1.2 Key Principles and Legislative Framework
What is included in this Chapter?
This Chapter contains a summary of the key principles underpinning this Manual and the legislative framework within which the policies and procedures have been developed. This manual is based on Working Together to Safeguard Children March 2013.
The following expressions of principles and values have been agreed by the Catholic Church nationally and underpin its response and actions under these procedures at all times.
- The Catholic Church in England and Wales embraces its role in supporting children to achieve their full potential in an environment where they are protected from exploitation, abuse and maltreatment;
- All adults within the Church have a responsibility to act and intervene when it appears that children need to be made safe from harm, whether the risk of harm is Neglect, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse or Emotional Abuse;
- The Church will act in an open, transparent and accountable way in working in partnership with Children's Social Care Services, the Police, Health Agencies, Probation Services and other agencies to safeguard children and assist in bringing to justice anyone who has committed an offence against a child;
- Anyone who brings concerns or allegations to the notice of the Church will be responded to sensitively, respectfully and seriously. All concerns and allegations will be dealt with within the national procedures and in a timely manner;
- The Church is fully committed to acting within the guidance as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 and acknowledges that the Church must work in partnership with other agencies and not act alone;
- Pastoral Care will be made available to children and their families and to other relevant people where there have been concerns and allegations of some form of harm or maltreatment of a child;
- Where services and support are provided to an adult, who has acted to harm a child, safeguards should be put in place to manage the risk that the adult may harm another child.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales is fully committed to work in relation to Adults at Risk:
- Actively and constructively within the framework set out in the guidance in section 3 of 'No Secrets' (DOH);
- Actively promote the empowerment and well-being of adults at risk through the church;
- Recognise that everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse;
- Recognise that adults have the right to be protected from harm and exploitation; and
- Recognise that adults have the right to independence that involves a degree of risk;
- The Church will act in an open, transparent and accountable way in working in partnership with Adult Social Care Services, the Police, Health Agencies, Probation Services and other agencies to safeguard adults at risk and assist in bringing to justice anyone who has committed an offence against an adult at risk.
There is a range of legislation and guidance in place to ensure that all public and statutory agencies deliver services to children and families in line with government policies and long standing legislation.
In response to the tragic deaths of children from abuse and maltreatment the legislation and guidance changes and evolves quite frequently.
The following are the most important in terms of their relevance for the Church in England and Wales:
- Children Act 1989;
- Children Act 2004;
- Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013;
- Information about Bullying;
- Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation 2009;
- Safeguarding Children who may have been Trafficked 2011;
- Safeguarding Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced 2008;
- 'What To Do If You Are Worried A Child Is Being Abused' 2006;
- Guidance for Safe Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People 2009;
- Keeping Children Safe in Education - Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges (April 2014);
- Safeguarding Children from Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession 2007.
In Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013, set out quite clearly that all agencies, not only the statutory ones, but also charities, voluntary agencies, faith groups and communities and others are expected to follow the guidance and have procedures and systems in place to ensure that children are safeguarded in all environments and that they are listened to with respect and openness.
In relation to Adults at Risk there is a range of government guidance and national frameworks for statutory agencies in place, the most important are:
- No Secrets - a National Framework for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults: Department of Health 2000;
- Action on Elder Abuse Report 2005;
- The Mental Capacity Act 2005;
- The Mental Health Act 2007;
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;
- Safeguarding Adults: Report on the Consultation on the Review of 'No Secrets' (DoH, 2009);
- Protecting Adults at Risk: London Multi Agency Policy and Procedures to Safeguarding Adults from Abuse 2011;
- Safeguarding Adults at Risk of Harm: A legal Guide for Practitioners, SCIE December 2011.