Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

The Designated Safeguarding Lead is Tony Lawless

In his absence, the Designated Safeguarding Lead is Melany Francisco-Lawless

The following are appointed counter signatory:

Angie Richardson   Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator

Meriel Anderson  Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor

Yvonne Brown   Safeguarding Administrative Assistant (full-time)

The Youth Ministry Trust [YMT] offers services to young people in a variety of contexts across the area of the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese in locations such as schools, churches and the Emmaus Village. YMT as a company has agreed to work within the overall Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of the Diocese and as such welcomes the support offered by the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.

All staff and volunteers at YMT are committed to the safety of young people while engaged in YMT activities. We are committed to the Safeguarding Policies of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults from any form of abuse or maltreatment and to promote a safe environment for them.

This commitment flows from the fact that every human being has a value and dignity which we as Catholics acknowledge as coming directly from God’s creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. This implies a duty to value all people and therefore to support them and protect them from harm.

In order to ensure that the welfare of young people is nurtured, upheld and protected, all activities are carefully planned and take place in an environment in which young people feel safe, secure, confident, valued and respected.

Due to the variety of ministries which take place, those who work with young people are carefully selected and when concerns arise, they are dealt with robustly.

The Youth Ministry Trust fully adheres to National Catholic Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.

  • Role of Safeguarding Lead
    • Act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of safety and safeguarding
    • Liaise with other agencies and professionals
    • Ensuring that all staff receive appropriate training every year
    • Advise new staff of the safeguarding arrangements and contact details of the designated safeguarding lead, as part of their induction.
    • Ensure staff are updated regularly on current child protection issues and to provide a forum for the development of good practice.
    • Ensure staff know how to respond to disclosures and allegations.
    • Meet with the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator on a regular basis to ensure there is a sound communication link.
  • Youth Ministry Staffing – YMT delivers its services through a mix of paid employees and unpaid volunteers of all ages. For the purposes of this policy statement, all who deliver services are deemed to be “Staff”. Safe Recruitment Process A thorough and consistent process of safe recruitment is adhered to in order to ensure that people who are unsuitable to work with children and young people are prevented from doing so. Safe recruitment practices will be applied at all stages of the recruitment process:
    • Advertising the role with a statement demonstrating the commitment to safeguarding and the protection of children.
    • Obtaining two references.
    • Completion of a Confidential Safeguarding Self Declaration Form.
    • Interview.
    • Completion of a Disclosure and Barring Service Application form.
    • Induction, supervision and a probationary period. Staff who will not have direct contact with young people will complete a Confidential Safeguarding Self Declaration form which will be processed by the Diocesan Safeguarding Office. All staff will be provided with a copy of the diocesan safeguarding document and receive safeguarding awareness training.  Gap Year Team Members and staff who work directly with vulnerable groups must be safely recruited. The application will remain on file during their period with YMT and be subsequently held in accordance with both the Diocesan and YMT storage and retention policies which are compliant with the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) 2018.
  • Staff Training – In order to safeguard children and young people, all staff and volunteers are aware of and committed to the safeguarding policy and child protection procedures. New staff will be advised of the safeguarding arrangements and contact details of the designated safeguarding lead, as part of their induction.  All staff will have ready access to safeguarding guidelines and know what to do in cases of suspected or alleged abuse: Listen – Record – Refer. Allegations or concerns of abuse will be taken seriously and referred immediately. All staff should wear their identification lanyard at all times when working with groups to allow them to be recognised.
  • Gap Year Training – All new and existing volunteers in roles which have been defined nationally as requiring safe recruitment checks must complete the safe recruitment process. They will have a probationary period of 3 months, at the end of which both parties will review the situation.  All volunteers will undertake safeguarding training as part of their induction. They will have ready access to safeguarding guidelines and know what to do in cases of suspected or alleged abuse: Listen – Record – Refer. Allegations or concerns of abuse will be taken seriously and referred immediately. They will also have access to the diocesan e-learning modules on child protection and will complete them as part of their training. Photographs or videos of young people are not allowed to be taken without parental consent, the designated member of staff or the gap year team will always check whether permission has been granted before taking photographs. The members of the Gap Year Team are expected to follow policy in handling personal e-mail accounts and social networking accounts. As a representative of YMT, all posts should be appropriate and no communication with anyone under 18 or still in school is permitted. Mobile phones – Whilst working with groups of young people, members of the gap year team will not carry mobile phones, except in the case of an emergency. Identification – all gap year team members should wear their identification lanyard at all times when working with groups to allow both adults and young people to recognise them.
  • Code of Behaviour DO: 
    • Treat all people with dignity and respect.
    • Provide an example you wish others to follow.
    • Respect people’s right to personal privacy.
    • Plan activities which involve more than one person being present, or at least within sight or hearing of others.
    • Follow National Procedures and Guidance
    • Encourage children, young people and vulnerable adults to feel comfortable to point out attitudes or behaviours they don’t like.
    • Remember that others might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.
    • Recognise that caution is required even in sensitive moments of support, such as when dealing with bullying, bereavement or abuse.
    • Remember that we all have a responsibility to challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/ suspicions of abuse. 

      DO NOT:
    • Permit abusive peer activities (such as name calling, ridiculing, bullying).
    • Play inappropriate physical contact games with children and young people.
    • Have any inappropriate physical or verbal contact with others.
    • Jump to conclusions without checking facts.
    • Show favouritism to any individual.
    • Make suggestive remarks or gestures, even in fun.
    • Render yourself unfit for duty through the consumption of excess alcohol or lack of sleep.
    • Let suspicion, disclosure or allegations of abuse go unrecorded or unreported.
  • Records – The Trust recognises that all matters relating to child protection are confidential. Well-kept records are essential to good child protection practice. Records and applications will be held in accordance with both the Diocesan and YMT Storage and Retention Policy which are compliant with the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) 2018
  • Disclosure – The Youth Ministry Trust has a robust allegations management policy. Child Protection procedures apply in all cases where abuse is suspected, for example whether the suspected or alleged abuser is a member of the immediate or extended family, a foster carer or adoptive parent, a friend or acquaintance or carer, a person known to the child or family or a professional working with the child or family, or a person not known to the child/family. The decision as to whether to apply child protection procedures should be based on whether a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer significant harm.  A child protection complaint must be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately. The designated safeguarding lead will then contact the Safeguarding contact within the school.
  • Key Principles
    • If you suspect that a child, young person or vulnerable adult is being, has been or is likely to be abused, you must take action. To do nothing is not an option. Do not investigate and do not inform, question or confront the alleged abuser. The key principles to follow are Listen—Record—Refer.
    • Listen carefully and reassuringly, without making judgement or asking any leading questions. Refrain from asking probing questions and be encouraging. It may be difficult for someone to tell—be patient and go at their pace.
    • Record. Make a record as soon as possible of all the details which have been given to you, using the exact words if you can.
    • Refer. If there is an immediate danger or the matter is urgent, you should report your suspicion without delay to the Police, or to Social Services (Children’s or Adults Services as appropriate).
    • If there is no immediate danger, collect the fullest possible information at the time the concern or allegation reaches you. That information may include details of what you see, as well as what you are told. Then, at the first possible opportunity, report the matter to both a senior YMT manager or director and to the Diocesan Department for Safeguarding. In order to protect vulnerable people, they need to make a careful assessment of risk, based on fact and professional judgement—and they must be the ones to carry out the investigation in conjunction with the relevant statutory authorities.
    • Do not under any circumstances alert the alleged abuser, either directly or indirectly, to what has happened.
    • All information connected with a child, young person or vulnerable adult is strictly confidential. Do not share any information with any person who does not need to know. However, where the concern is in relation to a child, we have not only a duty of care but a legal obligation to refer the matter. Therefore, never promise to keep secret what you have been told. Instead, reassure that you will only share the information with people who can help.
    • Remember, to do nothing is not an option and if you are the first person to hear of the allegations or concerns, keep in mind that what you do may determine how effective a subsequent enquiry is.

Diocesan Safeguarding Team

Telephone 0191 243 3305 Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Email safeguarding@diocesehn.org.uk

ANGIE RICHARDSON – Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator

MERIEL ANDERSON – Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor

YVONNE BROWN – Safeguarding Administrative Assistant (full-time)

CLAIRE WALTON – Safeguarding Administrative Assistant (part-time, Friday)

Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service Tel: 0121 237 3740

www.csas.uk.net

NSPCC Tel: 0800 800 5000

www.nspcc.org.uk

ChildLine Tel: 0800 1111

www.childline.org.uk

Northumbria Police* Tel: 01661 872555 or 101

Durham Police* Tel: 0345 606 0365 or 101

Cleveland Police* Tel: 01642 326326 or 101

*In an emergency ring 999

Contact numbers for the 10 Local Authority Children’s and Adult’s Services in our Diocese can be found in your local Phone Directory.

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