Key Roles and Responsibilities
Please note under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016*** all authorised clergy, bishops, archdeacons, licensed readers and lay workers, churchwardens and PCCs must have 'due regard' to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops (this will include both policy and practice guidance). A duty to have 'due regard' to guidance means that the person under the duty is not free to disregard it but is required to follow it unless there are cogent reasons for not doing so. ('Cogent' for this purpose means clear, logical and convincing.) Failure by clergy to comply with the duty imposed by the 2016 Measure may result in disciplinary action.
***The Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 applies to the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and York (including the Diocese in Europe subject to local variations/modifications), with the exception of the Channel Islands and Sodor and Man. In order to extend the 2016 Measure to the Channel Islands or Sodor and Man legislation will need to be passed by the relevant island jurisdictions in accordance with section 12 of that Measure.
- Safe Recruitment: DBS Checks & Confidential Declaration Forms
Creating a Safer Environment
The Church of England has made six clear commitments, set out in the House of Bishop’s policy document Promoting a Safer Church, regarding the safeguarding of children and adults. The church has committed itself to: 1. Promoting a safer environment and culture 2. Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the Church 3. Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation 4. Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons 5. Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons 6. Responding to those who may present a risk to others
This document provides parishes with detailed guidance about the first of those commitments, Promoting a Safer Environment. It is intended to act as a ‘How to…’ guide to help churches meet that commitment in their everyday ministry. It covers topics such as expected standards of behaviour, adult-to-child ratios, parental consent, and risk assessments for activities. It has been produced to give clear guidance to many of the questions that parishes most often ask about keeping people safe in church.
Displaying your parish Safeguarding arrangements
The Church of England’s House of Bishops policy is that parishes need to display information about their safeguarding arrangements.
Parishes should display:
- A formal statement of adoption of the House of Bishops’ ‘Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement’. This should be signed on behalf of the PCC
- Contact details of the Parish Safeguarding Adviser (PSA), churchwarden and any other local leaders
- Information about where to get help with child and adult safeguarding issues e.g. local authority contact details, domestic abuse and key helplines such as Childline.
The Parish Safeguarding Handbook offers additional guidance that a parish should also ‘ensure that safeguarding arrangements are clearly visible on the front page of the parish website’.
Each parish may decide what information to put on its website.
If it has no website it may offer some information on the national Church’s A Church Near You (ACNY) website (www.achurchnearyou.com).
Every parish church has an ACNY page (and can edit it), with a ‘safeguarding’ tab (red arrow) at the foot, taking the user through to an interactive map which locates the correct diocesan safeguarding details.
Additionally, if they wish, churches can add a page to their ACNY profile with their own parish Safeguarding details.
A guide on how to add pages to ACNY can be found on the ‘Editor Help Centre’ which is also visible at the foot of each ACNY page for logged-in editors.
The ACNY Editor Help Centre also provides blogs on how to use ACNY more widely, including how to become an editor if your church does not yet use the site.
- If you have further questions, please contact your diocesan communication team (www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/communications) who are regularly briefed about ACNY updates and are in contact with the national digital team.
Procedure for Handling Concerns and Allegations
Please find below the Guidance for the Handling of Safeguarding Concerns, Incidents and Allegations.
- Responding to Safeguarding Concerns or Allegations that relate to Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults practice guidance (2018)
- Responding to, assessing and managing concerns or allegations against church officers practice guidance (2017)
Support for Victims and Survivors
Support for victims and survivors
If you are a survivor of abuse, and would like to talk to someone, there are a number of people who would like to help.
If you want to speak to someone within the Diocese of York, you can speak to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser on 07551 124951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a number of organisations and services which specialise in offering support to survivors of church-related abuse:
Accessing support in the Church of England
- Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service for anyone who has experienced abuse in relation to the Church of England, the Church in Wales, or the Catholic Church of England and Wales. You can contact the Safe Spaces team through their helpline (0300 303 1056), their live chat facility or by emailing email@example.com.
- The Church of England’s Interim Support Scheme offers immediate help and support to survivors whose life circumstances are significantly affected by the abuse suffered, and the response to it.
Accessing support from partners and relevant organisations
- MACSAS supports women and men who have been sexually abused, as children or adults, by ministers, clergy or others under the guise of the Church. They support both Survivors who have remained within their Christian communities and those who have left.
- Survivors Voices is a survivor-led organisation that runs peer support groups for victim-survivors of all kinds of abuse, including faith-based abuse. It has a newsletter and other special events for survivors of abuse experienced in churches and other faith-based communities.
- Replenished Life is an independent charity that provides practical advice and support for those who have experienced abuse and trauma within faith and faith organisations providing a range of options.
- 'Thirtyone:eight is a leading independent, non-denominational Christian safeguarding charity providing a wide range of support to over 10,000 organisations across the UK. They exist to help create safer places for all, including an open-access helpline
If you want to inform the Statutory Authorities, you can speak to a Local Authority Designated Officer, and you can find their details through the Local Safeguarding Children Boards listed below.
- Hull Safeguarding Children's Board
- East Riding Safeguarding Children's Board
- City of York Safeguarding Children's Board
- North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children's Board
- Redcar and Cleveland Safeguarding Children's Board
- Middlesbrough Safeguarding Children's Board
- Stockton Safeguarding Children's Board
- Leeds Safeguarding Children's Board
Finding support from other organisations
There are a number of charities and organisations that can offer support to victims and survivors of all types of abuse outside of office hours, either on a 24-hour basis or through specialist helplines and services:
- Age UK is the leading charity for older people. You can contact Age UK for help, information and advice on 0800 678 1602, 8am-7pm, 365 days a year.
- Childline is a free, private and confidential service designed to help anyone under the age of 19 with any issue they're going through. You can talk to their counsellors by calling 0800 1111, email or using a 1-2-1 chat
- Hourglass (formerly Action on Elder Abuse) works to challenge and prevent the abuse of older people. Call their helpline on 0808 808 8141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you're worried about a child or young person, you can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 for support and advice for free.
- Rape Crisis
- Women's Aid
- Victim Support
- The Survivors Trust
- Male Survivors Partnership
- Refuge's 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247) supports women fleeing domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence.
- Samaritans are available 24 hours a day for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Call 116 123 for free.
- If you identify as LGBT+ and have experienced abuse and violence, you can call Galop – the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity – on 0800 999 5428 for emotional and practical support.
- Male victims of domestic abuse can call Men's Advice Line on 0808 8010 327 or ManKind (0182 3334 244) for non-judgemental information and support.
- NAPAC supports adults recovering from childhood abuse. Call their free, confidential support line on 0808 801 0331.
Recording, data protection and information sharing
Good record keeping is an important part of the safeguarding task. A record, called a case file, should be opened whenever a safeguarding concern or allegation occurs in a church. The record should include key contact details, dates of when the information became known and the nature ofthe concerns.The record should include ongoing actions with dates, other key documents on the case file (e.g. observation notes, reports, consentforms etc.) and the case closure date. Records should use straight forward language and be concise and accurate so that they can be understood by anyone not familiar with the case.
Record retention and security
The safeguarding case files, whether electronic or paper, must be stored securely by the incumbent and the PSO.This should include identifying who should have access to them. Records in relation to safeguarding issues, even if they have not been proven, should be maintained in accordance with the Church’s retention guidance. Ift he incumbent moves from the church,the records should be passed to the new incumbent.
Data protection and information sharing
In May 2018,the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 replaced the Data Protection Act 1998. The GDPR contains the principles governing the use of personal data. It should be noted that the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 place greater significance on organisations being accountable and transparent in relation to their use of personal data. Parishes handling personal data need to have the proper arrangements for collecting, storing and sharing information.
Personal information in relation to safeguarding will often be sensitive and is likely to be classed as what is called ‘special categories of personal data’ undertheGDPR, which means extra care will need to be taken when handling such data.Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that the Data Protection Act 2018 includes specific reference to processing data in relation to the ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ and allows individuals to share, in certain situations, personal data without consent.
‘The GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 do not prevent, or limit,the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children and young people safe’ and this can equally be said to apply to vulnerable adults.
I need support - who can I contact?
If you need support, advice, answers to any questions on any matter to do with safeguarding, please get in contact with us.
Safeguarding does not have to be a lonely place, and you are part of a wider team within the Diocese of York.
You are supported in your role by:
- Rob Marshall, our Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
- Sara Dickinson, Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
- Mike Tyler, DBS Administrator
- Jenny Price, Safeguarding Trainer and Volunteer Coordinator
- Kim Phillips, Safeguarding Training Administrator
- Andy Broom, Archdeacon of the East Riding
- Sam Rushton, Archdeacon of York
- Amanda Bloor, Archdeacon of Cleveland
You can also contact local safeguarding boards for help, and national support networks.
All of these contact details are available on our Contact Safeguarding page.