Protection/Safeguarding Children Policy
VIVA has a strong and effective safeguarding culture, everything we do, and the ways in which we behave, all contribute to a strong culture of safeguarding in our organisation. Everyone is expected to behave in a way which contributes to a safe and happy environment. This means that all adults and young people are expected to treat others with respect and not to behave in anyway which might cause harm to anyone else.
Anyone who raises a concern can feel confident that will be taken seriously and handled appropriately. Any concerns will be dealt with appropriately and deal with every concern in a professional and proportionate manner. The safeguarding lead will work with external agencies to get the right help for the young people concerned.
There are four main elements to our policy and statement.
- SUPPORTING CHILDREN
- PREVENTING UNSUITABLE PEOPLE WORKING WITH CHILDREN
Types of child abuse:
Child abuse is where anyone under the age of 18 is harmed or not given the care they need. There are 4 main types of abuse.
If someone purposely hurts a child or young person this is physical abuse.
This could be, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning or suffocating.
If a child or young person is asked or forced to take part in or watch sexual activity, this is sexual abuse.
This can include making a child or young person do sexual things to themselves or other people, showing them sexual material or taking photos or filming them doing sexual things.
Emotional abuse is when a child or young person is made to feel worthless, wrong, unfairly blamed, bullied or frightened.
Neglect is when a child or young person is not looked after properly. Children need food, shelter, safety, clothing, cleanliness, access to medical treatment and protection from harm.
- All involved in the work of Viva Youth Theatre are called to recognise the unique status of children. There is a special need to respect them as individuals and protect them in their vulnerability. All children matter in their own right and are to be taken seriously. (‘Children’ refers to young people of 16 years of age or younger.)
- The organisation should endeavour to foster relationships of the utmost integrity, truthfulness and trustworthiness. All who work with children within the group in any paid or voluntary capacity need to operate within our framework of good policy and practice, which will ensure that children are safeguarded and nurtured physically and emotionally. All are expected to exercise the greatest care in their use of power and authority and must avoid taking advantage of trust. All groups will have adequate adult leadership from individuals who have been DBS checked and/or have become licensed chaperones. Adults will not work alone with children.
- The highest professional standards will be maintained in all pastoral, counselling, educational, rehearsal and recreational situations. The exploitation of any relationship for self-gratification will not be tolerated.
- Viva Youth Theatre accepts the principle enshrined in the Children Act 1989 that the welfare of the child is paramount. Viva will follow with CCC recommendations regarding child protection procedures as shown here.
- Allegations of abuse will be taken seriously, and appropriate steps will be taken.
- Viva Youth Theatre will collaborate fully with the statutory and voluntary agencies concerned with child abuse.
- All those working or seeking to work with children will be properly recruited, trained and supported, and will be subject to whatever supervision is appropriate.
- All candidates for employment will be asked to declare whether. they have any criminal convictions or whether certain types of orders of the civil courts have been made against them, and whether they have caused significant harm to a child or put a child at risk of significant harm.
- The following will be asked to complete and submit the confidential declaration form, which forms part of the Child Protection Folder: All paid staff and volunteers working or seeking to work in a capacity which involves work with children or which is likely to involve opportunities for unsupervised contact with them.
- A search with the Disclosure and Barring Service will be made for all candidates seeking work as paid staff or volunteers, and will be a condition of their employment.
- Any person wishing to engage in photography of any description, including video, at a Viva event, must register their details and gain permission from an appropriate Viva designated volunteer or Viva trustee before carrying out any such activity. This includes parents of Viva child performers. Persons other than parents, Viva employees, trustees, or bona fide members of the press must provide evidence of their identity and position before any consideration can be given.
- When there are concerns about the welfare of any child/young person, all adults are expected to share those concerns with the Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible.
- The Safeguarding Lead is responsible for arranging child protection training for Viva staff and volunteers, recording and monitoring concerns, making referrals to social care services where necessary and liaison with other agencies as required. He/she will be responsible for keeping up-to-date with any local or national change in child protection policy or process. Is also aware of Keeping Children Safe in Education and statutory safeguarding guidance.
PREVENT works to stop individuals from getting involved or supporting terrorism or extremist activity.
Prevent strategy has three objectives:
- Challenging the ideology that support terrorism and those who promote these ideas.
- Protecting vulnerable people.
- Supporting sectors and groups where there are risks of radicalisation.
Child on Child Abuse
We recognise the child on child abuse can manifest itself in many ways. This can include but not limited to:
- abuse within intimate partner relationships,
- physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling or otherwise causing physical harm
- Sexual violence and sexual harassment
- Consensual and non consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and/or videos
- Causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent
VIVA makes it clear that there is a zero tolerance to sexual violence and sexual harassment, that it is never acceptable and will not be tolerated.
VIVA will ensure that processes are in place to protect members against this and alert the correct agencies if an issue should arise.
VIVA recognises the differences between ‘playing out’ within sessions and real life and is alert to the potential signs and symptoms of radicalisation, but are not limited to , sudden but continuing change in:
- Physical appearance or dress code
- Physical and behavioural attitudes towards others
- Use of inappropriate, discriminatory and offensive language
- Sharing of inappropriate images
- Encouraging others to use offensive or discriminatory language
Procedures we follow:
Contact the Safeguarding Lead Trust
Revised Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales .
Children and Young People Safeguarding and Supervision Policy
- We believe everyone has a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.
- We will give equal priority to keeping all children and young people safe regardless of their age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation”.
- We recognise that some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of discrimination, previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues.
Viva Arts and Community Group will meet the commitment to keeping children safe by:
- listening to children and respecting them
- appointing a nominated child protection lead and a member of the trustee board who takes lead responsibility for safeguarding at the highest level in the organisation
- writing detailed safeguarding and child protection procedures
- making sure all staff and volunteers understand and follow the safeguarding and child protection procedures.
- ensuring children, young people and their families know about the organisation’s safeguarding and child protection policies and what to do if they have a concern.
- building a safeguarding culture where staff, volunteers and children know how they are expected to behave and feel comfortable about sharing concerns.
We will do this by:
- recognising and responding to abuse
- responding to allegations of abuse made against a child
- recruiting the right people to work and volunteer with children
- preventing and responding to bullying
- responding to concerns about online abuse
- ensuring photographs and images of children are taken, stored and shared appropriately
- maintaining a suitable Whistleblowing Policy
When we provide performing arts activities that involve children, we prioritise their wellbeing. This includes:
- making the environment as safe as possible for children and young people
- ensuring children are properly supervised by the right people.
- following the relevant legislation and guidance for child performers
Creating a safe environment
Performing arts activities may take place in a variety of settings. We do make the settings safe as possible by providing:
- rehearsal or teaching rooms are open, accessible, and well lit.
- provide separate changing areas for children of each gender and for adults.
- follow health and safety legislation and guidance.
We also make sure of the following:
- the activity is suitable for children to be involved in (for example no nudity, bad language or sexual content)
- everything we do is appropriate for the youngest or most vulnerable person (this could be due to age or stage of the child’s development)
- any physical contact is appropriate, justifiable, agreed by the child and approached sensitively.
We ask for children’s opinions and encourage them to speak out about anything that’s worrying them.
Working with audiences
When performing to audiences the front of house team know what to do when:
- a child is taken ill.
- a child in the audience gets lost or goes missing.
- they have a concern about a child’s wellbeing
Working with parents
We will keep parents and carers to be fully informed about:
- the nature of the work you’re doing with their child
- the young person’s role
- the commitment required.
We keep parents up to date with the times of all lessons or rehearsals, especially if plans change. If possible, provide a space where parents can watch unobtrusively.
It’s vital that children are appropriately supervised at all times. We will make sure that the adults who work or volunteer with children are the right people to do so, and that the necessary checks have been carried out.
Working with parent supervisors
Parents may volunteer to help out with supervision, but they will be subject to the same checks as for any volunteer. Unless they are only supervising their own children or have a private arrangement with another child’s parents.
In most situations we ensure there are at least two adults supervising children.
Guidance for photographing and filming
It’s important that children and young people feel happy with their achievements and have photographs and films of their special moments. Family and friends also want to be able to share the successes of their children when they have been part of a special event or activity.
However, some children, parents or carers may not be comfortable with images of themselves, or their children being shared. For example:
- if a child and/or their family have experienced abuse they may worry about the perpetrator tracing them online.
- children who choose not to have contact with some members of their family may decide to minimise their online presence.
- families may have religious or cultural reasons for choosing not to be photographed.
We are aware of the importance to be aware of child protection and safeguarding issues when taking photos of or filming children and young people and appropriate measures are in place.
We consider the data protection implications of making, using and storing images of children and young people for our organisation’s use.
If consent to take photographs is not given
If children, parents and/or carers do not consent to photographs being taken, we will respect their wishes. We will agree in advance how they would like to be identified so the photographer knows not to take pictures of them and ensure this is done in a way that does not single out the child or make them feel isolated. We will never exclude a child from an activity because we do not have consent to take their photograph.
Photography and/or filming for wider use
If people such as local journalists, professional photographers not hired by [VIVA Arts and Community Group] or students wish to record one of our events and share the images professionally or in the wider world, they should seek permission in advance. They should provide:
- the name and address of the person using the camera
- the names of children they wish to take images of (if possible)
- the reason for taking the images and/or what the images will be used for
- a signed declaration that the information provided is valid and that the images will only be used for the reasons given. We will verify these details and decide whether to grant permission for photographs/films to be taken. We will seek consent from the children who are the intended subjects of the images and their parents and inform the photographer of anyone who does not give consent. At the event we will inform children, parents and carers that an external photographer is present and ensure the photographer is easily identifiable, for example by issuing them with a coloured identification badge. If someone unknown to us is using their sessions for photography or filming purposes, we will ask them to leave and (depending on the nature of the concerns) follow our child protection procedures.
Use of children’s names
Children’s full names will be shown in VIVA show programmes. First names only will be used on everything else that is publicly available (website, promo, press releases etc.) We are happy to make an exception to this rule should parents want their child to be named is they have achieved something really special. These would be exceptional circumstances and dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
We will store photographs and videos of children securely, in accordance with our safeguarding policy and data protection law. We will keep hard copies of images in a locked drawer and electronic images in a protected folder with restricted access. Images will be stored for a period of 1 year. We will never store images of children on unencrypted portable equipment such as laptops, memory sticks and mobile phones.
Photography and/or filming for personal use
When children themselves, parents, carers or spectators are taking photographs or filming at our events and the images are for personal use, we will publish guidance about image sharing in the event programmes and/or announce details of our photography policy before the start of the event. This includes:
- reminding parents, carers and children that they need to give consent for VIVA to take and use their images.
- asking for photos taken during the event not to be shared on social media or asking people to gain permission from children, their parents and carers before sharing photographs and videos that include them.
- recommending that people check the privacy settings of their social media account to understand who else will be able to view any images they share.
- reminding children, parents and carers who they can talk to if they have any concerns about images being shared.
If a child is taking part in a performance and they will not be supervised by their parent, they must be supervised by a chaperone. All chaperones need to be approved by Cambridgeshire County Council – whether they are paid or unpaid.
Policy Reviewed and amended: February 2020.
Review: February 2021
Updated: January 2022
Review: November 2023
Safeguarding & supervision updates: May 2023
Review: May 2024