Safeguarding Policy

We are committed to Safeguarding Children, Young People, Victims of Domestic Abuse and Vulnerable Adults.

The Church of Scotland lives the Gospel message which declares that the least, the last and the lost should be at the heart of what we believe and how we respond in our faith. Safeguarding underpins this theological imperative to care for the most vulnerable people we engage with in our life and work. Everyone has the right to feel safe and cared for in the Church and it is also the responsibility of everyone in the Church.

Harm or abuse of children and adults at risk can happen anywhere – even in Church communities. As a result, Safeguarding, protecting children and adults at risk from harm, is a permanent and necessary part of Church life. Abuse is incompatible with our Christian values.

We believe that our church life should include a safe space for all to meet in.  All who work with our young people and “vulnerable adults” must first be interviewed about the role they will undertake. It is mandatory that they also possess an up-to-date PVG certificate. 

Please help us maintain this safe space. If you become aware of any actual or potential compromise of the Church’s Safeguarding Values or Policy (see below), then please get in touch via the Contact Us page of this website.

We want to be rigorous in abiding by the Church of Scotland’s Safeguarding Values and Policy, which are:

  • The love of Christ compels us to care and protect those who are vulnerable in the Church and society.
  • Priority: safeguarding children and adults at risk known to the Church.
  • Acting in the best interest of the person affected by harm or abuse is paramount.
  • Zero tolerance: no type or level of harm to people known to the Church or using Church services is acceptable or justifiable.
  • Duty to protect people: we all have a duty to protect as well as a duty of care.
  • Immediate reporting: if you suspect or witness harm or it is reported to you, you must immediately report it to your Safeguarding Coordinator or your line manager.
  • Safeguarding is a multi-agency activity. The Church of Scotland will ensure that the social work department, police and health services are involved, as appropriate, when harm is witnessed, suspected or reported.
  • Communication and information sharing: is essential within the Church of Scotland and with other agencies to promote joint decision making.
  • Confidential information sharing: the duty to protect takes precedence over individual confidentiality if they or others are at serious risk of harm or have been seriously harmed. But information sharing will be proportional: the person will be advised before the appropriate amount of information is shared with only the minimum number of people that need to know.
  • For adults at risk of harm – balancing risks and rights: we recognise the balance between the duty to protect and the right of the adult who has capacity to make decisions to choose to live in a situation that puts them at risk of harm. We will work with them to ensure that such risks are understood and minimised. Risk taking, with appropriate support, can be positive and life-enhancing.
  • Any safeguarding intervention must be the minimum necessary and proportionate to the risk of abuse or harm.
What do we mean by Safeguarding in the Church?

Safeguarding is about protecting children and adults at risk in, or known to, Church congregations. Safeguarding is broader than child and adult protection and a collective approach to safeguarding aims to encourage every local church and every individual member to play their part in: 

  • Creating and maintaining a safe environment for all especially children and adults at risk, so that the dignity of each person is respected.
  • Being informed about different forms of harm and abuse and how to respond appropriately, making it clear that any harm or abuse is unacceptable.?

The Church of Scotland’s Safeguarding system seeks to adopt a preventive approach to safeguarding through:

  • Safe Recruitment practices 
  • Safeguarding Training and awareness raising 
  • Safe working practices e.g. risk assessments, ensuring correct ratios of workers to children, safe use of social media
  • Managing safe worship of those who may pose a risk
  • Ensuring good Safeguarding Practices?

Where possible, the aim of the Church is to prevent harm or abuse. However, where that is not possible, we wish to ensure a timely and appropriate response to any safeguarding concerns. 

For more information on the Church of Scotland’s Safeguarding policies, practice and procedures, as well as details of how to contact the Church of Scotland Safeguarding Service, please visit the Church of Scotland website.