Were someone to ask if your church had a safeguarding policy, what would the answer be? Perhaps the reply would be “We don’t do work with children?”
Or maybe there is a member who recently joined the fellowship and to the church’s relief volunteered to sort out the safeguarding because they were happy to run the children’s work. They are now dealing with it. What would happen if someone confided in an Elder that they felt physically threatened by their spouse? All these situations can happen and need to be dealt with through the church having a safeguarding policy. This will help everyone to know that safeguarding is not just about children but vulnerable and at risk adults too. It will also focus on how to recruit workers and helpers safely and ensure that DBS checks are carried out BEFORE anyone works with children. And where there is a concern about possible abuse, like the last scenario, how to deal with this appropriately.
These scenarios are just examples. Churches need to seek the right advice now as to how best to address their duty of care to ensure these particular groups of people are cared for properly. In that way we can be sure we are welcoming people to our churches safely. We recommend you check out the Christian Safeguarding Services (CSS) for your Safeguarding support.
If you are requiring further guidance our Safeguarding Briefing Paper is available for some initial support.