CHILD PROTECTION

Alnwick Theatre Club - Child Protection Policy

Alnwick Theatre Club (The Club) recognises its duty of care under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, the Child (Performances) Regulations 1968, the Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Service Act 2000.

The club recognises that abuse can take many forms, whether it is physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. The club is committed to a practice which protects children from harm. The club accepts and recognises its responsibility to develop awareness of the issues which cause children and vulnerable adults harm.

The Club

We believe that:

a. the welfare of the child is paramount

b. all children have the right to protection from abuse

c. all suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately

d. the club should be clear on how to respond appropriately

We will endeavour to ensure that:

a. all children be treated equally and with respect and dignity

b. the welfare of each child is paramount

c. a balanced based on mutual trust will be built and enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than criticism

d. bullying will not be accepted or condoned

e. all adult members of the club provide a positive role model for dealing with other people

f. action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour

g. it will keep up to date with health and safety legislation

h. it will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children and update this policy as required

i. it will hold a register of every child involved with the club and will retain a contact name in case of emergencies

The club has child protection procedures which accompany this policy. This policy should also be read in conjunction with our Health and Safety Policy.

The Club has a nominated contact who is in charge of ensuring that the child protection policy and procedures are adhered to, or secondly the Chairperson.

Alnwick Theatre Club - Child Protection Procedures

The Responsibility of The Club

Before any production and throughout rehearsals and workshops the club will endeavour to:

a. Identify the person/s designated as “chaperone” who will take responsibility for the duration of the performance / rehearsal period if a chaperone is deemed necessary

b. Ensure that children are supervised at all times by Parents.

c. Ensure knowledge of local services and contact numbers in case of emergency

Unsupervised Contact

a. Ensure that the parents of the children are present at all rehearsal and during performances

b. Wherever possible no adult will have unsupervised contact, if this is unavoidable then it will be carried out in a public area or designated room with a door open

Physical Contact

a. Adults will seek consent of the parent prior to any physical contact and the purpose of the contact will be made clear

Sensitive Information / Material

a. Any photographs / videos taken of children will be stored safely and the society will not undertake to publish details that would reveal the identity / address / school etc of the children

b. Written consent will be gained from parents prior to taking any photos / videos of children for promotional or other purposes

c. Parents will be informed of any sensitive material in any play in which their child is involved

d. The societies web-based material and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use

The Responsibility of the Parents

a. To read and respond to any newsletters, consent request etc where appropriate

b. To work as a partnership with the club to share responsibility for the children

c. To support all productions and help with requests to supply costumes

d. Parents must be a fully paid member of the club and are asked to attend with their child and supervise their child during all rehearsals and performances (see section chaperones and parents)

The Responsibilities of the Child

a. To treat other child and adult members with respect

b. To listen to the Director/Producer or Chaperone and follow instructions.

c. To be aware of the hazards around them in the theatre or rehearsal rooms

Suspicion of Abuse

a. If you see or suspect abuse of a child whilst in the care of club, please make this known to the nominated committee member or the Chairperson

b. Make a note for your own records of what you have witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow up in which you are involved

c. If a serious allegation is made against any member of the club, the club undertakes to contact the police immediately

Disclosure of Abuse

If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:

a. Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action

b. Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer

c. Don’t promise to keep it secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help

d. Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone

e. Tell the child what you are going to do next

f. Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. If it is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities

g. As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time and any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record

Recording

a. In all situation, whether or not shared with a child protection agency, the details of allegation or reported incident will be recorded

b. Accurate notes of time, dates, incident or disclosure, parties involved, what was said and done by whom, action taken to investigate, further action taken e.g. suspension of individual if relevant: reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, name of person reporting and to whom it was reported

c. The record will be stored securely and shared with only those who need to know

Rights and Confidentiality

a. The club recognises both alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998

Chaperones / Parents

a. To avoid accidents, chaperones / parents and children will be notified of ‘house rules’ regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of appropriate clothing and footwear requirements

b. If a child is injured whilst in the care of the club, the child will be made as comfortable as possible until emergency services arrive. In all instances first aid will be administered and the injury recorded in an accident book which will be countersigned by a committee member.

c. If a child joins a production with an obvious injury then this will be recorded in the accident book and counter signed by a committee member as an injury not sustained whilst under the care of the society

d. Chaperones are expected to exercise the care that would be expected of a good Parent

e. The maximum number of children under a chaperones care is 12

f. Chaperones / parents will be made aware of the club’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures and Health and Safety Policy

g. If the chaperone / parent is not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the director /producer

h. No chaperone / parent should allow the children to carry out anything dangerous to their person

i. Children will be kept together at all times unless on stage or separated for changing / washroom facilities

j. Children up to 16 years of age will be provided with separate changing areas from adults and the opposite sex, the chaperones / parents / The Clubs child protection contact will manage and restrict access to these areas

k. Chaperones / parents must be aware of where the children are at all times

l. During performances, chaperones / parents will be responsible for keeping a list of those present under their care and their emergency contact details

m. Children are not to leave the theatre unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents

Notes

I. The Child Protection Policy and Procedures apply equally to vulnerable adults

II. Any outside group or agency performing with the club must agree to abide by the terms in this Policy and the Procedures. Contact details for children from outside groups must be provided to the nominated chaperone

III. At 16 years of age junior membership will be required

A copy of this policy is also available for download:

Child Protection Policy