Circus into Schools - Safeguarding Policy
List of contents
Circus into Schools believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people taking part in our workshops or events, by a commitment to practice which protects them.
We recognise that:
· the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
· all children regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
· working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
The purpose of the policy:
· To provide protection for the children and young people who attends activities or shows where the work has been passed from Circus into Schools to Steve Eldridge.
· To provide self contractors and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.
This policy applies to self contractors and volunteers or anyone working on behalf of Steve Eldridge where work had been passed through Circus into Schools. We would also investigate any claim made against any self contractor that Circus into Schools advertises.
We will endeavour to safeguard children and young people by:
· valuing them, listening to and respecting them
· adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers
· recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
· sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
· sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
· providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
2. Children’s right to protection
Children taking part in activities provided by Steve Eldridge should know that they have the following rights:
To be safe
The children taking part in these activities have the right to be safe.
To protect their own bodies
Children need to be treated with respect and should only wear costumes that are suitable and be given privacy to change.
To say NO
Respect children’s opinions and take on board their feelings. Support them and don’t force them to do any activity they don’t want to do.
To get help against bullies
Bullies usually pick on younger/weaker children. If there is an issue with bullying tell children to enlist the help of friends or say no without fighting – and to tell an adult. Bullies are cowards and a firm, loud “no” from a group of children with the threat of adult intervention often puts them off. Also tell any partner agency such as school, youth club.
You must assure children that no matter what happens you will not be angry with them and that you want them to tell you of any incident that frightens or confuses them or makes them unhappy.
To be believed
When children are told to go to an adult for help they need to know they will be believed and supported. This is especially true in the case of sexual abuse which children very rarely lie about. If the child is not believed when he or she tells, the abuse may continue for years and result in suffering and guilt for the child.
Not to keep secrets
Teach children that some secrets should never be kept, no matter if they promised not to tell. Child abusers known to the child often say that a kiss or touch is “our secret”. This confuses the child who has been taught always to keep secrets.
3. Protecting children and workers
Contact with children
As a general rule, it doesn’t make sense to:
· spend excessive amounts of time alone with children, away from others
· take children alone in a car on journeys, however short
· take children to your home.
When it is unavoidable that these things happen, they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of one of the management of Cirque du Ciel and/or the child’s parent/guardian.
Relationships with children
You should never:
· Engage in rough physical games including horse-play, apart from structured sports activities
· Engage in sexually provocative games
· Allow or engage in appropriate touching of any form
· Allow children to sue inappropriate language unchallenged
· Make sexually suggestive comments about, or to, a child, even if in fun
· Let allegations a child makes be ignored or go unrecorded
· Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do themselves
It may sometimes be necessary for staff and volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are very young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents or carers and every effort should be made to ensure that the child or young person also understands and gives informed consent, taking account of their disability or impairment. In an emergency situation that requires this type of help, parents should be fully informed, as soon as reasonably possible.
In such situations, it is important that you ensure that all staff are sensitive to the child and undertake personal care tasks with the utmost discretion.
Coaches should should not undertake intimate care as they are not trained to give this. Children needing this care must be accompanied by a trained care giver.
Relationships of trust
“The inequality at the heart of a relationship of trust should be ended before any sexual relationship begins.” Caring for Young People and the Vulnerable? Guidance for preventing abuse of trust (Home Office 1999)
This statement recognises that genuine relationships do occur between the different levels of volunteers and participants in a group but that no intimate relationship should begin while the member of staff or volunteer is in a position of trust over them. The power and influence that an older member of staff has over someone attending a group or activity cannot be under-estimated. If there is an additional competitive aspect to the activity and the older person is responsible for the young person's success or failure to some extent, then the dependency of the younger member upon the older will be increased. It is therefore vital for volunteers to recognise the responsibility they must exercise in ensuring that they do not abuse their positions of trust. Young people aged 16 – 18 can legally consent to some types of sexual activity; however, in some provisions of legislation they are classified as children (see relevant legislation).
In certain circumstances the abuse of trust is a criminal offence (Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act) 2000 (UK wide).
4. Code of conduct
· treat all children and young people with respect
· provide an example of good conduct you wish others to follow
· ensure that whenever possible there is at least two one adult present during activities with children and young people, or at least that you are within sight or hearing of others
· try to avoid working with one child on their own.
· respect a young person’s right to personal privacy/encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like
· remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned
· be aware that even physical contact with a child or young person may be misinterpreted
· recognise that special caution is required when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people
· operate within the organisation's principles and guidance and any specific procedures
· challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse (see sect 8).
Parents are allowed to
at performances but not in other situations, during workshops
tutors can take photos with children’s
permission. These will only be used in publicity with parents/ carers
You must not:
· have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with children or young people
· allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour/make suggestive or derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or young people
· jump to conclusions about others without checking facts
· either exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues
· show favouritism to any individual
· rely on your good name or that of the organisation to protect you
· believe “it could never happen to me”
· take a chance when common sense, policy or practice suggests another more
· give guidance and support to less experienced workshop personnel.
5. Supervision of children
Making arrangements for the proper supervision of children is one of the most effective ways of minimising opportunities for children to suffer harm of any kind whilst in your care.
Supervision of children
· Leaders in charge must be satisfied that those workers and adults who accompany group parties are fully competent to do so and that appropriate checks have been made.
· Children must be supervised at all times, who should be aware of the applicably supervision ratio (see Health and Safety Policy).
· Children must not be left unsupervised at any venue whether it be indoors or out.
· Workers should know at all times where children are and what they are doing.
· Any activity using potentially dangerous equipment should have constant adult supervision.
· Dangerous behaviour by children should not be allowed.
If it becomes necessary to exclude a child or a young person from a workshop for any reason of discipline/dangerous behaviour:
i) when self contractor has duty of care parent/guardian must be contacted for necessary arrangements to be made
ii) when duty of care lies with another organisation (e.g. youth centre) a representative of that organisation will be informed
An incident form should be filled in and filed with the project paperwork.
Events and organised trips other than scheduled workshops
Events and organised trips other than scheduled workshops will need separate/specific child protection policices risk assessments to make sure they are safe for children.
6. Anti-bullying policy
Bullying will not be accepted or condoned. All forms of bullying will be addressed. Everybody has the responsibility to work together to stop bullying.
Bullying can include:
· physical pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching etc.
· name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing and emotional torment through ridicule, humiliation and the continual ignoring of individuals
· racial or homophobic taunts, graffiti, gestures
· sexual comments and/or suggestions
· unwanted physical contact
· abusive text messages, phone calls, emails or chat room messages.
· Respect every child’s need for, and rights to, a
· environment where safety, security, praise, recognition and opportunity for taking responsibility are available. Respect for every individual’s feelings and views.
· Recognise that everyone is important and that our differences make each of us special.
· Show appreciation of others by acknowledging individual qualities, contributions and progress.
· Ensure safety by having anti-bullying rules and practices, whenever possible, developed with the participation of children and young people.
· Children more vulnerable to this form of abuse may be targeted due to disability, learning difficulties, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity.
· Where a child’s bullying behaviour is of a particularly violent or aggressive nature it would be considered a basis for exclusion of the child from the workshop (see section 5)
Support to the child
· Children should know who will listen to and support them.
· Children should have access to helpline numbers.
· Children should be told what is being recorded, in what context and why.
· Anyone who reports an incident of bullying will be listened to carefully and will be supported, whether it is the child being bullied or the child who is bullying.
· Any reported incident of bullying will be investigated objectively and will involve listening carefully to all those involved.
· Children being bullied will be supported and assistance given to uphold their right to learn, develop and play in a safe environment which allows them to reach their potential.
· Those who bully will be supported and encouraged to stop bullying. It should be recognised that the bully may well be a victim as well as the bullied.
· Sanctions involving long periods of isolation, or which diminish and make individuals look or feel foolish in front of others, should be avoided.
As our workshops are typically of short duration it can be helpful to discuss the incident with the school or the youth centre where the workshop took place. Be aware that organisations that we work in conjunction with may have their own anti-bullying policies. Co-operation is often the best way forward when trying to deal with issues of bullying.
Policy and practice should be reviewed regularly in the light of changing needs and changes adopted by other agencies.
8. Responding to a child making an allegation of abuse
Listen carefully to what is said.
Find an appropriate early opportunity to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared with others – do not promise to keep secrets.
Allow the child to continue at her/his own pace.
Ask questions for clarification only, and at all times avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer.
Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.
Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared.
Record in writing what was said using the child’s own words as soon as possible – note date, time, any names mentioned, to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is signed and dated.
All concerns should be reported promptly
If you have a concern about a child’s welfare or the behaviour of a self contractor or volunteer in relation to the welfare of a child please report this.
1. Concern about a childs’ welfare- when duty of care lies with another organisation and if appropriate then pass allegation onto Child Protection Officer of that organisation ie, School, Youth Group etc. They will have considerable more experience in this area and also be aware of any other concerns that have been raised. If the self contractor has duty of care (ie an independent Circus Club) please pass onto Steve Eldridge if appropriate and Alison Knight if not. (CP Officer for Circus into Schools)
2. If the allegation is about a self contractor who works for Steve Eldridge please also pass the complaint onto him. This will be investigated by himself and Alison Knight (CP Officer for Circus into Schools)
3. If you still have concerns, refer to children’s services and/or police. Follow up in writing within 48 hours
It is important that everyone in the organisation is aware that the person who first encounters a case of alleged or suspected abuse is not responsible for deciding whether or not abuse has occurred. That is a task for the professional child protection agencies following a referral to them of concern about a child.
All staff working directly with children under the age of 16 will be vetted for previous relevant convictions that may make them unsuitable for work with children. Workers who work with children will be asked to declare any “spent” convictions under the Rehabilitiation of Offenders Act 1974(Exemptions) order 1975). This declaration may be followed up with checks on records. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences relating to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children.
11. Reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse
Write down and record the details of what you have been told and apart from the procedure outlined keep this information confidential. Do not tell the young person you will keep this a secret.
In the first instance the appropriate contact is the partner organisation (for example the school or youth group you are working with) unless the person you would talk to is the person the allegation is against then contact i) Steve Eldridge ii) Multi Agency referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116. If there is no partner organisation because the self contractor has sole responsibility for example an independent club then pass to i) Steve Eldridge ii) ii) Multi Agency referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116.
If concern is about a self contractor working for Steve Eldridge, it is really important you contact him, unless the complaint is about him or he is away then contact Alison Knight.
If you do contact him the allegation will be investigated by Steve Eldridge and Alison Knight, any concern will be treated very seriously.
Immediate danger , Police Emergency - 999
If you are concerned about a child's safety please contact the Multi Agency referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116.
NSPCC Helpline - 0808 800 5000
Rape Crisis Line- 08088029999
Domestic Violence Helpline Devon- 01872 225629
Childline - 0800 1111