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Sunday 3rd October 2010

Parish of Melmount

Interim Child Protection Policy Statement

The Parish of Melmount values and encourages the participation of children and young people in Parish Liturgies and in activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional and social development. We recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all these individuals within our ‘faith family’ and we are committed to their protection and support in a way that promotes their human dignity and integrity as ‘children of God’.

In keeping with this ethos, we undertake to do all in our power in the Parish to create safe environments for them and to ensure their protection from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

We acknowledge that all involved in working with children and young people have a special duty of care towards them and we undertake to put in place policies and procedures through which this care is put into effect so that their rights as active participants in the life of the Church are upheld.

General Principles
- Parish of Melmount:

- values and encourages the active participation of children and young people in the life of the Church in ways that enhance their personal and spiritual growth as well-developed and rounded individuals within the safe, secure and welcoming environment of their ‘faith family’ where they feel valued, encouraged and affirmed;

- recognises and upholds the fundamental right of the individual child and young person to be respected, nurtured, cared for and protected as embedded in Gospel values and civil legislation;
- acknowledges and reaffirms its commitment to ensure the care and protection of children and young people as unique human beings, ‘children of God’, with intrinsic dignity and irreducible worth;

- believes that Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility but accepts that all those working with children and young people in Church Ministries have a special duty of care towards them;

- is committed to ‘best practice’ in the area of Child Protection, including the development of effective structures for safeguarding children and young people, for responding to suspicions or allegations of child abuse and for providing pastoral support and training for workers;

- is engaging in a process of working towards a set of policies and procedures for those who have responsibility for the protection of children and young people in the life of the Church;

- is willing to listen to children and young people and involve them in decision-making (where appropriate e.g. Codes of Behaviour);

- promotes an ethos and approach so that at all times the welfare of the child and young person is the first and paramount consideration.

Parish of Melmount Code of Behaviour for Church Personnel

General Conduct for Church Personnel in Relation to Children and Young People

- will treat these individuals and each other with courtesy, dignity and respect;

- will take care to treat each individual with equal respect; favouritism is not acceptable;

- will always engage with them in an open manner;

- will not spend a disproportionate amount of time with any particular individual or group of individuals;

- will not use physical punishment under any circumstances;

- will not verbally abuse any individual;

- will not engage in, or tolerate, any behaviour – verbal, psychological or physical – that could be construed as bullying or abusive;

- will avoid inappropriate language and/or sexually suggestive comments, including telling jokes of a sexual nature, either towards these individuals or among themselves;

- will use age-appropriate language, media materials and activities; and never use any sexually explicit or pornographic material;

- will develop appropriate guidelines in relation to the use of computers, videos, the Internet, cameras and camera phones, where appropriate;

- will ensure an appropriate and adequate ratio of adults to children and young people (a minimum of two adults) at all times (one adult per group of eight plus one other adult, and allowing an additional adult for each group of eight thereafter); while recognising that the composition of the group may necessitate a different ratio and adult workers of appropriate gender;

- will avoid being alone with an individual e.g. in relation to travel or meetings or home visits or remaining in churches, parish property or schools, where two adults should be present; and as appropriate, one male, the other female, with mixed gender groups;

- will maintain adequate, gender-appropriate, supervision for males and females;

- will not give alcohol, tobacco, drugs or other illegal substances to individuals under any circumstances;

- will not consume alcohol or tobacco while having responsibility for, or in the presence of, those in their care;

- will not use drugs or other illegal substances under any circumstances.

Parish of Melmount Code of Good Practice Basic Procedures

It is necessary that the following procedures be implemented, in order to support the Parish Policy, when Church Personnel are working with children and young people:

- A clearly defined process of safe and rigorous recruitment and supervision procedures for Church Personnel working with children and young people, which will include:

- Volunteer/employment application forms;
- Declaration forms for all Church personnel;
- POCVA checks (NI);
- Induction, training & probationary records;
- Attendance records.

- Information sessions in ‘best practice’ as regards the protection of children and young people to be held regularly.

- The contact details of the relevant Director of Child Protection and the Diocesan Designated Persons will be made readily accessible.

- Regular health and safety reviews of facilities, procedures and practices.

- Codes of Behaviour for Church Personnel/Children and Young People/Parents & Guardians (signed by them, where appropriate).


Events and Activities

- Prior information and feed-back on events and activities for individuals, groups and their Parents/Guardians.

- Named group leader/designated person who can be contacted in relation to the welfare and protection of individuals.

- A Duty Roster of adults to ensure adequate supervision of individuals and groups at all times.

- Appropriate supervision ratios of adults (including gender-appropriate/supervision) to individuals and groups at all times, ensuring as far as possible that no child is left alone with an adult.

- A clearly communicated Accident & Emergency plan. *

- Signed consent (participation forms) from Parents/Guardians prior to the participation of individuals in events, activities and groups.

- Dietary requirements, medical information (including Parental/Guardian permission for treatment) or other special needs for individuals.

- Location, itinerary (if an away trip, pilgrimage or retreat) and contact telephone numbers for Parents/Guardians.

- Attendance records.

- Incident/Accident Report Forms

* If a situation arises where it is necessary to be alone with an individual, another responsible adult should be informed immediately, by telephone if necessary. A ‘Diary Note’ that the meeting with the individual took place, including the reasons for it, should be made.



Trips away from Parish

- The above procedures must be followed.

- In addition,

• careful advance planning;

• pre-check on transport, accommodation, facilities, activities, emergencies;

• adequate insurance provision.


Mission Statement
It is the aim of all working with children and young people in the Parish of Melmount to do all in our power to create safe and secure environments for them and to protect them from bullying in any form.

What is bullying-
Bullying is aggressive behaviour that is intended to intimidate or persecute other people through threats or superior force. It is quite common among children and young people and can be devastating.

Bullying can take many forms. It may include calling others nasty names, teasing or spreading nasty stories about them. It can also be physical – pushing, hitting, and kicking. Sending cruel and hurtful text messages and intimidating people whilst photographing them with a phone camera are also distressing examples of bullying.

Many children and young people, of course get into fights and disagreements from time to time and teasing and name calling can all be done in a spirit of fun and playfulness. However, when this kind of behaviour becomes threatening, singling out children who cannot stand up for themselves, or even those you might expect to be able to do so, then bullying can become a major problem for all concerned.

What can children and young people do to prevent Bullying-

- Treat each other equally and fairly and always with respect.
- Treat everyone just as you would want to be treated yourself.
- Never deliberately leave anyone out.
- If someone is new ask them to join in with you or your group of friends.
- If someone looks lost or left out help them to feel welcome and part of the group.
- Don’t tease others when it is causing hurt or upset.
- Don’t call others names.
- Don’t join in gossip or spread rumours about anyone.

- If you see someone being bullied do something about it

- Be their friend
- Don’t leave them to cope with this alone
- Tell someone or help them to tell someone.

Whatever you do - DON’T DO NOTHING


Parish of Melmount Good Practice Procedures

Trips away from Home

Parish Personnel:

- will undertake careful advance planning for all trips, including day trips, overnight stays and holidays, including adequate provision for safety in regard to accommodation, transport, facilities, activities and emergencies;

- will ensure that adequate insurance is in place;

- will obtain written consent by a parent or guardian, specifically for each trip and related activities, well in advance;

- will make available a copy of the itinerary and contact telephone numbers to parents and guardians;

- will put in place arrangements and procedures to ensure that rules and appropriate boundaries are maintained in the relaxed environment of trips away;

- will ensure adequate, gender-appropriate, supervision for males and females;

- will provide for appropriate and adequate sleeping arrangements in advance of the trip;

- will ensure sleeping areas for males and females are separate and supervised by two adults of the same sex as the group being supervised;

- will arrange that at least two adults should be present in dormitories in which children, and young people are sleeping. Under no circumstances should an adult share a bedroom with a young person;

- will give particular attention to ensuring that the privacy of young people is respected when they are away on trips;

N.B If, in an emergency situation, an adult considers it necessary to be in a children’s dormitory or bedroom without another adult being present they should (a) immediately inform another adult in a position of responsibility and (b) make a ‘Diary Note’ of the circumstances.


Pilgrimages and Retreats

These are an important part of the Parish’s pastoral and spiritual engagement with children and young people. Those involved in the planning and delivery of pilgrimages and retreats should adhere to the same guidance as outlined for other activities with children and young people within the Parish of Melmount

Parish of Melmount - Reporting Procedures

If you or anyone you know has a child protection concern or wishes to report an allegation directly to the statutory authorities please contact

PSNI Tel. 02871367337

Western Health and Social Services Trust; speak to the Duty Social Worker. Tel. 02871314090.
Out of hours. Tel 02871345171

If you or anyone has a child protection concern or wishes to report an allegation of child abuse in relation to any member of Church personnel directly to Church authorities please contact the diocesan designated person (Delegate) or the diocesan assistant designated persons (Deputy Delegate)

Name: Rev John Farren

Phone Number: NI (0035374) 9384037 /ROI (074) 9384037

Name: Mary Mc Cafferty

Phone Number: NI (028) 7136 2475 /ROI (048) 7136 2475



Melmount Parish (STRABANE) : 41 Melmount Road, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, BT82 9EF. Tel : 028 7138 3777 (+44)