YWAM England Child Protection Policy

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Updated July 2003




  • 1.1 Name of the organisation: YWAM Ltd. Location: England YWAM has a long tradition of working with children, young people and families. We take seriously our responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people throughout their association with us.
  • 1.2 As part of our mission we are committed to: listen to, relate effectively and value children and young people whilst ensuring their protection within our activities
    • Having a system for dealing with concerns about possible abuse.
    • encourage parents/carers ensure that all YWAM workers are given support and training appropriate to their level of involvement with young people for the purposes of this policy "workers"? includes all staff, students, volunteers, mission builders and associates
  • 1.3 YWAM recognises that many children and young people today are the victims of neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Accordingly, we have adopted the policy contained in this document entitled: "Protecting young people and appointing workers"? (hereafter "the policy"?). The policy sets out agreed guidelines relating to the following areas: responding to allegations of abuse or neglect, including those made against leaders or members of YWAM appointing workers, whether or not they work directly with young people, recognising that within YWAM workers' roles vary frequently over time, thus opening the possibility of direct involvement. Also community lifestyle and values requires the care towards one another. supervision of activities, and practice issues for the purposes of this policy a young person is anyone under 18 years of age. Updated July 2003
  • 1.4 YWAM recognises the need to build constructive links with the child care agencies. Accordingly these guidelines have been based on the PCCA's Churches Child Protection Advisory Service guidelines.
  • 1.5 The content of this policy will for the basis of a training programme for all workers in the organisation. YWAM is committed to an ongoing training programme for all workers.
  • 1.6 The policy contained here is formulated to help YWAM workers: create and maintain a safe environment for young people respond appropriately to concerns, allegations and disclosure of abuse
  • 1.7 Nothing in this policy absolves or detracts from a YWAM parent's personal responsibility for the care and protection of young people in any private arrangement made with workers, for example baby-sitting, child minding, private outings and other privately arranged activities. ( please see attached leaflet on CCPAS Advice - baby-sitting)
  • 1.8 Where arrangements are made to provide child minding those undertaking these arrangements need to be mindful of day care legislation e.g. the child minder needs to be registered with social services etc. Parents/those undertaking parental responsibility should be aware of day care standards. The DfEE have produced a booklet on finding a child minder. The Government are currently looking at producing uniform Day Care Standards including childminders.

Recognising and Responding to Abuse

  • 2.1 Abuse is a very emotive topic about which people have a wide range of attitudes and feelings. People often get very upset and angry when considering the area of child abuse, particularly in relation to sexual abuse. If YWAM workers are to deal effectively with child abuse it is essential for them to work through their own attitudes and feelings.
  • 2.2 Child abuse is a term which covers a wide range of things and tends to be divided into four main areas: physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Within each type there is a continuum of severity Whatever form the abuse takes and whoever the abuser, the parents or caretakers nearly always have some control or degree of responsibility for what happens. Parents or caretakers can harm young people either by direct acts or by a failure to provide proper care, or by both.
  • 2.3 Definitions of types of abuse. (Also see attached sheet)
    • Physical signs Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc. Injuries which have not received medical attention Instances where children are kept away from the group inappropriately Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games or swimming Bruises, bites, burns, fractures, etc. which do not have an accidental explanation. Cutting/slashing/drug abuse Indicators of possible sexual abuse Any allegations made by a child concerning sexual abuse Child with excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, or who regularly engages in age-inappropriate sexual play Sexual activity through words, play or drawing Child who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with overt or veiled sexual connotations
    • Emotional signs Changes or regression in mood and behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging. Also depression/aggression Nervousness/frozen watchfulness Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults Persistent tiredness Running away/stealing/lying It is important that the above signs are not taken as indicating that abuse has taken place, but the possibility should be considered far more than in the past.
  • 2.4 It is important to recognise that abusers come from all backgrounds, including Christians, married and single, men and women, and young people themselves. The Home Office have just published guidance in the form of a booklet on "Caring for young people and the vulnerable? Guidance for preventing abuse of trust"? At YWAM we undertake to follow the principles found within the Abuse of Trust guidance issued at the Home Office. It will therefore be unacceptable for those people in a position of trust to engage in any behaviour which might allow a sexual relationship to develop whilst ever the relationship of trust continues.

What to do if You Have Concerns or Suspicions About Abuse of Any Kind

Your First Priority Must Be the Interests of the Young People.

The protection of the young person must take precedence over any desire you may have to raise concern with the person who might be responsible. Remember that abuse is a crime. It is in the best interests of both parties to involve the statutory authorities from the very beginning. YWAM has no need to fear statutory authorities - they have been 'established by God' (Romans 13 v 1), and need all our support in their very difficult work.

Suspicions or Concerns About Abuse

You must report concerns as soon as possible to your Base Leader. If there is no Base leader appointed, the matter should be brought to your ministry leader. If you are unable to do so, or if suspicions involve the Base or Ministry Leader, you should contact one of the following nominated Child Protection Advisory Team (CPAT): Graham Fawcett, Clair Gorman and/or the senior leader responsible for crisis management, either Mark Markiewicz, Janet Fawcett or Carl Tinnion. If none of these are available the report should be made in the first instance to PCCA Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (hereafter CCPAS), PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 01322 660011 or 01322 667207. Alternatively contact social services. If a report is made to the PCCA first you should contact within one working day one of the nominated CPAT. Any ministry or base leader being made aware of a concern, whether or minor or not, MUST at the first available opportunity contact one of the people named in 3.3, and confirm in writing what has been said. Base and ministry leaders have NO discretion over whether or not to refer the matter. The Child Protection Advisory Team (CPAT) will meet and give further advice and oversight in response to any issues raised. You should not discuss your suspicions with anyone other than those people given above. It is of course the right of any individual as a citizen to make direct referrals to the child protection agencies or seek advice from PCCA. However, we hope that members of the organisation will use this procedure. If however you feel that none of the above have responded appropriately to your concerns, then it is open to you to contact the relevant organisation directly. We hope that by making this statement we demonstrate the commitment of the organisation to effective child protection.

Allegations of Physical Injury or Neglect

If a child has a physical injury or symptom of neglect, or a worker has seen a clear incident of physical abuse, the Base leader or ministry leader must not delay contacting CPAT, but if delay is unavoidable then Base Leader or Ministry leader should: Speak with the parent/guardian and suggest medical help/attention is sought for the young person. The doctor will then initiate further action, if necessary. If appropriate, the parent/guardian will be encouraged to seek help from the Social Services department. If the parent/guardian is unwilling to seek help, then it may be appropriate for the leader to offer to go with them. If they still fail to act, the CPAT will in cases of real concern contact Social Services for advice. In the absence of the CPAT the Base leader or ministry leader must act. Where emergency medical attention is necessary then this should, of course, be sought immediately. The Base or ministry leader or person having care of the child will inform the doctor of any suspicions of abuse. Where the CPAT is unsure whether or not to refer a case to the Social Services, then advice will be sought and followed from PCCA. The agency will confirm its advice in writing in case this is needed for reference purposes in the future. DO NOT inform the parents if you consider the child may be at risk of further abuse if you do so. Contact Social Services or CCPAS for advice in cases of deliberate injury or where concerned about the child's safety.

Allegations of Sexual Abuse

In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Base leader or ministry leader will contact the CPAT IMMEDIATELY. The CPAT will contact the Social Services Child Protection Officer, Police Child Protection Team directly. The Base or ministry leader and the CPAT will NOT speak to the parent (or anyone else). You should not discuss your suspicions with anyone other than those nominated above. If for any reason the CPAT is unsure whether or not to follow the above then advice will be sought and followed from PCCA. The agency will confirm its advice in writing in case this is needed for reference purposes in the future. Updated July 2003 Under no circumstances will the CPAT attempt to carry out any investigation into the allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse. The role of the CPAT is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and to provide this information to the Social Services Department, whose task is to investigate the matter under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989. Whilst allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse will normally be reported to the CPAT, the absence of the CPAT should not delay referral to the Social Services Department. Exceptionally, should there be any disagreement between the person in receipt of the allegation or suspicion and the CPAT as to the appropriateness of a referral to the Social Services Department, that person retains a responsibility as a member of the public to report serious matters to the Social Services Department, and should do so without hesitation. YWAM will support the CPAT in their role, and accept that any information they may from time to time be in their possession, will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis. Not withstanding these procedures, individuals with responsibility should take appropriate action within the principles of the procedure, if they are unable to contact the appropriate leaders.

How to React When a Young Person Wants to Talk About Abuse

General Points

  • Accept what the child says (however unlikely the story may sound) Keep calm Look at the child directly
  • Be honest Let them know you will need to tell someone else - don't promise confidentiality
  • Even when a child has broken a rule they are not to blame for the abuse
  • Be aware that the child may have been threatened
  • Never push for information
  • Helpful things to say or show
    • I believe you (or showing acceptance of what the child says)
    • I am glad you have told me
    • It's not your fault
    • I will help you
  • Avoid saying
    • Why didn't you tell anyone before?
    • I can't believe it
    • Are you sure this is true?
    • Why? How? When? Who? Where?
  • Never make false promises
  • Never make statements such as "I am shocked, don't tell anyone else"?.

Concluding Again, reassure the child that they were right to tell you and that you believe them

What to do Once a Child Has Talked to You About Abuse 5.0

Make notes as soon as possible (preferably within an hour of the interview), writing down exactly what the young person said, and when she/he said it, and what was a happening immediately beforehand (e.g. description of activity). Record dates and times of these event and when you made the record. Keep all handwritten notes, even if these have subsequently been typed up for an indefinite period. Report your discussion as soon as possible to the CPAT. You should not discuss your suspicions or allegations with anyone other than those nominated above.

Appointment of YWAM Workers

Selecting and appointing workers The principles governing these appointment procedures apply to applicants for YWAM staff positions, volunteers, mission builders, and students on ALL YWAM residential courses. Under NO circumstances should shortcuts be taken e.g. references overlooked, incomplete applications accepted etc. The application screening process for all positions should include more than one person. Current operating procedures may not yet take into account all that we are recommending, and these must now be reviewed and brought into line with this Policy. Experience has shown that the most frequent method of infiltration of an organisation by paedophiles has been through an existing member of the organisation exerting undue authority to have the normal processes shortened.

  • 6.1 It will be important to have information about a potential worker's background. From July 2001 organisations will be able to obtain Police and other agency checks on their workers. See attached briefing sheet. Until then YWAM wishing to check police records could ask workers to make personal application under the Data Protection Act for any records about themselves held on police computers. This process will be outlawed under the new Data Protection Act 19998 once the Criminal Records Bureau start to issue certificates in July 2001. Nevertheless, the legal position is that children and youth work is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and all convictions, however old, which relate to children and young people, must be declared by applicants , if asked. However, someone wanting to conceal their past may not of course, tell you.
  • 6.2 The selection process MUST include the following: Asking the potential worker to complete the appropriate application form (Leaders form, Staff and Student form) giving information as to their name (and previous names), date and place of birth, and current and previous addresses. They should be asked whether they have ever been convicted, charged or cautioned in relation to any offence, and informed of the provision of the Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974. Questions about experience and attitudes to young people You may also wish to add to the application form:
  • Has there ever been any cause for concern regarding their conduct with children?
  • Have there ever been any allegation made against them which has been reported to, investigated by, Social Services and/or the Police?
  • Has the person ever been involved in court proceedings concerning a child for whom they have parental responsibility?
  • Have they ever had an offer of work with children/young people declined.?
  • References from those who may know the person e.g. previous church leaders, employers, friends.

Wherever possible an interview before appointing, or if not, on arrival. Interviews must take place with all workers before the 3 month review confirming appointment, with the exception of students. As soon as possible after arrival, and before the 3 month review meeting, all workers should be given information about YWAM's policy on safeguarding young people's welfare, and expectations of them in relation to good practice. (Students should be given this information during the briefing week at the start of each school.)

The confirmation of appointment process should include views from immediate superior and other members of the community

  • 6.3 Criteria for NOT appointing workers Under no circumstances should a person with a known previous history of abusing, or persistent temptation in this area, be appointed to ANY YWAM position, including student or volunteer. Abusive practices against young people are addictive, and even when there is repentance it would be wrong to place an individual in a position of temptation and this policy is as much for the benefit of the adult concerned as for the young people.

Creating a Safe Environment

  • 7.1 Background
  • 7.2 YWAM gives Christians the opportunity to demonstrate the love of God to young people. We are God's agents, and carry a major responsibility in interpreting the character of God as accurately as we can. Because young people are so precious to God, and because we represent God, it is of paramount importance that absolutely nothing happens which betrays or seems to betray the trust which both young people and their families place in us, or leaves us open to suspicion or accusation.
  • 7.3 Attempts to establish inappropriate,intimate emotional or physical relationships with the young people will be destructive to the young people and the workers concerned and betray the trust of the young person's family.
  • 7.4 A fundamental part of encouraging a young person in her/his relationship with God is the building of trust. Adults involved in Christian care, teaching and activities with young people have a very important responsibility both on a practical and spiritual level. A balance needs to be achieved between positive attempts to encourage the young person spiritually, look after her/him physically and provide an appropriate standard of structure and discipline.
  • 7.5 Most young people enjoy physical contact with adults: some do not. It is the young person who needs to make the choice whether she/he has physical contact or not; e.g. if a child is upset, the adult should ask the child if they mind them putting an arm around her/him. It is extremely important for both the well-being of the young person, and your own protection, that physical contact only takes place which is appropriate for the situation and age of the young person.

Supervision and Good Practice

  • 8.1 All activities should have at least two adults present, preferably three. The ratio of young people to adults may vary according to age and activity, but should not be less than 1 adult per 8 young people.
  • 8.2 If young people of both sexes are present, even if only one, then there must be a worker of each sex present.
  • 8.3 A worker should not be alone with a young person where their activity cannot be seen. This may mean leaving doors open, or two groups working in one room. In a situation where privacy and confidentiality are important, another adult will know that the meeting is taking place, and the open door policy should be maintained. There will be another adult close by in the building and the young person must know that they are there.
  • 8.4 Boundaries Treat all young people with respect and dignity; watch your language, tone of voice and body language. Listen well, and value their words. Do not engage in any of the following:
    • Invading the privacy of young people when changing,showering or toileting, except when there are special needs or circumstances
    • Rough, physical or sexually provocative games
    • Making sexually suggestive or flirtatious comments to or about a young person
    • Inappropriate or intrusive touching in any way
    • Any ridiculing, bullying, scape-goating of a young person Workers should be able to control and discipline young people without physical means.

If you invite a young person to your home, ensure this is with the knowledge of your co-workers, and that a parent is aware. You must not invite a young person to your home alone. Do not give lifts to young people on their own other than for short journeys. If they have to be alone ask them to sit in the back of the car. We advise that lifts to children should be taken in the context of having the parents permission and with the knowledge of the leaders. You may also wish to look at whether a worker should transport children if they have motoring offences. The distance of travel (short or long) may not have a bearing on the safety of the child being transported on their own. Only those people who have gone through your recruitment and selection procedures should transport children. The obvious exceptions should be when a worker is aware that a child has a crush on them, in such circumstances it would be wise for another worker to provide transport, or take several children and drop off this child first.

Ensure that others know of all your activities as a worker, that everything is 'open and up front', with nothing being covert. Consider carefully arrangements for residential activities. We advise that it would be unwise for a worker to share accommodation with one or two children, though a larger dormitory may be acceptable. The exception to this is where the worker is the parent of those children.

We are suggesting that co-organisations use log books for the various children's activities as a way of safeguarding both children and workers. Workers are safeguarded from any false allegations as a log book would demonstrate: Names of children present, names of all adults present and when, any significant incident - a fight broken up by adults, children asked to leave etc., any allegations made: All workers who witnessed, heard or responded in any way should record details, sign and date log book.

  • 8.5 Safety Before undertaking any programmes check for any legal requirements. Under no circumstances should YWAM workers engage in any activity for which they are not qualified or which places young people at inappropriate risk. Workers involved in activities for young people should check that any building or equipment used is safe, conforms to any regulations. They should be aware of fire procedures, and ensure that they are known and observed.
  • 8.6 Feedback If you see a fellow worker acting in ways which give rise to concern, or which might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to her/him or a senior colleague about your concerns, within the guidelines of this policy. The safety of the young person must come first, even before loyalty to your colleagues. There should be an atmosphere of mutual support, trust and care which allows all workers to be able to discuss inappropriate attitudes and behaviour. In team activities Arrange regular meetings to review procedures and discuss concerns, and clarify any questions Encourage report back to such a meeting if departure from the guidelines becomes necessary, which provides protection to the individual and draws the leaderships attention to problem areas Keep a written record of issues and decisions discussed at such meetings.

Pastoral and Spiritual Care

Counseling should only be undertaken by people who have been trained and accredited by an approved body and who are being supervised. Of course there are situations where young people might talk informally or need practical advice. This is not counseling, and you should realise your limits. Prayer and ministry with young people should always take place within the principles or guidelines of this policy. Ministry should be age appropriate, non-threatening, sensitive to young people's and parents' church background. Deliverance ministry should never take place outside of the context of the church's own pastoral and family situation. Great pastoral care is required over the exercise of spiritual gifts. e.g. words of knowledge. Those exercising them should always remember the effect such information is likely to have on the person receiving it. The Bible also tells us to test these gifts (1 John 4:1) and so any such 'word of knowledge' should not be treated lightly but investigated thoroughly. Create an environment where young people feel safe and that they will be listened to and valued. Encourage them to think through their own emotions, responsibilities and always work at building self-esteem.

Training and Supervision

It is important that all workers understand the agreed procedures for protecting children. Where possible workers should have clear job descriptions. Each worker should have a clear description of their tasks, supervisory arrangements (both of themselves and their responsibility for others) and any guidelines and agreed procedures.


The implementation of this policy will be audited in the following ways: Workers directly involved with children and young people will attend an annual meeting to discuss policy and practice issues. A register will be maintained of all workers with whom the Policy has been discussed, and those who have received training Base leaders will submit an annual report of their children/youth activities to include the names of all staff and volunteers involved. Random visits by CPAT or by an outside agency to check on the implementation of policy and practice. This document is based on a model child protection policy supplied by the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service - a project of PCCA Child Care. A copy of this policy and all amendments will be filed with CCPAS. This policy must not be copied by other churches/organisations without the written agreement of CCPAS.

For further information or resources visit CCPAS at http://www.ccpas.co.uk

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