This policy has been drawn up with information from Government Legislation, the NSPCC and other dance/theatre companies
The purpose of this policy is:
- to protect children and young people who attend weekly circus classes with Katy Kartwheel and Circus Passion which on occasion culminate in end-of term shows. This includes the children of adults who use our services
- to provide parents, staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of Circus Passion, including paid contracted staff, volunteers, agency staff and students.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England. A summary of the key legislation is available from nspcc.org.uk/learning.
Circus Passion believes that
- children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind
- we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practice in a way that protects them.
Circus Passion recognises that
- the welfare of the child is paramount
- all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
Circus Passion will seek to keep young people and children safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them
- appointing a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) for children and young people
- adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers
- developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures
- recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- recording and storing information professionally and securely
- sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children, their families, staff and volunteers via leaflets, posters, group work and one-to-one discussions
- using our safeguarding procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
- using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
- ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
- ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.
At the outset of any production involving children CIRCUS PASSION will:
- Undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk throughout the production process.
- Identify at the outset the person with designated responsibility for child protection.
- Engage in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with responsibility for children, including appropriate vetting (if necessary in consultation with the local education authority).
- Ensure that children are supervised at all times.
- Know how to get in touch with the local authority social services, in case it needs to report a concern.
- Circus Passion believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and Staff members.
- Parents are encouraged to be involved in the activities of the circus school and share in the responsibility for the care of children.
- All parents will be given a copy the society’s Child Protection Policy and procedures.
- All parents have the responsibility to bring their children to or collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. It is NOT the responsibility of the staff to take children home.
- Circus Passion will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with children.
- Ratios of adults to children in the room will always be maintained at 12 - 1.
- If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimize risk. For example, work will be carried out in a public area, or in a designated room with a door open.
- All adults will maintain a safe and appropriate distance from children.
- Adults will only touch children when it is absolutely necessary in relation to the particular activity.
- Adults will seek the consent of the child prior to any physical contact and the purpose of the contact shall be made clear.
- During productions an appropriate adult will be responsible for the care of the children
- Children will only be able to leave the production theatre with a pre-agreed parent/guardian
MANAGING SENSITIVE INFORMATION
- CIRCUS PASSION has a policy and procedure for the taking, using and storage of Photographs or images of children.
- Permission will be sought from the parents for use of photographic material featuring children for promotional or other purposes.
- The web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use.
- CIRCUS PASSION will ensure confidentiality in order to protect the rights of its members, including the safe handling, storage and disposal of any sensitive information such as criminal record disclosures.
SUSPICION OF ABUSE
- If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of CIRCUS PASSION, please make this known to the person with responsibility for child protection. If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the local authority.
- Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved.
- If a serious allegation is made against any member of staff, chaperone, venue staff etc., that individual will be suspended immediately until the investigation is concluded. The individual will be excluded from the theatre, rehearsal rooms etc. and will not have any unsupervised contact with any other children in the production.
DISCLOSURE OF ABUSE
If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:
- Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
- Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.
- Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
- Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing in telling someone.
- Tell the child what you are going to do next.
- Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually the NSPCC, social services or the police.
- As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.
- In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless as to whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.
- An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken eg. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.
- The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.
RIGHTS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
- If a complaint is made against a member of staff, he or she will be made aware of his rights under Circus Passion disciplinary procedures.
- No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.
- In criminal law, the Crown, or other prosecuting authority, has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
- To avoid accidents, staff and children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
- If a child is injured while in the care of Circus Passion, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in the accident book. This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child protection.
- If a child joins the production with an obvious physical injury a record of this will be made in the accident book. This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child protection. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the production.
CRIMINAL RECORD DISCLOSURES
- CIRCUS PASSION believes it is in its best interests to obtain criminal record disclosures for staff, it will inform the individual of the necessary procedures and the level of disclosure required.
- CIRCUS PASSION will maintain confidentiality for the handling of disclosure information.
- CIRCUS PASSION will ensure that information contained in the disclosure is not misused.
Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)
Name: Katy Coleman
Phone/email: 07984200187 / firstname.lastname@example.org
0808 800 5000