Child Evangelism Fellowship of Britain (“CEFOB”) is committed to promoting the safety and welfare of children, and to cooperating with agencies whose business it is to investigate child abuse. It is to protect the children and young people who are contacted through the ministry of CEFOB and those who work amongst them that CEFOB has a Child Protection Policy (“the Policy”). All those who work with children and young people in CEFOB are required formally to sign that they agree with the Policy and agree to adopt the measures contained within it.
Selection of Leaders for Children’s Activities
It is part of CEFOB’s duty of care as a mission to ensure that the leaders of its children’s and young people’s activities are suitable for the task. This involves a selection process. The aim of this process is not to dissuade people from volunteering but rather to ensure that they are suitable and safe to work amongst children and young people, and to convey CEFOB’s recognition and approval of them to do this.
The process involves the following components:
- A “Self-Declaration” form which the volunteer completes.
- An interview with one of the leaders of CEFOB, either at national or local level.
- A check with the Disclosure & Barring Service for any child-related convictions.
All people who volunteer to work amongst children and young people in CEFOB are given a copy of the Policy. They are required to sign that they have received and understood it, and then to implement its guidelines.
Leader to Child Ratios
To provide adequate supervision, it is important that a ratio of leaders to children is maintained. As most of CEFOB’s main activities involve children from 5–12 years old, CEFOB ensures that a ratio of 1 leader to 8 children is achieved, and at least two leaders are involved in each activity. Where the majority of the children are older than 10 years e.g. Junior Youth Challenge, the ratio can sometimes be reduced slightly to 1 leader for the first 8 children, and then 1 leader for every subsequent 12. These ratios are sometimes increased if individual activities involve a lot of movement/activities e.g. Holiday Bible Clubs and for excursions. Extra provision is also made if children younger than 5 years old are present.
Most of the children’s and young people’s regular activities take place within a church or school building. Such activities require a parental consent form for the child or young person to attend regularly. Activities which involve children and young people being taken on trips to other venues require separate parental consent.
The leaders of each activity for children and young people are required to keep a record of the children who attend. In addition to their attendance, the home contact details of each child or young person are recorded in case it is necessary to contact their parents. All records are stored and retained strictly in accordance with CEFOB’s Data Protection Policy.
It is likely that consent from a parent or guardian will need to be obtained to process the child’s data. This is because a child under the age of 16 cannot give this consent themselves, and instead consent is required from a person holding “parental responsibility”. Further details about this are contained in our Data Protection Policy.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is part of life in the 21st century, particularly for children and young people. To reduce the risk of abuse to children using such technology, CEFOB recommends that all those involved in CEFOB follow the helpful guidance produced by Thirtyone:eight entitled “Online Safety” (https://thirtyoneeight.org/get-help/resources/help/online-safety).
Signs of Abuse
Recognising signs of abuse is not easy or straightforward. CEFOB recognises that the decision whether abuse has occurred should be left to the statutory authorities e.g. the Police and Social Services who will investigate such allegations.
The primary signs are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and neglect. Detailed explanations of these are set out in the Policy. CEFOB workers and volunteers are also trained to recognise secondary signs of abuse. These are also explained in detail in the Policy, but they are only used to signpost potential concerns or issues.
Reacting to signs of abuse
CEFOB emphasises that the most important consideration must be to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children and young people. Whilst all of CEFOB’s trustees, workers and volunteers take any allegation of abuse very seriously, they also wish to avoid circumstances that may detract from their ministry.
Allegations reported to an Individual Leader of Club or Activity
Individual leaders of clubs/activities are those most likely to hear of allegations of abuse. If abuse is discovered or disclosed by a child or young person the leader has been trained to do the following:
- Not to delay but also not to act rashly.
- Listen carefully to the child or young person, but not to contradict them or “take sides”.
- Reassure the child or young person that they have done the right thing by talking to someone.
- Write up what has been told as soon as possible. An example report form can be found in the Policy.
- Not to act alone, but to pass on the information immediately to the CEF Child Protection Co‑ordinator.
- Keep all information about the alleged abuse strictly confidential.
The main person within CEFOB who undertakes these responsibilities is the Child Protection Co-ordinator. The Child Protection Co-ordinator consults the leaders of the activity where the allegation of abuse has been made or where it is suspected.
Allegation Against an Individual Leader in CEFOB
Where an allegation has been made about a leader in CEFOB, the Child Protection Co‑ordinator will need to determine the facts of the matter but in so doing must not jeopardise any investigation by the Police or Social Services, or the welfare of the child or young person.
The key attitude of CEFOB throughout is to encourage honesty while standing alongside the accused with love and practical care. The individual accused is likely to be subject to a series of fears and emotions and to need help throughout the episode.
God’s viewpoint about children and young people is clearly described in the Bible. The way that Jesus respected and honoured them when He was on earth is an example for us all to follow. Children and young people can bring great blessing to an individual family, to the life of the church, and to society in general. God has provided us with clear instructions in the Bible about caring for them and how they can have a living faith in Him. CEFOB is committed to adhering to those instructions in all of its events and activities.
This summary was last updated in December 2020.
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Britain
A copy of this Safeguarding Summary document is available for download.