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Confidence-building Performing Arts Workshopsfor children aged 4-16 in East London

ShowKids Safeguarding Policy

ShowKids Theatre School is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which the children in our care are protected from abuse, harm and radicalisation. 

ShowKids staff will respond promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns regarding the safety of a child that may occur. The Club’s child protection procedures comply with all relevant legislation and with guidance. 

The Club’s designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is Tom Janvrin. The Deputy DSL is Natalie Janvrin. The DSL coordinates safeguarding and child protection issues and liaises with external agencies (eg Social Care and Ofsted). 

This Policy outlines how ShowKids will meet its statutory requirements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children attending its workshops. 

Child abuse and neglect

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or by failing to protect them from harm. Some forms of child abuse and neglect are listed below. 

  • Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child so as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve making the child feel that they are worthless, unloved, or inadequate. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
  • Physical abuse can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may be also caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child.
  • Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. This can involve physical contact, or non-contact activities such as showing children sexual activities or encouraging them to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
  • Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. It can involve a failure to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter, to protect a child from physical and emotional harm, to ensure adequate supervision or to allow access to medical treatment.

Signs of child abuse and neglect

Signs of possible abuse and neglect may include: 

  • significant changes in a child’s behaviour 
  • deterioration in a child’s general well-being
  • unexplained bruising or marks
  • comments made by a child which give cause for concern
  • reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting, eg in the child’s home, or that a girl may have been subjected to (or is at risk of) female genital mutilation (FGM), or that the child may have witnessed or be living with domestic abuse
  • inappropriate behaviour displayed by a member of staff, or any other person. For example, inappropriate sexual comments, excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their role, or inappropriate sharing of images. 

If abuse is suspected or disclosed

When a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff will:

  • reassure the child that they were not to blame and were right to speak out 
  • listen to the child but not question them
  • give reassurance that the staff member will take action
  • record the incident as soon as possible (see Logging an incident below).

If a member of staff witnesses or suspects abuse, they will record the matter straightaway using the Logging a Concern form and refer the matter to the DSL. If a third party expresses concern that a child is being abused, we will encourage them to contact Social Care directly. If they will not do so, we will explain that the Club is obliged to and the incident will be logged accordingly.

All staff recognise that children may not feel ready or know how to tell someone that they are being abused, exploited or neglected and/or they may not recognise their experiences as harmful. This could be due to their vulnerability, disability or language barriers. They may also feel embarrassed, humiliated or are being threatened. Our staff recognise this and where they have any concerns about a child they will raise these with the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) without unreasonable delay. 

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

FGM is an illegal, extremely harmful practice and a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls. FGM is therefore dealt with as part of our existing safeguarding procedures. All of our staff receive training in how to recognise when girls are at risk of FGM or may have been subjected to it. 

If FGM is suspected or disclosed

We will follow the same procedures as set out above for responding to child abuse and will make a report to Children’s Social Care or the police directly. 

Child-on-Child abuse

Children are vulnerable to abuse by their peers. Child-on-Child abuse is taken seriously by staff and will be subject to the same child protection procedures as other forms of abuse. Staff are aware of the potential uses of technology and the internet for bullying and abusive behaviour between young people. 

Staff will not dismiss abusive behaviour as normal between young people. The presence of one or more of the following in relationships between children should always trigger concern about the possibility of peer-on-peer abuse: 

  • Sexual activity (in primary school-aged children) of any kind, including sexting
  • One of the children is significantly more dominant than the other (eg much older)
  • One of the children is significantly more vulnerable than the other (eg in terms of disability, confidence, physical strength) 
  • There has been some use of threats, bribes or coercion to ensure compliance or secrecy. 

If child-on-child abuse is suspected or disclosed

We will follow the same procedures as set out above for responding to child abuse.

Extremism and radicalisation

All childcare settings have a legal duty to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and being drawn into extremism. There are many reasons why a child might be vulnerable to radicalisation, eg:

  • feeling alienated or alone
  • seeking a sense of identity or individuality
  • suffering from mental health issues such as depression
  • desire for adventure or wanting to be part of a larger cause
  • associating with others who hold extremist beliefs

Signs of radicalisation

Signs that a child might be at risk of radicalisation include:

  • changes in behaviour, for example becoming withdrawn or aggressive
  • claiming that terrorist attacks and violence are justified
  • viewing violent extremist material online
  • possessing or sharing violent extremist material

If a member of staff suspects that a child is at risk of becoming radicalised, they will record any relevant information or observations on a Logging a Concern form, and refer the matter to the DSL.

Logging a concern

All information about the suspected abuse or disclosure, or concern about radicalisation, will be recorded on the Logging a Safeguarding Concern Form, which will be shared with all staff, as soon as possible after the event. The record should include:

  • date of the disclosure, or the incident, or the observation causing concern
  • date and time at which the record was made
  • name and date of birth of the child involved
  • a factual report of what happened. If recording a disclosure, you must use the child’s own words
  • name, signature and job title of the person making the record.

The record will be accessed to the ShowKids DSL who will decide on the appropriate course of action. 

For concerns about child abuse, the DSL will contact Social Care. The DSL will follow up all referrals to Social Care in writing within 48 hours. If a member of staff thinks that the incident has not been dealt with properly, they may contact Social Care directly.

For minor concerns regarding radicalisation, the DSL will contact the Local Authority Prevent Co-ordinator. For more serious concerns the DSL will contact the Police on the non-emergency number (101), or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. For urgent concerns the DSL will contact the Police using 999.

If the situation is urgent and the child is in immediate danger or at risk by going home with the parent/carer then the ShowKids member of staff should contact the Police immediately on 999. 

Action Taken/Referral

Once the DSL has received the Logging a Concern Form form, they will review the information and then make a decision about the action to take.

  1. Decision to monitor the concern: If this is the decision made, then the ShowKids practitioner will monitor the child and feedback to the DSL within an agreed timescale. The DSL will write up a confidential report and review with the practitioner.
  2. Speak to the parent/carer: The DSL will speak to the parent or carer about the concern or disclosure.

Once discussed with parents/carers, the following action can be taken:

  1. No action – but the DSL will write up a confidential report stating the reason why no action is being taken and store it securely.
  2. Decision to monitor the concern. See above.
  3. Discuss the case on a “no names” basis with the relevant borough/local authority’s Child Protection Co-ordinator or Child and Family Contact Team and ask their advice.
  4. Refer to the relevant Social Care Department in the local authority of the child’s address. If a referral is necessary the parent/carer would need to be told that the information is going to be passed on to the relevant social services.

All referral information and decisions, phone calls, discussions and actions will also be recorded and kept with the full record. This will also include a record of any decisions made not to refer the incident, along with reasons.

Allegations against staff 

If anyone makes an allegation of child abuse against a member of staff:

  • The allegation will be reported to the DSL in written form, then logged on an Incident report form. Any witnesses to the incident should sign and date the entry to confirm it.
  • The allegation must be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and to Ofsted (if relevant). The LADO will advise if other agencies (eg police) should be informed, and ShowKids will act upon their advice. Any telephone reports to the LADO will be followed up in writing within 48 hours.
  • Following advice from the LADO, it may be necessary to suspend the member of staff pending full investigation of the allegation.
  • If appropriate, the Club will make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Promoting awareness among staff

The Club promotes awareness of child abuse and the risk of radicalisation through its staff training. The Club ensures that:

  • the designated DSL has relevant experience and receives appropriate training in safeguarding and the Prevent Duty, and is aware of the Channel Programme and how to access it
  • designated person training is refreshed every three years
  • safe recruitment practices are followed for all new staff
  • all staff have a copy of this Safeguarding policy, understand its contents and are vigilant to signs of abuse, neglect or radicalisation
  • all staff are aware of their statutory duties with regard to the disclosure or discovery of child abuse, and concerns about radicalisation
  • all staff receive basic safeguarding training, and safeguarding is a permanent agenda item at all staff meetings ensuring staff receive at least annual safeguarding updates. 
  • all staff receive basic training in the Prevent Duty
  • staff are familiar with, and can access the Safeguarding Google Drive folder 

Use of mobile phones and cameras

  • Photographs will only be taken of children with their parents’ permission.
  • Only photographs that have had parental permission can be shared on social media.
  • Mobile phones are only used during workshops for contacting parents, the ShowKids DSL, or Emergency Services.

Contact numbers

Waltham Forest Social Care: 020 8496 2310

Hackney Social Care (MASH): 020 8356 5500

Newham Social Care: 0208 430 2000

Waltham Forest Social Care out of hours contact: 020 8496 3000

Hackney Social Care out of hours contact: 0208 356 2710

Newham Social Care out of hours contact:0208 430 2000

Waltham Forest LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer): 0208 496 3646

Hackney LADO: 0208 356 4569

Newham LADO: 0203 373 3803

Waltham Forest Prevent Co-ordinator: Sean Thomson

Hackney Prevent Co-ordinator: Donna Thomas

Newham Prevent Co-ordinator: 020 3373 0440

Police: 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency)

Anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321

NSPCC: 0808 800 500

Ofsted: 0300 123 1231

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