An tSnáthaid Mhór Child Protection Policy 2017
Child Protection Policy Statement
Recruitment and Selection
Effective Management of Staff and Volunteers
Code of Behaviour
Appendix A – Useful Contacts
Appendix B – Information Sheet What to do ?
Appendix C - Information Sheet Action to be taken !
Appendix D – Disclosure Form
Child protection policy statement
An tSnáthaid Mhór recognises that children have rights as individuals and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect at all times.
An tSnáthaid Mhór is committed to delivering a service that promotes the welfare of children and protects them from harm.
An tSnáthaid Mhór accepts and recognises our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues that may cause children harm.
An tSnáthaid Mhór will endeavour to safeguard children by:
• following carefully the procedures laid down for recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers;
• providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training;
• reporting concerns to statutory agencies who need to know and involving parents/guardians and children appropriately;
• adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behaviour for staff and volunteers;
• sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents/guardians,staff and volunteers;
• ensuring general safety procedures are adhered to.
An tSnáthaid Mhór’s child protection policy and related procedures and practice will be reviewed at regular intervals, at least once every three years.
Recruitment and selection
Robust recruitment and selection procedures will help An tSnáthaid Mhór to screen out unsuitable individuals and prevent them from working with children.
An tSnáthaid Mhór will recruit and appoint all workers in accordance with relevant current legislation and actively seek to equally offer employment and volunteering opportunities according to their Equal
The following information outlines legislative requirements and good practice guidelines for safer recruitment and selection in relation to child protection. An tSnáthaid Mhór will ensure that all relevant policies and procedures dovetail with its child protection policy.
An tSnáthaid Mhór will:
• provide a clearly defined job/volunteer role description for all staff and volunteer positions.
• identify if a job/volunteer role is ‘regulated’ as defined under the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (NI) Order 2003 (www.dhsspsni.gov.uk).
• adhere to an open recruitment process and advertise all positions to ensure their availability to the whole community.
• use an application form to gather key information from an interested candidate in relation to the position. The job/volunteer role description will be sent to all candidates, along with information about An tSnáthaid Mhór and a copy of its child protection policy.
• require applicants working with children and young people to declare any past (including spent) criminal convictions, cautions and cases pending against them under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order (NI) 1979. Applicants should be asked to sign a declaration form stating that there is no reason why they should be considered unsuitable to work with children. This information must be dealt with in a confidential manner and not used to discriminate against applicants unfairly.
• short-list applicants according to their suitability for the position. Ultimately, the best person for each position should be appointed and all applicants fairly treated.
• interview all applicants for positions which will lead them into contact with children, whether voluntary or paid, before the position is offered. At least two representatives should interview the short listed applicants.
• ask applicants to provide the names and addresses of two referees, to whom they are not related.
• take up at least two references in writing for the preferred candidate, one of which should be from a previous employer or volunteer coordinator. An tSnáthaid Mhór will ask questions that relate directly to a person’s suitability for working with children.
• following a conditional offer of employment/volunteering appointment, an AccessNI check will be requested on the preferred applicant. An Enhanced Disclosure Certificate is required for Regulated Positions (www.accessni.gov.uk).
• consider the results of the disclosure check and confirm or withdraw an offer of employment/volunteering role, based on the information received.
• issue an Employment Contract to staff or a Volunteer Agreement to volunteers.
• workers may be contracted for a project that requires regular input over a period of time (i.e.their input will be a couple of days per month or one week every couple of months, as opposed to consecutive days for a specified period). An tSnáthaid Mhór will consider the implications of these ‘breaks in employment’
(i.e. the period of time in between their input into the project). An tSnáthaid Mhór will consider developing a consultancy contract as a viable option to cover a specified period of time, where an individual will regularly undertake duties within a given role and project.
• decide how long a consultancy contract will be valid for, taking issues such as ‘breaks in employment’ into account and ensuring that safeguards for protecting children are maximised at all times.Standard good practice would be to request an AccessNI check every twelve months for workers who are contracted on a consultancy basis. An tSnáthaid Mhór will ensure that this is applied consistently to all workers.
• in all instances, an AccessNI check must be carried out on the preferred candidate prior to confirming their offer of employment or volunteering position. A new check should be carried out prior to renewing a consultancy contract or in such instances where an individual is contracted, in a paid or voluntary capacity, in another role during their current contract.
• AccessNI checks for volunteers are mostly free of charge. An tSnáthaid Mhór will bear in mind that while an AccessNI check is a crucial element for screening out unsuitable individuals, it must be used in conjunction with the other aspects of the recruitment and selection procedure to minimise risk.
Effective management of staff and volunteers
An tSnáthaid Mhór will ensure that all workers are made aware of policies and procedures. The role of each member of staff and volunteer will be clearly defined to them before starting in an tSnathaid Mhór and it will be stressed that the implementation of these policies not only maximises the protection of the children, but also safeguards the position of the staff.
An tSnáthaid Mhór will introduce all new workers to An tSnáthaid Mhór policies, procedures, guidelines and activities. Workers must know and understand the boundaries within which they must operate and sign a contract to acknowledge that they have received, read and understood the relevant policies. All workers will receive a copy of the child protection policy and any queries should be identified and addressed.
All Workers (including Designated Officers and Management Committee members) will undertake child protection training and will be given clear guidelines on appropriate behaviour with children. We will seek out further training opportunities for all staff and volunteers to ensure they recognise the symptoms of possible physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.
All new appointments (paid and unpaid) will be conditional on a satisfactory period of work. Staff will have a probationary period and all volunteers will undergo a trial period. Positions will not be confirmed until An tSnáthaid Mhór is confident that the applicant is suitable for the position. This will be undertaken within an agreed period of time, at the end of which the post will be reviewed and confirmed or not.
Support and supervision
Workers will meet their line manager/supervisor at regular intervals to assess their progress and identify any additional training needs. This provides support for workers and gives them an opportunity to talk, in confidence, about any uncertainties or problems they may have. Sessions can be used to look at relevant policies as required, such as the child protection policy.
Support and supervision sessions can be formal (e.g. a meeting) or informal (e.g. observation of workers) and conducted on a one-to-one basis or in small groups.If the person observing a worker has a concern, the process may become more formal, depending on the seriousness of the incident. For example, after witnessing something which has given them cause for concern, the line manager/supervisor will speak to the worker to resolve the issue, making a note of this in the worker’s file.
If necessary, the line manager/supervisor will then arrange to meet with the worker to discuss the issue in more detail and decide on an appropriate course of action (e.g. future training). A written record of formal support and supervision sessions should be kept in a confidential file by the line manager/supervisor.
Staff should be appraised and volunteers reviewed no less than once every twelve months, with the aim of reviewing the achievements over the last year and identifying any difficulties or gaps. The session should also identify future support, training and development needs.
Policy, guidelines and procedures
Everyone involved in the care of children should know what to do if there are concerns about abuse and what procedures to follow. A well-established complaints procedure will encourage incidents to be reported to the Designated Officer at an early stage. It is essential that staff, volunteers and parents are aware of these procedures.
An tSnáthaid Mhór is dedicated to ensuring that staff and volunteers respond appropriately to concerns, allegations or disclosures of abuse and harm, by:
• providing guidelines about what constitutes suspicion or a child protection concern;
• providing guidelines about how to respond to concerns and disclosures;
• implementing a procedure for recording and reporting information in a
• appointing a Designated Officer to deal with child protection issues.
Where there are suspicions of abuse, An tSnathaid Mhór staff and volunteers will report this to the relevant body, namely the Child Protection Designated officer of the organisation who has contracted An tSnathaid Mhór to deliver workshops. The Designated Officer will be responsible for passing this information on to the Gateway Services within Social Services. An tSnathaid staff and / or volunteer should also report the suspicion to the Designated Child Protection Officer at An tSnathaid Mhór, who will then follow up with the Designated Officer at the contracting organisation to ensure that all safeguarding procedures have been followed.
What may constitute a concern about a child?
A concern relates to the possibility of a child suffering harm or abuse. Indicators of this may include:
• sudden, unexplained or worrying changes in behaviour (e.g. becoming withdrawn, displaying sudden outbursts of temper or displaying inappropriate sexual awareness for their age).
• physical signs or symptoms that may be indicative of abuse (e.g. unexplained or suspicious injuries or for which the explanation given seems inconsistent, or a change in their physical appearance for no apparent reason).
• worrying remarks made by a child.
• a situation where a child has been exposed to potential risk of harm.Due to the nature of expressivity involved with all arts forms, workers should be aware that children may express their emotions in different ways. Any concerns about a child should be reported in line with the reporting procedure.In addition, workers should be mindful that a disability may:
• appear to ‘explain’ signs and symptoms (e.g. if a child had a pattern of bruising, workers should not automatically attribute this to the disability and dismiss the possibility of abuse).
• result in a greater dependency on adults (e.g. intimate care) and that the child may be accustomed to being cared for by a number of different people. This may make it more difficult for a child witha disability to recognise abusive behaviour and differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate touch.
• make it difficult for a child to communicate an abusive experience to others. Similarly, it may be difficult to convey information to a child with a disability.
• make workers more reluctant to accept that children with a disability can be abused.
What is a disclosure?
A disclosure is when a child tells a worker that they have been or are being harmed or abused in some way. This may constitute physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or neglect or bullying.
Dealing with disclosure
If a child makes a disclosure, it is important that workers:
• stay calm - do not panic!
• reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling.
• listen to what the child is saying, do not rush them or ask leading questions.
• do not promise to keep secrets, as the child’s welfare is paramount and they must pass this information on to their Deputy/Designated Officer.
• record in writing what was said and/or observed as soon as possible so that they do not forget any information and try to write exact words if possible.
• report without delay according to the An tSnáthaid Mhór’s reporting procedure.
• record they made the report.
What is a concern or allegation about the behaviour of a worker?
Inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour or communication, favouritism or negligence, or a breach in the code of behaviour may constitute a concern about the conduct of a worker. An allegation about a worker occurs when a child, parent/guardian or another worker reports specific unacceptable behaviour where a child has been harmed or abused in some way.
Responding to concerns, disclosures and allegations
Workers should be aware that other areas of a child’s life may affect their behaviour at a given moment (e.g.separation anxiety, homesickness or bereavement). In some instances, it may be appropriate for a worker to check out a concern with the child, parent/guardian, colleague or supervisor.
Similarly, there will be times when it is inappropriate to check out a concern, particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to a disclosure or an allegation. It is not the worker’s responsibility to investigate a concern or decide if abuse or harm has occurred.Workers simply need to ensure that all information is passed to the Deputy/Designated Officer without delay.
All concerns, disclosures and allegations should be recorded and passed to the Deputy/Designated Officer as outlined in the reporting procedure, no matter how insignificant the information may seem and regardless of whether it relates to situations internal or external to An tSnáthaid Mhór(i.e. any concerns connected to a family or school situation should be noted as well as concerns within An tSnáthaid Mhór). An tSnáthaid Mhór will develop a pro forma to record information and improve consistency in record keeping. If there is an emergency and the Deputy/Designated Officer cannot be contacted, workers should know to contact Social Services, the PSNI or the NSPCC directly. Such contact numbers should be contained within An tSnáthaid Mhór’s child protection policy and be displayed around the premises. An tSnáthaid Mhór will also set up a confidential record, which should be kept separate from the ongoing records concerning a child’s progress and development.
An tSnathaid Mhór will appoint a Designated Officer and, if resources and An tSnáthaid Mhór structure allow for it, a Deputy Designated Officer. A Designated Officer should complete specialist training to deal with child protection concerns, disclosures and allegations. Their role is to:
• provide information and advice on training requirements in relation to child protection.
• ensure that child protection policy and procedures are being followed.
• contact local statutory organisations (Social Services Gateway Team, the PSNI and/or NSPCC) about concerns and make a formal referral, if applicable.
The general procedure is that the Deputy/Designated Officer will contact a statutory organisation by phone and follow this up in writing. Appointing a Designated Officer and a Deputy Designated Officer means that if one Designated Officer is on holiday/off sick or if an allegation is made against them, this can be reported to the other Designated Officer. If An tSnáthaid Mhór does not have the capacity to appoint two individuals to this role, it should clearly outline the reporting procedure in the instance that the Designated Officer
• Allegations about a member of staff/volunteer An allegation against a worker must be referred to the Deputy/Designated Officer, who should then pass it on to the Director of An tSnáthaid Mhór. An tSnáthaid Mhór will develop a reporting procedure to deal with an allegation against a Deputy/Designated Officer. In the case of an allegation against one of the Designated Officers, a referral will be made to the other Designated Officer, an identified individual in a senior position (e.g. Director) or directly to a statutory agency.
As well as following child protection procedures and reporting allegations to the statutory authorities (if appropriate), An tSnáthaid Mhór will follow its own internal disciplinary procedure for paid staff and the equivalent procedures for volunteers. The Deputy/designated Officer will deal with the child protection procedure and the head of An tSnáthaid Mhór will deal with the disciplinary procedure an internal disciplinary equivalent
The Deputy/Designated Officer should liaise closely with statutory agencies and seek advice with regards possible concerns. There may be instances when an allegation may not necessarily lead to a referral to a statutory agency. For example, a one-off incident may be considered to be a training matter as opposed to a matter for referral (e.g. a worker shouting at a child who has misbehaved may not be knowledgeable in behaviour management, in which case training should be sourced and the code of behaviour re-visited with the worker). Serious incidents should be referred to the PSNI.
If a referral about a criminal offence is made to the PSNI and it instigates a criminal investigation, An tSnáthaid Mhór will not conduct an internal investigation or gather evidence that could prejudice a criminal investigation. Referral to Disqualification to Working with Children (NI) List.If a worker in a regulated position has harmed a child or placed a child at risk of harm as a result of misconduct, An tSnáthaid Mhór will make a referral to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (the Department). The Department will consider the worker for inclusion on the Disqualification from Working with Children (DWC) (NI) List if the worker:
• has been dismissed.
• has resigned, retired or been made redundant before An tSnáthaid Mhór could have dismissed them.
• has been transferred to a position which is not regulated.
• has been suspended or provisionally transferred to a non-regulated position, pending a decision by An tSnáthaid Mhór on whether or not to dismiss them or to confirm the transfer. In some instances, information about a worker’s misconduct may only come to light after the worker has left An tSnáthaid Mhór. An tSnáthaid Mhór will make a referral if it receives information about the misconduct of a worker who has since left and, if that information had been available at the time, An tSnáthaid Mhór would have or would have considered dismissing the worker on the grounds of misconduct. An tSnáthaid Mhór willnot make a referral in circumstances where dismissal was not a serious option.
Code of behaviour
The Primary goal for An tSnáthaid Mhór, while working with children and young people is to create a safe environment where they can grow, develop and access new experiences. A Code of Behaviour for the creative specialist in An tSnáthaid Mhór not only helps protect children, young people and vulnerable adults but also provides protection for the creative specialist while working within the school, group, club etc.
• An tSnáthaid Mhór has developed a code of behaviour for workers to ensure the safety and welfare of children. It should outline acceptable and unacceptable behaviours which all workers are expected to adhere to and workers should be encouraged to highlight any issues or areas about which they are uncertain.Failure to comply with the code of behaviour should result in disciplinary action (staff) and sanctions (volunteers).
• A code of behaviour should be explained to all new members, both children and adults (parents/guardians and workers). Workers must ensure it is applied consistently so that children know what to expect and to encourage acceptable behaviour. Workers should also ensure that they focus on their role and take their responsibilities seriously at all times.
A Code of Behaviour gives guidance on a number of areas
A - Physical Touch.
The use of physical touch will depend largely on the age and stage of development of the children, young people and vulnerable adults you work with, the context of the activities you provide and the physical needs of the children and young people in your care, i.e. you may be offering a service to children and young people with profound physical disabilities.
There are however a number of fundamental principles on the use of touch which should always be adhered to.
• Touching should always be with the child’s permission. If a child or young person shows any resistance to touch, i.e. if you put your hand on their arm and they pull away, it is important that this is respected. A staff member or volunteer should never touch a child or young person in the genital area, buttocks or breasts.
• Touch should always be conducted in an open manner. It should never be carried out in ‘secret’ or in a surreptitious manner.
• Touch should always be in response to the needs of the child and not the needs of the adult.
B - Relationships and Attitudes
An individual’s contact with children and young people may be limited to one session or may involve a number or sessions. The importance of open, honest and respectful relationships cannot be over emphasised irrespective of how long the contact is. It is essential that trainer / creative specialists NEVER:
• Engage in physical games or horseplay with children which is not part of structured activities.
• Make sexually suggestive comments to children or young people, or about children and young people even in fun.
• Engage in sexually provocative games. Examples of this are ‘spin the bottle’ or ‘strip poker’.
• Use inappropriate language or inappropriate self disclosures.
• Adopt inappropriate behaviour or conversations of a sensitive nature.
• Allow children to use inappropriate language. If this does occur, it is important that this discussed with the supervising adult.
• Whilst building relationships with the children, young people and vulnerable adults may necessitate one to one interaction, trainer/creative specialists must not:
• Spend time alone with children or young people.
• Take children alone on car journeys.
• Escort children and young people in and out of the buildings.
• Take children, young people or vulnerable adults to their home.
C - Tasks of a Personal Nature
Children due to their age, disability etc do require assistance with tasks of a personal nature i.e. toileting,changing. However, these tasks must be carried out by the supervising adult/s and never by An tSnáthaid Mhór personnel.
Supervision of children, young people and vulnerable adults is the responsibility of the contracting organisation/ group. This needs discussed and agreed prior to work beginning. Making arrangements for the effective supervision of the children and young people’s care is an essential component of child protection.The following principles should always apply:
• The supervising adult should be someone who knows the group well and is able to observe behaviour and to respond to any changes.
• The level of supervision must always be adequate, i.e. the ratio of staff and volunteers to children should ensure the following points are adhered to. The ratio of staff plus volunteers to children with disabilities is dependent on the individual needs of the child.
• Children and young people should be supervised at all times with the supervising adult in the room. This does not mean leaving the door open and supervising from another room.
D. Managing Difficult Behaviour
Some of the children and young people in the workshop may at times exhibit difficult behaviour i.e. aggression,sexualised behaviour etc. This behaviour may be a manifestation of abuse which has occurred or it may be a result of other factors in the child’s life.
Having a clear strategy to manage difficult behaviour is important and can be discussed with the contracting organisation at the planning stage. The management of children and young people during the activity will be the responsibility of the supervising adult although the trainer/creative specialist should support them in this.
• Be aware of your own emotions. Try to appear calm as this may diffuse the situation.
• Treat children and young people with courtesy and respect. If you do overreact to certain behaviour (i.e. shout at the child) then be willing to apologise to them.
• Be consistent. It is important to try to respond in a similar way to similar events and to carry through what you have said you are going to do.
• Always make a distinction between children and their behaviour. Make it clear that it is the behaviour you do not like. Emphasise that you will go on liking them regardless of their behaviour.
• Teach by example. Show by your actions and reactions that adults can be honest, accepting,trustworthy, dependable and willing to listen to children and young people at all times.
• Reward rather than punish. Rewards are a much more effective way of changing behaviour than punishments. Take every opportunity to praise children and young people.
Having a Code of Behaviour will help protect you and the children and young people you work with.The Code of Behaviour should reflect your needs in relation to your creative specialism. It makes sense to also refine the Code of Behaviour in some specific areas.
Examples of a code of behaviour for workers
• Spend periods of time alone with children. An adult who needs to take a child aside (e.g. time out after misbehaviour) should stay within the sight of others. If it is necessary to enter a separate room, use a room with visual access (e.g. a window) and leave the door open. Another adult should know, be vigilant and within ear shot if possible. A written record should be made and kept on file.
• Physical contact that is out of the art form context. Any required physical contact should only take place with the child’s consent, within context and any resistance should be respected.*
• Taking children alone in a car on journeys, no matter how short. If this is necessary, try to take more than one child and ensure that they are seated in the back of the vehicle.It should also only take place with the full knowledge and consent of the leader/supervisor in charge and the child’s parents/guardians. They should also know the route that will be taken and the estimated time of arrival.
• Escort children and young people alone in and out of the buildings
• Take children, young people or vulnerable adults alone to their home.
Examples for a code of behaviour for children
A code of behaviour (or a group agreement) should be developed for children which outlines appropriate and inappropriate behaviours (including language), which should be valid for the duration of a group’s involvement with An tSnáthaid Mhór(e.g. on an annual basis or for a one-off workshop). It is good practice to involve children in developing a code of behaviour that is specific to their activity.
The following key principles should apply:
Code Of Behaviour For Specific Art Forms
The following are generic areas to consider across all art forms:
• Children, young people and vulnerable adults must be treated with respect at all times.
• Children, young people and vulnerable adults have a right not to partake in an activity which they feel uncomfortable with.
• The need to seek permissions required from parents / primary carers /children and young people.
• The need to obtain consent / release forms for use of any material produced by participants e.g.film, video, photography etc. These Consent / Release forms must provide as much information as possible for parents / carers to give informed consent.
• The need for the provision of information in advance in relation to the content and requirements of the performance / workshop e.g. methods, touch etc.
• The need for content and material that is age specific and appropriate to the needs of the group.
• The need to be aware of guidance in the Northern Ireland Screen Policy and Procedure re: adult /child ratios.
• Any creative medium can invoke personal reactions and emotions in participants and therefore sensitivity and awareness is important.
This covers a wide variety of craft forms and it is important to provide children, young people and vulnerable adults with an opportunity to explore these. In relation to child protection good practice issues the following are issues to be aware of:
• Children, young people and vulnerable adults and the supervising responsible adult should be told in advance what, if any, physical touch will be involved.
• Consent from the child / vulnerable adult should be received before any physical touch is carried out.
• Awareness that children, young people and vulnerable adults do not harm or attempt to harm themselves or others with any of the craft materials.
• Good practice in working with crafts would indicate that physical touch is only necessary to guide the person’s hands in the activity and therefore this should be a light minimal touch. For example, in teaching pottery that the trainer / creative specialist is in front of the child and places their hands gently on top of the child’s hands to demonstrate the craft as opposed to from behind.
The wide variety of music forms and expressions makes the community we live in come alive. It covers the traditional, modern - i.e. electronic, techno, dance, hip hop, jazz, world - classical, opera, rock, pop and orchestral. In relation to child protection good practice issues the following are specific areas to be aware of:
• The teaching of specific musical instruments will involve at times the physical touch of children and young people to ensure they are following the teacher’s directions. Good practice would highlight the importance of ensuring that children and young people are informed that touch may be involved.
• Physical touch may involve the touching of the diaphragm to enhance / demonstrate breathing techniques. This needs to be carried out firstly with permission and secondly as lightly and as sensitively as possible.
• The importance of recognising that touch or personal space being invaded is and can be a very threatening experience. Therefore all trainer/creative specialists must be aware of their need to respect personal space and if touch must occur it is carried out in a respectful manner but importantly with consent.
• An example is in teaching the drums, given the difficult task of teaching a child or young person how to co-ordinate four limbs it may be necessary to stand behind the person and lean over them. This can be very threatening and good practice would highlight the importance of a child’s comfort with this and if any discomfort / hesitation is shown then it must not occur.
The art of story telling is to be recognised as an exciting way for children and young people to allow their imagination to expand. In relation to child protection good practice issues the following are specific areas to be aware of:
• The importance of recognising the need for language to be respectful and not to be abusive, degrading or exclusive.
• That a literature facilitator needs to recognise the special needs within the group and ensure that these are given due consideration to ensure inclusivity.
• It is important that the material is age specific and appropriate to the age group/special needs of those undertaking the workshop.
• Given the nature of creative writing in encouraging and enabling a person to explore their imagination and feelings it will inevitably trigger within people their hidden thoughts and emotions. Trainer/creative specialists must therefore be aware of the experiential nature of creative writing and make children and young people aware of this possibility. If this does occur then following the Policy and Procedure recording procedure is advised.
• It is also recognised that many young people will use creative writing to highlight how they are feeling, and may write down their abuse experiences. Trainer / creative specialists must be aware of this and respond appropriately.
Dance is a physical activity and this is what makes it a creative and joyful art form. In recognising that it
is a physical activity it is therefore inevitable that physical touch will be an integral part of that experience. This physical touch can include the teacher / choreographer / dancer having to touch a child, young person or vulnerable adult in order to demonstrate a particular movement or to improve posture. Touch can also be to encourage a child or young person to work in pairs / trios with their peers. Therefore the touch of children and young people must be recognised as important to the task of the teacher/choreographer / dancer in order to teach the young people / children.In relation to child protection good practice issues the following are specific areas to be aware of:
• Touch is given and directed in a respectful and non-threatening manner.
• Permission is sought from the child for touch to take place.
• It is important to highlight to children, young people and vulnerable adults that it is OK to say no and they do not have to partake in any activity which they do not want to.
• Awareness of the issues of power, physical size and bullying within a group of young people in encouraging the working of pairs / trios. It is important that young people are made aware if their behaviour is uncomfortable / frightening for their peers
• That a teacher / choreographer / dancer is not involved in the changing of children or young people. Privacy for individuals (girls and boys) when changing and separate facilities should be available where possible.
• Separate changing facilities should also be available for teacher / choreographer / dancer.
• Where possible provision of tutors / supervisors of both sexes should be made available.
In recognising that physical contact is an integral part of the teaching of Drama, it is important to highlight child protection good practice issues. The following are specific areas to be aware of:
• In relation to physical touch it is important that all children and young people are fully aware of the fact that touch is integral to doing drama.
• Parents need to be informed by the receiving organisation of the nature of a drama workshop and the role touch plays.
• It is also vital to recognise that any type of drama or creative expression of feelings can trigger for any child or young person who has suffered or is suffering any type of abuse feelings that may be expressed in the drama. It is therefore important to recognise this and have the necessary experience to deal with this.
• If, given the nature of the activity a disclosure occurs or is experienced then the trainer/creative specialist should follow the Policy and Procedure.
Visual / Film
It is important to realise that the increase in visual forms of communication has greatly enhanced our world today which for the most part is extremely positive. However, the internet has also provided an avenue for the exploitation of children and young people through images.In relation to Child Protection good practice issues the following are specific areas to be aware of:
• That clear information is given to those persons whether children, young people or vulnerable adults and their parents / guardians / carers as to the exact detail of the visual art being used. Consent for children / vulnerable adults to attend the workshop is received in the first stage of the consent process.
• Good practice would recommend that a Release Form for use of visual work / images is forwarded prior to the visual facilitator attending the school / youth club / day centre to be completed by the parents / carers / guardians of the children and or young people who will be attending the workshop.
• It is important to understand the motivation of a person who is involved in the sexual exploitation of children, young people and vulnerable adults and that for them even the most innocent of photographs, images or film can provide them with sexual stimulation.
• The inclusion of a child, young person or vulnerable adult’s image on a website has been another positive communication medium for visual facilitators to highlight their work and showcase the work of groups.
However, the internet is a medium with no boundaries and therefore an image can be forwarded to any number of other websites / emails / individuals. The security of these images to your particular website cannot be guaranteed.
• In recognising these issues it is therefore good practice to ensure that those adults signing a consent form are aware of all the visual mediums that their child or young person’s image may be displayed on and permission sought for their consent in this way.
• As a visual arts facilitator you must abide by child protection guidelines which would request that you do not place a child in an at risk situation. Therefore it is good practice to question your motivation when considering displaying an image or film of a child or young person and if it is absolutely necessary.
• The showcasing of visual facilitators’ work is very important for the display of work and in encouraging children / young people and vulnerable adults to continue to explore the visual arts. However, if showcasing a piece of work for which you have received consent in the Release Form also includes the image of another child / young person / vulnerable adult then it is good practice that consent for that image is received from the responsible parent / carer /guardian for that child / adult in that image.
• Good practice would highlight that all the material generated in the visual arts workshops remains the property of the individual participants / receiving organisation. Further consent for the showcasing of work needs to be given by the consenting parent / carer / guardian. For further information in relation to issues of copyright / ownership of intellectual property please go to Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) at www.culture.gov.uk.
• Visual arts facilitators should never be alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult in a ‘dark’ room/ editing studio situation.
• Accessing the internet can provide a breadth and depth of creative opportunities for children and young people and vulnerable adults as indicated earlier, however this needs to be monitored to ensure its safe use. It is therefore important that at the planning stage protocols are agreed that address:
Confirmation that a child protection block is in place on the computers e.g. ‘Child net’.Levels and quality of supervision are agreed.Levels of taste and decency and appropriateness of material for the children, young people and vulnerable adults.It is better to err on the side of caution unsure.
Good communication helps to foster an environment in which children will be protected from harm. Systems should be established to provide opportunities for sharing information with children, parents/guardians, workers and contracting organisations.Organisational good practice for An tSnáthaid Mhór would
• An tSnáthaid Mhór will ensure all parents/guardians, children, workers and other service users are aware of policies, procedures and guidelines relevant to them, including the child protection policy. Written information should be circulated and it may be useful to produce a leaflet containing key information (e.g.codes of behaviour, reporting procedure, important contact numbers).
• An tSnáthaid Mhór needs to gain information about children in its care and parental consent in relation to medical/dietary requirements, activities, day trips and emergency situations. Consent must be givenby those with Parental Responsibility. Records should be maintained and updated regularly.
• Equal Opportunities policy The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1991) states “it is the State’s obligation to protect children from any form of discrimination and to take positive action to promote their rights.” An tSnáthaid Mhór make activities and events accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community.
The complaints procedure applies to children, parents/guardians and other service users. An tSnáthaid Mhórwill communicate its complaints procedure to everyone it is involved with.
All individuals associated with an organisation (i.e. workers, service users, user groups, parents/guardians,children) should be advised of its confidentiality policy and required to respect it.
An tSnáthaid Mhór will consider its responsibility in relation to the gathering, storage and sharing of information in light of the Data Protection Act.