Policy & Procedures for The Legacy Trust
The trustees of the Legacy Trust recognise the importance of its work with children and young people and its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people entrusted to their care.
Staff of the Legacy Trust are not responsible for investigating cases of abuse themselves but have a duty to refer cases of suspected child abuse to Social Services via the appointed Children’s Advocate(s).
Background / Legal Framework
The legal framework for child protection work comes from the Children Act 1989 and the regulation entitled "Working Together- A Guide to Inter-Agency Working in Child Protection", which accompanied the Act.
As part of the Church of England The Legacy Trust’s policy and procedure is informed by the Church’s official policy expressed both centrally and via The Diocese of Chelmsford Child Protection guidelines.
The Church of England, along with many other parts of the Church, has adopted a formal policy on protecting children from abuse. It forms part of the wider commitment to nurturing and supporting our children. The Diocese of Chelmsford Child Protection Guidelines focus on child abuse: how to minimize the risk of it happening and how to respond when suspicions arise.
Within the diocese the Bishop has his own Bishop's Representative for Child Protection, who reports directly to him. She will give advice or consultation.
In relation to abuse itself, it is estimated nationally that about 10% of children have been sexually abused in some way, with probably a similar percentage having been abused in other ways, with between one fifth to one third on average of all sexual abuse being carried out by children under the age of 18, this being child on child abuse.
Following investigations on abuse the vast majority of children remain at home with at least one of their carers, so the number of children who end up being taken into care is very small. Abuse takes place across all classes, cultures, religions and ethnic groups.
Most sexual abuse is carried out by males although there is evidence of sexual abuse by women and this should not be discounted. With other forms of abuse it is more evenly spread between men and women.
What is Covered by Child Protection Procedures?
Abuse, as dealt with under child protection procedures, is physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect carried out by either members of the child's family, extended family, people in a position of trust or people with regular contact with the child, for instance baby sitters, close family friends etc.
It is usually therefore, abuse carried out by a person or persons known to the child.
If a child is attacked by a stranger then this would be a matter for the police outside of child protection procedures, unless there were other concerns for the child.
In relation to child protection a child is someone under 18 years.
Basic Principles of Child Protection
Staff and volunteers working for the Legacy Trust have a moral duty to refer cases of abuse to Social Services. Therefore information cannot be treated as confidential and the child must not be promised confidentiality.
The child must be listened to and supported and the appropriate action taken.
Children should not be put under pressure to disclose information that they are not ready to give, even if they may have only given part of the story.
Staff must not arrange any medical examinations of a child nor undress a child to look for injuries in cases of suspected abuse. However, injuries shown voluntarily should be observed and noted.
NB: In all circumstances keep information on a "need to know" basis so that any alleged perpetrator is not "tipped off". The child or young person's privacy should be respected at all times.
Role of the Legacy Trust
Types of Abuse
This is a physical injury which is inflicted by a person known to the child or which was knowingly not prevented. Signs of physical abuse can include the following:
This is described as the persistent or severe neglect of a child's needs which results in a serious impairment of the child's health or development. Signs of neglect can include:
This is described as the persistent or severe emotional ill treatment of a child which has a severe adverse effect on the emotional development and behaviour of the child. Signs can include:
This is the involvement of children in sexual activities of any kind which is inappropriate. This includes physical sexual interference, sexual intercourse, being shown pornographic videos or magazines, being made to observe sexual activity or being made to sexually satisfy adults, for instance through masturbation. Signs of sexual abuse can include:
NB: This is not an exhaustive list but these are all signs which indicate that abuse may be occurring, although there may be other explanations for a child displaying these signs. They are only intended as a guide and must be seen in context in relation to the child's age and stage of maturation. Any concerns you may have about a child should be discussed immediately with your designated member of staff (Children's Advocates) before any action is taken.
Groups of children most at risk
All children are at risk, but we know that sexual abusers tend to target specific groups of children because of their increased vulnerability, which include:
Pressures on Children not to disclose
Children are often under tremendous pressure from the abuser not to say anything. This can include threats of violence or death, telling the child they will be responsible for the break up of the family or the abuser going to prison, or the abuser bribing the child. Children often have very mixed feelings about the abuser, they may love them but want the abuse to stop. Therefore children find it very hard to disclose abuse and the amount of courage needed to do so should be remembered when a child discloses.
Factors Which May Contribute to Abusive Behaviour
Physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect can be the result of stress within the family, such as poor housing, financial problems, separation/divorce, bereavement, mental health problems or drug and alcohol misuse by parents. However, such abuse can also be deliberate and malicious not resulting from any known stress factors, although these two explanations are not mutually exclusive.
Sexual abuse, however, is deliberate and planned and is not the result of momentary loss of self control or being drunk. Adult sexual abusers go through a process of preparing themselves and their victims before starting to abuse and may well be abusing more than one child. Adults who are abusing their own children may also be abusing children they know outside of the family.
Sexual abuse is not primarily about the need for sexual gratification but is concerned with the abuse of power by someone with authority over, or some responsibility for the child.
Responding to Children
If you have any concerns that a child may be being abused or you see suspicious injuries or a child discloses abuse, then you must immediately discuss the situation with the designated member of staff who will then take responsibility for ensuring that the appropriate action is taken, either by making a referral to Social Services in line with procedures, contacting the Bishop's Representative for Child Protection or by setting up a system for monitoring the child as appropriate. The detailed procedures are contained within the Diocese of Chelmsford Child Protection Guidelines.
If a child discloses abuse, allow the child to talk but do not conduct an in depth interview or try to get them to say more than they wish to. You must listen to the child and tell them you will be passing on the information to people who can help them. Never promise confidentiality in order to encourage a child to talk about abuse. Do not delay in passing on your concerns to the designated member of staff (Children's Advocate).
Helpful things you might say or convey
NB Do not discuss the disclosure with anyone except the people who "need to know" ie the Children's Advocate and/or Social Services
Informing Parents of a Referral to Social ServicesPhysical, emotional abuse and neglect:
Do not inform parents of a referral unless specifically told to do so by social services.
If a child has to be taken to hospital, hospital staff should be informed of any child protection concerns. Parents need to be informed that their child has been taken to hospital.
If there is an issue of poor parenting seek advice from children’s advocate before speaking to the parents.
In cases where a referral is being made concerning sexual abuse, the parents must not be told of the referral under any circumstances, even if it is not the parent whom you suspect of being the abuser. This is because of the different procedures which Social Services follow in investigating sexual abuse and the fact that you could alert the abuser, which could put the child at risk or lose valuable evidence. If it is thought that the child is likely to tell their parents that a referral has been made to Social Services then the designated person must tell the Social worker at the time of the referral.
Any necessary medical examination will be arranged by Social Services, with the parents consent as part of their investigation. The only exception is if a child is taken seriously ill whilst at a Legacy event and abuse is suspected, in which case the child needs to be taken to hospital or an ambulance called, Social Services must be informed immediately by designated person (Children's Advocate) of the action taken and about the concerns of the abuse and the parent should be informed, but without mentioning the concerns about abuse.
Making Referrals to Social Services
Referrals are made by phone by the designated member of staff who should ask for the duty social worker in the Children and Families team and must be confirmed in writing within 24 hours of the referral being made and must use the standard child abuse referral form. Referrals on children living in the County of Essex are made to: Social Services, on 01245 434090 ( helpline) or 01245 434083 ( after hours emergencies).
It is vitally important that if you have any suspicions of abuse or receive a disclosure, that detailed written notes are made by all members of staff involved using the child's and / or parent's own words where possible, which must be signed and dated. Including a simple line diagram of any injuries seen would also be very useful.
Abuse by Children on Children
If you are concerned about the behaviour of a child towards other children and feel that their behaviour may be considered abusive, especially sexually abusive, then this must be reported to the designated member of staff (Children's Advocate).
Abuse by Staff
If you suspect, or receive information concerning the possible abuse of children by a member of staff, then you must report this immediately to the designated person, unless it is them that you are concerned about in which case you should inform another senior member of staff.
Ex-Offenders or Known Former Abusers Within the Congregation
Where it is known or suspected that an ex- offender attends a church the advice of the Bishop's Representative for Child Protection should be sought who will assist the PCC in deciding upon appropriate safeguards.
When someone attending the church is known to have abused children, the church leadership will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral support, but in it's commitment to the protection of children, set boundaries for that person which they will be expected to keep.
Adult Survivors of Abuse Within the Congregation
Every church is likely to have amongst it's members adults who have experienced abuse during childhood or as adults. A few people claim to have experienced sexual abuse where there is no certainty of this.
All of us are made in the image of God, whose desire it is that we develop trusting, loving relationships with others and with him. Child abuse damages that capacity and survivors often have low self esteem and difficulties in building relationships, alongside a need for acceptance by the Christian community. The church leadership is committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support to those attending the church who have been affected by abuse.
Sources of Advice
In the first instance, all concerns must be reported to your designated member of staff (Children's Advocate) or pastor Peter Hillman, who should be able to give appropriate advice and will help to deal with any concerns:
Children's Advocate is: Lyn Lilywhite
Pastor: Peter Hillman Tel: 01268 755306
However, additional advice can be obtained without making a referral from:
The Bishop of Chelmsford’s Representative for Child Protection Issues: Mrs Gill Hartley, Tel/fax: 01245 251461
Revd. Jeremy Allcock (St Paul’s East Ham) Tel: 0208 552 9955
One of the Child Protection Advisors based in Essex Social Services on Tel: 01245 434090 ( helpline), who if necessary could arrange a formal consultation for you in order to discuss your concerns.
Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) : Tel 0845 120 45 50
Child Line: Tel: 0800 1111.
NSPPC: Tel: 0800 800 5000.
Child abuse should not be dealt with alone and if you have any concerns at all about a child seek immediate advice.
Compiled by Liz Jermy, Nov 2003
Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service; " Guidance to Churches July 2003
Children in the Diocese of London; Promoting their welfare Protecting them from harm. The London Diocese Bishops' Advisors Group. 2001
Chelmsford Diocese child protection policy 1999