Safeguarding policy

Starring Lincoln Theatre Company (SLTC)

Safeguarding Policy

Starring Lincoln Theatre Company (SLTC) recognises its duty of care under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, the Child (Performances)Regulations 1968, the Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000,  The Children Acts 1989 and 2004.

The purpose of this Policy is:

  • To protect children and young people who choose to be involved with SLTC. This includes the children of adults who are involved with the Company.
  • To provide parents, staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding and child protection.

SLTC recognises that abuse can take many forms, whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect.  We are committed to practices which protect children from harm.  All members of SLTC accept and recognise their responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.

SLTC believes that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount;
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;

The concept of significant harm

The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of the child.  Significant harm is measured against the severity, extent, duration, frequency, extent of premeditation and the degree of threat and coercion involved.  It also takes account of the effect on the child and the degree of difficulty in helping the child to overcome the adverse impact of the ill treatment.

The community and individuals as a whole has a responsibility for the protection of children and for the reporting of concerns about an individual child’s welfare or safety.

The Children and Young Persons Act 1989 (C&YPA 89) lays down the health and safety needs of children and young people who perform.  These needs are met through the regulation of the number of hours they can rehearse and perform as well as the activities they cannot undertake and the standard and conditions in which they may work.

Therefore the production companies have a responsibility to promote and safeguard the welfare of the children and young people in their care.

Safe Guarding Procedure

This document has been specifically developed for adults working with children and young people in entertainment, and to create awareness of the expectations placed on SLTC members of:

  • The responsibilities within the framework of child protection
  • Safe practices
  • Professional conduct.

It is also intended to provide guidance about recognising and referring suspected or actual child abuse, hoping that it will contribute towards the development of the individual’s child protection observation skills.

Dealing with suspected or actual child abuse is always stressful worrying and upsetting.  Chaperones and others working with children and young people in entertainment – particularly members of the production and technical support teams –  need to know how to recognise the possible signs of abuse and the action they should take to help protect children and young people, as well as gaining personal support.

What is Child Abuse?

Department of Health Definitions:

Physical Abuse 

Physical Abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy or Factitious Illness by Proxy, may also constitute a physical abuse whereby a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of or deliberately causes ill health in a child.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person.  It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.  It may involve causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual Abuse 

Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts.  They may include non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect 

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.  It may involve a parent or a carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm

or danger, or the failure to ensure access to the appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of a child’s basic emotional needs.

Signs and symptoms, What to look for:

Recognising abuse is not a precise science and even the professionals get it wrong at times.  The following sections outline some of the possible indicators that a child/young person has or is being abused.

 

Injuries that do not fit the explanation.

Furtive, secretive behaviour and/or uncharacteristic aggression or withdrawn behaviour can also be an indicator as can changes such as a child who suddenly becomes uncoordinated, or finds it difficult to stay awake.

Physical abuse 

This area of abuse is perhaps the easiest to spot and tell apart, for example in injuries, which are not typical of the bumps and scrapes associated with children’s activities.

The regular occurrence of unexplained injuries or the child who is frequently injured where there are conflicting explanations of how the injuries were sustained.

Injuries that do not fit the explanation.

Furtive, secretive behaviour and/or uncharacteristic aggression or withdrawn behaviour can also be an indicator as can changes such as a child who suddenly becomes uncoordinated, or finds it difficult to stay awake.

 

 

Emotional abuse and neglect 

The recognition of both emotional abuse and neglect is based on observations over time of the quality of relationships between parent/carer and the child.  For example inappropriate or inconsistent developmental expectations of the child (this may be seen in the context of unreal expectations or excessive demands on the child in relation to theatrical performance and professional success) and the level of care given to the child’s basic needs.

Sexual abuse

It is possible that there may be no recognisable physical signs of sexual abuse with the children/young people that are in your care, but the following indicators may be signs that a child is or has been sexually abused.

Sexually provocative behaviour or knowledge that is incompatible with the child’s age and understanding.

Drawings and or written work which are sexually explicit (indirect disclosure).

It is important to recognise that children have neither the experience nor the understanding to be able make up stories about sexual assault (direct disclosure).

What action to take – who to tell

Every member of SLTC has a duty of care for the young people in our charge, therefore if you have concerns about the wellbeing of a child in your care you have a duty to report your concerns to the appropriate professionals/agencies.

  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • All members of SLTC must be clear on how to respond appropriately.

 

SLTC will ensure that:

  • All children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity;
  • The welfare of each child will always be put first;
  • A balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process;
  • Enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than negative criticism;
  • Bullying will not be accepted or condoned;
  • All adult members of the society provide a positive role model for dealing with other people; action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour;
  • It does all that is practicable to ensure members, particularly those in key roles, pose no risk to the children and young people in our care.
  • All chaperones and members of the production, creative and technical teams will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and references sought to validate their suitability to work with children and young people.
  • It will keep up-to-date with health and safety legislation;
  • It will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children;
  • It will undertake relevant development and training;
  • It will hold a register of every child involved with the Company and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies.
  • All information gathered/recorded is managed, used and stored professionally and securely.

SLTC has a dedicated Safeguarding/ Child Protection lead and officer, who are in charge of ensuring that the safeguarding policy and procedures are adhered to.  They are:

Senior Lead for Safeguarding – Geoff Middleton 07831 440044 gjkmiddleton@btinternet.com

Designated Safeguarding Officer – Ellie Middleton 07956 794106 elliepc@btinternet.com

Details will be included on the registration documentation for each child

This policy  and procedure will be regularly monitored by the Production Team of SLTC and will be subject to annual review.

Version 1 dated October 2018

Safeguarding Lead – GJK Middleton 

 

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