CODE OF PRACTICE
WFCS is staffed by professionals who volunteer their services in order to help people address a range of personal issues including, but not exclusive to, anxiety; bereavement; depression; relationship difficulties and stress.
Some Volunteers are fully qualified in their specialist field whilst others are trainees. All Volunteers work exclusively within their sphere of competence and receive regular supervision. Clients will be informed of the professional status of the Volunteer assigned to support them.
If WFCS is unable to offer a client appropriate support, that Client will be directed to agencies better suited to their needs.
WFCS follows Government guidelines relating to client confidentiality and data protection.
All information pertaining to Clients and the content of counselling sessions is strictly confidential. Cases may be discussed in WFCS supervision meetings, in order to ensure safe and effective practice; however, Client anonymity is strictly maintained at all times.
Under normal circumstances, WFCS will only pass on information about the Client to a third party, with their express consent.
In accordance with the law, WFCS reserves the right to contact other agencies in the following, exceptional, circumstances: if it is believed that a Client may be a danger to themselves or others; if it is believed that a child is at risk of abuse; in order to disclose acts of terrorism, money laundering or drug trafficking. In the above instances, the Client will be informed of any action to be taken
WFCS will hold on file the CV, references, photograph and DBS of all Volunteers within the Organisation. Any relevant notes, either from appraisals or in the case of a complaint; allegation or investigation will also be filed.
WFCS undertakes not to share with a third party any documentation regarding a Volunteer, without their express consent unless there is deemed to be an immediate risk to the Volunteer or an urgent need to safeguard the Volunteer or others.
WFCS respects the individuality of all Clients and Volunteers and will treat them with compassion, sensitivity and respect in accordance with Christian values.
EQUALITY & DIVERSITY
WFCS is part of the outreach programme of The Brompton Oratory, a Roman Catholic Church in South Kensington, London. The service is open to all in accordance with the Equality Act (2010).
All WFCS Volunteers, whether fully qualified, working towards their accreditations or in training, work within the BACP Ethical Framework.
All Volunteers and WFCS personnel adhere to the WFCS Safeguarding Policy.
ADRESSING SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS - INITIAL STEPS
When safeguarding concerns arise, or an allegation is made against either a Volunteer or a Client, they should be informed in person by the Clinical Director,in the presence of the Safeguarding Representative.
The Volunteer or Client concerned should have the opportunity to be supported throughout the investigative process, by a person of their choice, unless this could compromise an investigation or frustrate the meeting process.
Before the initial meeting is arranged, the Safeguarding Coordinator will seek advice about the allegations from the Police and/or CSAS.
Prior discussion with the Police and/or CSAS about what information can and cannot be divulged during an initial meeting is essential, in order to minimise the potential of influencing witnesses or of interfering with evidence and also to ensure that no future investigation could be compromised by contacting the persons concerned.
After the initial meeting, a letter should be sent to the individual against whom the allegations have been made. The letter should inform them about what will happen next, including associated timescales; provide contact details of the Safeguarding Coordinator and any other support persons and include a copy of any notes pertaining to the allegation.
All Volunteers and WFCS personnel adhere to the WFCS Complaints Procedure.
RECORDING A DISCLOSURE, AN ALLEGATION OR CONCERNS OF ABUSE
Whenever a child or adult makes a disclosure, makes an allegation or there are concerns about the welfare and safety of a child or adult, the following standards will be applied to record keeping:
1. When a disclosure or allegation is made in person, whenever possible and practical, notes will be taken during the conversation.
2. Where it is not possible or appropriate to take notes at the time, a written record will be made as soon as possible afterwards and always before the end of the day, using form CM1(CSAS Forms Library).
3. The person making the disclosure or allegation will be advised at the time that a written record will be made and the importance of making a record of information will be explained.
4. The person making the disclosure will be informed that they can have access to the record made in respect of their own information.
5. The context and background leading to the disclosure will be recorded.
6. As much information as possible will be recorded and fact, hearsay and opinion will be distinguished in the record. Assumptions and speculation will be avoided.
7. For all disclosures and allegations, the method of communication (e.g. letter, telephone call, direct contact); the time, date, location of the communication and the persons present will be recorded.
8. Records will be signed and dated by the person receiving the information.
9. A log of actions will be maintained, using the form:
Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults (CSAS Forms Library)
Times, dates and names of people contacted and spoken to, as well as their contact details, will be recorded.
The log will include full details of referrals to the Children's or Adult Social Care Services and the Police.
10.All original records, including rough notes, will be provided to the relevant Safeguarding Coordinator by noon on the next working day, following the disclosure or allegation.
11.All records will be kept in a confidential and secure place and shared only in order to safeguard a child or adult at risk, in line with the information sharing protocol and requirements of the Data Protection Act,1998.
GUIDELINES FOR SUPPORTING PEOPLE WHO MAY BE EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC ABUSE
Every person has a right to live their life free from violence, abuse, intimidation and fear.
Where a victim of domestic violence or abuse requests counselling, the referral to WFCS will generally be by a priest; members of a parish community; or a GP.
The role of the Volunteer is to focus on the safety and well-being of the victim or survivor and of any children who may be involved.
The role of the Volunteer is not to instruct or advise about a particular course of action or to act as a caseworker.
Any sharing of information should follow the guidelines of CSAS Information Sharing Protocol and GDPR.
Examples of Psychological Abuse in Adults:
emotional abuse; deprivation of contact; isolation; humiliation; verbal abuse; blaming; controlling; intimidation; coercion; harassment; cyber bullying threats of harm or abandonment.
GUIDELINES FOR ADDRESSING SELF-HARMING AND SUICIDAL BEHAVIOURS
The indicators that a child or vulnerable person may be at risk of taking actions to harm themselves or attempt suicide can cover a wide range of life events.
Indicators may include any of the following:
many forms of bullying (school; via social media, the internet or mobile phone; gender related or homophobic)
mental health issues (including eating disorders)
family problems (including parental divorce; parent-child conflict; abandonment issues; domestic violence and abuse)
An assessment of risk should be undertaken; talked through with the child or vulnerable person and regularly updated.
If the child or vulnerable person is competent, informed consent to share information should be sought .
Only if the situation is urgent, and delaying in order to seek consent could result in serious harm to the Client, may information be shared without prior consent.