We aspire to be a loving community, offering a welcoming environment in which everybody can flourish. Safeguarding involves keeping both children and ‘adults at risk’ safe from harm.
A child is legally defined as someone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. An ‘adult at risk’ is someone aged 18 or over, who by reason of mental or other disability, age, illness or other situation, are permanently, or for the time being, unable to take care for themselves, or to protect themselves from significant harm, abuse or exploitation.
Whatever the demographic of your church community, safeguarding is vital. In Wales, every church has charitable status, and therefore falls under regulatory direction of the Charity Commission. The serving Elders and Minister in each church have ‘primary responsibility’ for safeguarding in their church. This includes a duty to ensure compliance with legislation, policy and procedures. Safeguarding resources for churches (including policies, procedures and contact information) are available from Church House. Please also see Safer Election of Elders. A link to Wales Safeguarding Procedures can be found here.
Diana Taylor is the Safeguarding Officer for the National Synod of Wales and can be contacted by email or phone on 07883 361093. Judy Harris is the Deputy Safeguarding Officer and can be contacted by email or phone via the Synod Office on 029 2019 5728.
Safeguarding training is regularly available for all those working with children, young people and adults at risk, and is also important for ministers and elders. Safeguarding training should:
- equip you to create a church culture that is safer for all
- inform you about safeguarding issues relevant to your context
- alert you to statutory safeguarding requirements
- enable you to respond appropriately
Foundation Safeguarding Training
Foundation Safeguarding Training is available as a free online course. The course provides the opportunity for any church member to access foundation safeguarding training. It can be completed at any time, which makes it ideal for people who need some basic safeguarding training in order to carry out a formal role within church.
Intermediate Safeguarding Training
If any members of your church want to do Intermediate Safeguarding Training, online events will take place during the first half of 2024. Some training sessions are designed for people who want to do URC Intermediate Safeguarding Training for the first time. Other training sessions are designed for people who need to renew their safeguarding training certificate, having previously done training three years ago or more. Click here for dates, venues and booking details.
National Safeguarding Team
The URC National Safeguarding Team also offers a programme of training sessions on a variety of topics. Visit www.urc.org.uk/safeguarding for the latest details.
Patlet Safeguarding resources are now available here
Creating a church culture that is safer for all
Mental Health Resources
If someone you know is struggling with their mental health, it may be appropriate to signpost them to one of a range of services that NHS Wales offers. These are listed here.
If you are looking for resources to help you support someone experiencing mental health issues, Rethink, has a range of useful factsheets on different topics available to download. Their resources can be found here.