The safeguarding of all children, young people and vulnerable adults is very important to us at The Well Christian Healing Centre. If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of, or is being abused, or presents a risk to others, please contact our Safeguarding Officer, Mark Askew, straight away. Your concern will be taken seriously and acted upon.

Here is our full Safeguarding Policy:

1.   Scope

The care and protection of children, young people[1], vulnerable adults[2] (hereinafter referred to as Guests) and Volunteers and Staff (hereinafter referred to as Team) involved in activities in The Well is the responsibility of everyone. Everyone who participates in the life of The Well has a role to play in promoting a safer environment for all.

This document sets out the policy intent for the safeguarding of Guests in The Well.

The Well safeguarding policy offers six overarching policy commitments:

  • Promoting a safe environment and culture;
  • Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to Guests;
  • Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation;
  • Responding to those who have experienced abuse or harm and other affected persons;
  • Caring for Team members who may be the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons;
  • Responding to those that may pose a present risk[3] to others.

This policy applies to all Well Team Members.

A full understanding of, and adherence to, this policy should lead to a deepening in the understanding of, and respect for, the rights of Guests.

2.   Introduction

The Well is committed to safeguarding as an integral part of its Ministry.

Safeguarding means the action The Well takes to promote a safe culture. This means we will promote the welfare of Guests, work to prevent abuse from occurring, seek to protect those that are at risk of being abused and respond well to those that have been abused.

The Well will take appropriate steps to maintain a safe environment for all and to practise fully and positively Christ’s Ministry towards Guests and Team; to respond sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.

3.   Foundations

In developing and implementing the Safeguarding Policy, The Well is guided by the following:

a)   Gospel

The Well is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy.

Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has.

b)   Human Rights and the Law

The Well recognises the personal dignity and rights of all our Guests, as enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Safeguarding work is undertaken within a legislative framework supported by government guidance which sets out a range of safeguarding duties, responsibilities and best practice. Safe recruitment practice is informed by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 with subsequent amendments in the Protection of Freedoms act 2012.

4.   Core Principles

The following core principles underpin The Well’s approach to safeguarding practice:

  • The welfare of the Guests and Team is paramount;
  • Integrity, respect and listening to all;
  • Transparency and openness;
  • Accountability;
  • Collaboration with key statutory authorities and other partners;
  • Use of professional safeguarding advice and support both inside and outside The Well;
  • A commitment to the prevention of abuse;
  • The active management of risk;
  • Promoting a culture of informed vigilance;
  • Regular evaluation to ensure best practice.

5.   Good Safeguarding Practice[4]

The following key features will help The Well promote and maintain a safe culture that protects and promote the welfare of Guests.

These features are:

  • A leadership commitment, at all levels, to the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Guests and Team;
  • A safeguarding policy and appropriate procedures available to Well Staff and Team Members;
  • A clear line of accountability within The Well for work on safeguarding;
  • Clear reporting procedures to deal with safeguarding concerns and allegations;
  • Practice and services informed by on-going learning, review and by the views of Guests;
  • Safe recruitment procedures for staff and volunteers in place;
  • Clear arrangements for support and/or supervision;
  • Safeguarding training for all Well Staff and team Members working with or in contact with Guests;
  • Effective working with, and signposting to, statutory and voluntary sector partners;
  • Publicly available arrangements for Guests to be able to speak to an independent person from the Well, as required;
  • Complaints and whistleblowing procedures that are well publicised;
  • Effective information sharing amongst team whilst maintaining confidentiality requirements ;
  • Good record keeping.

6.   Policy Commitments

Based on the foundations outlined above The Well commits to the following:

  1. Promoting a safe environment and culture

All Well Team members will respect all Guests and promote their wellbeing.

The Well will strive to create and maintain environments that are safe for all, that promote well-being, that prevent harm, and that create nurturing, caring conditions within The Well for Guests and Team. It will work to continue to strengthen and review these environments. This will be done by training, support, communication, learning, governance and quality assurance processes.

The Well will strive to support all Well Team members to adhere to safe working good practice and ensure that processes are in place that listen to and advocate on behalf of Guests.

  • Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to Guests

The Well will select and vet all those with any responsibility related to Guests.

It will train and equip Team Members to have the confidence and skills they need to care and support Guests and to recognise and respond appropriately to abuse. This will be done by supporting the roll-out of consistent and accessible safeguarding training.

  • Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation

Anyone who brings any safeguarding suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or non-current abuse to the notice of The Well will be responded to respectfully and in a timely manner.

All safeguarding work will be recorded.

All suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations that reach the threshold for reporting to the statutory authorities, will be reported. This will be done irrespective of the status of the person. All Well Team will cooperate with the statutory authorities in all cases. In responding to concerns or allegations of abuse relating to The Well Team, The Well will act in accordance with the requirements of criminal and civil law, and so will respect the rights and uphold the safeguards afforded to all parties involved.

  • Responding to those who  have experienced abuse or harm and other affected persons

The Well will endeavour to offer care and support to all those that have been abused, regardless of the type of abuse, when or where it occurred. The Well is committed to continuing to learn how to respond in a supportive and healing way to the needs of those who have suffered abuse.

Guests, volunteers or staff who may have experienced harm within The Well will receive a compassionate response, be listened to and be taken seriously.

The Well will respond appropriately to any disclosure of abuse as part of the ministry (e.g. domestic abuse), or any disclosure of harm experienced within the Well itself. This will be done in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies in accordance with criminal and civil law. They will be offered appropriate care and support – according to the agreed need and guest confidentiality.

An appropriate response to the family will be considered, with due regard to the right of privacy of those directly involved, and to the administration of justice.

  • Caring for Team members who may be the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons

The Well in exercising its responsibilities to suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations of abuse will endeavour to respect the rights under criminal and civil law of an accused Well Team member. A legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory inquiry processes. As the process progresses, additional assessment, therapy and support services may be offered.

The Well will take responsibility for ensuring that steps are taken to protect others when any Well Team member is considered a risk to Guests. This will be done by working to mitigate any identified risks according to a safeguarding agreement.

The Well will be mindful of the need to provide support to members of families affected by The Well Team Member in such situations.

  • Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others

The Well will not knowingly employ, either directly or as a volunteer, anyone who poses a known present risk to others.

However, The Well’s prayer ministry is available to all and we believe that God’s healing power is available to everyone. Therefore, The Well will be prepared to pray for those who pose a known present risk to other guests or Team members, but only with appropriate notice to ensure that properly trained Team Members are made available to carry out the Ministry, and with sufficient mitigation of identified risks.  Some risks may require postponement of an appointment. We do not pray for people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  They will not be invited into a Prayer Room.  We may use the 5-finger blessing prayer in the Foyer, or we might just ask them to leave.

7.   Putting the policy into action

The Policy Statement must actively underpin all safeguarding work within The Well and the drive to improve safeguarding practice.

The Well will ensure that:

  • All Team Members have access to this Policy Statement;
  • The Policy Statement is promoted and publicised;
  • The Well’s safeguarding message is communicated and reflects the policy;
  • Appropriate procedures and guidelines are developed in support of the policy;
  • All Team Members are aware that if they have concerns that guests or team may be at risk of being abused or present a risk to others, they know how to follow Safeguarding guidelines and inform the Safeguarding Officer
  • Guests are aware that if they have concerns they know how to report the matter to the Safeguarding officer.
[ Mark Askew, Executive Director 05 04 2019 ]

[1] Young people/person – means any individual(s) aged 14 to 17 years old

[2] Vulnerable adult – Section 6 Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 defines a ‘vulnerable adult’ as “a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, old age, emotional fragility or distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinitely impaired”. The full text of the 2016 Measure is found at… https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201516/jtselect/jtecc/79.pdf.

[3] Current risk – means poses a current and consequential risk of harm

[4] Informed by Promoting a Safer Church (Church of England, 2017)