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Safe from Harm - the Home Office Code of Practice
Safe from Harm was prepared to provide voluntary organisations with guidelines for safeguarding the welfare of children and young people in their care.
It applies to all workers in voluntary organisations, including the churches, whether they are paid or volunteers.
It encourages the development of good policies and practice to prevent the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children and young people while they are in their care.
At the same time it protects those who work with children and young people from unfounded accusations or from behaving in ways which may be well-intentioned but inadvisable.
The Home Office guidelines are a challenge to every church:
* Adopt a policy statement on safeguarding the welfare of children.
* Plan the work of the organisation so as to minimise situations where the abuse of children may occur.
* Introduce a system whereby children may talk with an independent person.
* Apply agreed procedures for children to all paid staff and volunteers.
* Give all paid staff and volunteers clear roles.
* Use supervision as a means to protecting children.
* Treat all would-be paid staff and volunteers as job applicants for any position involving contact with children.
* Gain at least one reference from a person who has experience of the applicant's paid work or volunteering with children.
* Explore the applicants experience of working or contact with children in an interview before appointment.
* Find out whether an applicant has any conviction for criminal offences against children.
* Make paid and volunteer appointments conditional on the successful completion of a probationary period.
* Issue guidelines on how to deal with disclosure or discovery of abuse.
* Train paid staff and volunteers, their line managers or supervisors and policy makers, in the prevention of child abuse.
Please do not see these guidelines as a threat to existing work, rather it is a way of making even more effective the care and love which inspires both the work and the workers.
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