Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Policy – Version 3


  1. 1.           Introduction


This policy will be reviewed annually


This document was last revised in August 2023, was agreed by the Trustees in August 2023, and was accepted by the Church Members at the September 2023 meeting.


Safeguarding Leads at Martin Top are Alan Marsden (Pastor), Diana Laycock (Church Secretary) and Andrew (Andy) Kay (Trustee)


Any queries and/or suggestions about the policy should be addressed to Andrew (Andy) Kay.


  1. 2.           Statement of intent


In this document, the term ‘the Church’ relates primarily to those who are members of Martin Top Chapel; however, the expectations also extend to those who attend the church on a regular basis.


It is expected that this policy will be read and accepted by all persons who hold positions within the Church which may require them to take appropriate steps to avoid or address Safeguarding issues. Acceptance will be indicated by providing the Church Secretary with a signed Safeguarding Policy Acceptance form (see Appendix C).


In the situation where an ‘external’ group is using the Church’s facilities, the Leader of that group will be expected to follow the above expectations, the only difference being that they should sign the Leader’s Declaration (Groups using Church premises) form (see Appendix D) instead of the Safeguarding Policy Acceptance form.


It is also expected that the above people will familiarise themselves with the contents of the following policies:


  • Safer Recruitment Policy – Version 3
  • Health & Safety and Risk Assessment Policy Version 3
  • Safe Usage of Images Policy – Version 3


In addition, it is recognised that the Church as a whole has a duty of care for all adults, young people and children with whom we are involved. Appropriate steps will be taken to make the Church aware of that duty.


We acknowledge that those under 18 years old have special needs as do adults with conditions limiting their mental or physical abilities.


In addition, any person can be vulnerable in particular circumstances, such as when they are dependent on a welfare service or undergoing a crisis.







  1. Applying good practice


The Church’s involvement falls into four categories:


a)    The informal fellowship of people of different ages and capabilities in the worshipping community.


b)    Groups organised specifically for children, young people or adults.


c)    Groups organised by other agencies on the Church premises.


d)    Pastoral and, where appropriate, practical care for the Church’s children, young people or adults.


3.1        Informal Fellowship


The Church has a responsibility for all those attending worship and other all-age activities.  No-one of any age - but especially those who are under 18, elderly or in currently vulnerable circumstances - should be left in a dangerous situation. 


No person should be subjected to physical or verbal abuse, or inappropriate contact of any kind. 


The Church has a responsibility to step in and, where appropriate, challenge such behaviour and/or to report it straight away to a Church officer - ideally, one of the Safeguarding Leads.


3.2        Sharing of Awareness of Responsibility


As with certain other policies where expectations apply to the Church as a whole (not just Members), we will produce and maintain a summary statement about identifying relevant Safeguarding situations and the action(s) to be taken.


An A4 document containing these details will be placed on the Church noticeboard, and on the Church website.


A copy of the policy will be put on the Church website.


A printed version of the policy and/or the summary document may be requested from the Church Secretary.


The existence of the policy and the summary statement will be made known once a year at an appropriate (usually the post-AGM) Church Meeting and a report will be given on any reviews of the policy.  The minute taker will then only need to record that the existence and locations of the policy and the statement were made known.


3.3        Church Groups


  • Leaders of Church Groups are required to notify the appropriate (Deacons’ or Elders’) Meeting each time they wish to appoint an assistant leader, so that the Church can assure itself that the necessary recruitment steps are taken.


  • It is recommended that the names of any additional helpers are made known to the appropriate (Deacons’ or Elders’) Meeting and that any changes should be similarly communicated.


  • Important: Group sessions must not take place if a DBS-approved person is not available to supervise the session.




3.4        Other Groups using Church Premises


These are groups which do not fall under the Church’s jurisdiction.


At present there are no such groups.

The Church will advise leaders of such ‘other groups’ that all activities on its premises must meet the standards set down in this policy.


3.5        Pastoral and practical support


Pastoral and/or practical support is the responsibility of the Pastor assisted, where appropriate, by the relevant Elder(s) and/or Deacon(s).


It is acceptable, however, for the actual support to be provided by others who have been appointed by the Pastor and Elders.


This may be as a planned programme, or may be a response to an individual’s request.


Wherever possible, particularly where the person being visited lives alone, the visitor should be of the same sex as the person being visited.


If that is not the case, then either:

  • The visitor should be accompanied by someone of the same gender as the person being visited, or
  • The person being visited should arrange for another person to be present


Where circumstances mean that the above conditions cannot be satisfied, agreement to a solo visit must be approved by the Pastor and Elders.


  1. 4.           Good Practice – Safeguarding – Children and Young People


In addition to the Safer Recruitment measures and the general duty of care to all people outlined above, the Church advises all leaders of work with under 18s of the following requirements:


a)    Supervision


Leaders must be prepared and ready before admitting children to the group session.  Children remain under leaders’ supervision throughout their time in the group session. Assistant leaders and helpers who do not have the appropriate DBS certificates need to be supervised at all times and should not be left in sole charge of a child or group. If they are required to assist in toileting they need to have a DBS check.


b)   Working Safely


Leaders, assistant leaders and helpers must avoid situations where they are alone with a child.  An individual should not work alone with a group behind closed doors.  If possible, children should be led by at least one person of their own gender. The rooms used should be suitable for the numbers of children attending. Risk assessments should be carried out periodically.


c)    Handling Information


Leaders should be able to respond correctly if a child reports that they have been abused: full guidelines are provided in Appendix 5 (Guidelines for responding to a child, young person or vulnerable adult disclosing abuse). This is defined as a ‘Serious Incident’.



The guidelines must be used, but – briefly – you should:

  • listen
  • not promise to ‘keep a secret’
  • not jump to conclusions or start an investigation
  • do not keep the information to yourself
  • if a child may be in immediate danger, contact the police.
  • make time, as soon after speaking with the child as possible, to make yourself a written record of what was said; this reduces the chances of the details being remembered incorrectly. It is recommended that you should hand those notes to the Pastor for safekeeping.


d)  Home Contacts and Medical Conditions


When children attend church without parental permission or knowledge, appropriate steps will be taken to obtain contact and any relevant medical details so that we can respond appropriately in an emergency. These details will be securely stored in a locked cabinet on the Chapel premises. They will be removed/shredded when the child reaches 18.


e)   Standard of Work


Leaders and assistant leaders are required to maintain a high standard of work, and are encouraged to take up training opportunities to enhance their skills. Where appropriate, the Church will make all workers aware of any such training opportunities and will ensure that workers are aware of relevant changes to policies, procedures or legal requirements.


  1. 5.           Good Practice – Safeguarding – Adults


Leaders should be able to respond correctly if an adult reports that they have been abused: full guidelines are provided in Appendix 5 (Guidelines for responding to a child, young person or vulnerable adult disclosing abuse). This is defined as a ‘Serious Incident’.


The guidelines must be used, but – briefly – you should:

  • listen
  • not promise to ‘keep a secret’
  • not jump to conclusions or start an investigation
  • do not keep the information to yourself
  • if an adult may be in immediate danger, contact the police.
  • make time, as soon after speaking with the adult as possible, to make yourself a written record of what was said; this reduces the chances of the details being remembered incorrectly. It is recommended that you should hand those notes to the Pastor for safekeeping.


  1. 6.           Regulated activities


a)            Basis in law


The Protection of Freedom Act 2012, The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Protecting Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 require those undertaking ‘regulated activities’ to obtain safeguarding registration. 





b)           Definition of ‘regulated activities’


These are roles which involve responsibility for children (such as teaching, training, care, supervision or transport arranged by the Church) and which are undertaken regularly, frequently or intensively. 


This includes:            

  • those working once a week or more
  • those working for four days or more in a month
  • (e.g. a week-long holiday Bible club for children)
  • those working overnight (e.g. a youth group sleep-over)
  • those managing or supervising any of the above.


c)            Definition of ‘vulnerable’


People may be vulnerable because of their age (i.e. under 18); an incapacity (e.g. restricted sight); because of a circumstance (e.g. recent bereavement); or because of reliance on a service.


Safeguarding registration is required for roles which take some responsibility for people whenever they are in vulnerable circumstances. This occurs whenever the service is provided and does not need to meet the ‘frequently’ or ‘intensively’ rule as above for children. Transport to hospital etc. assistance with shopping, eating and toileting requires a DBS check even if only done occasionally or on a short term basis e.g. because of incapacity due to illness.


Services targeted mainly or solely at vulnerable people (e.g. an advice service for those who find it difficult to fill in forms) are likely to involve roles in this category. 


d)           Referring information


The Church is legally obliged to refer information about individuals who may pose a risk to children or other vulnerable people. The Church must report to the Disclosure and Barring Service any person dismissed from a position of leadership (even voluntary) within the Church even if they have not been charged with a criminal offence.


Referrals are to be made to the appropriate safeguarding agency (DBS/PVG). When such action is being considered, the Congregational Federation Safeguarding Office should be contacted immediately.        


  1. 7.           Additional guidelines


a)    Serious Incident


This means an incident, actual or alleged which risks; harm to the charity's beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with the charity through its work (who are collectively referred to throughout this guidance as people who come into contact with the charity through its work). Serious Incidents should be reported to the Pastor or one of the other Safeguarding Leads. The details will be recorded by that person, and filed securely by the Church Secretary. Any appropriate action will be taken. The Safeguarding Leads will carry out an annual review of the Serious Incidents and will take any necessary actions with regard to avoiding repetition of such an incident.


b)   Staffing numbers


Recommended ratios of adults and children are:                 

0-2 years:        1 adult for 3 children

                        2-3 years:        1 adult for 4 children

                        3-7 years:        1 adult for 8 children

                         8+ years:        1 adult for 10 children.


c)    Safe activities


Leaders of children’s activities should avoid inherently dangerous or inappropriate games – e.g. young children lifting each other off the ground. 



d)   Emergencies


First Aid boxes are provided in the kitchen and on the staircase wall.


Leaders of groups should ensure there is a telephone available for use in an emergency. 


Any accidents must be reported to the Pastor, an Elder or a Deacon, to be recorded in the Accident Book located in the cupboard in the vestry.


Details of any Serious Incidents should be made known to one of the Safeguarding Leads or the Pastor, to be recorded in the Serious Incidents Book located in the cupboard in the vestry. 


Group leaders must be familiar with the fire procedure and evacuation routes (see ‘Health and Safety and Risk Assessments – Version 3’)


e)    Safe Use of Images


If there is any reason to take photographs or videos of children, the ‘Safe Usage of Images Policy Version 3’ should be used for guidance.


e)  Electronic Communications with Children / Young People


Only Church post holders holding a valid Disclosure and Barring Check may have their contact details included in the website or contact young people directly by electronic means.


It is recommended that meeting times are only given on a Church website for children’s groups where all children are met by parents or carers and there is no unrestricted entry to the building. (i.e. there is a locked door with bell or someone attending the entrance).


It is recommended that phone calls and texts between leaders and young people are kept brief and functional.  For example, ‘What time is club tonight?’  ‘It’s at 7; see you there’.


f)     Off the Premises


Written risk assessments are required for any trips off the premises.  A simple proforma is available. 


A register of ALL persons taking part will be created and used appropriately.


Prior consent by the Church Meeting is required for any planned residential trips.   


g)   Support for leaders


The Church seeks to support and encourage all leaders in their work, and expresses this support through the Elders’ meeting, the Deacons’ meeting or the Trustees’ meeting. 


Leaders may ask to meet with the Elders, Deacons or Trustees at any time to discuss their work.


Appendix 1 - Safeguarding Checks

The Protection Verifier will maintain a document containing a ‘Record of Disclosure Certificates Obtained’. Copies will be provided to the Pastor and the Church Secretary.

The document will be filed electronically in an encrypted form, in line with the data storage standard identified in the Church’s Data Protection and Confidentiality Policy.

All certificates are to be renewed every five years.

Certificates or copies should not be held by the Church. Certificates are the property of the applicant.




A signed copy of this document is to be displayed on the Church premises

Appendix 2 - Adoption of Safeguarding Policy


  • The Safeguarding Policy – Version 3 document was discussed and approved at the Church meeting held on 18 September 2023.


  • This policy is displayed on the Church website. A printed copy may be requested via the Church Secretary.


  • This policy has been – and will be - made available to all leaders of Church groups for guidance and implementation.


  • This policy has been – and will be - made available to all leaders of groups using the Church premises for guidance and implementation.


  • This policy will be reviewed annually – and, if necessary – updated; any changes will be noted immediately and the appropriate people notified.


  • Salem Congregational Church has appointed the Pastor and designated Trustees to keep this policy up to date.


To be signed by two Church officers and to be included with the documents sent to the Congregational Federation’s Safeguarding Officer.


Church Officers’ Declaration




Position in Church:






Position in Church:







Lisa Vickers

Safeguarding Officer

The Congregational Federation

8 Castle Gate








0115 911 1460 






This document is to be signed by all persons who hold positions in the Church which may require them to take appropriate steps to avoid or address Safeguarding issues. It will be stored in the secure filing cabinet whilst the person is in post, and for six months afterwards for possible reference.


Appendix 3 - Adoption of Safeguarding Policy




Please complete and return to the Church Secretary.


  • I have read the Church’s Safeguarding Policy.


  • I agree to abide by the sections that apply to any aspect of my role within the Church which has a Safeguarding element.


  • I will notify the Church of any incidents that I become aware of which may put the safeguarding of an individual at risk.


  • (Group Leaders only) I will inform the relevant Elders’ or Deacons’ Meeting of any proposed/actual changes of personnel in the group that I am responsible for.


















Appendix 4 - Adoption of Safeguarding Policy


LEADER’S DECLARATION (Groups using Church premises)


Please complete and return to the Church Secretary or other appointed person.


  • I have read the Church’s Safeguarding Policy and associated policies.


  • I agree to abide by the sections that apply to my group and relate to the use of the Church premises.


  • I agree that we will ensure that any equipment brought onto the premises is safe to use.


  • I shall make sure that those assisting me are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities.


  • I will notify the Church of any change in leadership.


  • I will notify the Church of any incidents that put the safeguarding of the attenders of the group or their leaders at risk.


  • I will ensure that appropriate insurance is held to cover the activities being held on the Church premises.


  • I will ensure I have an up to date rental agreement with the Church if applicable.




















Name of Group







Position in Group




Appendix 5 - Guidelines for responding to a child, young person or vulnerable adult disclosing abuse.


Each Church member has a duty of care to help prevent the abuse of children and adults at risk, and the duty of each Church member to respond to concerns about the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults at risk.


Church members, including children and leaders, may have concerns about possible or actual inappropriate conduct or abuse which may have occurred within a Church setting or within another context but is drawn to their attention in the Church setting.  Either way we have a duty of care to respond.


  1. 1.    Recognition


1.1  Safeguarding Children and Young People


Defining child abuse is a difficult and complex issue. A person may abuse by inflicting harm, or by failing to prevent harm. Children and adults in need of protection may be abused within a family, an institution or a community setting. Very often, the abuser is known or in a trusted relationship with the child. 


The NSPCC website has advice about the signs, symptoms and effects of child abuse and neglect. See


1.2  Safeguarding Adults


Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.  It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted, including - where appropriate - having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action.  This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances. 


Government guidance describes a vulnerable adult as any person over the age of 18 years “who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of himself or herself, or unable to protect himself or herself against significant harm’’. Within faith settings it is also recognised as a person who has recently suffered personal adversity making them in particular need of pastoral support. Some of the factors that increase vulnerability include:


  • sensory or physical disability or impairment
  • learning disability
  • physical illness
  • chronic or acute mental ill health (including dementia)
  • addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • failing faculties in old age 
  • permanent or temporary reduction in physical, mental or emotional capacity through life events such as bereavement / loss, abuse or trauma.


Mistreatment or abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm or exploitation.


For examples of signs of abuse, see


  1. 2.    Respond


2.1  What to do


Stay calm and listen to the information very carefully.


It is especially important to allow time and space for the person to talk.


Take into account their age and capacity.


Reflect back to them the key points to confirm you have understood what has been communicated.


Be aware that the child/vulnerable adult may have been threatened or bribed not to tell.


Offer reassurance that disclosing is the right thing to do, that they are not at fault.


Explain clearly what you may have to do with the information, involving them in decisions where appropriate.


2.2  What NOT to do


Do not pass judgement, or minimise or express shock.


Do not promise confidentiality.


Do not put words in their mouth or ask probing or leading questions, or push for more information, but let them know that you are always ready to listen.


Do not contact the alleged abuser.


Do not investigate the incident beyond establishing the basic facts so that a decision can be made about what further action, if any, needs to be taken (such as referral to a statutory agency).


Never leave a child or adult at risk waiting to hear from someone without any idea of when or where that may be.


Do not pass on information to those who don't need to know.


  1. 3.    Record


Once a disclosure has been made, it is very important that you record in writing what you have been told as soon as possible. This will allow you to record what you’ve heard as accurately as possible. Make sure you:


  • Use the words that the child / adult used, including slang and swear words. Sometimes we misunderstand what we have been told (especially with children who may not have the vocabulary to accurately describe what has happened to them) and we are tempted to re-phrase what we have been told. Ensure this doesn’t happen.


  • Include any responses that you made.


  • Keep the report succinct and to the point.


  • Make sure the names of all those involved are clear.


  • Record the date, time and place of the disclosure.


  • Record what actions you have taken and your reasons for taking these actions.


  • Provide the Pastor with a copy of the record.


All notes and records must be kept secure.



  1. 4.    Report


Any safeguarding concern should be brought to the attention of the Pastor or Safeguarding Leads, who will be able to offer advice on the next action and support you to refer your concerns to the appropriate authority and to offer you any follow up pastoral support that you might need. 


4.1  Regarding children and young persons


Investigation of abuse is the responsibility of the Local Authority under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989


If there are concerns that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm or is in danger of harm, then a referral to Lancashire Social Services Child Care should be made as soon as possible.  Clearly state that you are making a 'Child Protection Referral'.  If the child is in immediate danger then contact the Police first.


4.2  Regarding vulnerable adults


Investigation of abuse of a vulnerable adult is the responsibility of the Local Authority under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014


If a Church member suspects that a vulnerable adult is being  - or is at risk of being - abused or neglected, then a referral to Lancashire Social Services Adult Care should be made as soon as possible as part of our duty of care, preferably with the consent of the vulnerable adult (unless it is clear that they lack capacity).  If a vulnerable adult is in immediate danger and you think a criminal offence is being committed, contact the Police. 



4.3  Contact Numbers


Pastor Alan Marsden: 01282 540562

Police: 101 or 999

Lancashire Social Care (Child and Adult): 0300 123 6720

Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team: 0300 123 6722

For Yorkshire Residents:

Yorkshire Social Care (Child, Adults and out of hours): 01609 780 780


  1. Finding Support


The following details were checked for accuracy by the Church Secretary in September 2022


Christian Safeguarding Services Advice Line: 0116 218 4420 8.00am – 10.00pm Thirty minutes of free advice or fill in the online form and include the nature of your query on or email:


NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are worried about a child.


Childline: 0800 1111 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are a child or young person and are worried about anything.


National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse.


Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 (Lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to.


Papyrus:  0800 068 4141 (Lines free Monday – Friday 9.00am- 10.00pm Weekends and Bank Holidays 2.00pm – Midnight). Also if you prefer, you can text 078 600 39967.  The helpline is available to children and young people under the age of 35 years who are thinking about suicide or anyone who is concerned about them.


Action on Elder Abuse: Helpline: 080 8808 8141 (free phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm). Phone for information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.


Relate   You can call/talk to Relate about any of your relationships, including issues around physical abuse.

Local Centres are in Blackburn, Hebden Bridge and Keighley Tel No: 01535 605047


Men’s Advice Line:  0808 801 0327     Lines free Monday – Friday 9.00am-5.00pm). Advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence or abuse.


Respect:   0808 802 4040     9.00am to 10.00 – 5.00pm   Advice and support for people who are struggling to contain thoughts of being violent or abusive to others.