THE ORCHARD PLAYERS CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
The Orchard Players Amateur Dramatic Society 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 Services Act 2000 (in Scotland change to Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003).
The definition of child within this policy is that confirmed with Suffolk County Council ie all young people of statutory school age ie up to and including Year 11 ie must reach 16th birthday by 31st August of that year.
The society recognises that abuse can take many forms, whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. The society is committed to practice which protects children from harm. All members of the society accept and recognise their responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.
The society believes that:
- the welfare of the child is paramount;
- all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
- all suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
- all members and employees of the society should be clear on how to respond appropriately.
The society will ensure that:
- all children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity;
- the welfare of each child will always be put first;
- a balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process;
- enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than negative criticism;
- bullying will not be accepted or condoned;
- no child will be made to feel shame or distress because of their gender identity. Where required, on a case by case basis and in discussion with the child, appropriate changing and toilet facilities will be identified.
- all adult members of the society provide a positive role model for dealing with other people;
- action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour;
- it will keep up-to-date with health & safety legislation;
- it will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children;
- it will undertake relevant development and training;
- it will hold a register of every child involved with the society and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies.
The society has child protection procedures which accompany this policy. This policy should also be read in conjunction with the society’s Health & Safety Policy.
The society has two dedicated Child Protection Officers, who are in charge of ensuring that the child protection policy and procedures are adhered to. They are Jade Seager phone 07776108453 email Jlseager@googlemail.com and Charlea Finbow phone 07968961906 email firstname.lastname@example.org
This policy will be regularly monitored by the Committee of the society and will be subject to annual review.
Date: Revised April 2022.
THE ORCHARD PLAYERS CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES
Responsibilities of the Society
At the outset of any production involving children the society will:
- identify at the outset the person with designated responsibility for child protection;
- ensure that children are supervised at all times;
- know how to get in touch with the local authority social services, in case it needs to report a concern.
- The society believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and the society. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the activities of the society and to share responsibility for the care of children. All parents will be signposted to the society’s Child Protection Policy and procedures on the society’s website com
- All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. We MUST know, in advance of collection who this will be. All children must be signed out on every rehearsal and show night. It is NOT the responsibility of the society to take children home.
- Children with separated parents will be treated no differently to others and neither will the parents of those children if they have shared responsibilities. In these cases, please speak to us in confidence to ensure that we have up to date and correct information.
- The society will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with children.
- If possible there will always be two adults in the room when working with children.
- If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimize risk. For example, work will be carried out in a public area or in a designated room with a door open.
- All adults will maintain a safe and appropriate distance from children.
- Adults will only touch children when it is absolutely necessary in relation to the particular activity.
- Adults will seek the consent of the child prior to any physical contact and the purpose of the contact shall be made clear.
Managing sensitive information
- Permission will be sought from the parents for use of photographic material featuring children for promotional purposes only.
- The society’s web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use.
Suspicion of abuse
- If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of the society, please make this known to the person with responsibility for child protection. If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the Chairman.
- Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved.
- If a serious allegation is made against any member of the society, chaperone, venue staff etc., that individual will be excluded immediately until the investigation is concluded. The individual will be excluded from all activities and will not have any contact with any other children in the production.
Disclosure of abuse
- If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:
- Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
- 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.
- Don’t promise to keep it a 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.
- Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone.
- Tell the child what you are going to do next.
- Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually social services or the police.
- 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, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.
- In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.
- An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken eg. exclusion of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.
- The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.
Rights & Confidentiality
- No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.
- In criminal law the Crown or other prosecuting authority has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
- To avoid accidents, children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken. All dancers should wear jazz shoes for rehearsals.
Children will be expected to remain in the hall throughout the rehearsal except to go to the toilet.
No child will be expected to do anything that might endanger life or limb
Children will be signed into and out of rehearsals
If a child has not been collected from rehearsals, the producer will ensure that arrangements are made to get them home
During performances, only cast and authorised show crew may enter the library whilst it is used as a changing area for both adults and children. Authorised crew will be issued with a badge ‘’The Orchard Players Show Crew’’.
Separate changing areas will be created in the library for girls, boys, men and women. Any child or young person who has the need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason (disability, trans, non-binary, faith), in discussion with that child will be offered a reasonable alternative.
Children and Young People have the right to access the toilet that corresponds to their gender identity. Any child or young person who expresses a desire for increased privacy will be offered the use of the accessible single toilet within the community hall complex.
The Society will appoint licensed chaperones for each production and will abide by the requirements as set out by Suffolk County Council in the guidelines for Licensing of Matrons/Chaperones for Child Performers/Children in Entertainment.
Chaperones are licensed to look after a maximum of 12 children at any one time, however wherever possible The Orchard Players will provide chaperones in sufficient numbers to meet best practice guidance.
Licensed chaperones must be 18 years old or over and must complete an application form. Suffolk County Council will carry out DBS checks and may require an interview.
Full details can be found on www.suffolk.gov.uk or by talking to the Child Employment Office on 01473 584772
Revised April 2022.
Date: Revised March 2021