If the individual is at immediate risk of harm then you should notify the police without delay and thereafter let your Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) and/or Vicar know. In all other circumstances you should contact your PSO and/or Vicar in the first instance, as soon as possible. They will take appropriate action and inform the DSA. If you are unable to speak to anybody within the diocese then you should contact the Local Authority for advice. Contact numbers for Local Authority Children and Adult Services can be found at the foot of this page.
If the abuse is ongoing then we would encourage you to speak to somebody, for instance: someone you know and trust, your Ministry team, your DSA or the police. We can offer you pastoral support to assist you through this difficult time or we can put you in touch with an Authorised Listener or appropriate external support agencies.
If the abuse is non-recent we can still offer support and assistance as set out above.
If the person who has harmed you is, or was, a Church Officer, volunteer or staff member then we encourage you to tell your DSA so that we can take action. Alternatively, you can report the matter directly to the police.
If you think someone may have suicidal thoughts and may harm themselves you should contact the police or your Local Authority immediately. If you have any other concerns then you should discuss them with your PSO or Vicar. If there are safeguarding issues then they will seek assistance from the DSA team.
You should contact your DSA who will assist you with an assessment of the risk that this individual may pose. The DSA will liaise with police and probation to ensure that both the offender and the congregation are safeguarded. You should note that the offender should not be attending church services until the risk assessment has been completed.
Please note that it has been the House of Bishops’ policy since 2017 that parishes must display information about their safeguarding arrangements, specifically that the parish should display:
- A formal statement of adoption of the House of Bishops’ ‘Promoting a Safer Church; Promoting a Safer Church Booklet; Safeguarding Policy Statement’. This should be signed on behalf of the PCC;
- Contact details of the PSO, churchwarden and any other local leaders;
- Information about where to get help with child and adult safeguarding issues, eg local authority contact details, domestic abuse and key helplines, e.g. Child Line (see Appendix 5 for model in ‘Safeguarding in Parishes - Who’s Who’ which can be accessed via this link http://leeds.anglican.org/safe-diocesan-policy-guidance (see section what parishes should display)
Additionally, the Parish Safeguarding Handbook published in 2018, states that a parish should also ‘ensure that safeguarding arrangements are clearly visible on the front page of the parish website’. It recognises that not all parishes have a web page and, in this situation, the parish may want to put the information attached onto the National Church website A Church Near You. This has a ‘safeguarding’ tab on every page which will take the user through to a map highlighting safeguarding details.
It is possible that a failure to comply with the publication requirement on the web page could be a failure to have ‘due regard’ to the House of Bishops’ Guidance and thus lead to disciplinary proceedings against responsible clergy under the Clergy Discipline Measure.