Safeguarding Policy

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Shorter Safeguarding Guidelines & Procedures

Updated: July 2021

Review: June 2022

Introduction:

Wakefield Theatre Trust has a duty to ensure that everyone involved in its work is able to feel that they work in an open and safe environment where they are treated with respect and dignity. Theatre Royal Wakefield takes pride in its work with children and young people.

The aim of these Safeguarding Guidelines and Procedures is to ensure that all staff, volunteers, employees and participants at Theatre Royal Wakefield are confident about their own good practice when working with children, young people and adults at risk and are aware of how to distinguish good practice in their colleagues’ behaviour.

There is a more detailed safeguarding policy for all staff to read and other procedures available for those who have responsibility for Children and Young People including:

  • Lost, unaccompanied and uncollected child procedures
  • Intimate care and toilet procedures
  • Password procedures
  • E Safety procedures

These are available on request from the Participation team.

Our Safeguarding Policy should be considered alongside our Privacy Policy, our Data Management Policy and our Behaviour and Bullying policy, our Health and Safety Policy and Procedures and our Equal Opportunities Policy.

Any concerns about poor practice must be reported. Please phone 01924 215531 and ask for Rhiannon Hannon (Designated Safeguarding Officer) or Gavin Leonard (Deputy Safeguarding Officer) please also email rhiannon.hannon@theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk with a name and number and put SAFEGUARDING as the title. Please do not put confidential information in the email. We will phone you to discuss the issue with urgency.


Definitions for the purposes of these guidelines:

Children / child: A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday

Young person: A young person is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday (this term takes account for teenagers who may not wish to be referred to a ‘child’)

Adult at Risk: When a child with S.E.N.D (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) becomes 18 years old they are defined as an adult at risk. An adult who ‘may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against harm or exploitation’ If we then know there is a specific issue they become a ‘vulnerable adult’

Adult: At 18 a child legally becomes an adult. Note that in some projects 25 is the cut off age when organisations consider young people to have become adults (and often with S.E.N.D). However this is not a legal definition.

Good Practice: Behaving in an appropriate manner towards all of the above.

Position of Trust: A position of trust is any position (paid or voluntary) that requires its holder to enjoy the trust of those around them. People in a position of trust need to carefully consider their relationships with children or vulnerable adults. It is an offence for a person aged 18 or over to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 if the older person holds a position of trust as such sexual activity is an abuse of the position of trust. This includes young people aged 16 and 17 who, despite reaching the age of consent of sexual activity, are considered to be vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in defined circumstances. This legislation does not currently apply to the participatory arts context but Theatre Royal Wakefield will work to the principles behind the legislation and put in place codes of ethics and conduct which are addressed through disciplinary procedures. A consensual sexual relationship between a person with authority over the young person and the 16 or 17 year old is never healthy in our view and can be open to abuse.

Who these guidelines cover:

These guidelines apply to ALL children / young people / adults at risk and vulnerable adults, regardless as to why they are involved in the work of Theatre Royal Wakefield, including but not limited to:

  • Audience members and Customers
  • Wakefield Youth Music Theatre
  • Pantomime cast
  • Visiting companies
  • On –line (Website/ E comms)
  • Cast taking part in any Theatre Royal Wakefield Production
  • Wakefield professional production
  • Performance Academy/ Bitesize and Performance Academy Kidz sessions
  • Schools Tours and work in schools
  • Touring Productions (JGC) and associated workshops
  • Young People’s Tech Team
  • Family Friendly Workshops
  • Learning Disabled Participants
  • Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Socially Isolated Older People
  • Any other Participation project

And as such, may apply on or off the Theatre Royal Wakefield main site, for example, in rehearsal spaces, workshop rooms, or during touring productions


Statement:

Wakefield Theatre Trust, trading as Theatre Royal Wakefield, believes that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount;
  • All participants in our work, without exception, have the right to protection from abuse;
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • All staff (including Freelance and Casual Staff) and volunteers involved in our work have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.

Please note that no staff working for Wakefield Theatre Trust are trained to deal with situations of abuse, or have the power to decide if abuse has occurred.

Definitions of abuse of children and young people:

Abuse

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse.

As a member of staff or volunteer working for Theatre Royal Wakefield you have a responsibility to be vigilant at all times when coming into contact with children, young people their families and other carers. You may observe or be a witness to any of the following during your contact with children and families:

The main types of abuse of children and young people are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Neglect
  • Cultural practices
  • Radicalisation of children and young people

Definitions of abuse of Adults at Risk:

• Physical abuse

• Domestic violence or abuse

• Sexual abuse

• Psychological or emotional abuse

• Financial or material abuse

• Modern slavery

• Discriminatory abuse

• Organisational or institutional abuse

• Neglect or acts of omission

• Self-neglect

For a full description of signs of abuse please see the full SAFEGUARDING policy

Good Practice Guidelines:

ALL staff (including Freelance and Casual Staff) and volunteers are expected to work within these guidelines. Failure to do so could result in allegations of poor practice, which would then be dealt with as a misconduct issue.

  • Treating all children, young people & vulnerable adults with respect and dignity.
  • Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
  • Putting the welfare of all children, young people & vulnerable adults first.
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust.
  • Being an excellent role model.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Being aware of any access needs of any child, young person & vulnerable adult, whether this be due to cultural, religious, physical, emotional or other needs, prior to working with them.
  • Anyone who is in a position of trust (paid or voluntary) with under 18 year olds should maintain healthy, positive and professional relationships with them. Paid or voluntary staff in positions of trust with 16 and 17 year olds must not engage in sexual relations with them while that unequal power relationship exists. A consensual sexual relationship between a person with authority over the young person and the 16 or 17year old is never healthy in our view and can be open to abuse.
  • Ensuring that, if any form of physical contact is required due to the nature of the work (e.g. costume fitting, practical drama session, dance) it should be provided openly and young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. See ‘safe touch’ guidelines
  • Ensuring that physical contact at any other time is avoided.
  • Taking pictures or films: Unless written permission has been granted by the parent / carer of children / young people / vulnerable adult, you are not allowed to take pictures or film. Theatre Royal Wakefield will need to be satisfied that you have all the relevant documentation before you can take pictures or film. The Designated Safeguarding Officer can offer advice.
  • Performing Licences: Any child of school age that takes part in performances in a licensed building may need a licence or a Body of Persons (B.O.P). The Participation Officer can help you with this.
  • Any near misses or accidents in on or offsite working are recorded (via our Executive Director Katie Town)

Practice never to be sanctioned (Poor Practice):

  • Never engage in rough or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
  • Never share a room or a dressing room with a child
  • Never allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
  • Never make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
  • Never reduce a child to tears as a form of control
  • Never allow allegations made by a child to go unrecorded or not acted upon
  • Never do things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable adults, that they can do for themselves
  • Never spend excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others

Any suspicion that a child has been abused, or is at risk of being abused, by either a member of staff, a volunteer or any other adult involved in the child’s life (such as a parent) should be reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer 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 Designated Safeguarding Officer will refer the allegation to Social Care Direct or Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) whose staff are qualified to assess the situation, who may involve the police.

PROCEDURES

Internal Roles and Responsibilities

The following page details the procedures which Wakefield Theatre Trust will follow.

Rhiannon Hannon is the Designated Safeguarding Officer, Gavin Leonard is the Deputy Safeguarding Officer and Pat Langham is the Safeguarding representative at Board Level.

The role and responsibilities of the designated officer (s) are:

  • To ensure that all staff, trustees and volunteers are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they have safeguarding concerns about a child/ young person.
  • Ensure that any concerns about a child are acted upon, clearly recorded, referred on where necessary and followed up to ensure the issues are addressed.
  • The designated officer(s) will record any reported incidents in relation to children or breach of Safeguarding Policies and Procedures. They will be kept in a secure place and its contents will be confidential.
  • Ensure they have up-to-date training and it is our Policy that the Safeguarding team have face-to-face training tri-annually and update training on-line in the interim years

In conjunction with the Safeguarding Officers, all staff must ensure that they:

  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely and effectively with children.

Incidents that MUST be reported / recorded

For your own protection against false allegations and / or misconstrued behaviour, if any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer and record the incident.

  • If you accidentally hurt a participant.
  • If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
  • If a participant seems to have developed an attraction towards you.
  • If a participant misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Action if there are concerns

1. Concerns about Good Practice (i.e. if someone is not following the Good Practice Guidelines):

  • Please report to Designated Safeguarding Officer. This may be dealt with as a disciplinary issue.

2. Concerns about suspected abuse (i.e. if any member of staff or adult involved in Theatre Royal Wakefield’s work is taking part in Poor Practice or abuse):

  • Any suspicion that a child has been abused, or is at risk of being abused should be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer, 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 Designated Safeguarding Officer will refer the allegation to the LADO who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours. They may also make a referral to Social Care Direct
  • The Designated Safeguarding Officer has a duty to make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring service regarding concerns about an individual may have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or put a child or vulnerable adult at risk of harm

The Designated Safeguarding Officer has a duty to inform the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who must be contacted within one working day in respect of all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.

Recruitment of staff (including Freelance and Casual Staff), volunteers and specialist placements:

Wakefield Theatre Trust 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. Wakefield Theatre Trust requires that, for each person involved in working with children, upon offer of employment and signing of contracts:

  • The job requirements and responsibilities are clearly explained.
  • Safeguarding Policies are explained and the Designated Safeguarding Officer introduced to them.
  • Employees will be required, upon commencing employment, to also complete the Safeguarding Policy Declaration, which will be provided together with a guide to the Safeguarding Policy. Signing of the declaration will become a condition of employment.
  • Relevant freelance staff and casuals will be issued the safeguarding policy (abridged) and declaration by the member of staff engaging them.
  • If an applicant is applying for a role during the course of which their normal duties would involve caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children, then they will be required to obtain or have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check which satisfies Wakefield Theatre Trust.
  • When repeating update checks for DBS checks we will always ensure we have seen the original alongside I.D. and that we have explicit written or email consent to update.

We will then record relevant information and store this securely.

  • Wakefield Theatre Trust will always follow up references for all employees and for volunteers if their role is in a position of trust
  • We will state in all recruitment adverts etc the following statement:

‘Theatre Royal Wakefield is an organisation that takes the safeguarding of children and young people seriously’

  • We will ensure staff are trained in relevant safeguarding issues
  • We will keep up to date with DBS service changes and advice
  • It is made clear to all staff, helpers and volunteers that they are in a Position of Trust with Children and Young People and must not enter into a personal or sexual relationship with them.

Action if a Child Discloses Information

It is not the responsibility of anyone working for Wakefield Theatre Trust, 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.

When a child or young person discloses (says) something to you that causes concern, it is important to clearly record this information. Any concerns about a child or young person should be recorded regardless of whether or not it will be ultimately passed on to the statutory authorities.

If a child or young person talks about possible abuse, the member of staff or volunteer should:

  • Location and context of a Disclosure – it’s possible that a child could disclose information at any time in any location, for example, either following or during an activity. If a child chooses to talk to you at a time when you are not immediately available, It’s paramount that you let the child know you want to be able to give him or her your full attention and you realise what they would like to tell you is important. Put arrangements in place to talk to the child as soon as possible. Call another member of staff to be present, move, if appropriate to another location – never in a closed room - always in an open environment and with another member of staff.
  • Remember that the child is likely to be frightened or anxious
  • Reassure the child but do not promise confidentiality. They should explain that they will have to speak to someone else who can help
  • Tell the child that he or she was right to tell and is not to blame
  • Listen carefully and take what the child says seriously
  • Recognise the inherent difficulties interpreting what is said by young children
  • Try and use the same words and phrases as the child e.g. for body parts etc. rather than interpreting what they think the child means
  • Don’t ask leading questions
  • Do not prevent a child from recalling events
  • Make a full written record of what had been said, heard and/or seen as soon as possible. Also make an accurate record of any questions that you ask. To help with this please see our ‘Incident Report’ form later on in these guidelines. Call the Designated Safeguarding Officer to report the concern and steps you have taken.
  • Remember that young or disabled children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Communication differences may mean that it is hard for them to complain or be understood. Sometimes abuse of disabled children has gone unrecognised because behavioural clues were interpreted as part of their disability.

Accidental Disclosures

Sometimes, disclosures can be made accidentally and not intentionally – be aware and vigilant. This can happen through drama games and improvisation or you may overhear something someone has said. If you have ANY cause for concern, then take immediate, necessary action.

With any disclosure the member of staff or volunteer should not:

  • Panic
  • Make promises or agree to keep secrets.
  • Allow their shock or distaste to show
  • Speculate or make assumptions about what has happened
  • Make negative comments about the alleged abuser
  • Approach the alleged abuser

To help you remember use The Four Rs:

Receive: Listen to the child / take it seriously / keep an open mind

Reassure: “You’ve done the right thing” / Be honest about outcomes/ Never promise confidentiality

React: Stay calm, stay professional / Ask open questions/ Don’t criticise / Explain Next Steps / Inform someone

Record: Make brief notes immediately and keep them / Record words used by the child / Record impartiality

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR REPORTING / REFERRALS and SUPPORT

Social Care Direct on: 0345 8503503 – open 24 hours a day. For concerns about children and young people or if you are worried about an adult at Risk.

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for all allegations against people who work with children (whether paid or voluntary) on 01924 302155 / lado.referrals@wakefield.gov.uk

During covid please check the website where there is a referal form:

LADO Local Authority Designated Officer | Wakefield Safeguarding Children Partnership (WSCP) (wakefieldscp.org.uk)

Wakefield District Safeguarding Children Board | wakefieldscp.org.u... | 01924 306497

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on: 0808 800 5000

The police on: 999 (if a child is in immediate danger) or 0845 606 0 606

Childline on 0800 1111.

If you are concerned a young person is at risk of radicalisation you can phone the police helpline on 101 or 0800789321

If you are worried about F.G.M (‘Known’ cases must be reported to police) you can call the F.G.M helpline on 0800 028 3550

Wakefield & District Victim Support who have a specialist Young People’s Service: 01924 369107 or National Line: 0845 303 0900.