Safeguarding Children, Young people and Vulnerable adults
This Document was reviewed on:
………………20 April 2009……………………
This document must be read by all staff and Fellows involved in Trust and other Projects
in the presence of the Chief Administrator or the Trustee responsible for safeguarding Children, Young people and Vulnerable adults
and signed for in your training record.
3. Policy Statement
4. Practice and procedure
5. Code of conduct
7. Appendix 1
This document has been created to give all DAT staff and Fellows working on Trust projects a clearer understanding of the issues surrounding the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
This document has been compiled to meet and exceed the guidelines laid down by the HCC. This document has been written in line with the Children Act1989 (amended 2004), the European rights of the child act 1998 and the Every Child Matters paper 2003.
This document however is not a guideline document. Any breach of policy and procedure will result in disciplinary action by the Trust and may lead to criminal proceedings.
All this said the policies and procedures laid out in this document are there for your safeguarding as well as that of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
If the procedures and practices are followed you will minimise the potential for allegations of abuse.
Supervising Adult is an adult other than a parent of a child or young person or a vulnerable adult who assumes the care and responsibility for such people in any specific circumstances, namely where acting as a leader or instructor for instance where leading an art workshop.
Child is defined as a person less than 18 years of age.
Young person is defined as a person aged 14 –18 years of age.
A vulnerable adult is a person who is or may be in need of community care services because of mental disability or other disability, age or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation
Abuse can take many forms only some of which have visible signs.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child., young person or vulnerable adult
In the arts this may be when the nature and intensity of activity exceeds the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child., young person or vulnerable adult such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on their emotional development.
In the arts this may occur if a child., young person or vulnerable adult is subjected to constant criticism, name-calling, sarcasm and unrealistic pressure to produce
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child., young person or vulnerable adult
to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of what is happening –
where a supervising adult uses them to meet their own sexual needs.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child., young person or vulnerable adult’s
basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development.
In the arts this could include a supervising adult not ensuring that they are safe or exposed to undue cold, heat or put at risk of unnecessary injury.
Digswell Arts Trust places the safeguarding of children and young people or vulnerable adults involved in its projects as its major priority and responsibility. The Trust recognises that fulltime and casual instructional staff and Fellows are well placed to recognise symptoms that may be suggestive of abuse. At the same time the Trust recognises the importance of forging strong links with the parents of children/young people or vulnerable adults involved in its projects and strives to preserve these by:
Understanding that the child., young person or vulnerable adult’s welfare is paramount
Maintaining that all children , young people or vulnerable adults whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, religion or race have the right to safeguarding from abuse.
Recording and reporting all suspicions and allegations of inappropriate behaviour immediately.
Practice and Procedure
This section will deal with good day-to-day practice and what to do if you suspect abuse.
Recruitment – All applicants applying for work on projects involving children/young people or vulnerable adults whether in a paid or voluntary capacity will be police checked. Both references named on the application form will be taken up along with a random sample from past employers before applicants start work. Checks will only be made on the successful applicant and will not be used to form a short list.
Prevention – Even though instances of abuse within the arts are uncommon having the right system in place can help all concerned. Abusers will have great difficulty operating in well run projects with high calibre management and training. Digswell Arts Trust will endeavour to carry out the following aims:
That work carried out on Trust projects will be organised and meticulously planned so as to minimise situations where abuse may occur.
To provide ongoing training for staff and Fellows and to address any issues raised by changes in the legislation surrounding safeguarding.
To follow carefully outlined and agreed procedures when dealing with an alleged case of child abuse.
To issue all project workers/staff with a safeguarding handout outlining their responsibilities toward the children, young people or vulnerable adults attending our projects.
Reporting – The Trust has a duty of care to take action if it feels children, young people or vulnerable adults are being abused. Failure to take action may result in a case of Neglect being brought against you.
If you suspect abuse
Inform the Chief Administrator of the Trust
Treat the matter with the utmost discretion
Keep it a secret
Question the children, young people or vulnerable adults
Make promises you can’t keep
Express an opinion on what you have been told
If you feel it is inappropriate to approach the Chief Administrator contact Andrew Carnegie the Trustee responsible for the Trust’s Safeguarding policy. There will be no comeback for any reasonable allegation made whether it turns out to be true or not.
Recording – Never record alone and only record information volunteered by the children, young people or vulnerable adults . Avoid questioning as this may be considered as leading and this may jeopardise any future case. Always remember we are not social workers or police officers and are not trained to deal with the complex legal issues surrounding child abuse. Record only what is said and nothing more.
Code of conduct
(See also Appendix 1 for more detailed information)
Leading by example
We do not:
Behave in a suggestive or aggressive manner toward children, young people or vulnerable adults
Drink in front of or have contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Allow the children, young people or vulnerable adults in our charge to consume alcohol.
Smoke in front of children, young people or vulnerable adults or allow anyone to smoke on site.
Do not take part in or tolerate behaviour that frightens, embarrasses, demoralises or negatively affects a child, young person or vulnerable adult’s self esteem.
Respect the dignity and spirit of all children, young people or vulnerable adults
Treat all children, young people or vulnerable adults and equitably
Establish a supportive and positive environment for the purpose of creativity and skill development, fun and achievement.
Avoid contact or conduct that may be interpreted as having sexual connotations.
Be prepared to report to the Chief Administrator or project leader if a young person or child or vulnerable adult is being abused.
Adhere to the safeguarding policy.
We have a duty of care to safeguard all children, young people or vulnerable adults from harm. All of them have a right to safeguarding. The need of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
Discipline may be required on occasion due to the inappropriate behaviour of children, young people or vulnerable adults . When discipline is used it should be done so carefully and with the clear intention of teaching or reinforcing appropriate behaviour.
Discipline should be used only to:
Develop a sense of responsibility for behaviour
Develop respect for others and their property
Reinforce the rules
Reinforce positive behaviour or attitudes
Reinforce awareness of safety
Most artistic endeavours by their nature may not require a degree of physical contact. If contact is necessary this can be used appropriately to instruct, encourage or comfort. The aim of the guidelines relating to contact is to provide the supervising adult with appropriate types and contexts for physical contact.
Physical contact between adults and children / young people should only be used when the aim is to:
Develop skills or techniques
To treat an injury
To prevent an injury
Physical contact should not involve touching the genital areas, buttocks or breasts.
Physical contact should always meet the needs of the children, young people or vulnerable adults not the need of the supervising adult.
Physical contact should wherever possible take place in front of other members of staff.
Accidents and incidents should all be recorded.
Sexual relations between staff or artists and any children, young people or vulnerable adults attending our studios or any project run by the Trust are entirely inappropriate and will result in dismissal of staff and eviction of artists and possibly criminal proceedings.
Sexual relations between staff or artists – within the work place/studios relationships do develop. It is however entirely inappropriate to display these relationships in front of children, young people or vulnerable adults.
Sexual relations between children, young people or vulnerable adults attending our studios or projects are inappropriate and should be actively discouraged.
Breech of these policies will result in serious disciplinary action and possible criminal proceedings.
This document exists to safeguard you and the children in your care. If you require further assistance or information contact.
Chief Administrator 01707 326109
Trustee responsible for Safeguarding Policy 01707 330373
NSPCC 0808 800 5000
Children Schools and Families 01438 737500
Child Line 0800 11 11
Criminal Records Bureau
PO Box 91
Liverpool L69 2UH
Helpline: 0870 90 90 811
Further information is available in the following government publications
Children Act 1989 (amended 2004)
Every Child Matters 2003
European Rights of the Child 1998
NSPCC, firstcheck – a step-by-step guide for organisations to safeguard children, second edition (2006).
NSPCC, stopcheck – a step-by-step guide for organisations to safeguard children.
Arts Council England, Keeping Arts Safe – Guidance for artists and arts organisations on safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults (2005).
1. Recognising Abuse
The following behavioural signs may be indications of abuse, but they must
not be taken in isolation from other circumstances in the life of children, young people or vulnerable adults. One sign on its own may not be an indicator of abuse.
Possible indicators of physical abuse
Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them.
Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls, rough games etc.
Injuries which have not received medical attention which you would expect a reasonable parent to give/ arrange.
Instances where children, young people or vulnerable adults are kept away from the group inappropriately.
Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games or swimming.
Bruises, bites, burns, fractures etc.which do not have an accidental explanation (eg. several cigarette burns in one place – one accidental – several?).
Cutting / slashing / substance abuse.
Indicators of Possible Sexual Abuse
Any allegations made by children, young people or vulnerable adults concerning sexual abuse.
children, young people or vulnerable adults with an excessive pre-occupation with sexual matters and a detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, who regularly engages in age- inappropriate sexual play.
Sexual activity through words, play or drawing.
children, young people or vulnerable adults who are sexually provocative or seductive with adults.
Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home.
Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares,
or sometimes overt or veiled sexual connotations.
Emotional Indicators of Abuse
Marked changes or regression in mood and behaviour, particularly where a
child withdraws or becomes clinging. Also depression / aggression.
Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration.
Inappropriate relationships with peers and / or adults.
Running away / stealing / lying.
Indicators of Possible Neglect
Inadequate food and nutrition.
Inadequate shelter or living conditions.
Exposure to physical danger or harm.
Failure to ensure the children, young people or vulnerable adult receives access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
2. Responding to Allegations of Abuse
It is not the responsibility of anyone working for Digswell Arts Trust to take responsibility or 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.
This organisation has appointed a person responsible for Protection matters.
If you suspect that abuse may have taken place you must report concerns as soon as possible to the Protection Officer. The Officer will be responsible for referring allegations or suspicions of neglect or abuse to the statutory authorities. In the absence of the Protection Officer or the concerns relate to the Officer the concerns should be reported first to the Trustee responsible for protection matters and then to the Hertfordshire County Council, Children, Schools & Families Department (01438 737500).
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned.
If children, young people or vulnerable adults disclose abuse, listen carefully to what they have to say but do not question them. Reassure them that it is safe to talk and write down what was said as soon as possible afterwards.
Do not inform the alleged abuser about any suspicion of abuse or
disclosure until advice has been given on this by the statutory agencies.
3. Maintaining a safe environment
Where possible work in an open environment .Avoid being alone with a child or being in an unobserved situation. Encourage openness and an environment in which there are no secrets.
Treat all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
Ensure that if mixed groups are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. (NB however, same gender abuse can also occur)
Ensure that at any residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
Secure parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment
Keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
Request written parental consent if it is necessary to transport young people in cars.
Do not invite children, young people or vulnerable adults into your home
Practice never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
- Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- Share a room with children, young people or vulnerable adults
- 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 children, young people or vulnerable adults , even in fun
- Reduce children, young people or vulnerable adults to tears as a form of control
- Allow allegations made by children, young people or vulnerable adults to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
- Do things of a personal nature for children, young people or vulnerable adults , that they can do for themselves
- Invite or allow children, young people or vulnerable adults to stay with you at your home unsupervised
Our Safeguarding Officer is:
George Woodcraft 01707 326109 George_Woodcraft@compuserve.com