This code is provided for all those at Westminster Abbey (the Abbey Church, St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Westminster Abbey Enterprises Ltd.) to follow when working and volunteering with children, young people and adults. The code represents the behaviours which constitute safe practice. As such it will assist those working with children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect to do so safely and responsibly, enabling them to monitor their own standards of integrity and good practice.
- Treat all children, young people and adults with respect and dignity, keeping your own language, attitude and body language respectful.
- Actively communicate with children, young people and adults at risk and involve them in planning and running activities where possible.
- Avoid being alone with a child; there should always be two safely recruited adults with each group of children.
- Develop a culture where staff (paid and voluntary), children and adults at risk feel comfortable to point out inappropriate attitudes and behaviour in each other.
- Make it plain who someone can speak about a personal concern, and be proactive in addressing concerns and allegations.
- Never use illicit drugs, abuse prescription medication, or use alcohol when responsible for a child or adult at risk.
- Keep physical contact specific to the needs of the activity and always seek permission from the person first.
- Obtain consent for any photographs/videos to be taken, shown or displayed.
- Act in accordance with the guidance on communicating electronically and the social media policy, avoiding inappropriate on-line friendship.
- Never use rough play, sexually provocative words and games or any forms of physical punishment.
- Never scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child, group or adult or allow others so to do.
- Avoid showing favouritism to any one child, adult or group or doing anything to reinforce any inappropriate behaviours.
- Never give lifts to children or young people on their own or on your own or allow unknown adults access to children.
- Never share sleeping accommodation with children or invite them to your home alone.
- Always operate within the Abbey’s principles, procedures and guidelines, clarifying these when unsure.
The above set clear expectations of behaviour and codes of practice which serve to reduce the possibilities of positions of trust being abused or misused, or false accusations being made. More detailed guidance on safe working practices, such as when to gain consent, working with and transporting children, can be found in the guidelines available through the Safeguarding Toolkit on the Diocese of London web site and in the appendices of Westminster Abbey Choir School’s Safeguarding – Policy and Procedure.