Every child and vulnerable person deserves to be safe and secure in their life and activities. BCUIM believes that every human being has a value and dignity which comes directly from the creation of male and female in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential 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. God’s Church is intended to be a place where men, women and children, including those who are hurt and damaged, may find healing and wholeness, and ongoing protection. It is the Christian calling to be agents of healing and justice in such a way that enables all who have suffered from abuse to lead lives with dignity, in a community of peace.

BCUIM has put in place safeguards to protect children, young people or vulnerable adults. BCUIM has also put in place safeguards to avoid putting their workers in positions where abuse might be alleged, and to ensure that all workers know exactly what to do should abuse be suspected. BCUIM believes it is important to not only protect the vulnerable from abuse but to actively promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults - not just to protect, but to safeguard. BCUIM will work in partnership with the policies and procedures of places where chaplaincy takes place, and other organisations.


A Child is a person under the age of 18 years as defined by the Children Act 1989 when addressing issues of abuse. ‘Children’ therefore means ‘children and young people’ throughout this document. Although 16-18 year olds are legally able to give their consent to sexual activity, they may nevertheless be harmed by those who are responsible for them and whom they trust: Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 (1.19) states: “The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital, in prison or in a Young Offenders’ Institution, does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection under the Children Act 1989.

Our values in working with Children:

  • The needs of the child are paramount and should underpin all child protection work.
  • All children and young people have the right to grow up in a caring and safe environment.
  • Children and young people have the right to be protected from abuse of all types, and to expect that adults in positions of responsibility will do everything possible to foster those rights.


The definition of a Vulnerable Adult is defined in the ‘No Secrets’ government report as a person “who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.” For the purposes of this policy, this category can be extended to those in temporary emotional distress, which in many cases can render an individual susceptible to manipulation or exploitation. Our values within our work with such people are:

  • Privacy: The right of individuals to be left alone or undisturbed and free from intrusion or public attention into their affairs.
  • Dignity: Recognition of the intrinsic value of people regardless of circumstances by respecting their uniqueness and their personal needs and by treating them with respect.
  • Independence: Opportunities to act and think without reference to another person, including a willingness to incur a degree of calculated risk.
  • Choice: Opportunity to select independently from a range of options.
  • Rights: The maintenance of all entitlements associated with citizenship.
  • Fulfilment: The realisation of personal aspirations and abilities in all aspects of daily life.
  • Valuing Diversity: Respect for different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, ages, genders, and sexual preferences.


BCUIM chaplains may work with children, young people and vulnerable adults directly and indirectly through their chaplaincy work to various outlets and establishments. Chaplains may build strong relationships on the basis of providing a listening ear.

Meetings with Children and Vulnerable Adults should always be in public, in the workplace or a public meeting area. Chaplains should avoid physical contact, or language, that might be misconstrued. Chaplains should not meet alone, in private with a child or vulnerable adult. Chaplains should not offer any form of private meeting or relationship, or on-line/Social Media contact outside the context of Chaplaincy to children, young people or vulnerable adults. Where unsolicited contact is made with a chaplain by an individual outside of Chaplaincy this context, this should be immediately discussed with a colleague.

Chaplains receiving Abuse disclosure, or with concerns about Safeguarding, should report those within the structure of the organisation hosting chaplaincy, in the first instance, and inform the BCUIM Team Leader that this referral has been made. In the case that the host organisation does not have a clear procedure, or there is not a clear line of reporting, BCUIM Team Leader should be informed in the first instance.

If a Chaplain believes a child or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, they should either contact Social Services or the police, as well as informing the host organisation and BCUIM Team Leader. All allegations of abuse against a chaplain, however minor, are to be reported to the Team Leader

5. SAFEGUARDING POLICY AND PROCEDURES – DBS CHECKS (Drawn up and agreed with Lichfield Diocesan Safeguarding Office, January 2017)

The Executive Committee of the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission will take all reasonable care to ensure the safety of any children, young people or vulnerable adults with whom its chaplains and other team members come into contact during the course of their ministry for BCUIM.

1. The Team Leader, currently Revd. Bill Mash, is our approved Safeguarding Co-ordinator for the calendar year 2019 and he is the point of contact through which concerns about the protection of groups listed above will be channelled. Administrative tasks connected with forms and verification will be the responsibility of the Team Administrator, currently Angela Partoon.

2. The Team Leader is responsible to the Executive Committee for ensuring that these procedures are implemented.

3. The Executive Committee will work towards adopting the relevant recommendations of the House of Bishops such as those published in the Policy for Safeguarding Children Protecting All God’s Children (2010) and Promoting a Safe Church (2006)

4. The BCUIM Executive Committee will ensure full compliance with Health and Safety Guidelines. Our Health and Safety Policy is available on the resources section of the BCUIM web site.

5. The Executive Committee is directly responsible for all chaplaincy visits conducted by chaplains and team members attached to BCUIM.

6. Chaplains and team members must be conversant with the safeguarding policy of the organisations they visit.

7. New chaplains will be required to provide a reference from the minister, or equivalent leader, of a church, in good standing with Churches Together in England, of which they have been a member for at least two years.

8. Before appointment or the continuation of any appointment, chaplains and team members must apply for and supply clearance from the Disclosure & Barring Service. Exceptions may be made where a chaplain already has such clearance through their church and their chaplaincy, whilst it may be linked to BCUIM, is also seen as a ministry of their church.

9. Completed declaration forms and references will be confidential to and securely held by the Team Leader and the BCUIM Administrator.

10. BCUIM will use the Disclosure & Barring Service for checking chaplains’ criminal records where appropriate. This will be done via the Safeguarding Office, St Mary’s House, The Close, Lichfield. WS13 7LD

11. BCUIM will maintain a list of its current chaplains and other team members, with details of their roles, and provision for training and support.

12. BCUIM will provide access to guidance and training in the understanding of child/vulnerable adult abuse.

13. It is important that chaplains and team members avoid any situations where children or young people could be at risk or placed in danger. In practice, in the context of BCUIM, most concern will be over adults who, for one reason or another, are, at the time, vulnerable. This may be as a result of a permanent or temporary reduction in physical, mental or emotional capacity brought about by life events, for example bereavement or previous abuse or trauma.

14. Chaplains should avoid situations where they feel vulnerable to temptation or where their conduct may be misinterpreted.

15. This will mean that conversations should normally be carried out in public places, or where the chaplain and their contact have the opportunity to attract the attention of others should the need arise. It may be appropriate to have a trusted third person present.

16. Chaplains may occasionally, by appointment and agreement, make visits to people at home. It is advisable to inform someone else (a relative or team member) that they are doing this, and a record should be kept of the date, time and place of the visit, the person visited and the reason. Chaplains should consider carefully whether a visit is appropriate, especially if the person may be alone.

17. BCUIM carries public liability insurance and will insure all chaplains and other team members for personal accident when engaged on chaplaincy visits.

18. This Policy and its procedures will be monitored by the Safeguarding Co-ordinator who will report to the Executive Committee annually at the AGM.


6.1 Physical Abuse of Children, Young People or Vulnerable Adults

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult.

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent/carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child or vulnerable adult.

Physical Abuse - Physical & Behavioural Indicators

  • Unexplained injuries – bruises / abrasions / lacerations
  • The account of the accident may be vague or may vary from one telling to another
  • Unexplained burns
  • Regular occurrence of unexplained injuries: Most accidental injuries occur on parts of the body where the skin passes over a bony protrusion.
  • Withdrawn or aggressive behavioural extremes
  • Uncomfortable with physical contact
  • Seems afraid to go home
  • Complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably
  • Wears clothing inappropriate for the weather, in order to cover body
  • The interaction between the child, vulnerable adult and its carer

6.2 Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s or vulnerable adult’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s or vulnerable adults health or development. Neglect may involve a parent/carer failing to:

  • Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter;
  • Protect a child or vulnerable adult from physical and emotional harm or danger;
  • Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers);
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s or vulnerable adult’s basic emotional needs.

  • Neglect - Physical & Behavioural Indicators
  • Unattended medical need
  • Underweight or obesity
  • Recurrent infection
  • Unkempt dirty appearance
  • Smelly
  • Inadequate / unwashed clothes
  • Consistent lack of supervision
  • Consistent hunger
  • Inappropriately dressed12
  • Poor social relationships
  • Indiscriminate friendliness
  • Poor concentration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Regularly displays fatigue or lethargic
  • Frequently falls asleep
  • Frequent unexplained absences

6.3 Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or vulnerable adult such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s or vulnerable adult’s emotional development, and may involve:

  • Conveying to children or a vulnerable adult that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person;
  • Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s or vulnerable adult’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child or vulnerable adult participating in normal social interaction;
  • Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another;
  • Serious bullying, causing children or vulnerable adults frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children or vulnerable adults.

Emotional Abuse - Physical & Behavioural Indicators

  • Poor attachment relationship
  • Unresponsive/neglectful behaviour towards the child’s or vulnerable adults emotional needs
  • Persistent negative comments about the child or vulnerable adult
  • Inappropriate or inconsistent expectations
  • Self harm
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unhappiness, anxiety
  • Withdrawn, insecure
  • Attention seeking
  • Passive or aggressive behavioural extremes

6.4 Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child, young person or vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child or vulnerable adult is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children or vulnerable adults in looking at, or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging children or vulnerable adults to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Sexual Abuse - Physical & Behavioural Indicators

  • Sign of blood / discharge on the child’s or vulnerable adult’s clothing
  • Awkwardness in walking / sitting
  • Pain or itching – genital area
  • Bruising, scratching, bites on the inner thighs / external genitalia13
  • Self harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Enuresis / encopresis
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Sexually proactive behaviour or knowledge that is incompatible with a child’s age and understanding
  • Drawings and or written work that is sexually explicit
  • Self harm / Suicide attempts
  • Running away
  • Substance abuse
  • Significant devaluing of self
  • Loss of concentration

6.5 Discriminatory forms of Abuse

This form of abuse involves direct or indirect discrimination of children or vulnerable adults because of their race, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, mental health status or age.

Discriminatory Abuse – Examples:

  • Lack of culturally or gender sensitivity in care practices
  • Access to services denied due to lack of disability awareness and access needs of members
  • No attempt to address language barriers
  • No provision of culturally sensitive food
  • No awareness of importance of faith festivals etc.
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