Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy

Contents

Glossary of terms used in this document 

Promoting Good Practice with Young People 

Recognition of Poor Practice, Abuse & Bullying 

2.1 Introduction 

2.2 Poor Practice 

2.3 General Indications of Abuse 

2.4 Bullying by Peer or Adult in Any Form 

Action to Take if there are Concerns 

3.1 Poor Practice 

3.2 Suspected Abuse 

3.3 Confidentiality 

3.4 Internal Enquiries and Suspension 

3.5 Support to Deal with the Aftermath 

3.6 Allegations of Previous Abuse 

3.7 Action if Bullying is Suspected 

3.8 Action Towards the Bully/ies. 

Child Protection – General Principles 

4.2 Expert Advice 

4.3 Records and Information 

Responding to Disclosures, Suspicions and Allegations 

5.1 Introduction 

5.2 Responding to Disclosure 

5.3 Responding to Suspicions 

5.3.1 General 

5.3.2 Social Services 

5.3.3 Sharing concerns with Parents 

5.3.4 When it is Not Appropriate to Share concerns with Parents 

5.4 Allegations Against Staff or Volunteers 

5.4.1 General 

5.4.2 Seek Advice 

5.4.3 Support for the Reporter of Suspected Abuse 

5.4.4 Types of Investigation 

Recruitment, Employment and Deployment of Staff & Volunteers 

6.1 Introduction 

6.2 Pre-Recruitment Checks 

6.2.1 Advertising 

6.2.2 Pre-Application Information 

6.2.3 Applications 

6.2.4 Checks and References 

6.3.1 General 

6.3.2 Definition of Supervised 

6.4 Disclosure and Barring Service 

6.4.1 General 

6.3.3 Age of Applicant 

6.3.4 Useful Contacts 

Glossary of terms used in this document

“Parents” – a generic term used to represent parents, adoptive parents, step-parents, carers, guardians and those with parental responsibility.

“Young People/Persons” – people under the age of eighteen years, adults with disabilities and vulnerable adults.

2020 Dance Club – The members, leaders, parents, teachers, guest choreographers, and everyone involved as a member of the club.

CP– Child Protection.

CPO – Child Protection Officer.

DSO – Designated Safeguarding Officer

Club Leader – Named adults responsible for overall running of the club, namely Maxine Welford and Kelly Howes as licensed chaperones and administrative personnel.

LA – Local Authority.

LADO – Local Authority Designated Officer

NSPCC – National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

This Child Protection Policy should be read in conjunction with the current 2020 Dance Club Code of Practice.

  1. Promoting Good Practice with Young People

One of the most important factors in dealing with child abuse is to use correct judgement about what action to take. A teacher, coach, official, or volunteer, dealing regularly with Young People is an important link in identifying cases where young people require protection.

The following examples of good practice are provided to promote a positive culture and caring climate within 2020 Dance Club. The list is not definitive, but serves to provide a basic guide, especially when considering competitive aspects of dance.

  • Always work in an open environment where at least one other adult is present (avoiding private or unobservable situations), if necessary involve parents to meet this requirement.
  • Treat all Young People equally, with respect and dignity.
  • Always put Young People’s welfare first.
  • Never physically push a young person to achieve a stretch or position which causes pain or severed distress.
  • Never encourage a young person to “dance through their injury” or pain, even if this disrupts a gala/show, competitive performance or important rehearsal. The child’s welfare both physical and emotional must always come first.
  • Be aware that fatigue can increase the risk of injuries and allow appropriate comfort breaks.
  • Warm ups and cool downs are an important part of injury prevention.
  • Always maintain a safe and appropriate physical and psychological distance from Young People.
  • Refrain from welcoming/farewell embraces.
  • Tell Young People, before any move with touching positions, exactly what intention is, and ensure they agree and do not show discomfort.
  • After demonstration (tactile) release hold immediately.
  • Obtain permission (written is desirable so as to avoid future dispute) of parents to hold, guide and direct young people and for young people partner contact.
  • When coaching/teaching a couple of young people as partners or in a duet, ensure that both receive “equal” amounts of attention.
  • Never play off one of the young people against the other.
  • Observe couple (young people) and look out for:
    • any discomfort from “hold”.
    • any embarrassment at hold or certain positions.
    • any reluctance to join/touch.
    • any bullying/aggression on the part of one partner. o any inappropriate/improper words/actions by either/both partners.
    • any dominating/oppressive /bullying behaviour by either partner.
    • be alert to any whispered comments and take sensible and appropriate action where necessary.
    • Be alert to any whispered comments and take sensible and appropriate action where necessary.
  • Praise and positive encouragement with constructive feedback is always a more successful teaching tool than negative attitude/comments.
  • Never reduce children to tears.
  • Consult young persons, allowing them a share in the decision-making process. This is a particular emphasis of 2020 Dance Club which is a club where children have a voice in creating their dances and bringing them to stage, competitively or non-competitively. The preference is for young people to lead the decision making process with staff, volunteers and parents guiding, mentoring and facilitating their activities.
  • Always invite full involvement and open comment by young people in any aspect of training/coaching. Parents must also be similarly involved. This openness may affect method(s) of training/coaching.
  • Be aware of developmental needs/capacity of young people. Avoid excessive training/competitions.  Learn to see signs of young people’s unwillingness to cooperate in training/ routines.
  • Note any irregularity of attendance, late cancellations, regular late coming. If late cancellations and the like, note whether telephone call is from parent or young person and whether there is any unease when giving the reason. Upon resumption of classes informally ascertain reasons for absence, etc.
  • Note regular late withdrawal from lessons, competitions and practices/rehearsals on the part of any pupil.
  • Try to ascertain reasons for unpunctuality by casual conversation and note reaction. Always put welfare of young person first, before any consideration of expertise/success/failure at 2020.
  • If pupils are “dropped off” and/or “not picked up” punctually, try to ensure young persons are not left alone, or exposed to intimate situations with you or other person(s).
  • Know young people’s appropriate medical condition(s) to establish if problems are likely to arise e.g. asthma etc., and ensure medication is available- parental permission is required. 5
  • Record, in detail, any accident/injury/unusual incident and any treatment in an appropriate register.
  • Note in an appropriate register and report any observed injuries, bruises, scratches or unusual behaviour.
  • Never allow any allegations to go unrecorded and not acted upon.
  • Always ensure there is a fully maintained First Aid box on premises.
  • Avoid spending time alone with young people in general.
  • Avoid taking young people to your home. Where this is unavoidable, the young person should be accompanied by a parent or licensed chaperone.
  • Never swear, use rough language, or make any comments with sexual overtone/implications and never allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Avoid doing things of a personal nature that young children can do for themselves e.g. tying shoes, buttoning coats etc.
  • Involve parents/carers wherever possible, e.g. in changing rooms. It is essential that teachers, coaches, parents, chaperones and helpers work in pairs in such places.
  • Where possible, young people should have separate changing facilities from adults. These should be gender- based and the young persons should be supervised by their parents/guardians. If chaperones are used, they must be licensed or at least DBS checked.
  • If it is not possible for young people to have separate changing facilities from adults, the facilities should be gender-based and the young persons should be supervised by their parents/carers. If the gender of a parent prevents him/her entering, he/she should take up a position near to the door of the changing room. Request written parental permission if teachers/ officers/officials etc. are required to transport young people in their cars.
  • If pupils of both sexes are taken away on trips, try to ensure that male and female teacher/coach/officer/ official/helpers accompany them. Written consent of parent is essential beforehand. An appropriate balance of escorts is required when young people are away from their parents. (see local authority guidelines)
  • If trips require overnight accommodation, adults should not enter young people’s rooms or invite them into theirs except in cases of emergency and should be accompanied by a licensed chaperone or a person who is at least DBS checked.
  • Never share rooms with young people e.g. overnight accommodation.  If trips require overnight accommodation, adults should not enter young people’s rooms or invite them into theirs except in cases of emergency and should be accompanied by a licensed chaperone or a person who is at least DBS checked.
  • Promote fair play and enjoyment in all aspects of 2020 Dance. Discourage jealousy, resentment, one-upmanship of any kind and promote kindness and support amongst peers.
  • Keep up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance. Speak to club leaders if you have difficulty doing this.
  • Never discuss such matters as a disagreement/break with other teachers/coaches, as this is a breach of confidentiality.
  • e-Safety is in line with many academic school policies. The general rule is to be kind and not say anything that you would not say in public. Club Leaders, teachers, guests, parents if messaging a young person on a private message platform/facility should always seek to
    • bring another adult in on the private message
    • message only via a shared account that can be accessed and viewed live by another adult preferably club leader.
    • messaging requires screen shots to be taken and stored on the secured/shared dropbox folder for future reference as a standard good practice. This is because facebook/instagram accounts can be deleted or users can be blocked so content is not accessible in future.
    • Club leaders and other adults involved with children of 2020 dance should avoid contact via Snapchat where messages disappear. Alternatively screen shots of ‘streaks’ must be taken.
    • Club leaders and other adults ie; parents should watch out for any concerns on social media and alert parents or club leaders as appropriate of any concerning material or messages.
    • Group Chat facilities make conversations easy and convenient for club members. Members and people involved on the chat need to be aware that a Club Leader or other adult/parent may be added to the group chat at any time.
  • Ensure that photographic equipment is only used in appropriate places and by appropriate people. Written permission MUST BE GIVEN by parents/guardian for under 18 years
  • Role model – smoking and drinking of alcohol should be avoided in young people’s company. All the above points place a corresponding reciprocal/joint responsibility on “parents” and volunteer helpers not to abuse their relationships with Young People. They also may become aware of situations of possible abuse, which have occurred, are occurring or may occur. Any concerns should be communicated to the Club leaders and (if the alleged offender is an 2020 Club Leader) to the other Club leaders or if there is a serious breach where a young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm, then contact the Policy or LADO directly.

Recognition of Poor Practice, Abuse & Bullying

2.1 Introduction

2020 Dance Club was set up by Daisy Welford at age 11 years after experiencing first hand physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her previous dance teachers. She later found out that her dance colleague Kyoko Howes had also had a similar experiences. The pair were keen that their newly formed Dance Club would absolutely and unconditionally have the welfare of dance children at the heart of everything it did with no bullying or physical harm.

Although not everyone will have expertise at recognising situations where abuse may occur, all young people, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, racial origin, religious belief and/or their sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse.

It is the responsibility of everyone to report any concerns, including suspicions of abuse or bullying which may be occurring outside the environment in which there is contact with young person(s) as well as those, which may be related to 2020 Dance Club.

All incidents of suspicious behaviour or poor practice and all allegations should be taken seriously, noted and passed through the appropriate channels swiftly and according to adopted procedures. Confidentiality will be upheld in line with the Data Protection Acts 1998 & 2003 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

2.2 Poor Practice

Poor practice is any behaviour, which contravenes the 2020 Dance Club Code of Practice or the 2020 Dance Club Child Protection Policy. (2020 Dance Club recognises that abuse of young people, in any form, should not be tolerated and will act if any abuse is detected and communicated to the appropriate Designated Safeguarding Officers or Child Protection Officers – who are the same people, Maxine Welford, Kelly Howes).

2.3 General Indications of Abuse

  • Unexplained or suspicious bruises, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injury.
  • An injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent.
  • The young person describes what appears to be an abusive act involving him/her.
  • Someone else (any age) expresses concern about the welfare of another young person.
  • Unexplained changes in behaviour.
  • Inappropriate sexual awareness.
  • Engaging in sexually explicit behaviour.
  • Distrust of adults, especially those with whom relationship would usually be close.
  • Difficulty in making friends.
  • Inability to mix with other friends.
  • Showing variations in eating patterns, including overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Loss of weight without reason.
  • Pattern of unkempt/dirty/dishevelled appearance.

2.4 Bullying by Peer or Adult in Any Form

All adults connected with young people must be aware that bullying can be verbal, psychological, or physical aggression by an individual or group against another individual or group.

Targets of bullying are sometimes singled out because of physical characteristics- weight, size, – or race, creed or culture.

Bullying mostly occurs where there is inadequate supervision. A good practice is never to leave young people alone in the coaching area/studio, changing rooms etc. except for very short periods.

All adults connected with young people at 2020 Dance Club should be aware of sophisticated forms of bullying such as:

Parental bullying, in wish for success.

Bullying in training/coaching, in drive for success.

Intimidation by one competitor or pupil against another. 8 Bullies come from all walks of life; they bully for all sorts of reasons and may even have been abused. Typically, bullies can have low self-esteem, be excitable, aggressive and jealous. Crucially, they have learned how to gain power over others. Bullying can include:

Physical: e.g. hitting, kicking and theft.

Verbal: e.g. name-calling, constant teasing, sarcasm, racist or homophobic taunts, threats, graffiti or gestures.

Emotional: e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating and ignoring.

Sexual: e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments. The damage inflicted by bullying can be frequently underestimated. It can cause considerable distress, to the extent that it affects health and development or, at the extreme, causes significant harm (including self-harm). There are a number of signs that may indicate when someone is being bullied:

Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go to training sessions/lessons or competitions etc.

A drop off in performance.

Physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed-wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes and bingeing for example on food, cigarettes or alcohol.

A shortage of money or frequent loss of possessions.

Action to Take if there are Concerns

3.1 Poor Practice

If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the person in charge should deal with it as a misconduct issue.

If the allegation is about poor practice by the person in charge, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, the informant should seek advice from the LA CPO/DSO and details sent to the 2020 Dance Club CPO/DSO, if the alleged abuser is an 2020 Dance Club member.

If the incident of poor practice is suspicious, all details should be recorded and reported to the LA CPO/DSO for advice and details sent to the 2020 Dance Club CPO/DSO, if the alleged abuser is an 2020 Dance Club member.

3.2 Suspected Abuse

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or any other person should be reported to a Club Leader, who will take such steps as are necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.

If the allegations involve an 2020 Dance Club member, the 2020 Dance Club CPO/DSO should be informed of the details.

The person in charge will refer the allegation to the Police or LADO.

If the situation appears particularly urgent and there is need to intervene to stop a criminal act occurring, the Club Leader will go directly to the police if it is out of LADO/Social Services’ normal working hours.

If the allegations involve a 2020 Dance Club member, the 2020 Dance Club CPO/DSO should be informed of the details.

The parents or carers will be contacted by the LA CPO/DSO or by the 2020 Dance Club CPO/DSO, if he/she is involved and advised to do so by the LA CPO/DSO, as soon as possible.

If the person in charge is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the person to whom the allegations were made should report to the Social Services Department and inform the 2020 Dance Club  CPO/DSO, if the alleged abuser is an 2020 Dance Club member.

3.3 Confidentiality

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:

  • The Club Leader(s).
  • The parents of the young person who is alleged to have been abused.
  • The young person making the allegation.
  • Social Services*/ Police.
  • 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO (if involved).
  • The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child).

*Social Services will advise who should approach the alleged abuser.

Information must be stored in a secure place with access limited to designated people in line with the data protection laws (e.g. the information must be accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure). The 2020 Dance Club Dropbox Folder will be the storage centre for all documentation.

3.4 Internal Enquiries and Suspension

The 2020 Dance Club CPO/DSO’s will assess individual cases under misconduct/disciplinary procedures as to whether consideration should be given to withdrawing Membership of 2020 Dance Club from the alleged abuser.

This may be a difficult decision, particularly where there is insufficient evidence to substantiate any action by the police.

In such cases, the 2020 Club Leaders and DSO/CPO’s must reach a decision based on the available information that could suggest on balance of probability; it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should always remain paramount.

3.5 Support to Deal with the Aftermath

Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to children, parents and members of staff. Use of Helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an 10 open culture and help the healing process.

The British Association of Counselling Directory and NSPCC may be a useful source.

Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to the alleged perpetrator of the abuse.

3.6 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 by a member of staff who is currently working with children).

Where such an allegation is made, it should be reported to the Social Services or the police (and to 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO if the alleged abuser is a 2020 Dance Club member). This is because other children, either within or outside 2020 Dance Club, 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 automatically reinforced by the protection of the Children’s Acts 1989 & 2004.

3.7 Action if Bullying is Suspected

If bullying by an adult is suspected the procedures above for dealing with suspected abuse should be followed.

All settings in which children are provided with services should have rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies.

Take all signs of bullying very seriously.

In particular:

  • Encourage children to speak and share their concerns.
  • 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 him/her, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
  • Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when etc.).
  • Report any concerns to the person in charge at the dance school.

3.8 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 behaviour.

Seek an apology to the victim(s). In addition:

  • Inform the bully’s parents.
  • Recommend the return of borrowed items and that the bully/ies compensate the victim.
  • Provide support for the teacher/coach of the victim.
  • Impose sanctions as necessary.
  • Encourage and support the bully/ies to change behaviour.
  • Keep families informed of progress. 11
  • If possible, keep a written report of action taken.

Child Protection – General Principles

4.1 Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSO’s)

2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO has designated personnel to handle child protection issues.

Maxine Welford, email admin@2020dance.co.uk Telephone 07740 635849

Kelly Howes, email kelly@2020dance.co.uk Telephone 07543 546071

The designated person will require support from 2020 Club Leaders with appropriate advice and information. It is the responsibility of the person in charge to inform the Social Services without delay of any concerns. If the person in charge is not available or the concern is about the person in charge, the person with concerns or the person being informed of the concerns should immediately contact the Social Services or the police.

The numbers are in the telephone directory. In these circumstances, you do not have to give your name but it is helpful if you can. The Social Services, together with the person in charge where appropriate, will decide how and when parents or carers will be informed. Incidents should also be referred to the LA CPO / LADO immediately and, if the alleged abuser is a 2020 Dance Club member, the 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO should be informed.

The designated CPO must keep up to date with legislation and developments. It is not the concern of anyone working under the auspices of 2020 Dance in a paid or voluntary capacity, or of those working in affiliated organisations, to decide whether or not child abuse is taking place or has taken place.

In those instances in which the alleged abuser is not a 2020 Dance Club member, the 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO will support the member to whom the allegations have been made, if so requested.

At the same time ensuring that proper procedures have been followed and that the appropriate agencies have been contacted. If allegations of abuse are sent directly to 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO bypassing the person in charge, 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO will contact person in charge and inform him/her of allegation immediately.

A referral will then be made to the Social Services. The informant will be notified of this course of action If 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO receives an allegation concerning Poor Practice by person in charge, or matter is handled inadequately and concerns remain, the informant will be advised to seek advice from the LA CPO / LADO as to whether it is a disciplinary issue or whether a referral to Social Services Department should be initiated.

Records to be kept updated of any action and outcomes. If the alleged incident of Poor Practice by the person in charge is suspicious or allegations of abuse by the person in charge are received by the 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO, the informant will be contacted and advised to report the allegations to LA CPO/LADO.

All details will be recorded and 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO will follow up and check that appropriate action has been taken. Records will be kept updated of any action and outcomes if alleged abuser is an 2020 Dance Club member.

If 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO is notified of action/referrals already taken about allegations of abuse by a 2020 Dance Club member, full written details should be obtained. These should be kept updated as to progress and outcomes, so that informed decisions can be taken as to whether consideration should be given to withdrawing 2020 Dance Club membership from alleged abuser. Speed of action and response is an essential element in handling allegations.

If any referrals alleging abuse by a 2020 Dance Club member are made to the 2020 Dance club DSO/CPO, a meeting with other Club Leaders must be arranged within one month to discuss possible action.

A quorum of two members will apply to each meeting.  Where the Club Leaders fall short of this a parent who is DBS checked may deputise for a Club Leader. As well as monitoring new incidents, this meeting will review existing reported cases.

The 2020 Dance Club DSO/CPO’s confidential documentation dealing with all referrals and correspondence must be kept in a safe repository in 2020 Dance Club Dropbox folder.

4.2 Expert Advice

If unsure what to do, advice can be obtain by telephoning the local Social Services Department and speaking to the duty worker or call the NSPCC 24-hour Helpline on 0800 800 5000. The police also have specially trained child protection teams who will give guidance and support, and deal with out-of-office-hours enquiries when Social Services are not available.

4.3 Records and Information

Information passed to the Social Services, police, NSPCC or 2020 Dance Club must be as helpful as possible. Hence, it is necessary to make a detailed record at the time of the disclosure/concern. Information should include the following:

  • How the information came to light.
  • The nature of the allegation.
  • A description of any visible bruising or other injuries.
  • The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or injuries occurred. (Do not probe for any more information than is offered).
  • The demeanour of the child, whether distressed, unusually quiet or any other striking behaviour.
  • Witnesses to the incident(s).
  • Any times, dates or other relevant information.
  • A clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
  • Date, time and sign (with status/position) any notes/records made.

Reporting the matter to police or Social Services should not be delayed by attempts to obtain more information. Wherever possible, referrals to the social services department should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours. A record should also be made of the name, department and contact details of the social services member of staff or police officer to whom the concerns were passed, together with the time, and date of call, in case any follow-up is needed.

A copy of all relevant information should be retained. All information is liable for future disclosure in the event of any civil or criminal proceedings, and, therefore should be accurately and diligently recorded and stored securely.

Responding to Disclosures, Suspicions and Allegations

5.1 Introduction

Although the majority of child abuse allegations are genuine, there are occasions when false allegations occur. However, if a young person says or indicates that he/she is being abused, or information is obtained which raises concern that a young person may be experiencing abuse, the information should be taken seriously and urgent action taken in line with these procedures.

5.2 Responding to Disclosure

The person receiving information concerning disclosure should:

  • React calmly so as not to frighten the child.
  • Tell the child he/she is not to blame and that he/she was right to tell.
  • Take what the child says seriously, recognising the difficulties inherent in interpreting what is said by a child with speech difficulties and/or differences in language.
  • Keep questions to the absolute minimum to ensure an accurate understanding of what has been said.
  • Try not to ask leading questions (i.e. those which suggest the answer). Let the child tell you what has happened in his/her own words.
  • Try not to take on the role of the police and/or Social Services. If from an initial complaint, there is reason to think that abuse has occurred, report it immediately to those authorities that have trained officers to deal with the matter in accordance with the law. It is important that possible future civil or criminal proceedings are not prejudiced by virtue of inappropriate questioning of the victim or suspect.
  • Reassure the child but do not make promises of confidentiality, which might not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments.
  • Make a full record of what has been said, heard and/or seen as soon as possible. This must be signed (status/position), dated and timed. N.B It may not be that all young people or people with disabilities are able to express themselves verbally. Communication difficulties may mean that it is hard for their complaint to be understood. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the signs of abuse from the symptoms of some types of disabilities or conditions. However, where there are concerns about the safety of a young person or adult with disabilities record what has been observed in detail and seek advice from social services.

The person receiving the disclosure should not:

  • Panic.
  • Allow their shock or distaste to show.
  • Probe for more information than is offered.
  • Speculate or make assumptions.
  • Make negative comments about the alleged abuser.
  • Approach the alleged abuser.
  • Make promises or agree to keep secrets.

5.3 Responding to Suspicions

5.3.1 General

It is not the responsibility of anyone working under the auspices of 2020 Dance Club in a paid or voluntary capacity, or those working in affiliated organisations, to take responsibility or to decide whether or not child abuse is taking place or has taken place.

However, there is a responsibility to protect children in order that appropriate agencies can then make enquiries and take any necessary action to protect young people.

5.3.2 Social Services

Social Services have a statutory duty under the Children’s Acts 1989 & 2004 to ensure the welfare of children and work with the local Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC) to comply with its procedures. When a child protection referral is made, the social services staff have a legal responsibility to make enquiries if there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm (Section 47, the Children’s Act 1989).

This may involve talking to the child and family, and gathering information from other people who know the child. Enquiries may be carried out jointly with the police.

If action needs to be taken urgently and/or out of office hours, then the police will deal with the enquiry sensitively and effectively. Local Authorities will need to link in closely with their respective ACPC and cross-reference the guidance produced by the ACPC.

5.3.3 Sharing concerns with Parents

There is always a commitment to work in partnership with parents and carers where there are concerns about their children. Therefore, in most situations, it would be important to talk to parents or carers to help clarify any initial concerns.

For example, if a child seems withdrawn, there may be a reasonable explanation. He/she may have experienced an upset in the family such as a parental separation, divorce or bereavement.

5.3.4 When it is Not Appropriate to Share concerns with Parents

There are circumstances in which a young person might be placed at even greater risk if concerns are shared (e.g. where a parent/carer may be responsible for the abuse or not able to respond to the situation appropriately).

In these situations or where concerns still exist, any suspicion, allegation or incident of abuse must be reported to the Club Leader(s) as soon as possible and recorded.

5.4 Allegations Against Staff or Volunteers

5.4.1 General

Staff and Volunteers includes anyone working with children in a paid or voluntary capacity. Child abuse can and does occur outside the family setting.

Although it is a sensitive and difficult issue, child abuse can occur within other settings (e.g. sport or other social activities). Recent research shows that abuse that takes place within a public setting is rarely a one-off event. It is crucial that those involved in 2020 Dance Club are aware of this possibility and that all allegations are taken seriously and appropriate action taken.

It is important that any concerns for the welfare of the child, arising from abuse or harassment by a member of staff or volunteer, should be reported immediately.

5.4.2 Seek Advice

There may be circumstances where allegations are about poor practice rather than abuse but those responsible should always consult senior colleagues and gain advice from social services, police or the NSPCC if there is any doubt.

This is because it may be just one of a series of other instances which together cause concern.

5.4.3 Support for the Reporter of Suspected Abuse

It is acknowledged that feelings generated by the discovery that a teacher, coach, official, member of staff or volunteer is, or may be abusing a child, will raise concerns amongst other staff or volunteers.

This includes the difficulties in reporting such matters. 2020 Dance club assures all members, volunteers and people working with young persons that it will fully support anyone who, in good faith (without malicious intent), reports his or her concern about a colleagues practice or the possibility that a child may be being abused.

5.4.4 Types of Investigation

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation:

Criminal.

Child Protection.

Disciplinary or misconduct.

The person/family or the person who alleged the abuse may also initiate Civil Proceedings. The results of the police and social services investigation may well influence 2020 Dance Club’s disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.

Further action on the potential actions of social services etc. may be found in the local ACPC guidelines.

Recruitment, Employment and Deployment of Staff & Volunteers

6.1 Introduction

All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with Young People and disabled adults.

The following procedures are a guideline to members when employing staff. These procedures should be adopted whether staff are paid, unpaid, full or part-time.

6.2 Pre-Recruitment Checks

The following pre-recruitment checks should be carried out.

6.2.1 Advertising

If any form of advertising is used to recruit staff, it should reflect the:

  • aims of the organisation/school.
  • responsibility of the role.
  • level of experience or qualifications required.
  • organisation’s/school’s positive stance on Child Protection.

6.2.2 Pre-Application Information

Pre-application information sent to interested applicants should contain:

  • A job description including roles and responsibilities.
  • A person specification (e.g. stating qualifications or experience required).
  • An application form.

6.2.3 Applications

All applications whether for paid or voluntary, full or part-time positions should complete an application form, which elicits the following information:

  • Name, address and National Insurance Number (to confirm identity and right to work).
  • Relevant experience, qualifications and training undertaken.
  • Listing of past career (to confirm experience and identify any gaps).
  • Whether the applicants are known to any Social Services as being an actual or potential risk to children or young people, a self-disclosure question to establish whether they have ever had action taken against them in relation to child abuse, sexual offences or violence.
  • The names of at least two people (not relatives) willing to provide written references that comment on the applicant’s previous experience of, and suitability for, working with children and young people (previous employer).
  • The applicant’s consent to criminal record checks being undertaken if necessary.

The applicant’s consent to abide by 2020 Dance Club’s Child Protection Policy. The form should also state that failure to disclose information or subsequent failure to conform to the Code of Practice could result in disciplinary action and possible loss of employment.

6.2.4 Checks and References

A minimum of two references should be taken up and at least one should be associated with former work with children/young people.

Written references should always be followed up and confirmed by telephone. 6.3 Regulated Activity with Children

6.3.1 General

The new definition of Regulated Activity with children combines the old definition which was focussed on the type of activity and the frequency or intensity of the contact, with a further requirement that the individual conducting the activity must be unsupervised.

An individual is defined as being in Regulated Activity if the following requirements are met:

The Activity involves teaching, training or instruction of children

AND Happens frequently (once a week or more often)

OR

Happens intensively (on 4 or more days in a 30-day period, or overnight)

AND The individual carrying out the activity of teaching, training or instructing is unsupervised.

6.3.2 Definition of Supervised

This is currently still under review. For guidance for 2020 Dance Club purposes supervised would indicate within eyesight and earshot of a supervisor.

6.4 Disclosure and Barring Service

6.4.1 General

From 1st December 2012, the CRB merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Please refer to the website for information on future changes to the safeguarding system.

6.3.3 Age of Applicant

The minimum age of someone applying for a DBS check is now 16 years

6.3.4 Useful Contacts

Government Disclosure and Barring Service website homepage www.gov.uk/disclosurebarring-service-check For all enquiries about DBS checks DBS Customer Services: 0300 0200190 For referrals and safeguarding matters DBS Help Desk: 01325 95 37 95