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Safeguarding policy

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy for Winkleigh Methodist Church

This policy is review annually at our Church council meeting.



The Methodist Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation of humans in God’s own image and likeness.  Christians see this as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ.  Among other things, this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.

Winkleigh Methodist Church is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are paramount.

Winkleigh Methodist Church recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether by disabilities or by reduction in capacities or by their situation.  It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.  This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults.  It is intended to be a dynamic policy.  It is intended to support the church in being a safe, supportive and caring community for children, young people, vulnerable adults, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.

Winkleigh Methodist Church fully agrees with the statement reiterated in Creating Safer Space 2007:

   As the people of the Methodist Church we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone.  We seek to safeguard all members of the church community of all ages.


Winkleigh Methodist Church recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media or human trafficking (slavery).  It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development, including spiritual and religious development.  It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained.  It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, offenders, communities and those who care about them.  It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.



Winkleigh Methodist Church commits itself to:


  • RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed, whether in the church or in another context.  It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.  It commits itself to providing informed pastoral care to those in need, including the supervision of those who have committed criminal offences.


  • Ensure the IMPLEMENTATION of the Connexional Safeguarding Policy; government legislation and guidance and safe practice in the Circuit and in the churches.


  • The PROVISION of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults.


  • AFFIRMS and gives thanks for the work of those who are workers with children and vulnerable adults and acknowledges the shared responsibility of us all for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable people who are on our premises.









Church Council

It is the responsibility of each Church Council to appoint a Church Safeguarding Officer and there should be no gaps in this crucial provision.  It is not appropriate for any minister to fill any gap, because of the potential conflict of roles.  The role will usually be undertaken on a voluntary basis although expenses should be met.

Winkleigh Church Council appoints Mr Kevin Down as Church Safeguarding Officer for adults and children, and supports him in this role, which is to:


  1. Support and advise the minister and stewards in fulfilling their roles

  2. Provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues

  3. Liaise with Circuit and District safeguarding officers

  4. Promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of Circuit ministers

  5. Ensure proper records are kept of all incidents/concerns according to Methodist policy and practice

  6. Liaise with the Circuit Administrator concerning safeguarding training to ensure it is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records made and kept

  7. Attend training and meetings organised to support the role

  8. Report to the Church Council annually

  9. Liaise with the Circuit Administrator to ensure policies are in place and annual audit is completed

  10. Work with the minister and other church officers to ensure a risk assessment is carried out and reviewed annually

  11. Liaise with the minister and steward to ensure the church recruits safely for all posts

  12. Check that a copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy and any related contact numbers and information are displayed




The purposes of this safeguarding policy are to ensure procedures are in place and people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children and vulnerable adults in our care and using our premises.  It is to be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church (2017).



We believe that good practice means:


  1. All people are treated with respect and dignity

  2. Those who act on behalf of the Church should not meet or work alone with a child or vulnerable adult where the activity cannot be seen unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons, in which case a written note of this will be made and kept noting date, time and place of visit.

  3. The church premises will be assessed by the church safeguarding officer with the property steward and/or their representatives at least annually for safety for children and vulnerable adults and the risk assessment report will be given annually to the Church Council in written form.  This will include fire safety procedures.  The Church Council will consider the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more suitable.

  4. Any church-organised transport of children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort are appropriate.  An agreed record to be kept in the church file for each driver/car.

  5. Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable God’s people to reach their full potential.  The Church Council will actively consider the extent to which it is succeeding in this area. 


These things are to safeguard those working with children, young people and those adults who may be vulnerable.



In terms of safeguarding, pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.





Where ecumenical events happen on church premises, safeguarding is the responsibility of this Church Council.



It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisation.  However, if the complaint is of a safeguarding nature, relating to possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults, then it is very important that your District Safeguarding Officer is consulted as statutory services may need to be informed.  A complaint may be made to a person who will be appointed by the Church Council and who is currently Mr Kevin Down.  If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed to Mr Kevin Down who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint.  If the complainant is regarding this person as a member of their family, it will be referred to the minister.

If the complaint relates to the minister it will be referred to the Superintendent Minister.  If the complaint cannot be resolved, consideration should be given to invoking the complaints system of the Methodist Church which will involve initially speaking with the local complaints officer, who is Rev Liz Singleton (Superintendent Minister).



This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council. 





  • A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday.  The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the Armed Forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.

  • Vulnerable adults: any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care of or protect themselves.

  • Safeguarding and protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.

  • Adult/child protection is part of safeguarding and promoting welfare.  This refers to the activity undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.

  • Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community or in an institution.  It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by strangers, by an adult or by a child.  It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.



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