Sample Child Protection Policy
The St Paul’s, Salisbury Child Protection Policy can be downloaded here (Word document). It should be noted that this Policy is specific to the circumstances at St Paul’s and wide-ranging in the issues it addresses. Permission is given to reproduce this document whether in whole or in part, but the authorship of St Paul’s, Salisbury should be acknowledged in any documentation.
Resources for one-to-one Bible Studies
Further resources for one-to-one Bible study materials can be found at:
Clarification of terms with young people
As mentioned, in my experience young people do not always have an accurate understanding of what ‘confidentiality’ might mean, and yet it is vital that they understand both the freedoms and constraints it affords them. Producing a leaflet that could be handed out to young people at the outset of any one to one work, or even beforehand, would, if phrased appropriately, go some way to remedying this.
Another term that is often misunderstood is ‘counsellor’, and therefore any talk of referrals needs to take account of this. Many of the young people I have worked with have seen counsellors as ‘shrinks’ and, understandably, been very nervous of any stigma that might be attached to seeing someone in this capacity. Again, explaining confidentiality, and using the counsellor’s own publicity leaflets, have addressed this in part. It also worth noting that if another young person has had a difficult experience with a counsellor, it can be a real challenge to then encourage others to see him or her.
It should again be stressed that clarification of these terms, and indeed any others we may use as part of our work, is very much the worker’s responsibility, and not the young person’s. Workers should not be afraid to take time over such explanations and ask the young person to state in their own words what such terms might mean. Using older young people with whom you’ve previously worked can also help this. To this end I hold a small but extensive ‘experience register’ which contains contact details of those who have agreed to help in this way. Once a young person agrees to speak to someone in this capacity, I contact the young adult on the ‘experience register’ and seek their permission to pass on their details to the young person concerned. Independently, the young person then contacts them, and they are able to recount their experiences to younger members who I am working with.
Further thoughts on working cross-gender with young people
I am aware that many of the notions suggested in “Can We Have A Chat?” need to be filtered to be age-sensitive. By this I am thinking of circumstances where the worker is perhaps not many years older than the young person with whom they are working one to one. My experience would suggest that the greater the difference in age, the more straightforward the situations encountered. Younger workers should closely monitor their work, and in turn ensure they are strictly accountable to a suitable person. If a senior worker is available, a specific system of accountability would be appropriate at this point.
Alongside this it is worth saying that workers need to ensure that young people have a clear understanding as to when they are ‘working’ or not. The suggestion of restricting available hours suggested in the booklet goes someway towards this, but obviously does not cover surprise encounters in a shopping mall for example. I would avoid these sort of meetings turning into spontaneous one to ones for concern of blurred edges: to simply respond there and then potentially sends the wrong signal.
Further questions towards reflective practice.
The following questions may be helpful in critically reflecting on practice after a one-to-one.
- How did I approach this meeting?
- Was I accurate in my expectations as to what we might be discussing?
- Was the location appropriate to the issues discussed?
- Did I, and the young person, allow enough time for this meeting?
- What state was the young person in at the outset/during our conversation/as we came to leave?
- Was my form of questioning appropriate?
- What was my body language communicating?
- Did I make good use of silence?
- Did I listen accurately to what I was told?
- Did I give appropriate advice?
- Is any follow up required? (If so, should this be by text/phone/email/another meeting/at our next group meeting?)
- Is any external support required? (Referral/my own learning on a particular issue/finding specific resources for the young person?)
- What should I be praying for this young person?
- What was/is God doing in the life of this particular young person?
- Do my notes accurately recall the basis of our conversation?
- Do I need to inform my line manager of anything arising from this meeting?