Child Protection Policy

Introduction

Hand on Heart Arts Ltd will ensure 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
  • all suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • all staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
  • staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.

Policy statement/aims

Hand on Heart Arts Ltd has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in Hand on Heart Arts Ltd activities from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. We will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in Hand on Heart Arts Ltd activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by Hand on Heart Arts Ltd.

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).

Policy aims

The aim of the Hand on Heart Arts Ltd’s Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

  • providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Hand on Heart Arts Ltd
  • allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

Good practice guidelines

All personnel will be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to promote child welfare and reduce the likelihood of allegations being made. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
  • Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
  • Always putting the welfare of each young person first
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
  • Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required: Young people and their parents should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
  • Involving parents/carers wherever possible
  • Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults
  • 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 cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge of the activity or the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:

  • avoid spending time alone with children away from others
    avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity

Practices never to be sanctioned:

You should never:

  • engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games
  • share a room with a child
  • allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
  • allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
  • make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
  • reduce a child to tears as a form of control
  • fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child
  • do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves
  • invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the appropriate officer and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:

  • if you accidentally hurt a child
  • if he/she seems distressed in any manner
  • if a child appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
  • if a child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Recruitment Hand on Heart Arts Ltd

Hand on Heart Arts Ltd recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Pre-selection checks must be included the following:

  • All volunteers/staff 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 Criminal Records Bureau.
  • Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
  • Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).
  • Interview and induction: All employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive an 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).
  • Their qualifications should be substantiated.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
  • Child protection procedures are explained and training needs are identified.
  • They should sign up to the organisation’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and Child Protection policy.

Training Hand on Heart Arts Ltd

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 not likely to result in allegations being made.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely effectively with children.

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working for Hand on Heart Arts Ltd, in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities.

Hand on Heart Arts Ltd will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:

  • a criminal investigation
  • a child protection investigation
  • a disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
  • The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision.

Reporting concerns about suspected abuse

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to Hand on Heart Arts LtdChild Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.

Hand on Heart Arts Ltd’s Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police.

The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.

If Hand on Heart Arts Ltd’s Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate Manager or in his/her absence the Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to Social Services.

If you are concerned about a child and unable to contact the designated person in your organisation, please call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse

Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, 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, Fax: 01788 562189, E-mail: [email protected], Internet: www.bacp.co.uk .

Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.

Providing information to police or social services

Information about suspected abuse must be accurate and a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern. It should include the following:

  • The child’s name, age and date of birth of the child.
  • The child’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’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
  • Have the parents been contacted?
  • If so what has been said?
  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details.
  • If the child was not the person who reported the incident, has the child 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.

This policy was adopted by Hand on Heart Arts Ltd.