Coronavirus - Safeguarding Resources
Recruiting Safeguarding Volunteers in Parishes, Support and Safeguarding Training
Many of us will be volunteering to help others either on a private basis with family and friends, or as part of community schemes. For those parishes wanting to support the vulnerable as part of a church run scheme, the Church of England has issued an Update from the National Safeguarding Team.
In line with the guidance being offered to other schemes, Church organised groups are asked to consider how parish volunteers who have already been safely recruited might be best utilised to support vulnerable people in the present crisis. We recognise that most new volunteers will not be having any direct contact with the vulnerable people (usually staying at home) they will be supporting. In these cases, a DBS check will not be required, but we do ask that for a church sponsored group of volunteers we still request a Confidential Declaration and references.
A particular issue arises when people who cannot go out ask a volunteer to shop on their behalf. Ideally, the volunteer shops and the person they are supporting pays them when the goods and receipts are delivered, or transfers the sum owed electronically. All the same, we know that this will not always be possible. We do however recommend that where a volunteer receives money from a housebound person before going shopping, they are accompanied by another who can confirm how much was received, and that any change and receipts were handed over with the goods. Please try and avoid people giving you cards and pin numbers to get cash out for them or use at checkouts. If this has to happen be certain to have an accompanying person with you who can vouch for and record the request, and how and where you carried it out before returning the card and receipts and destroying any record of the pin.
As the Government issues further guidance for organised volunteer services, the Church will let us have further updates as necessary.
Following advice from the National Safeguarding Team, we have cancelled our Safeguarding Leadership training scheduled between now and the summer. The Church nationally recognises that some who in normal times must have completed this training (for example prior to ordination) will not be able to do so. In these circumstances, undertaking the training can be deferred, but should be completed as soon as possible after training resumes. People should continue to complete the Basis Awareness & Foundation modules on-line. There will not be Leadership training on-line as it is a reflective as well as information sharing process.
We shall be putting together a possible training programme for the autumn, but whether we are able to deliver this will be entirely dependent on what happens this summer.
Children and Families
Most of us will appreciate how stressful it will be for families home schooling and occupying children. Parish volunteers cannot go into other people’s homes to directly support families, but they can (as with vulnerable adults) stay in touch by social media or telephone and share experience and resources for engaging children.
Finally, it remains a fact that domestic abuse, and abuse of children doesn’t stop because there is a COVID-19 emergency. The current situation may exacerbate such issues. If you have a concern, you must still seek the advice of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, and in an emergency contact the Police or Children’s Services.