Safeguarding

We are sharing this document from the National Safeguarding Team (Updated 01.07.20).  This includes information about volunteering and the temporary changes being made to DBS ID checking, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.  The National Safeguarding Team have also issued advice around the use of Video Conferencing for Youth Work during COVID-19 and how to Think Safeguarding in the current climate by Reaching Out, Recognising, Recording and Reporting safeguarding concerns.

A Government Safeguarding Factsheet: Community volunteers during COVID-19 outbreak has been released.

In addition to following government and Church of England advice the diocesan safeguarding team will follow the guidelines set out by the National Safeguarding Team above.

For some people, home is not a safe place to be, and therefore measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus can put those experiencing domestic abuse at additional risk.  Contact details for Thames Valley and National Domestic Abuse Services can be found here under ‘Finding Support.’

Please note:

  • Referrals about safeguarding will be followed up as usual, though by phone and conference call rather than face to face meeting.
  • The diocesan safeguarding team will continue to operate a duty rota and monitor messages to the safeguarding inbox.
  • The team will continue to progress work on individual cases.

Contacting the safeguarding team

Reporting Safeguarding Concerns

Safeguarding  Referrals

Please call: 01865 208295 or email: safeguardingreferrals@oxford.anglican.org for urgent safeguarding concerns, Mon. to Thurs. 9am to 5pm and Fri. 9am to 4.30pm.

Safeguarding Referral Form needs be used to refer safeguarding concerns to members of the diocesan safeguarding team.  All phone or email referrals to the safeguarding team must be followed up by completing the Safeguarding Referral Form and returning it to: safeguardingreferrals@oxford.anglican.org

The safeguarding team aim to acknowledge receipt of all referrals within 48 hours.  A member of the safeguarding team will contact the referrer, in accordance with case prioritisation, to discuss the referral further.

Dealing with abuse during lockdown

We know that during the lockdown, cases of domestic abuse have soared as people are stuck at home, unable to escape the risks they may face if someone in their household is abusive or violent. Children, men, women and older people could all be at risk of abuse, whether that be sexual, violent, emotional or psychological. If you have any concerns about a person, or if you are experiencing difficulty or are at immediate risk, dial 999 immediately.

Below are some other useful phone numbers:

Volunteers

Please refer to the national guidance linked at the top of this page.

Thank you to Karen Downing (Parish Safeguarding Officer) and other Church Officers at St. Frideswide’s, Water Eaton, for sharing the Volunteering Templates they have used within their Covid-19 response.

Please bear in mind that any activity undertaken by volunteers on behalf of the church, rather than via private/personal arrangements, should take account of the following:

  • The activity should be formally risk assessed and a record kept of this.
  • A safer recruitment process needs to be followed.
  • Anyone who helps an adult because of their age, illness or disability, where that help includes at least one of the following, is in ‘regulated activity’: Managing an individual’s cash (or) Paying the individual’s bills (or) Shopping on someone’s behalf.

Therefore:

  1. If volunteers are shopping on someone’s behalf as an organised church activity, because that person needs assistance due to reasons of age, illness or disability, the volunteers need to have been safely recruited, which includes an Enhanced DBS check with Barring. The Church could redeploy those who have already been safely recruited into these roles, as long as they have the appropriate level of DBS check.
  2. If volunteers are shopping on someone’s behalf as an organised church activity, but that person does not need assistance for reasons of age, illness or disability e.g. they are a Key Worker who is attending work, then the volunteers would not be eligible for an Enhanced DBS check.
  3. If individuals are assisting people in their community, not on behalf of the Church, they do not need to be DBS checked.
  • Appropriate written consents should be obtained from individuals wishing to participate in any formal schemes. If any are vulnerable adults who are currently in receipt of a formal social care package consent from the adult should be obtained to discuss involvement in the scheme with an appropriate carer/guardian.
  • The code of ‘safer working practice’ & ‘safer environment and activities’ should continue to be adhered to and a copy shared with volunteers for their own information.
  • A written record of any contacts and transactions that take place should be maintained and stored securely.
  • Volunteers should not be making cold calls and should check-in with their co-ordinator/supervisor within a previously agreed timeframe.

Training

Clergy and church officers are required to undertake various levels of safeguarding training. People in roles which require Basic Awareness or Foundation safeguarding training will still be required to complete that training as usual using the online modules.

The diocese will be cancelling all face to face safeguarding training for the foreseeable future. This includes Leadership safeguarding training at the present time.  An online version of the Leadership module has now become available, delivered over Zoom, and can be booked here.

Where a member of clergy or church officer has not been able to undertake Leadership safeguarding training because of cancellations due to the virus, this constitutes a cogent reason why the House of Bishops guidance to have due regard to the need for safeguarding training to be completed for certain roles, has not been followed.  Where possible however, church officers should complete Leadership training online by attending the Leadership sessions being held over Zoom.

In other words, at this time of crisis it is acceptable for clergy to continue to minister and church officers to undertake their roles, if they have either not done the face to face training or not completed further training within the required time period, due to the impact of the virus. Records will be kept of who this applies to, to demonstrate the cogent reason, and they will be invited to attend the training as soon as possible when available.