Lyn’s House is fully committed to promoting the rights of vulnerable adults, particularly their right to be protected from harm, abuse and exploitation and to be involved in decisions that affect them.
We recognise that some visitors to the house are likely to need particular help and support in order to be safe and cared for, and recognise our duty of care to implement thoughtful and effective guidelines and procedures for safeguarding the welfare of any adults who might be at risk.
Central to the life and vision of Lyn’s House is building relationships of mutuality and trust with adults with learning disabilities, who are vulnerable and potentially at risk. A ‘vulnerable adult’ is understood as any adult who by virtue of a disability, age, or illness is in need of help to guard himself/herself against significant harm or exploitation.
All who are involved in the life and mission of the house therefore have a duty of care placed on them. We will ensure that resident members of Lyn’s House and others who are closely involved in its hospitality are carefully selected, screened, trained and supervised, and will keep up to date with relevant developments relating to the care, support and protection of adults at risk of harm.
The Safeguarding of vulnerable adults at Lyn’s House is overseen by the Diocese of Ely (Church of England) Safeguarding Team https://www.elydiocese.org/safeguarding
This policy document should be read alongside the Church of England’s Safeguarding policy for adults:
The Lyn’s House Steering Group is committed to the following Safeguarding Principles.
- Develop best practice in relation to the recruitment of all resident members of Lyn’s House and those who support it.
- Ensure that all involved understand their legal and moral obligations to protect vulnerable adults from harm, abuse and exploitation, and provide training in doing so.
- Provide opportunities for all those (house members, volunteers and steering group members) who are regularly involved to develop their skills and knowledge, particularly in relation to the support, care and safeguarding of adults at risk.
- Ensure that all those involved on a regular basis understand their responsibility to work to the standards and procedures detailed in our safeguarding documentation and guidelines.
- Ensure that all workers understand their obligations to report any safeguarding concerns to the Safeguarding Coordinator.
- Ensure that the Safeguarding Coordinator is provided with appropriate training and understands his/her responsibility to refer any safeguarding concerns to the statutory protection agencies.
L’Arche International Inquiry into historic Sexual Abuse by Jean Vanier
Jean Vanier was a co-founder of L’Arche and also encouraged the founding of Lyn’s House. The findings of an independent inquiry, set up by L’Arche International to investigate allegations against Jean Vanier, were published in February 2020. They concluded that he committed spiritual and sexual abuse against six women between 1970 and 2005. No evidence emerged during the inquiry of abuse committed against any person with learning disabilities, although of course that in no way diminishes the gravity of the findings.
We, together with members and supporters of L’Arche, were deeply shocked and saddened to learn the findings. We unreservedly condemn the actions of Jean Vanier, which are in complete contradiction to the values he claimed and are contrary to the fundamental principles of Lyn’s House, which affirm the unique value and dignity of every person. We acknowledge and thank the women who gave witness to Jean Vanier’s abuse for their courage in coming forward. We wish to express our heartfelt regret for the trauma and deep hurt they have endured on account of this abuse of a position of trust and power.
While these events did not occur in the UK they have affected many of us deeply. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone, with and without learning disabilities, has been and will continue to be a priority for us in Lyn’s House. As L’Arche UK has stated, ‘we remain united in our mission to build a world where we celebrate the unique gifts of every individual… We will continue to build community with people with learning disabilities and in doing so create places of belonging where some of the most vulnerable people can lead full lives’.
For a full statement and response by L’Arche International, see:https://www.larche.org.uk/inquiry-statement
It has made us all too aware of anyone’s (including our own) capacity for darkness, denial and self-deception – and all the more vigilant in having careful and robust procedures for safeguarding and whistle-blowing.
Lyn’s House is the working name for the Cambridge Friendship Trust, a charitable incorporated organisation registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales with registration number 1187876. The registered office is: The Lodge, ℅ Margaret Beaufort Institute, 12-14 Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DE.