Safeguarding Policy

HEALING ROOMS ENGLAND & WALES SAFEGUARDING POLICY

INTRODUCTION

Name of the organisation: Healing Rooms England and Wales (HREW)

Address: Danesford Community Centre, West Road, Congleton, CW12 4EY

Tel No: +44(0)7948 085337    Email: contact@healingrooms.org.uk

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance and direction to all Trustees, staff and volunteers in order to protect young people under 18 years of age (hereafter referred to as children) and vulnerable adults who may come to the Healing Rooms for prayer ministry.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Trustees of HREW recognise the importance of their ministry to children and vulnerable adults and their responsibility to protect and safeguard their welfare when they visit the Healing Rooms.

As part of its mission, HREW is committed to:

  • Valuing, listening to and respecting children and vulnerable adults as well as promoting their welfare and protection.
  • Adopting a procedure for dealing with concerns about possible abuse.
  • Supporting those affected by abuse.
  • Encouraging and supporting parents/carers.
  • Maintaining good links with the statutory childcare authorities and other organisations.
  • Safe recruitment, supervision and training for all HREW Team Members.

HREW POLICY

HREW aims to provide a friendly, caring, and safe environment.

HREW recognises that it is the responsibility of each of its team members to prevent abuse of any kind to children and vulnerable adults entrusted to them and to report any abuse discovered or suspected. All team members are in a position of trust therefore it is expected that this trust will not be abused.

HREW recognises its responsibility to implement, maintain and regularly review procedures which are designed to prevent abuse and be alert to such abuse.

All who minister with HREW will have completed the HREW Training Course and all team members will be working under the supervision of the directors of each individual Healing Room.

HREW is committed to maintaining good links with the statutory child care authorities (Social Services) and any other agency involved in protecting children and vulnerable adults.

Any premises used by HREW is inspected for areas where abuse could take place and inspected at regular intervals.

 AREAS OF POLICY

HREW recognises that many children and vulnerable adults today are the victims of neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Accordingly, HREW has adopted the policy contained in this document, (hereafter “the policy”). The policy sets out agreed guidelines relating to the following areas:

  • Responding to allegations of abuse, including those made against team members of HREW.
  • Helping victims of abuse.
  • Supervision of prayer ministry.
  • Appointing team members.

AIMS OF THIS POLICY:

  1. To act at all times, in the best interests of the child or vulnerable adult.
  2. To alert relevant authorities without undue delay where other children or vulnerable adults may be at risk.
  3. If there is a conflict between these two aims, the latter is likely to take precedence.
  4. To care for the individual’s immediate needs and draw in the relevant statutory bodies where appropriate.
  5. Make contact with the Social Services Department
  6. Obtain suitable training and materials for team members.

 

 

GATHERING INFORMATION AND REPORTING CONCERNS

It is not the role of HREW to investigate allegations of abuse. However all staff and volunteers have a responsibility to take action when they suspect a child or vulnerable adult may be a victim of harm or significant abuse.

  • In order to most effectively help the child/vulnerable adult, encourage them to talk without feeling the need to identify the perpetrator. They are coming in a very vulnerable state. Our attitude towards the child/vulnerable adult needs to be one of respect and that the information shared is theirs, that they understand what they have shared, remembering it is their choice what is shared.
  • Encourage the child/vulnerable adult to give details – names etc., being careful NOT to put words in his/her mouth or ask leading questions to “establish” allegations which may or may not be true.
  • Emphasise that the child or vulnerable adult are not to blame for the abuse and that the authorities are there to protect them.
  • DO NOT encourage the child/vulnerable adult to talk to parents/carers or other family member except where this is advised. (In some cases this will be considered inadvisable at this stage.)
  • Never promise absolute confidentiality.
  • Do not discuss any suspicions or allegations with anyone other than those responsible for safeguarding/Director/Associate Director.
  • Ensure that Social Services are informed or the police if a criminal offence may have been committed as a matter of urgency. (N.B. Sexual abuse of child under 16 years.)
  • Make an accurate record of each conversation to include team worker’s comments, his/her responses, carefully dated and signed by the team member.
  • Ensure correct details are available, the person’s name and address and name and address of parent/guardian.
  • Write down notes, dates, times, facts, observations and verbatim speech. (Do not use the word disclosed or disclosure. It is a legal term and could negate the report in a court of law.)
  • Keep all hand-written notes securely even if subsequently typed up. Record within one hour.
  • Record all notes, conversations and advise from Social Services in a confidential file. Ensure confidentiality is maintained for all concerned.
  • Store information in a secure place with limited access to designated people in line with data protection.
  • Follow advice from Social Services and take no further action unless advised to by Social Services.
  • The Director of the Healing Room or Associate Director present when the allegation was made or abuse suspected will be the designated contact person. The Regional Director and Head Office are to be informed of the allegation.

Conclusion:

  • Show acceptance of what the child/vulnerable adult says (however unlikely the story may sound.)
  • Keep calm.
  • Look at the child/vulnerable adult directly.
  • Be honest.
  • Tell the child/vulnerable adult you will need to let someone else know – don’t promise confidentiality.
  • Be aware that the child/vulnerable adult may have been threatened or bribed not to tell.
  • Never push for information.  If the child/vulnerable adult decides not to tell you after all, then accept that and let them know that you are always ready to listen.
  • At all stages DO NOT TAKE CONTROL AWAY. Present choices and explain why it might be important for what they have experienced to be investigated.

Priority is to:

  • Gain their confidence.
  • Gather valuable information.

Don’t:

  • Try to sort it all out as quickly as possible.
  • Try to cover up or contain the facts to protect the abuser, the family, HREW, a local church or any other body.

SUPERVISION OF PRAYER MINISTRY FOR CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS

  • Keep language simple and short when praying and generally keep prayer times short.  This will help with a child’s/vulnerable adult’s understanding.
  • If a child/vulnerable adult becomes distressed, cease to pray and reassess the situation.
  • Those ministering to children/vulnerable adults should be familiar with Child/Vulnerable Adult Protection Guidelines as outlined in this policy.
  • Private prayer ministry - before a child/vulnerable adult comes in the context of private prayer ministry, permission must be sought from their parent, guardian or carer – we would expect a parent or designated adult to be present during sessions. Accompaniment and parent/guardian consent may be relaxed for those aged 16-17 at the discretion of the prayer ministry team leader.

 APPOINTING TEAM MEMBERS

  • Staff and volunteers are carefully selected, trained and supervised.
  • Two references will be asked for and verified.
  • DBS checks are not presently required but when ministering to children or vulnerable adults the presence of a parent/guardian or carer is required.

 

DEFINITIONS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF ABUSE

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse causes harm to a child/vulnerable adult. It may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning or suffocating. It may be done deliberately or recklessly, or be the result of a deliberate failure to prevent injury occurring. It can also occur when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of or deliberately causes ill health to a child/vulnerable adult whom they are looking after.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent or severe failure to meet a child’s/vulnerable adult’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in serious impairment of the child’s/vulnerable adult’s health or development. It may involve a failure to provide adequate food clothing or shelter, failing to protect a child/vulnerable adult from physical harm or danger, or failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also involve neglect of, or inadequate response to, a child’s/vulnerable adult’s basic emotional needs.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves a child/vulnerable adult being forced or coerced into participating in or watching sexual activity. It is not necessary for the child/vulnerable adult to be aware that the activity is sexual and the apparent consent of the child/vulnerable adult is irrelevant. The acts may involve physical contact including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may involve non-contact activities such as involving children/vulnerable adults in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children/vulnerable adults to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse occurs where there is persistent emotional ill treatment or rejection such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s/vulnerable adult’s behaviour and emotional development, resulting in low self-worth. It may involve conveying to children/vulnerable adults that they are worthless or unloved, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children/vulnerable adults. It may involve causing children/vulnerable adults frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children/vulnerable adults. Some level of emotional abuse is present in all forms of abuse.

Other types of abuse commonly recognised, such as commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, are complex manifestations of a combination of the above four categories. It is important to highlight that bullying is also a form of abuse as it is an act of aggressive behaviour in order to intentionally hurt another person or persons, mentally, physically and/or sexually.

Abuse can take place in many forms and anywhere, that is, in the family, community or on the Internet. Abuse is also manifesting itself in digital and augmented technologies such as smart phones. This can be virtual or real and can take many forms including sexual harassment and child pornography.

 It should be remembered that although we commonly think of adults as those who abuse children, children can also be the perpetrators.

Organised Abuse

Organised or multiple abuse may be defined as abuse involving one or more abuser and a number of related or non-related abused children/vulnerable adults. The abusers concerned may be acting in concert to abuse children/vulnerable adults, sometimes acting in isolation, or may be using an institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children/vulnerable adults for abuse.

Organised and multiple abuse occur both as part of a network of abuse across a family or community, and within institutions such as residential homes or schools.

Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy (Deliberate Harm)

The Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry defines Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy as:

“A form of child/vulnerable adult abuse in which the parents, or carers, give false accounts of symptoms in their children/vulnerable adults and may fake signs of illness (to draw attention to themselves). They seek repeated medical investigations and needless treatment for their children/vulnerable adults.”

(A child/vulnerable adult may suffer more than one category of abuse).

Key concepts and definitions

  • Vulnerable Adults: Any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
  • Safeguarding and protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
  • Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
  • Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community and in an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.

This policy will be reviewed annually by the HREW Trustees.