Dry and boring? On the face of it, yes! However, if we do not get this right, as
a community that cares about one another, then we will be letting ourselves down.
My role as English Co-ordinator in a local Special School was one of the reasons
that I was asked to take on the responsibility of looking at the Safeguarding Adults
Policy, which arrived with us from the Diocese recently. Bishop Nicholas encourages
us, in the preface of this document, to welcome vulnerable adults into our community
and offer them a space in which to worship safely and receive help when they need
it. We have been asked to adopt and implement this Policy once it has been personalised
to our church and to renew it annually.
The Church is particularly called by God to support those at the margins, those less
powerful and those without a voice in our society.
Who are the vulnerable?
We all are, at some point in our lives. This Policy and the way we implement it in
our church means that our building will be a safe place for all of us to worship
in but especially for those who may be vulnerable for any reason. Everyone should
receive respectful ministry; all church workers should be recruited with care, including
CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks; allegations of abuse, bullying or harassment
should be quickly responded to; training should be given where necessary and finally,
and perhaps most importantly, informed and sensitive care should be offered to anyone
who has suffered abuse.
The official definition of a vulnerable adult is a person: “Who is or may be in need
of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness;
and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself or unable to protect him
or herself against significant harm or exploitation.”
In other words the people who are most likely to be the subject of mistreatment,
are those people who:
· Are very frail
· Are older people
· Have a mental illness including dementia
· Have a physical or sensory disability
· Have a learning disability
· Have a serious physical illness
· Are in a period of temporary vulnerability caused by bereavement; trauma or separation.
The PCC have asked me to be the person who will speak on behalf of vulnerable people
within the congregation. Part of my role is to find a way to tell all of you about
this Policy and its implications.
Over the next few months I will write a series of articles. I will consider what
we mean by abuse; the forms abuse can take and the indicators of abuse. We all have
a responsibility to protect others and discussion of these issues is one way to remind
us about our commitment to one another.
Please feel free to e-mail me or just stop to chat about anything you are confused
about or wish to discuss. Thank you.