“The Church of Scotland has a deep concern for the wholeness and wellbeing of each individual. It seeks to safeguard the welfare of all people, regardless of age, who come into contact with the Church and its organizations. It is the responsibility of each individual within the fellowship of the church to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and young people.”
- Treat all children and young people with respect.
- Provide an example of good conduct you wish others to follow.
- Ensure that, wherever possible, there is more than one adult present during your organization’s activities with children or young people, or at least that you are within sight or hearing of others.
- Respect a young person’s right to personal privacy.
- Encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behavior they do not like.
- Remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.
- Be aware that even caring physical contact with a child or young person may be misinterpreted.
- Recognize that special caution is required in moments when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people.
- Operate within the Church’s Code of Good Practice and the procedures of the organization or club.
YOU MUST NOT
- Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with children or young people.
- Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behavior.
- Make suggestive/derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or young people.
- Jump to conclusions about others without checking facts.
- Exaggerate or trivialize child abuse issues.
- Show favoritism to any individual.
- Rely on your good name or that of the Church to protect you.
- Believe “it could never happen to me.”
- Take a chance when common sense, policy and practice suggest another more prudent approach.
- Ignore the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures operating within the organization.
WHAT TO DO
If a child or young person discloses to you abuse by someone else:
- Allow him or her to speak without interruption, accepting what is said, but do nor investigate.
- Alleviate feelings of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgment.
- Let them know you are glad they have shared this information with you.
- Advise the child or young person that you must pass on the information.
If you suspect a child or young person is being abused, emotionally, physically or sexually:
- Report the matter to the head of your group, the minister or the Child Protection Co-coordinator.
If you receive an allegation about any adult or about yourself:
- Immediately tell the head of the group, the Minister and/or the Child Protection Co-coordinator.
- Try to ensure that no one is placed in a position which could cause further compromise.
In all cases:
- Record the facts and report these to the Minister and/or Child Protection Co-coordinator for the congregation.
- You must refer; you must not investigate.
For more information please see the Church of Scotland website.