A Combined Policy for Children, Young People and Adults at Risk?

Churches are expected to have safeguarding policies and procedures for adults at risk as well as for children and young people.

Can a church adopt a combined policy and combined procedures to cover both?

It is certainly possible to do so.  However, within the Baptist Union we have taken the decision to continue to publish separate guidelines for churches on safeguarding children and young people and safeguarding adults at risk for a number of pragmatic reasons, and we believe that those same reasons may make it just as easy for churches to adopt separate policies and procedures for each vulnerable group.

The reasons for keeping the two documents separate are as follows:

  • While the principles of safeguarding are similar for children and for vulnerable adults, the ways in which the principles are applied can differ.

  • Some areas of safeguarding are particular to working with children and some are particular to working with vulnerable adults.

  • Documents can become large and unwieldy, with some of the material only relevant to some of the readers.

  • Church procedure documents should be as clear and as concise as possible so that all workers are familiar with the contents. When only part of the document might be applicable, the clarity and accessibility can be reduced.

In a small church which does not have any specific activities for children and young people or for vulnerable adults, a combined policy statement may be more appropriate than for a large church which needs procedures that take account of the complexities of the different groups that are being served by the church.