Young people in churches

28 July 2022

Whatever the extent to which young people are involved in your church, you will need to take steps to make sure that they remain safe.

Group of children singing in a choir

Young people are an important part of any church community, and their participation is actively encouraged. Many are practising Christians, some are part of a choir, the bell-ringing team, a Sunday school or share close links through their school or a community group such as Scouts or Guides.

Very occasionally, some larger churches may take on young people as apprentices, for work experience, or as employees. Whatever the extent to which young people are involved in your church, there may be some steps you will need to take to make sure that they remain safe.

In most cases, you will already have the necessary health and safety precautions in place to protect others, so this should be straightforward.

Young people and health and safety law

If you employ young people, you have a responsibility to ensure that they are not exposed to risk due to their:

  • lack of experience
  • being unaware of existing or potential risks
  • lack of maturity.

Beyond this, if someone is injured you may need to show that you have met your duty of care. For example, if your church youth group is carrying out an activity you have organised, you may need to make sure that it is done safely.

Safeguarding matters are not covered by health and safety law. Here, you will need to refer to other resources for information and guidance on this.

Protecting young people

Typical precautions to protect young people include:

  • appointing a person(s) to supervise young workers and monitor their progress
  • considering the need for tailored training or closer supervision for some
  • considering if the work required of a young person is beyond their physical or psychological capacity
  • taking appropriate precautions when exposed to hazardous substances or noise etc.*

* Note: this list is not exhaustive

Want to know more?

For more information, download our guide about young people.