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Church Policy

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9. Practicalities for mutual protection of leaders and children

involved in children's work.

i) Guidance

a. Avoid being on your own with any child. This may mean groups working in one large room, or adjoining rooms.

b. Never take a child home on your own - preferably have another helper with you, or else ensure that the last two children are dropped off together.

(Remember an allegation could also be made against you!)

c. Be wise in your physical contact with children.

d. Be wise with your relationship with the children - do not be over friendly with some at the expense of others. No favourites.

e. Male helpers need to be particularly careful in what they say, and in being around forward young females. Female helpers similarly need to be careful with forward young male children.

f. Never smack, hit or physically discipline a child except by "holding" which may be used if there is an immediate danger of personal injury to the child or another person.

g. If you feel that a child may have a "crush" on you, pray about it and talk to your line manager for advice and guidance.

h. In order to help children, we need to develop healthy relationships by listening to them and respecting them.

i. We must be mindful of the safety of the children at all times, and in all circumstances.

j. Whenever possible, have two adults present with a group, particularly when it is the only activity taking place on the church premises and do not take a group off the premises with fewer than two adults.

k. Where confidentiality is important (e.g. counselling a young person) ensure that others know that the interview is taking place and that someone else is around in the building.

l. Prayer works and helps in each and every circumstance.

ii) boundaries

a. the level of personal care (e.g. toiletting) appropriate and related to the age of the child - accepting that some children have special needs

b. guidance on touch. For example, physical contact between adults and children can be quite healthy and is to be encouraged in public places, discouraged in circumstances where an adult/child are on their own.

c. workers should treat all children/young people with dignity and respect in attitude, language used and actions.

d. respect the privacy of children, avoid questionable activity (e.g. rough/sexually provocative games or comments)

e. if you invite a child to your home, ensure another adult is present and the parent is aware

f. if transporting a child on their own, then it is better that the young person in the back seat.

iii) Feedback

a. It should be accepted that anyone seeing another worker acting in a way which could be misinterpreted should be able to speak to the individual or the line manager about the concern.

b. regular worker's to review procedures to ensure common approach, sharing concerns and identifying other matters which may need clarification and guidance.

c. encourage report back to such a meeting when departure from guidelines becomes necessary - this provides protection to the individual and draws the leadership's attention to shortcomings and problem areas.

d. Keep brief records of issues/decisions discussed at workers meetings.

iv) Helping children to protect themselves by:

a. teaching safety generally - strangers/good and bad secrets and touches, etc.

b. help children develop common sense rules.

c. talk about suspicions or situations where they feel uncomfortable.

d. examine the way in which we present Christian truths, e.g. children obeying parents. This can be a real problem for a child who is being abused - are we telling the child to accept the abuse? Tell children that if they feel uncomfortable or that something may be wrong, they can always check things out with another adult. This will need to be explained:

e.g. if someone asks you to steal sweets from a shop; it doesn't include complaints about bedtimes!!

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