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Safeguarding notes regarding hosting people fleeing the war in Ukraine

People arriving in the UK having fled the war in Ukraine are particularly vulnerable. In pursuit of safety they have been torn from their families and communities and may have witnessed terrible things. They may have suffered bereavement, war trauma, and have arrived in a country where cultures and language are different. It is unknown how many people will arrive, or how long they will remain in the UK.

We are hugely grateful to all those who offer accommodation and other kinds of support to people fleeing the war. As responses are made to the situation that exists, it is imperative that these happen with as much regard as can possibly made to the high standards of safeguarding that our churches expect – both on the parts of those who offer accommodation and by those who will take offers up.

This guidance outlines basic measures that need to be put in place to ensure the safeguarding of everyone involved in accommodating or supporting those fleeing the war. It is a work in progress made in response to an emergency situation and will therefore likely be improved and updated.


Related information


Safety of the refugees

  1. People offering to accommodate or support those fleeing from the war should be endorsed as suitable to offer help by their parish’s incumbent. The incumbent should also confirm that there is no safeguarding information held against them.
  2. A safeguarding check of those putting themselves forward will also be made by the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, and should be made too by the Parish Safeguarding Officer to confirm that no relevant information exists about them.
  3. Ideally, those over 16, or some members within the family will have a clear enhanced DBS check, completed within the last 5 years from another role.
  4. Once there is an agreement for a family to host a refugee, basic disclosure checks should be conducted on other family members aged 16 years or over. There is no eligibility requirement for a basic check however this falls within the policy of the Church of England about when a basic check should be sought because there is a close level of trust being placed in the host by the church. This process should not delay a refugee moving in with the host family. Any blemished record will be considered by the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

Note – checks should be carried out by the lead recruiter of the parish within which the hosting family live. There is a charge of £25 per check set by the DBS, plus £5 standard processing fee from ThirtyOne:Eight plus 50p VAT. The processing fee is split with the diocese. If the parish cannot cover this cost, please let the Diocesan Safeguarding team know so that the Diocese can reimburse the monies needed.

  1. As best they can, the parish safeguarding officer should put in place a reporting mechanism for safeguarding concerns that is as clear as possible. It’s appreciated that this will not be straightforward owing to inhibitors to reporting due to the reliance of living within a home, language barriers and a lack of knowledge of the country and services. This will be compounded by their current experience of trauma.
  2. The diocese will be endeavouring to identify Ukrainian speaking safeguarding contacts to be identified as a point of contact for reporting – possibly from the Ukrainian Culture Centre, who can pass any concern to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, or directly to the police.
  3. The diocese will also be developing a Ukrainian translation safeguarding leaflet which will include how to report a safeguarding concern and to whom that should be given to guests. The leaflet will also give advice over boundaries, privacy and contact with any children of the refugee and children already living within the household.
  4. Adults in the host family are requested to complete Basic Awareness safeguarding training (C0).
  5. The diocese will keep records of all members of the hosting families, the refugees and the dates of when the hosting started and finished
  6. A monthly meeting should take place with the parish support group so that issues may be raised, cultural and language differences considered. Safeguarding will be raised as part of that so that there is an opportunity to disclose in a private environment. A debrief should take place when the agreement comes to an end, again in private with the support group. Any issues raised in any meeting should be shared with the diocese to help us learn and plan for further hosting.

Safety of the hosting families

  1. A copy of the passport for each individual housed will be held by the diocese with the consent of the refugee (or parent/carer for the child). A home cannot be offered without this.
  2. Any safeguarding concerns should be reported immediately to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
  3. As for guests, people offering accommodation will be offered advice over boundaries, privacy and contact with any children of the refugee and children already living within the household.
  4. The diocese will have good communications with Social Services and police to manage any risk arising from concerns raised against those needing accommodation elsewhere.
  5. The diocese will keep records of all members of the hosting families, the refugees and the dates of when the hosting started and finished.
  6. A monthly meeting should take place with the parish incumbent so that issues may be raised, cultural and language differences considered. Safeguarding will be raised as part of that so that there is an opportunity to disclose in a private environment. A debrief should take place when the agreement comes to an end, again in private with the parish incumbent. Any issues raised in any meeting should be shared with the diocese to help us learn and plan for further hosting.

Offers of help with the wider support

  1. Parish Safeguarding Officers must be involved in making careful decisions regarding individuals offering assistance in other capacities. For example, offers to drive refugees to the host family or elsewhere. Safer Recruitment should be considered in each case to ensure the safety of all.

St Albans Diocese will:

  1. Work in partnership with other agencies in our area who have expertise in working with vulnerable people, children and refugees, including the local authority and the police towards keeping all parties safe.
  2. Work towards reducing the potential safeguarding risks for both a refugee or refugee family, as well as the host family.
  3. Share safeguarding and child protection information appropriately and in a confidential manner.
  4. Liaise appropriately with statutory agencies to ensure concerns are met and support is requested.

Last updated: 14 March 2022

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