Safe Church Policy, Response & Resources


Updated July 2020


Mission of the Clinton Christian Reformed Church

Clinton Christian Reformed Church is a community that is rooted in faith, growing in hope, serving in love.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing… Colossians 1: 6a


Mission of the Christian Reformed Church

As people called by God,

We gather to praise God, listen to him, and respond.

We nurture each other in faith and obedience to Christ.

We love and care for one another as God's people.

We commit ourselves to serve and to tell others about Jesus.

We pursue God's justice and peace in every area of life.


Introduction

Each time a child is baptized, we are reminded of these words of Christ:

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14 NIV)

As the congregation of Clinton Christian Reformed church, we respond to the following question: “Do you, the people of the Lord, promise to receive these children in love, pray for them, help instruct them in the faith and encourage and sustain them in the fellowship of believers?” by answering: “We do, God helping us.” (Form for Baptism of Children). Since we are a family of believers, we share the responsibility to care for and protect one another.

The purpose of the Safe Church Policy, Response and Resources document is:

     • To prevent harm to the vulnerable attendees of our church programs.

     • To provide an environment for all ministry workers (paid & volunteers) that allows them to do their work without the threat of false accusation or suspicion.

     • To respond diligently, caringly and in a supportive manner to all persons involved when an allegation of abuse has been made.


Mandates of the Safe Church Policy, Response and Resources document:

The following mandates apply to everyone in the Clinton Christian Reformed Church (Clinton CRC) and pertain to all on and off site activities. Clinton CRC Council, via the Clinton Safe Church Committee (Clinton SCC) ensures that the Ministry Providers adhere to this policy and its mandates. A ministry provider is any person who serves in any program connected to the Clinton CRC.


Mandate of the Clinton CRC Abuse Prevention Team (APT):

Clinton CRC Hospitality Team - APT will strive to provide:

1. Recommendations to the council of the Clinton CRC in regard to content/updates for this Safe Church Policy, Response & Resources document.


2. Ongoing training and education for the congregation in regard to the importance, content and meaning of this policy.


3. Security for all confidential documents relating to this policy in a locked filing cabinet.


4. Review Safe Church Policy yearly and update as required.


Mandate for Ministry Providers/Volunteers


Ministry Providers:

1. Are screened according to an established protocol for the position. (see below *a)


2. Participate in orientation and ongoing training that focuses on abuse awareness and prevention.


3. Sign a statement that they understand and agree to abide by the Safe Church policy. Failure to honour that agreement will result in immediate termination of the Ministry Provider’s position.


4. Have been a member of the Clinton CRC for a minimum of 6 months.


5. Who are age 17 or younger may assist only under qualified adult supervision.


(*a) Screening Procedure for Paid Staff and Ministry Providers/Volunteers:

Requirements:

     1. Screening is required for all ministry providers (18 years and older) who work with the vulnerable sector including but not limited to: children, youth and adults with disabilities. Screening is also required for the pastor, paid staff, all ministry providers including but not limited to: program leaders, nursery staff, elders and deacons.

     2. Screening will include the completion of a police criminal record check and vulnerable sector check. (See Resource section of this document.)

     3. Screening must be renewed every five years.

     4. If a person is absent for a period of two (2) or more years from any position for which screening is required, the screening must be repeated.

     5. Training, support and other resources with respect to abuse prevention are available to all ministry providers.

     6. A confidential and secure filing system is maintained, to archive materials from the screening process of ministry providers.


Procedure:

At least three (3) weeks before a program begins, the program coordinator will provide the Clinton SCC with a list of the names of the people 16 years and older who will be directly involved with the program.

Clinton SCC will identify which candidates must undergo screening. For those requiring screening, the following will occur:

     1. Clinton SCC will provide a Screening Package to the candidate.

     2. Clinton SCC:

          a. Will conduct reference checks (as needed),

          b. Will review and record all documentation,

          c. Will keep the original police record checks in a secure location.

          d. Will advise the program coordinator if the candidate is or is not suitable.

          e. Will maintain all screening documents in a secure filing system.


Training & Education:

Training is required for all ministry providers who regularly work with children, youth and vulnerable adults. The following will be provided by the Clinton SCC:

     1. Training for all ministry workers at the implementation of “new” policies and procedures in regards to the Safe Church Policy.

     2. Circulation and review of this policy and its attached resources.

     3. Offer abuse prevention training through the presentation of resource materials, videos, “in-house” seminars, etc.

     4. Educate ministry providers in regards to their legal obligation to report suspected abuse and to recognize and identify the signs and symptoms of abuse and molestation.

     5. Follow-up with periodic refreshers and reassessment of policies and procedures on an annual basis (usually each August or September prior to the start-up of Clinton CRC programs).

     6. Review the ongoing suitability of existing ministry workers.


Volunteer Requirements:

     1. All volunteers are urged to participate in Yearly Training/Information sessions prior to the start of programs. Volunteers must do a mandatory yearly review of the Policy and Procedures for Preventing Child Abuse and Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse, as amended from time to time.

     2. A person must be a member of the Clinton Christian Reformed Church for a period of 6 months before they can begin volunteering or a member in good standing of a Christian church.

     3. All volunteers and paid staff who conduct frequent and/or lengthy one-to-one meetings with children and youth must have a vulnerable sector police check.

     4. If a person is a known sex offender, then never will he/she be able to volunteer with any of the child or youth programs in the church.

     5. If a person is suspected of child abuse, then he/she must take a leave of absence from their role until an investigation has been completed. If, after an investigation has been concluded, it is determined that the person has been involved in abuse of a child, the person will be immediately dismissed from his/her current role.

     6. A volunteer or church leader removed or dismissed from their position or office should not be considered for re-entry or reinstatement without the advice of legal counsel (ties in with 4 & 5).

     7. Sexual, physical or emotional abuse of a parishioner by a volunteer or church leader will not be tolerated.

           (Definition of an Adult: someone who has reached the age of 18 years).


Discipline Policy:

1. Corporal punishment is never permitted. Corporal punishment includes, but is not limited to, slapping, hitting, pushing and touching in an aggressive manner.


2. Abusive verbal discipline is not permitted. Abusive verbal discipline includes, but is not limited to, yelling, hurling insults, verbally embarrassing a child and threatening a child expressly or by implication.


3. Parent(s)/Guardians are to be informed and involved whenever a child/youth misbehaves beyond minor correction or if a pattern of misbehaviour increases.


4. Concerns about a child’s behaviour or the appropriate response to a child’s behaviour should be reported to the program supervisor.


5. An aide or a parent should be involved weekly in classrooms where misbehaviour is an ongoing problem.


6. Expectations of children’s/youth’s behaviour must reflect their age and level of comprehension. Similarly, discipline must reflect their age and level of comprehension.


7. Children are to be reminded of the kind of behaviour that is acceptable for the setting. Older children and youth may benefit from having these expectations in written form.


8. Appropriate forms of discipline are to be reviewed with volunteers/staff before church- sponsored programs begin a new season. Then periodic reminders are to be given as needed.


9. All volunteers/staff must sign a safe church agreement confirming they have read, understand and are willing to comply with policies and procedures.


Definitions of Abuse

The following definitions are given to further assist the church in understanding the types of behaviours which might constitute ungodly conduct, misuse of power, sexually inappropriate behaviour, and so forth.


a. Physical Abuse is any act or omission which results in a non-accidental trauma or physical injury being inflicted on another person. It is sometimes a single event but more often a chronic pattern of behaviour. It may result from severe punishment. Physically abusive acts include slapping, pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, biting, choking, severe spanking, beating, hitting with an object, burning, stabbing, and shooting.


b. Physical Neglect is not doing what one is supposed to do to meet the physical needs of those (especially children) in his or her care.


c. Sexual Abuse is exploitation of a person regardless of age or circumstances for the sexual gratification of another. Child sexual abuse can refer to taking advantage of a child who is not capable of understanding sexual acts or resisting coercion such as threats or offers of gifts. Sexual abuse may or may not involve sexual contact. Examples of non-physical sexual abuse include people exposing themselves, displaying pornographic material, photographing a child for pornographic materials, obscene telephone calls, “Peeping Toms”, and requests to engage in sexual activity (where no physical contact occurs). Examples of sexual abuse involving physical contact includes fondling of body parts such as breasts, crotch, buttocks, or sexual organs; intercourse; oral and anal sex.


d. Emotional Abuse is harm or threatened harm to a person’s welfare or well being a chronic or intentional pattern of deprivation; manipulative threats, words or actions; harassment; or necessary and excessive attempts to control a person’s behaviour or thoughts.


Policies for Specific Child/Youth Programs

Nursery Programs: (Including Coffeebreak)

1. Minors may volunteer for service, provided that an adult is present. Minors may not care for child (ren) without this adult supervision.

     

2. One adult attendant must be in the infant nursery with no more than four infants before an additional attendant is required. One adult attendant must be in the toddler nursery for every four children. In any case, the ratio of adults to children must never exceed one adult to four infants/toddlers. When this occurs or is expected to occur, steps must be immediately taken by the attendant(s) on duty to bring in additional help. If additional help is required, only persons who have been formally approved by the church may be utilized. It is the responsibility of the scheduled attendant(s) to make a written note of the names and times of attendance of additional help on a sign-in sheet/record sheet. At least two attendants should serve in nursery whenever it is scheduled.

[Note: it is important to have a record of who was in attendance should an allegation of abuse be filed at a later date].


3. Attendants may take children from the nursery only for good reason, such as to use the bathroom or in case of illness. Any significant medical problem should be reported immediately to the child’s parent(s)/guardians. For children who do not require assistance in the bathroom, the adult attendant must remain outside the bathroom. For children who require assistance, the adult attendant must assist the child with the bathroom door ajar. The diapering of an infant or toddler must take place in the nursery room under the observation of another attendant.


4. Only one adult member of a family should serve in the nursery at any given time. A couple (husband and wife) should not serve in the nursery at the same time.


5. An adult or minor who is not scheduled as a nursery attendant for that particular service may not spend time in the nursery room(s) during or after the service. The only exception would be a nursery attendant called in to assist with unexpected children and keeping the ratio of at least one adult to four children.


6. The Discipline Policy applies to nursery programs.


7. Nursery doors must have a window or an unobstructed view of the room.


8. No one may take a child from the nursery without the child’s corresponding tag with their number on it or as outlined in #3 above.


9. The parent(s)/guardians of any child requiring medical attention must be notified as soon as possible.


10. Diapering of infants or toddlers must take place in the nursery room with another attendant within sight.


11. Since nursery helpers do not require a vulnerable sector police check, they are not allowed to supervise a child on a one to one basis.


12. Completed attendance records for nursery attendants and children must be turned in to the administrative secretary for filing at the end of each week.


Sunday School:

1. Only one adult member of a family should serve in a classroom at any given time. A couple (husband and wife) should not serve together in children’s worship or in church school in the same classroom.


2. Whenever children’s worship or church school is in session, two volunteers/staff, including at least one adult, should be present.


3. Only adults may assist children with bathroom needs. Bathroom assistance is conducted as in the nursery policy. Children will be encouraged to use bathroom facilities before and after class.


4. Children should not leave the fellowship hall or classroom except for illness, to use the bathroom or other compelling reasons.


5. Whenever children’s worship or church school is in session, the fellowship hall or classroom door must allow for an unobstructed view of the room.


6. Children attending Junior Sunday School (ages 3-Grade 2) will not be permitted to leave the classroom unless they are signed out by a parent or guardian.


7. Appropriate display of affection is often a part of conveying support and encouragement to one another. Displays of affection between teacher and student should be limited to such actions as a brief hug, an arm around the shoulder, an open handed pat on the back, a handclasp or handshake, or a light touch on the forearm. Displays of affection should be restricted to public areas. A student’s or teacher’s right to refuse any of these will be respected.


8. The Discipline Policy applies to Sunday School.


9. Completed attendance records for teachers/volunteers/children must be turned in to the administrative secretary for filing at the end of each week.


10. Volunteers/staff ordinarily should not physically restrain a child in their care. Leaders should ask for assistance if a child behaves in a manner that seems to require restraint. If the leader determines that restraint is needed, the child’s parent/guardian will be notified immediately and the child may be removed from the class until the parent arrives.


Vacation Bible School (VBS):


1. All VBS classes and activities will be conducted with at least two volunteers/staff, at least one of whom is an adult. Volunteers/staff should not meet alone with a child without another adult or leader nearby to observe.

     

2. Volunteers/staff ordinarily should not physically restrain a child in their care. Leaders should ask for assistance if a child behaves in a manner that seems to require restraint. If the leader determines that restraint is needed, the child’s parent/guardian will be notified immediately and the child may be removed from the class until the parent arrives.


3. Children should not leave their classroom except for illness, to use the bathroom or other compelling reasons.


4. Classrooms held in off-site facilities such as an activity building, or school should adhere to the same safety considerations as classrooms in the church building. Children should not meet in a confined space or without adequate supervision.


5. Church volunteers or staff transporting a child in a personal vehicle must have parental permission to do so.


6. The Discipline Policy applies to VBS programs.


7. Completed attendance records for supervisors/volunteers/children are to be turned over to the administrative secretary for filing at the end of Vacation Bible School Week.


Cadets and GEMS:


1. Club leaders should establish a written policy to identify and discourage abusive behaviour among minors in their program. They should also establish a plan on how to deal with abusive behaviour. Both the written policy and plan must be approved by the APT.


2. Counselors should provide adequate supervision of the Cadets/GEMS. Each club function should be supervised by at least two persons, an adult leader and another volunteer at least four years older than the oldest club member.


3. Counselors and Cadets/GEMS may meet privately once or twice and thereafter only with the permission of a parent/guardian. Any such meeting should occur in a public place.


4. If a child needs significant medical attention, the counselor(s) must take all reasonable steps to notify the parent(s)/guardian immediately.


5. Club members should not arrive more than ten minutes before the start of class, nor should they stay longer than ten minutes after the class.


6. Churches that plan club activities away from the church facility, out of town, or overnight should conduct them in general compliance with aforementioned policies.


7. While the appropriate display of affection between club counselors and their Cadets/GEMS is often part of conveying support and encouragement to one another, such displays can be misinterpreted. For that reason, displays of affection should be limited to such actions as a brief hug, an arm around the shoulder, an open-hand pat on the back, a handclasp, or a light touch to the forearm. A counselor’s or Cadets/GEMS right to refuse any of these will be respected.


8. The Discipline Policy applies to all club programs.


9. Sleepovers, camping or other overnight events should only be allowed when all supervisors and volunteers are fully screened. Two adult rule applies at all times.


10. Must obtain signed parental consent and permission for off-premises or overnight events. Two adult rule applies at all times.


11. Completed attendance records for supervisors/volunteers/youth are to be turned over to the administrative secretary for filing at the end of each season (April 30).


12. Two Counsellors must remain at club activities until parents/guardians have picked up all Cadets/GEMS.


13. Volunteers/staff ordinarily should not physically restrain a child in their care. Leaders should ask for assistance if a child behaves in a manner that seems to require restraint. If the leader determines that restraint is needed, the child’s parent/guardian will be notified immediately and the child may be removed from the class until the parent arrives.


Youth Group:


1. Each year youth group leaders should hold a class about abuse for members of the youth group. Topics for this class might include date violence, biblical guidelines for dating relationships, awareness of the signs of abuse, a teenager’s response to a teenage victim or abuser, or prevention of abuse.


2. Youth group leaders may meet privately with a youth group member once or twice and thereafter only with the permission of a parent/guardian. Any such meeting should occur in public.


3. Regardless of the relative ages, it is never appropriate for a youth group leader and a youth group member to date each other. Similarly, a youth group leader should not date the close friend of a member of the youth group.


4. Youth group leaders may be single or they may be married couples, although only one spouse need attend a youth group function.


5. In the context of group activities, youth group leaders should provide supervision of the youth in their care. Youth group leaders should not hold a youth group function without appropriate or sufficient supervision. Youth group functions must be under the supervision of more than one youth group leader. These guidelines also apply to activities away from the church site.


6. While the appropriate display of affection is often part of conveying support and encouragement to one another, such displays can be misinterpreted. Therefore, displays of affection between youth leader and youth group member should be limited to such actions as a brief hug, an arm around the shoulders, an open-hand pat on the back, a handclasp or handshake, or a light touch to the forearm. Restrict these displays to a public area. A youth group leader’s or member’s right to refuse such a display of affection will be respected.


7. No gifts, phone calls, texts, or letters of a personal nature should be directed to a youth group member by a youth group leader, unless done with the approval of the APT. Any social media contact must be done in a group setting, with more than one leader.


8. Sleepovers, camping or other overnight events should only be allowed when all supervisors and volunteers are fully screened.


9. Must obtain signed parental consent and permission for off-premises or overnight events. Two adult rule applies at all times.


10. Completed attendance records for supervisors/volunteers/youth are to be turned over to the administrative secretary for filing at the end of each season (June 30).


11. Two Leaders must remain at club activities until parents/guardians have picked up all youth.


Transportation Policy:

This policy applies to adults, while servicing in ministry to youth, who may transport non-related youth in the course of church-sponsored programs.


1. At least two of the following procedures must be in place:

     A. Two adults are present and seated in the front of the vehicle when transporting youth.

     B. At least two youth are present in the vehicle.

     C. Youth are seated in the back seats of the vehicle.


2. Adults must have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance before transporting youth.


3. Drivers need to abide by federal and provincial requirements for car seat use, seatbelt use and air bag safety.

     A. Youth are to wear seat belts whenever the vehicle is in service. Drivers may not transport more youths than available seatbelts.

     B. Where required by law, car seats must be available for younger children.

     C. For safety, youth under the age of 12 may not sit in the front seat if there is a passenger- side airbag.


Adults or minors who transport related youth to church-sponsored events are not subject to this policy.

The transportation policy does not extend to parents or guardians who request or give permission for a minor with a valid driver’s license to transport non-related youth.


Policies for Elderly Abuse:

Definition of elderly maltreatment is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person. This type of violence constitutes a violation of human rights and includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional; financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and respect.


Financial Abuse Any improper conduct, done with or without the informed consent of the senior that results in a monetary or personal gain to the abuser and/or monetary or personal loss for the older adult.

     • Unexplained disappearance of personal belongings, such as clothes or jewelry.

     • Unexplained or sudden withdrawal of money from accounts or ATM withdrawals

     • Suspicious or forged signatures on cheques or other documents.

     • The senior is not receiving bank statements.

     • Transfer or withdrawal of funds without prior permission.

     • Denial to access or control finances such as credit cards, cheques.

     • Notice of eviction or discontinuation of utilities.

     • Older adult is unable to pay bills, buy food or pay rent.

     • Standard of living not in keeping with the senior’s income or assets.

     • The older person’s home is unexpectedly sold.

     • Power of Attorney refuses to consider moving an older adult to Long-Term Care or Retirement Home in order to gain or retain access to their finances.


Psychological Abuse

Any action, verbal or non-verbal, that lessens a person’s sense of identity, dignity and self-worth.

     • Low self-esteem, withdrawal.

     • Tearfulness.

     • Lack of eye contact with health care providers.

     • Fearfulness – Nervous around caregiver or other persons.

     • Reluctance to talk openly, waits for caregiver to respond to questions asked of them.

     • Helplessness.

     • Insomnia/sleep deprivation/fatigue, listlessness.


Physical Abuse

Any act of violence or rough handling that may or may not result in physical injury but causes physical discomfort or pain.

     • Unexplained injuries such as broken bones, bruises, bumps, cuts, grip marks.

     • Discrepancies between injury and explanation from the senior.

     • Unusual patterns of injuries.

     • Seen by different doctors or hospitals.

     • Bruising and abrasions.

     • Signs of under/over medication.

     • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries.

     • Sprains, dislocations, internal injuries.

     • Broken eyeglasses.

     • Signs of being restrained.


Sexual Abuse

Any sexual behavior directed toward an older adult without that person’s full knowledge and consent; it includes coercing an older person through force, trickery, threats or other means into unwanted sexual activity. Sexual abuse also includes sexual contact with seniors who are unable to grant consent and unwanted sexual contact between service providers and their elderly clients. Sexual abuse can be very difficult to identify as embarrassment and shame may prevent the issue from being talked about or reported.

     • Bruising around the breasts, inner thighs or genital area.

     • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections.

     • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.

     • Difficulty in walking or sitting.

     • Inappropriate sexual comments.


Neglect

Neglect is not meeting the basic needs of the older person.

1. Active (intentional) neglect: the deliberate withholding of care or the basic necessities of life to an older adult for whom they are caring.


2. Passive (unintentional) neglect: the failure to provide proper care to an older adult due to lack of knowledge, or experience / ability.


Neglect can be:

     • Withholding care or denying access to necessary services (home care, nursing) or medical attention.

     • Leaving a person in an unsafe place.

     • Improper use of medication – over / under medicating.

     • Not providing food or liquids, proper clothing or hygiene.

     • Failure to assist with activities of daily living.

     • Abandonment.

     • Denial of a senior’s basic rights.

Source:

http://www.elderabuseontario.com/what-is-elder-abuse/forms-of-abuse/


Procedures from Reporting Suspected Child/Elderly Abuse:

1. Volunteers, staff and leaders in child, youth and elderly programs of the church shall be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse. Training will also include learning how to respond to abusive situations.


2. When volunteers, staff or leaders observe signs and symptoms of abuse or have an incidence of abuse reported to them, they shall immediately report this to the Children’s Aid Society(“CAS”). Any member of a church community is subject to the civic duty to report under the Child and Family Services Act, Section 72 (1) which states that if a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, the person must promptly report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to a Children’s Aid Society. The APT must also be notified as soon as possible.

There are special responsibilities imposed on professionals and officials by Section 72 (4), (6.2) which states that professional persons and officials have the same duty as any member of the public to report a suspicion that a child is in need of protection. The Act recognizes, however, that persons working closely with children have a special awareness of the signs of child abuse and neglect, and a particular responsibility to report their suspicions, and so makes it an offence to fail to report.


3. Elderly abuse: When volunteers, staff or leaders observe signs and symptoms of abuse or have an incidence of abuse reported to them, they will call 911 to request police assistance. Police will take the necessary steps to evaluate the situation. If the volunteer, staff or leader feels that they, themselves, are in immediate danger they must leave immediately and call 911. In both instances, the volunteer, staff or leader must inform the APT.

Phone Numbers:

Huron County OPP Services:

Emergency 911 (24 hours)

Administration 1-519-524-8394 (8:30 am-4:30pm Monday-Friday)

Calls for Service 1-888-310-1122 (24 hours)

Children’s Aid Society: 1-800-265-5198 (24 hours)


4. Volunteers, staff and leaders aware of possible child/elderly abuse (whether it be in a church program or outside of church), or knowing about abuse by any church volunteer, staff, leader or any other person, must report the matter to their immediate supervisor or leader unless that person is the suspected abuser. In that case only, they will report to another supervisor or church leader. This should be done within 24 hours.


5. Volunteers, staff or leaders should never attempt to interview the person in question about any signs or symptoms and must never suggest to the person that they have been abused.


6. The person who made the report to the CAS should also inform the Abuse Prevention Team, as soon as possible. The reporter must keep the information confidential. An incident report form will be filled out and kept on file.


Response Duties by the Abuse Prevention Team include:

a) Meet with any volunteer or staff who has questions about a possible report of abuse.


b) Notify pastor of any reports the APT receives.


c) Notify the church’s insurance agent and legal counsel whenever a reasonable suspicion of abuse is reported to police officials and/or the CAS.


d) Assign a member of the committee who will deal with media enquiries arising in any way from the report of abuse to police officials and/or the CAS.

Refer to disclosure policy on pages 133-135 in Preventing Child Abuse.


e) Assign members of the congregation to a pastoral care team for the individuals and families who are party to the allegations. This should only occur after careful consultation with legal counsel.

[Note: there is a recent case where a church and its elders were found to be negligent because of the way an allegation of abuse was handled. In that particular case, the church encouraged the abused person to confront her father (the alleged abuser). The court found that as a result of the way it was handled there was further emotional damage caused to the abused individual. Be very careful.]


f) If deemed necessary, outside agencies will assign members to conduct an independent investigation of charges of child/elderly abuse against an appointed volunteer or compensated staff only. Allegations outside of the church programs and facilities are not the domain of the APT.


g) Determine whether the APT or the first-hand reporter maintains a liaison with police officials or outside agencies.


LIST OF THOSE WHO ARE REQUIRED TO PRODUCE A POLICE RECORD CHECK


Program                                             Require Police Check                                    Do not require check

Nursery                                               Director, Nursery Leader                                Nursery Helpers

                                                                Adult Helper

Sunday School                                   Teachers                                                           Helpers

Gems                                                   Counselors                                                       Helpers

Cadets                                                 Counselors                                                       Helpers

Catechism                                            Teachers

VBS                                                       Teachers, Helpers

Teachers, Helpers

Young People                                      Leaders, Teachers                                            Helpers

Coffee Break                                        Nursery, Story Hour, Little Lambs

                                                              Teachers                                                            Helpers

Church                                                  Staff Pastors, Professional staff,

                                                              Ordained staff, Custodians

Council                                                  Deacons, Elders


INCIDENT REPORT FORM (Injury or Suspected Abuse)

CONFIDENTIAL

Clinton Christian Reformed Church

Abuse Prevention Team – Incident Report


If under 18 call Children’s Aid Society at 1-800-265-5198


For all others call 911

This report form is for the purpose of recording any incident of injury or suspected abuse reported to the Abuse Prevention Team (APT).


Name of person making report: _______________________________________________________


Position: ____________________________________________


Date of Report: ___________________________ Phone Number: __________________________


Date of Incident: __________________________


Description of incident: (time of occurrence, what occurred, who was involved, location, etc.)



Names of any other potential witnesses: _______________________________________________


Action taken (note dates):



Signature of person making report: ___________________________________________________


Name of APT member receiving this report: Please circle

Bill Van Wyk                     Derek Rozendal                Rob Ringuette

Shirley Rylaarsdam          Amber Kaastra                   Paul deLange


Date received: _____________________________


Safe Church Agreement


I ____________________________________ have read and understand the safe church policy.

                   (print name)


I agree to follow the rules of the policy and will ask questions if at any time I do not understand any portion thereof.


I understand this is required to ensure the safety and credibility of all parties involved.



Signature __________________________________________ Date___________________________






As the parent/guardian of ____________________________ (child/youth name) I give permission for him/her to participate in the programs and activities of Clinton Christian Reformed Church, Clinton, Ontario understanding that there are certain dangers and risks inherent in any programming and, save and except for gross negligence, the parent(s)/guardian(s) jointly and severally agree to assume such risk on behalf of the child/youth.

I give consent to the child’s/youth’s Volunteer Leaders to seek emergency medical care for the child/youth if and when they deem it to be necessary. I agree to be responsible for any incurred medical or transportation expenses.

In consideration of the opportunity for the child/youth participating in the programs and activities of the church, the parents(s)/guardian(s) jointly and severally agree to indemnify and save harmless the church, it officers, directors, employees and volunteers from any claims or causes of action that might arise by reason of their child/youth participating in any such programs and activities.


Signed ____________________________________________________ (Parent or guardian)


              ____________________________________________________ (Parent or guardian)


Emergency Contact # _________________________________________________________


Date: _____________________________________________________________________


APPENDICES


A. WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSE:


WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN ABUSE IS OCCURRING

Physical Abuse:


Physical abuse often leaves marks, and can be easier to identify than sexual or emotional abuse or neglect.


Physical Indicators:

Unexplained bruises and welts are the most frequent evidence found:

   -often of the face, torso, buttocks, back, or thighs;

   -can reflect shape of object used (electric cord, belt buckle);

   -may be in various stages of healing.


Unexplained burns:

   -often on palms, soles, buttocks, and back;

   -can reflect pattern indicative of cigarette, cigar, electrical appliance, immersion or rope burn.


Other unexplained injuries:

   -lacerations, abrasions, human bite marks or pinch marks;

   -loss of hair/bald patches;

   -retinal hemorrhage;

   -abdominal injuries.


Behavioural Indicators:

Requests or feels deserving of physical punishment;

Afraid to go home and/or requests to stay in school, day care etc.;

Overly shy, tends to avoid physical contact with adults especially parents;

Displays behavioural extremes (withdrawal or aggression);

Suggests that other children be punished in a harsh manner;

Cries excessively and/or sits and stares;

Reports injury by parent;

Gives unbelievable explanations for injuries.


Sexual Abuse:


Unfortunately, many children do not report this form of abuse. They rely on adults to be aware of specific physical and behavioural indicators. A child who persistently shows several of the following characteristics may be experiencing sexual abuse. Remember, the most reliable indicator of child abuse is the child’s verbal disclosure.


Physical Indicators:

Somatic complaints, including pain and irritation of the genitals;

Sexually transmitted disease;

Pregnancy in young adolescents;

Frequent unexplained sore throats, yeast infections, or urinary infections.


Behavioural Indicators:

Excessive masturbation in young children;

Sexual knowledge of behaviour beyond that expected for the child’s age;

Depression, suicidal gesture;

Chronic runaway;

Frequent psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches and stomach-aches;


Drug or alcohol abuse;

Avoidance of undressing or wearing excessive layers of clothing;

Sudden avoidance of certain familiar adults or places;

Marked decline in school performance.


Emotional Abuse:

The signs of emotional abuse may be less obvious than other forms of maltreatment. Emotional abuse is suspected when a child exhibits impaired development, destructive behaviour, or chronic somatic complaints that cannot be explained medically or circumstantially. A child who persistently shows several of the following characteristics may be experiencing emotional abuse.


Physical Indicators:

Eating disorders;

Sleep disturbances, nightmares;

Wetting or soiling by school-age children;

Speech disorder, stuttering;

Failure to thrive;

Development lags;

Asthma, severe allergies, or ulcers.


Behavioural Indicators:

Habit disorders, such as biting, rocking, head banging, thumb sucking in an older child;

Poor peer relationships;

Behavioural extremes (overly compliant or demanding, withdrawn or aggressive);

Self-destructive behaviour, oblivious to hazards and risks;

Chronic academic under-achievement;

Irrational and persistent fears, dreads, or hatreds.


Signs of Neglect:

A child who persistently shows several of the following characteristics may be experiencing neglect. Keep in mind; however, that cultural standards which differ from those prevailing in a community are not necessarily neglect.


Physical Indicators:

Height and weight significantly below age level with no plausible explanation;

Inappropriate clothing for weather;

Poor hygiene, including lice, body odour, scaly skin;

Child abandoned or left with inadequate supervision;

Untreated illness or injury;

Lack of safe, warm, sanitary shelter;

Lack of necessary medical and dental care.


Behavioural Indicators:

Begging or stealing food;

Assumes adult responsibilities;

Falling asleep in school, lethargic;

Repeated acts of vandalism;

Poor school attendance, frequent tardiness;

Chronic hunger;

Dull, apathetic appearance;

Running away from home;

Reports no caretaker in the home.


B. ABUSE PREVENTION TEAM (APT)


A. Accountability

The Abuse Prevention Team (APT) is directly accountable to the Council of Clinton Christian Reformed Church and shall provide regular reports to Council.


B. Membership

The APT consists of three members appointed by Council to a three-year term (renewable). Team members will designate a chairperson.


C. Mandate

1. To facilitate ongoing mandatory education and training regarding abuse, abuse prevention, and best practices for volunteers, staff and leaders involved in child, youth and elderly programs in Clinton Christian Reformed Church (CRC).

2. To be the designated representatives of Clinton CRC with the Huron County Police Services for the purpose of facilitating the criminal record check procedure.

3. To assist and be available as a resource to child and youth group leaders in the screening procedure.

4. To determine on an annual basis, those persons for whom documentation (police record checks, and signed Declarations of Agreement and Understanding) is required, and to maintain the documentation in a confidential manner.

5. To provide direction and support in abuse situations.

6. To ensure that reference materials concerning abuse issues are available in the church. They should be Christian in content, and Canadian if such is available. These should include copies of our Abuse Prevention Policy, our Handbook for Leaders, and a copy of Beth Swagman’s Preventing Child Abuse: A Guide for Churches. The booklet Adult Protection is available through CRC Publications in Grand Rapids and should also be included.

7. To work toward ensuring that relationships be carefully and prayerfully restored if allegations of abuse are found to be groundless.

8. To ensure that the information being handled is maintained with extreme confidentiality.