Working with Adults at Risk


The church building will be made as accessible as possible to all people. Any restrictions to access, visibility, audibility, toilet facilities, lighting or heating will be addressed wherever possible, and where necessary, aids and adaptations put in place.


Every effort will be taken to use appropriate language and suitable vocabulary, enabling the greatest level of inclusivity and accessibility. We will be mindful of the language used within worship and the language used to describe people (such as derogatory words focusing on aspects of someone’s disability, race or sexuality rather than the person themselves).


In all worship services, we will consider the varied requirements of our congregation and try to be as inclusive as possible, by:

  • Providing some copies of large print type for all printed materials
  • Speakers always facing the congregation and not covering their mouths when talking, enabling those who rely on lip-reading
  • Describing what is being presented on a screen for those who cannot see it clearly
  • Using inclusive language
  • Using a variety of liturgy and resources to cater for different levels of understanding
  • Using a microphone during times of open prayer so that all can hear
  • Considering holding a service which specifically caters for certain groups of adults at risk, such as those with learning disabilities, the deaf or the visually impaired.


We will take reasonable steps to safeguard adults at risk and will follow any specific safeguarding requirements as laid out by our insurance company.

Financial integrity

Arrangements are in place for dealing with money, financial transactions and gifts, as outlined below:

  • Those who work with adults at risk may become involved in some aspects of personal finance – collecting pensions or benefits, shopping or banking, etc. If handling money for someone else, always obtain receipts or other evidence of what has been done.
  • Workers should not seek personal financial gain from their position beyond any salary or recognised allowances or expenses.
  • Workers should not be influenced by offers of money.
  • Any gifts received should be reported to the church trustees, who should decide whether or not the gift can be accepted.
  • Any money received by the church should be handled by two unrelated church workers.
  • Care should be taken not to canvass for church donations from those adults who may be at risk, such as the recently bereaved.
  • Workers should ensure that church and personal finances are kept apart to avoid any conflict of interest.
  • If someone alters their will in favour of an individual known to them because of their church work or pastoral relationship, it should be reported to the trustees. Workers should not act as Executors for someone they know through their work or pastoral role, as this may lead to a conflict of interests.
  • Expert legal advice should be sought on matters such as Power of Attorney and Appointeeship to ensure that the situation is clearly understood and is the most appropriate course of action for the adult at risk.


Workers should make sure that they have the person’s permission to take a picture, and that the subject is happy with the intended use of the pictures. When taking group pictures, workers should remember to get permission from everyone who will be photographed.


All church computers will have suitable parental controls and blocks put on. Although this is not failsafe, it will make using the computers for inappropriate behaviour more difficult, whilst also protecting any vulnerable users. We will create a policy specifically for church computer use, including terms and conditions for use as well as what will happen if someone breaches these conditions.

Record keeping

It is good practice to record pastoral visits or meetings, noting the date, time, location, subject and any actions which are to be taken. The record of these meetings should stick to facts and try to avoid opinion. Any records of safeguarding allegations, concerns or disclosures should be passed on to the DPS and stored in a safe and secure manner for at least 75 years.

Pastoral Relationships

All those involved in pastoral ministry should work in a way that follows clearly defined procedures, which set out the boundaries to protect those carrying out the pastoral ministry as well as those receiving it:

  • Workers should be aware of the power imbalance within pastoral relationships and the potential for abuse of trust.
  • Behaviour that suggests favouritism or gives the impression of a special relationship, should be avoided.
  • Workers should be aware of the dangers of dependency within a pastoral relationship.
  • Workers should never take advantage of their role and engage in sexual activity with someone with whom they have a pastoral relationship.
  • All people receiving pastoral ministry should be treated with respect and should be encouraged to make their own decisions about any actions or outcomes.
  • Workers should not pastorally minister to anyone whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Workers need to recognise the limits of their own abilities and competencies and get further help when working with situations outside of their expertise or role.