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Guideline 3

* Introduce a system whereby children may talk with an independent person.

Church response:
It is important that the independent body is seen as being independent and yet very difficult for children to have access to such a body or person.

We would therefore suggest that by raising the awareness of those who work with young people and parents that this may well be the first stage of contact with a child. It is then, important, if the worker is unsure, to go to either their line manager or to the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (an independent organisation specialising in this area) or to the statutory authority.

The church must seek advice from either the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service or the Statutory Authority or both in every incidence of an allegation of abuse.

N.B. - Church leaders will often experience difficulty in making appropriate judgements. Professionals (e.g.. Family doctors) are advised that they should discuss their suspicions with a specialist colleague first, with a view to then informing the statutory agencies. Similarly, Church leaders will seek the advice of the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service on how to handle such disclosures and avail themselves of the follow up support, provided by the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service, at each stage of the process.

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