnerable adult safeguarding procedures

Who to contact

Safeguarding Team

Downloads

Towards a safer church

Parish safeguarding advice for parents

Introduction to the role of the Safeguarding Officer

Safeguarding in bell towers

Hire of premises safeguarding form

Guidance:photographing/videoing children, young people and vulnerable adults 

Form: photographing/videoing children, young people and vulnerable adults

Safeguarding Guidance for use of Facebook and other Social Media

Forgiveness and reconciliation - a theological guide

The Gospel and Sexual Abuse in the Church

Responding well to domestic abuse

Parish statement on domestic abuse

DBS training record

Young Helper Form