A&Q 18 How can we make the meeting a community in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome? Seek to know one another in the things which are eternal, bear the burden of each other’s failings and pray for one another. As we enter with tender sympathy into the joys and sorrows of each other’s lives, ready to give help and to receive it, our meeting can be a channel for God’s love and forgiveness.
S is for Safeguarding
Safeguarding is the protection of children and adults from harm. It is often seen as only applying to children, and yet abuse can affect anyone no matter their age, so safeguarding guidelines apply also to vulnerable adults.
It is often seen as only applying to sexual relationships, however, abuse can happen within other relationships too.
Fundamentally, harassment and abuse is a serious misuse of power and authority, committed by a dominant partner in an unequal relationship. Power is a fact of life, it is present in every relationship and situation, it is how that power is used that causes problems.
Area Meeting Trustees have a responsibility to adopt a Safeguarding policy and to see that all AM activities abide by it. This includes all local meeting activities and any Quaker residential events. Premises committees need to consider how to remind Friends of the policy. A local meeting can choose to create and adopt a more stringent safeguarding policy if they feel it necessary.
However any other non Quaker groups who are hiring the building do not need to be aware of, or to follow the AM Safeguarding policy. Instead they must have their own policy and ensure that they follow any other laws or regulations. Premises should ensure that the group know that it is their responsibility to do this and to ensure that they know it is not Premises’s responsibility to critique the policy or to ensure that it is abided by.
I suggest my clients put the following clause, or something simialr into their terms and conditions:
The Hirer must ensure that all necessary Child Protection checks have been undertaken before the Hire Period commences. (Name) Meeting cannot accept any responsibility for a failure to comply with this legal requirement. Children must be supervised at all times.
- Quaker Life
- Maintaining Boundaries and Maintaining safe communities
- Each AM should have a safeguarding policy approved by Trustees.
- Advice and sample policies are available from Friends House.
- Training is available from Woodbrooke.
- Churches Agency for Safeguarding (CAS) is the national body that provides Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal records application service and safer recruitment training, information and advice.
- NSPCC has useful resources including research and fact sheets
- Elder Abuse has resources specifically aimed against the
- Mencap has resources for people with learning difficulties.
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