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Street Pastors – Training part 3, Safeguarding

December 8, 2011

A snowy Tuesday night at Hilton Church in Inverness. It was really great to see the team from Tain who had travelled the 40 or so miles down the A9 to Inverness for the evening.

Tonight we were looking at street pastors roles & responsibilities in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from harm or the threat of harm.

This workshop was tailored using scenarios that street pastors had encountered in Inverness, and engaged us trainees in evaluating the situations to discuss and identify areas of risk of harm to children and vulnerable adults.

The material was superb – adapted from what had been developed for the Church of Scotland by the lady facilitating the session.

After spending a couple of hours discussing the different scenarious, querying (and challenging) our own assumptions and understanding we all had learned significantly more than at the start of the evening.  Often the lesson was that when people initially disclose information it may not be enough to make an assessment of, and how important it is that we phrase the next question in a way that offers an open pathway if they want to say more.

We discussed the differences between secrecy and confidentiality, and what we could and could not assure.

Finally we covered reporting  incidents or suspicion of harm and the mechanisms to engage when immediate action was required, and the appropriate level of response when the risk was not immediate.  One practical thing we can provide people who do not want to disclose further with us is a card with contact numbers for many of the support agencies in the Inverness area – this had been developed by street Pastors Inverness and the cities drug and alcohol awareness committee… another example of street pastors working with the agencies within the city to create something useful for those in need in our community – a fab resource.

This was probably the best safeguarding training I have ever been on. It focused on the questions we need to ask ourselves when confronted with a situation, and the practicalities of the next step.

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