The Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has warned churches that abusers may be infiltrating them in the guise of employees or volunteer workers.
In a statement, the service warned that DBS checks alone were insufficient to ensure children’s safety, and said that many places of worship were not currently following safer recruitment practices.
Presenting a new research paper, called Churches as safer organisations: an exploration of safeguarding and safer recruitment within the Christian church, Justin Humphreys, CCPAS’s head of safeguarding, said best practice was not being followed.
Such practice should include: drawing up a written job description and person specification; advertising all posts; obtaining a completed self-declaration form and government disclosure check; verification of references, and properly conducted interviews.
Mr Humphreys said, ‘Far too often, churches are under the impression that all they have to do, to ascertain that somebody is safe to work with children or vulnerable adults, is to carry out a disclosure check. Nothing could be further from the truth’.