Creative Fields has a duty of care to safeguard all children and vulnerable adults involved in Creative Fields 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 and vulnerable adults involved in Creative Fields activities through adherence to the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection guidelines set out below.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
A vulnerable adult is a person who is or may be in need of community care services because of mental or other disability, age or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves against significant or exploitation.
The aim of the Creative Fields Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
• Providing children, young people and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Creative Fields contracted teachers;
• Allowing all Creative Fields contracted teachers to make informed and confident responses to specific child and vulnerable adult protection issues.
Promoting Good Practice
Abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take. Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the arts environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. An instructor, teacher, or assistant will have regular contact with young people and vulnerable adults and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document. When a child or vulnerable adult enters a Creative Fields class having been subjected to abuse outside the arts environment, dance can play a crucial role in improving their self- esteem. In such instances the company must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child or vulnerable adult receives the required support.
Good Practice Guidelines
All teachers should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and caring climate within dance:
• Always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
• Treat all children/vulnerable adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
• Always put the welfare of each child/vulnerable adult first.
• Maintain a safe and appropriate physical and psychological distance with students.
• Refrain from welcoming/farewell embraces.
• Tell children/vulnerable adults, before any movement with touching, exactly what the intention is, and ensure they agree and do not show discomfort.
• Release from touch/hold immediately after demonstration.
• Ensure that children/vulnerable adults receive equal amounts of attention, particularly when teaching two students in partnering work.
• Observe children/vulnerable adults in couple formation or partnering and look out for:
a) any discomfort or reluctance to join or touch or hold positions b) any embarrassment at touching or holding positions c) any bullying/aggression on the part of one partner d) any inappropriate/improper words/actions by either/both partners e) any dominating/oppressive/bullying behaviour by either partner f) any whispering/gossiping. Take sensible and appropriate action where
• Build balanced relationships based on mutual trust that empowers children and vulnerable adults to share in the decision-making process.
• Make dance fun, enjoyable and promote fair play.
• Keep up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
• Involve parents/guardians/carers wherever possible. For example, encourage them to take responsibility for their children or vulnerable adults when changing. If groups have to be supervised when changing always ensure parents, teachers or staff work in pairs.
• Be an excellent role model; smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people is strictly prohibited.
• Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
• Recognise the developmental needs and capacity of children and vulnerable adults – do not teach beyond their mental and physical abilities or push them against their will.
• Obtain parental permission in writing to hold, guide and direct children/vulnerable adults.
• Know any child/vulnerable adult’s medical condition(s) and obtain parental permission in writing to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment if the need arises.
• Invite full involvement and open discussion by children/vulnerable adults and parents/ guardians/carers in any aspect of training/teaching.
• Note any irregularity of attendance, late cancellations, regular late coming. Noting who the telephone call is from and whether there is unease in giving a reason. Upon resumption of classes, informally ascertain reasons for absence, etc.
• Note regular late withdrawal from classes/rehearsals on the part of any child/vulnerable adult.
• Try to ascertain reasons for unpunctuality by casual conversation and note any reaction.
• If children/vulnerable adults are ‘dropped off’ and/or not ‘picked up’ punctually, ensure they are not left alone or exposed to intimate situations with you or anybody else.
• Keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
• Note and report any observed injuries, bruises, scratches or unusual behaviour.
• Where possible, children/vulnerable adults should have separate changing facilities from adults. These should be gender-based and the children/vulnerable adults should be supervised by their parents/guardians/carers.
• If it is not possible for students to have separate changing facilities from adults, facilities should be gender-based and children/vulnerable adults should be supervised by their parents/guardians/carers. If the gender of a parent/guardian/carer prevents him/her entering, s/he should take up a position near the door of the changing room.
• Obtain parental permission in writing for children/vulnerable adults to be taken on trips. If there are students of both sexes, ensure that male and female staff accompany them and that there is an appropriate number and balance of escorts.
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 from Creative Fields or the child’s/vulnerable adult’s parents/carer. 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 excessive amounts of time alone with children/vulnerable adults away from others.
• Avoid taking a child/vulnerable adult home after a class.
Practices Never to be sanctioned
• Engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
• Sharing a room with a child/vulnerable adult.
• Allowing or engaging in any form of inappropriate touching.
• Allowing children/vulnerable adults to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
• Permitting smoking in any dancing area. 3
• Making sexually suggestive comments to a child/vulnerable adult, even in fun.
• Reducing a child/vulnerable adult to tears.
• Playing off one child/vulnerable adult against another or showing favouritism.
• Allowing allegations made by a child/vulnerable adult to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
• Doing things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable adults that they can do for themselves.
• Inviting or allowing children/vulnerable adults to stay with you at your home.
Incidents that must be Reported/Recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the school’s Child Protection Officer and/or Creative Fields Designated Safeguarding Officer and record the incident on an Incident/Accident Report Form. You should also ensure the parents/carer of the child/vulnerable adult are informed:
• If you accidentally hurt a student.
• If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
• If a student appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
• If a student misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment During Creative Fields Classes
There is evidence that some people have used dance events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of children, young people and vulnerable adults in vulnerable positions. All contracted teachers should be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the school’s Child Protection Officer and/or Creative Fields Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Teachers should discuss the taking of images with the school, parents or other authority responsible. Formal permission should always be obtained before taking any images and a Creative Fields Photograph and Video Release form should be completed.
Recruitment and Training of Creative Fields Contracted Teachers
Creative Fields 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. Recruitment and training procedures include the following:
▪ All Creative Fields contracted teachers must have relevant experience in teaching dance before they are permitted to teach any dance class.
▪ Consent should be obtained from a potential teacher to request a Disclosure check through the Criminal Records Bureau. 4
▪ The potential teacher should provide two confidential references for previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
▪ S/he should know our policies and procedures.
▪ Child/Vulnerable Adult protection procedures should be explained to the teacher and any further training needs identified.
▪ S/he should be First-Aid trained.
▪ If teaching an After School Club, s/he will be required to cooperate fully with the school’s own policies and procedures.
Responding to Allegations or Suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working for Creative Fields or its sub contractors, 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 through contact with the appropriate authorities.
Allegations or Suspicions within Dance Environment
Creative Fields will assure all teachers 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 teacher there may be three types of investigation:
1. A criminal investigation,
2. A child protection investigation,
3. A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.
Action if there are Concerns
Concerns about poor practice:
▪ If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the Creative Fields will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
▪ If the allegation is about poor practice by the company itself, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to Creative Fields directors who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
Concerns about suspected abuse:
▪ Any suspicion that a child has been abused by a member of staff/teacher should be reported to a Creative Fields director, 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.
▪ The company’s directors will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
▪ The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
Internal Enquiries and Suspension
▪ Creative Fields will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
▪ Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries Creative Fields directors will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff/ teacher can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases, Creative Fields directors must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.
Allegations of Previous Abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).
Where such an allegation is made, the company should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
Action if Bullying is Suspected
If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in ‘Responding to suspicions or allegations’ above.
▪ Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
▪ Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns. (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately). Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. Create an open environment.
▪ Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
▪ Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
▪ Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
▪ Report any concerns to the school and Creative Fields Designated Safeguarding Officer (wherever the bullying is occurring).
Action Towards the Bully(ies):
▪ Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
▪ Inform the bully’s parents.
▪ Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
▪ Impose sanctions as necessary.
▪ Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
▪ Hold meetings with the school to report on progress.
▪ Inform all organisation members of action taken.
▪ Keep a written record of action taken.
Allegations or Suspicions outside of Dance Environment (e.g. a parent/carer)
▪ Report your concerns to the school/organisation’s Child Protection Officer or Creative Fields Designated Safeguarding Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.
▪ See below for the information social services or the police will need.
▪ Social Services and the Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
▪ The teacher should also report the incident to Creative Fields Designated Safeguarding Officer. The company should ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident plays a role in Creative Fields’s activities and act accordingly.
▪ Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
▪ See below regarding information needed for social services.
Information for Social Services or the Police about Suspected Abuse
To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which 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 that took the referral should be recorded.
If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.
In all cases, every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
▪ Creative Fields Staff or contracted teachers.
▪ The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
▪ The person making the allegation.
▪ Social services/police.
▪ The school/organisation Child Protection Officer.
▪ The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure). Social services will advise who should approach the alleged abuser.
Support to Deal with the Aftermath of Abuse
Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff/teachers 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.bacp.co.uk.
Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.
This policy is to be reviewed annually by the Designated Safeguarding Officer. Next review August 2018
Child Protection Report Pro-Forma
Details of person making this report
Role in relation to Creative Fields:
Main body of report Record the following factually: Who? What (if recording a verbal disclosure by a child, us their words/if recording evidence of injury, please draw a diagram to show where the injury is and describe)? Where? When (date and time of incident)? Any witnesses? If necessary, please continue on a separate sheet of paper.
Further information: Any other relevant information?
Please sign and date this record and give to the Designated Safeguarding Lead – Ann- Marie Fields.
Information on Types of Abuse
The following are the various types of abuse that children suffer:
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocation or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent/carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. The situation is commonly described as factitious illness by proxy or Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy.
Possible Signs of Physical Abuse:
• Unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they’re recurrent
• Refusal to discuss injuries
• Improbable explanations for injuries
• Untreated or lingering illness not attended to
• Admission of punishment which appears excessive
• Shrinking from physical punishment
• Fear of returning home or parents being contacted
• Fear of undressing
• Fear of medical help
• Over compliant behaviour or a ‘watchful attitude’
• Running away
• Significant changes in behaviour without explanation
• Deterioration in work
• Unexplained pattern of absences which may serve to hide bruises or other physical injuries
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse side effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved or inadequate, or valued only as far as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriately being imposed on children. It may cause children frequently to feel frightened or in danger or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Possible signs of emotional abuse:
• Continual self-deprecation
• Fear of new situations
• Inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations
• Self-harm or mutilation
• Compulsive stealing/scrounging
• Drug/solvent abuse
• Neurotic behaviour – obsessive rocking, thumb-sucking, and so on
• Air of detachment – ‘don’t care’ attitude
• Social isolation – doesn’t join in and has few friends
• Desperate attention seeking behaviour
• Eating problems, including overeating and lack of appetite
• Depression, withdrawal
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at or in the production of pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Possible signs of sexual abuse:
• Bruises, scratches, burns or bite marks on body
• Scratches, abrasions or persistent infection in the anal or genital regions
• Pregnancy – particularly in the case of young adolescents who are evasive concerning the identity of the father 12
• Sexual awareness inappropriate to the child’s age – shown, for example, in drawings, vocabulary, games, and so on
• Frequent public masturbation
• Attempts to teach other children about sexual activity
• Refusing to stay with certain people or go to certain places
• Aggressiveness, anger, anxiety, tearfulness
• Withdrawal from friends
Possible signs in older children:
• Promiscuity, prostitution, provocative sexual behaviour
• Self-injury, self-destructive behaviour, suicide attempts
• Eating disorders
• Tiredness, lethargy, listlessness
• Over-compliant behaviour
• Sleep disturbances
• Unexplained gifts of money
• Changes in behaviour
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent/carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
Possible signs of Neglect:
• Constant hunger
• Poor personal hygiene
• Inappropriate clothing
• Frequent lateness or non-attendance
• Untreated medical problems
• Low self-esteem
• Poor social relationships
• Compulsive stealing or scrounging
• Constant tiredness