February 2024

This document will be reviewed, revised (as required) and approved as part of the Cathedral’s safeguarding annual review process
VersionDateReviewed byApproved byDate of next review
V1Feb 2024N/AChapterFeb 2025

Cathedral Singers Music Scholars

This note is in addition to the Christ Church Cathedral Safeguarding Policy, adopted by Chapter February 2024. From the age of 16 they will be required to undertake safeguarding training and hold a current DBS certificate.

It is recognised that the Music Scholars are under 18, and specific additional steps are in place in order to provide an extra level of safeguarding for these students:

  • All members of the Cathedral Singers have undergone safeguarding training at Basic Awareness and Foundations levels.
  • The Choir Director Hilary Punnett and the Organist Simon Hogan have also been safely recruited and have an Enhanced DBS. They are obliged to undertake Basic Awareness, Foundations, Leadership, Safer Recruitment, and Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse Pathways.
  • The DSL for the Cathedral Singers is the Choir Director. The Deputy is Philippa White, the Precentor, who holds an Enhanced DBS and has undergone safeguarding training to Senior Leadership level. 
  • Communications between the Choir Director and the Organist regarding the Scholars to be copied to the Precentor.
  • The Precentor will be present at Scholars’ auditions. 
  • The Scholars are not left alone with individual members of the Singers, and are always in general view. They move between the Priory Rooms and the Cathedral in a group and interact with the rest of the Singers in a group. 
  • The 2024 Scholars Information Pack will include the Cathedral Safeguarding Policy with Appendix, the Online and Social Media Policy, the Photography Policy and the Livestreaming Policy. 
  • Social events occur in the Cathedral, Chapter House and Priory Rooms. Scholars under 16 are accompanied by parents/guardians, those between 16-18 are supervised generally by the DSL and Deputy. They are not allowed access to alcohol.
  • Additional safeguarding protocols will be put in place for tours, recordings or external events.

Altar Servers Under 18 Years (Junior Altar Servers)

All altar servers will be safely recruited in line with all other Cathedral volunteers. From the age of 16 they will be required to undertake safeguarding training and hold a current DBS certificate.

Those with parental responsibility for junior altar servers should complete a consent form for the activity. 

On arrival at the Cathedral, junior altar servers should report to the Precentor, under whose supervision they will remain for the duration of the service. A register will be taken of their attendance.

Junior altar servers should robe in the Lucy Chapel. Their robes should be laid out for them by the vergers, along with those of the altar party.  

If junior altar servers are unaccompanied, any personal possessions may be given to the vergers to place in the sacristy for safekeeping, to be returned on request at the end of the service. 

Junior altar servers should not go in the sacristy themselves for any reason. 

If junior altar servers are unaccompanied, they should not leave the Cathedral without informing the Precentor, who will decide whether they should be accompanied by an appropriate adult. This would normally be the adult with parental responsibility.

If unaccompanied junior altar servers wish to attend Cathedral events outside the immediate precincts, additional consent forms should be completed by those with parental responsibility. 

Domestic Abuse

This policy should be read in conjunction with the national policy for safeguarding, Christ Church Cathedral’s Safeguarding Policy, and the Diocesan policies and practice guidelines.

National definition of domestic violence and abuse (Home Office – March 2013)

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse:

  • Between those aged 16 and over
  • Who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members
  • Regardless of gender or sexuality

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

All forms of domestic abuse are wrong and must stop.

The Dean and Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral is committed to promoting and supporting

environments which:

  • Ensure that all people feel welcomed, respected and safe from abuse.
  • Protect those vulnerable to domestic abuse from actual or potential harm.
  • Recognise equality amongst people and within relationships.
  • Enable and encourage concerns to be raised and responded to openly and consistently.

We recognise that:

  • All forms of domestic abuse cause damage to the survivor and express an imbalance of power in the relationship.
  • All survivors (regardless of age, disability, gender, heritage, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity) have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • Domestic abuse can occur in all communities.
  • Domestic abuse may be a single incident, but can also be a systematic, repeated pattern which escalates in severity and frequency.
  • Domestic abuse, if witnessed or overheard by a child, is a form of child abuse by the perpetrator of the abusive behaviour.
  • Working in partnership with children, adults and other agencies, is essential in promoting the welfare of any child or adult suffering abuse.

We will endeavour to respond to domestic abuse

In all our activities:

  • By valuing, listening to and respecting both survivors and alleged or known perpetrators of domestic abuse.

In our publicity:

  • Through raising awareness about other agencies, support services, resources and expertise, by providing information.

When concerns are raised:

  • Ensuring that those who have experienced abuse can find safety and informed help.
  • Working with the appropriate statutory bodies, during an investigation into domestic abuse, including when allegations are made against a member of the Cathedral community.

In our care by:

  • Ensuring that information and appropriate pastoral care is offered to any child, young person or adult who has suffered abuse.
  • Identifying and outlining the appropriate relationship of those with pastoral care responsibilities with both survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Christ Church Cathedral’s Chapter Safeguarding Officer is Canon Sally Welch and its Safeguarding Lead, Matthew Dickins. If you have a safeguarding concern, contact the Police on 999 if there is a risk of immediate harm, otherwise please email matthew.dickins@chch.ox.ac.uk.