Quiet Down There CIO Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable or Disabled Adults Policy
For the purposes of this policy a child is under the age of 21 years however a child is defined as a person under the age of 18 in The Children Act 1989.
Quiet Down There CIO has a duty of care to safeguard all children & young people involved with its projects, event or volunteering/work experience programme. All children & young people have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and vulnerable adults are included in this policy.
Quiet Down There CIO will ensure the safety and protection of all children, young people and vulnerable adults of any age involved in Quiet Down There CIO activities through adherence to the Child Protection and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy guidelines.
Quiet Down There CIO’s work with children, young people and vulnerable or disabled adults
It is important to remember that a member staff may come into contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults in a wide range of situations. In addition to workshops, these will include:
Volunteering or works experience placements
Whilst co-designing audience development activities
It is important that this policy is seen to apply and the guidelines followed in all situations in which you have contact with children, young people and vulnerable people of all ages.
The policy applies to:
all staff (including permanent, fixed term and short term temporary appointments) and to those whose work brings them into contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults at Quiet Down There CIO premises, for example:
any other person who a member of the public might reasonably assume was a Quiet Down There CIO member of staff
All those covered by the policy have a duty to do everything reasonable in their power to ensure the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
All references to staff throughout these documents should be taken to include all those listed above.
All organisations that make provision for children, young people and vulnerable adults must ensure that:
The welfare of the child, young person or vulnerable adult is paramount.
All children, young people and vulnerable adults whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse.
All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
All staff (paid/unpaid) working with Quiet Down There CIO have a responsibility to report concerns to a Director.
The aim of the Quiet Down There CIO Child Protection and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adult Policy is to promote good practice:
Providing children, young people and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety and protection whilst in our care
Allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child/young people/vulnerable adult protection issues.
Promoting good practice
Remember that children, young people and vulnerable adults regard adults as role models and ensure your behaviour, language, gestures etc. are appropriate and above reproach
Abuse, particularly violent or sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and external environments. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When any child or young or vulnerable person has been subjected to abuse outside, the arts can play a crucial role in improving their self-esteem. In such instances where Quiet Down There CIO staff are made aware of any such abuse they must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child or young/vulnerable person receives the required support.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. This extends to a member of staff covering sick leave at short notice, or a person offering occasional support.
The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means:
Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
Treating all children/young people/disabled or vulnerable adults equally with respect and dignity.
Always putting the welfare of each child, young/vulnerable person first.
Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with staff
Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children, young and vulnerable people to share in decision making.
Making the arts fun, enjoyable and promoting fairness and equality.
Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the young person is moving; young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered.
Keeping up to date with technical skills, training and insurance.
Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their child or young/vulnerable person in situations that may be questionable. For example if groups were to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers and workers are in pairs.
Ensuring that mixed groups should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people or vulnerable adults.
Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of children, young people and vulnerable adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (eg the child, young person or vulnerable adult sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick up their charge), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge at Quiet Down There CIO premises or the child, young/ vulnerable person’s parents.
Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children, young people or vulnerable/disabled adults away from others.
Taking or dropping off a child, young person or vulnerable adult in a car.
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
Be alone in a room with a child, young person or vulnerable adult.
Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
Allow children, young people or vulnerable adults to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, young person or vulnerable adult, even in fun.
Reduce a child, young person or vulnerable adult to tears as a form of control.
Allow allegations made by a child, young person or vulnerable adult to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
Do things of a personal nature for children, young people or disabled/vulnerable adults that they can do for themselves.
NB It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents/carer. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child, young person or vulnerable adult to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents/carer are informed:
if you accidentally hurt a child, young person or vulnerable adult
if he/she seems distressed in any manner
if a child, young person or vulnerable adult appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
if a child, young person or vulnerable adult misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Use of photographic/filming equipment at events
There is evidence that some people have used public events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of children, young, vulnerable or disabled people. All organisations have a duty of care to be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the Director.
Video as an artists’ tool: there is no intention to prevent film makers using video equipment as a legitimate tool. However, performers and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the programme and such films should be stored safely. Participants’ parents or guardian’s permission must be sought in writing if the footage is to be used in any public capacity.
Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers
Quiet Down There CIO recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children, young people or vulnerable adults in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from access to young and vulnerable people.
Pre-selection checks must include the following:
All new volunteers/staff from July 2016 should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
All individuals appointed to posts which involve regular, substantial or unaccompanied contact with children will be asked to apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for an Enhanced Disclosure. For most posts a Standard Disclosure will be appropriate. However if the post involves:
regularly managing events with unaccompanied children;
contact with children over a series of events;
or work experience involving one to one contact;
then an Enhanced Disclosure should be sought.
Appointments will only proceed if:
the pre-employment checks prove satisfactory and
the Disclosure provides no cause for concern as to their suitability to work with children.
This applies whether the appointment is the result of recruitment or an internal move. Managers must also be mindful of these requirements as the content of posts develop over time and new tasks are assigned.
Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children, young people or vulnerable adults. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
Evidence of identity should be provided (eg passport or driving licence with photo).
Interview and induction
From July 2016 all new employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction, during which:
A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
Child protection and safeguarding vulnerable adult procedures are explained and training needs are identified.
In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations.
Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young/vulnerable person.
Work safely and effectively with children, young people or vulnerable adults.
Where Quiet Down There CIO or staff are working in partnership with other organisations and the work involves children, young people, disabled or vulnerable people of any age Quiet Down There CIO should use the Policy and Guidelines as the basis for discussion and where appropriate include explicit conditions relating to child protection and safeguarding vulnerable adults in the partnership agreement. This may be achieved by a simple reference to our Policy and Guidelines and/or those of our partners. Copies of the Policy and Guidelines may be shared with other organisations to assist this process.
Quiet Down There CIO funding other organisations
Where Quiet Down There CIO is funding, whether through cash or other contributions, the work of other organisations and that work involves children, young people or vulnerable adults we should, if necessary, seek to influence the way in which the organisation carries out that work to ensure that Child Protection and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults is a factor in the way their work is carried out.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working for Quiet Down There CIO in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.
Quiet Down There CIO will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child, young person or vulnerable adult.
Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:
a criminal investigation
a child protection or safeguarding vulnerable adult investigation
a disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.
1. Concerns about poor practice:
If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Director as the Designated Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
If the allegation is about poor practice by the Director as the Designated Officer or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to a Trustee who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
2. Concerns about suspected abuse:
Any suspicion that a child, young person or vulnerable adult has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Director, who will inform the Board of Trustees and then take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child, young person or vulnerable adult in question and any other person who may be at risk.
The Director will refer the allegation to the social services department which may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
The parents or carers of the child, young person or vulnerable adult will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
The Director should also notify the Board of Trustees who will deal with any media enquiries.
If the Director is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the Board of Trustees who will refer the allegation to social services.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.
This includes the following people:
the parents or guardian of the person who is alleged to have been abused
the person making the allegation
the alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is another child, young person or vulnerable adult).
Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser.
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (eg that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Internal enquiries and suspension
The Quiet Down There CIO Director will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the Board of Trustees will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision, particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases, the Board of Trustees must reach a decision based upon the available information, which could suggest that on a balance of probability; it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child, young person or vulnerable adult should remain of paramount importance throughout.
Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse
Consideration should be given to the kind of support that the child, young person or vulnerable adult, parents and members of staff may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process. The British Association for Counselling Directory is available from The British Association for Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ, Tel: 01788 550899. www.bacp.co.uk
Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.
Allegations of previous abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (eg by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children, young people or vulnerable adults).
Where such an allegation is made, Quiet Down There CIO should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other young people, either within or outside the venue, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
Action if bullying is suspected
If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in ‘Responding to suspicions or allegations’ above.
Action to help the victim and prevent bullying:
Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
Encourage all children, young people or vulnerable adults to speak and share their concerns. (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately). Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority.
Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
Report any concerns to the Quiet Down There CIO Director, Child Protection Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).
Action towards the bully(ies):
Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
Inform the bully(ies)’s parents/carers.
Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
Provide support for staff member who work with the victim.
Impose sanctions as necessary.
Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
Inform all organisation members of action taken.
Keep a written record of action taken.
3. Concerns outside the immediate environment (eg a parent or carer):
Report your concerns to the Child Protection Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.
See 4. below for the information social services or the police will need.
If a Child Protection Officer or Quiet Down There CIO Director is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.
Social Services and a Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
The Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the Board of Trustees who should ascertain whether or not the person/(s) involved in the incident play a role in Quiet Down There CIO. And act accordingly.
Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
See 4 below regarding information needed for social services.
4. Information for social services or the police about suspected abuse:
To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which should include the following:
The child, young person or vulnerable adult’s name, age and date of birth.
The child, young person or vulnerable adult’s home address and telephone number.
Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
Details of witnesses to the incidents.
The child, young person or vulnerable adult’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
Have the parents or guardian been contacted?
If so, what has been said?
Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details.
If the child, young person or vulnerable adult was not the person who reported the incident, has the child, young person or vulnerable adult been spoken to? If so, what was said?
Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.
If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.
On behalf of Quiet Down There CIO, we, the undersigned, will oversee the implementation of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adult Policy and take all necessary steps to ensure it is adhered to.
Signed: Lucy Jefferies Signed: Victoria Patrick
(nb One of the signatories should be a Child Protection representative on the Board of Directors/Trustees)
Position within QUIET DOWN THERE CIO: Director
Position within QUIET DOWN THERE CIO: Chair of Trustees
Policy reviewed 25/11/2022