Match-Aid Child Protection Policy


Match-Aid
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY


1    Child Protection Policy

1.1    Introduction

Everyone who participates in Match-Aid is entitled to do so in an enjoyable and safe environment.  Match-Aid  have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that, when given responsibility for young people, members and volunteers provide them with the
highest possible standard of care.
The aim of the policy is to promote good practice, providing children and young
people with appropriate safety/protection whilst in the care of Match-Aid and to allow members and volunteers to make informed and
confident responses to specific child protection issues.

A child/young person is defined as a person under the age of 18
(Children’s Act 1989)

1.1 Policy Statement

Match-Aid is committed to the following:

the welfare of the child 

all children, whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial
      origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity should be able to participate in
      Match-Aid in a fun and safe environment
taking all reasonable steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and
      degrading treatment and to respect their rights, wishes and feelings
all suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse will be taken seriously
      and responded to swiftly and appropriately
that a member/s of the Match-Aid Committee having  training on the appropriate guidance in good practice and child protection procedures
working in partnership with parents and children is essential for the protection
      of children
 

1.2 Monitor and Review the Policy and Procedures

The implementation of procedures should be regularly monitored and reviewed.
The Child Protection Officer should regularly report to the Committee.
The Policy should be reviewed every year or whenever there is a major change in
the organisation or in relevant legislation.

2    Promoting Good Practice

2.1 Introduction

To provide children with the best possible experience and opportunities in Musical
Theatre everyone must operate within an accepted ethical framework. 
It is not always easy to distinguish poor practice from abuse.  It is therefore NOT
the responsibility of members or participants in Musical Theatre to make
judgements about whether or not abuse is taking place.  It is however their
responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and act if they have
concerns about the welfare of the child, as explained in section 4.  
This section will help you identify what is meant by good practice and poor
practice.

2.2 Good Practice

All members should adhere to the following principles and action:

    always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved
situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets)
    make the experience of Musical Theatre fun and enjoyable: promote fairness,
team building and an anti bullying ethos
    treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity
    always put the welfare of the young person first
    maintain a safe and appropriate distance with players 
    The nature of Angling requires a certain level of physical proximity.
However, avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people.  Where any
form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and
with the consent of the young person.  Physical contact can be appropriate so
long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the young person’s consent
has been given    
    request written parental consent if members of the Committee/volunteers are               required to transport young people in their cars
    always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative
criticism
    recognise the developmental needs and capacity of the young person 
    secure written parental consent for the Society to act in loco parentis, to give
permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical
treatment if the need arises
    keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any
treatment given





2.3 Poor Practice

The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all
members:

    unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time alone with young people
away from others
    taking young people alone in a car on journeys
    taking young people to your home where they will be alone with you
    engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games
    allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form
    allowing young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged
    making sexually suggestive comments to a young person, even in fun
    reducing a young person to tears as a form of control
    allow allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or
not acted upon
    do things of a personal nature that the young person can do for themselves
When a case arises where it is impractical/impossible to avoid a certain situation
e.g. transporting a young person in you car, the tasks should only be carried out
with the full understanding and consent of the parent/care and the young person
involved.
If during your care you accidentally hurt a young person, the young person
seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
and/or if the young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have
done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to another colleague and
make a written note of it.  Parents should also be informed of the incident.
     
3    Defining Child Abuse

3.1 Introduction

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of
care that leads to injury or harm, it commonly occurs within a relationship of trust
or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust.  Abuse can happen
to a young person regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
There are four main types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional
abuse and neglect.  The abuser may be a family member, someone the young
person encounters in residential care or in the community, including sports and
leisure activities.  Any individual may abuse or neglect a young person directly, or
may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person
harming the young person.
Abuse in all of its forms can affect a young person at any age.  The effects can be
so damaging that if not treated may follow the individual into adulthood
Young people with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various
factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a
powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse had
occurred.

3.2 Types of Abuse

    Physical Abuse: where adults physically hurt or injure a young person e.g.
hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating,
drowning.  Giving young people alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also
constitute child abuse.
This category of abuse can also include when a parent/carer reports non-
existent symptoms or illness deliberately causes ill health in a young person
they are looking after.  
In a sports situation, physical abuse may occur when the nature and intensity
of training disregard the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body
    Emotional Abuse: the persistent emotional ill treatment of a young person,
likely to cause severe and lasting adverse effects on the child’s emotional
development.  It may involve telling a young person they are useless,
worthless, unloved, and inadequate or valued in terms of only meeting the
needs of another person.  It may feature expectations of young people that
are not appropriate to their age or development.  It may cause a young
person to be frightened or in danger by being constantly shouted at,
threatened or taunted which may make the young person frightened or
withdrawn.
Ill treatment of children, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree
of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse in sport may occur when the young person is constant
criticised, given negative feedback, expected to perform at levels that are
above their capability.  Other forms of emotional abuse could take the form of
name calling and bullying.

   
    Bullying may come from another young person or an adult.  Bullying is
defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of
time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves.  There are
three main types of bullying.
It may be physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping), verbal (e.g. racist or
homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive text messages),
emotional (e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating form the
group), or sexual (e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
In sport bullying may arise when a parent or coach pushes the young person
too hard to succeed, or a rival athlete or official uses bullying behaviour.
    Neglect occurs when an adult fails to meet the young person’s basic physical
and/or psychological needs, to an extent that is likely to result in serious
impairment of the child’s health or development.  For example, failing to
provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect from physical
harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or
treatment.
Refusal to give love, affection and attention can also be a form of neglect.
Neglect in sport could occur when a coach does not keep the young person
safe, or exposing them to undue cold/heat or unnecessary risk of injury.
    Sexual Abuse occurs when adults (male and female) use children to meet
their own sexual needs.  This could include full sexual intercourse,
masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling.  Showing young people
pornography or talking to them in a sexually explicit manner are also forms of
sexual abuse.
    In sport, activities which might involve physical contact with young people
could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed. 
Also the power of the coach over young athletes, if misused, may lead to
abusive situations developing.

3.3 Indicators of Abuse

Even for those experienced in working with child abuse, it is not always easy to
recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place.  Most
people are not experts in such recognition, but indications that a child is being
abused may include one or more of the following:
    unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly
if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries
    an injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent
    the young person describes what appears to be an abusive act involving them
    another young person or adult expresses concern about the welfare of a
young person
    unexplained changes in a young person’s behaviour e.g. becoming very upset,
quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper

   
    inappropriate sexual awareness
    engaging in sexually explicit behaviour
    distrust of adult’s, particularly those whom a close relationship would normally
be expected
    difficulty in making friends
    being prevented from socialising with others
    displaying variations in eating patterns including over eating or loss of
appetite
    losing weight for no apparent reason
    becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt

Signs of bullying include:

    behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming
withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to
go training or competitions
    an unexplained drop off in performance
    physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed
wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, bingeing e.g. on food,
alcohol or cigarettes
    a shortage of money or frequents loss of possessions
It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the
presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. 
It is NOT the responsibility of members of Match-Aid
to decide that child abuse is occurring.  It IS their responsibility to act on any
concerns.

3.4 Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment at
Theatre Events

Photographs and videos are taken for the purpose of media advertising and for
Match-Aid and personal memorabilia.  It is also acknowledged that members may
have profile pages on social networking sites. Which be monitored by Match-Aid media Director and Administration to ensure the acceptable standard is maintained
The Committee should be vigilant in responding to any concerns that are reported
to the Child Protection Officer.
All parents and performers should be made aware that photographs and videos
are taken and should inform the Child Protection Officer if they do not wish the
young persons image to be taken or shared in a public domain.
 
   
4    Responding to Suspicions and Allegations

4.1 Introduction

It is not the responsibility of anyone member The Burton Musical Theatre
Company, production team (in a paid or unpaid capacity) or volunteer 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 so that they
can then make inquiries and take necessary action to protect the young person. 
This applies BOTH to allegations/suspicions of abuse occurring within The Burton
Musical Theatre Company and to allegations/suspicions that abuse is taking place
elsewhere.

This section explains how to respond to allegations/suspicions.

4.2 Receiving Evidence of Possible Abuse

We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways.  We may see it
happening, we may suspect it happening because of signs such as those listed in
section 3 of this document, it may be reported to us by someone else or directly
by the young person affected.
In the last of these cases, it is particularly important to respond appropriately.  If
a young person says or indicates that they are being abused, you should:

    stay calm so as not to frighten the young person
    reassure the child that they are not to blame and that it was right to tell
    listen to the child, showing that you are taking them seriously
    keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate
understanding of what has been said.  The law is very strict and child abuse
cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words
and ideas have been suggested during questioning.  Only ask questions to
clarify
    Keep questions open so not to lead the young person down a particular
route of conversation
    inform the child that you have to inform other people about what they have
told you.  Tell the child this is to help stop the abuse continuing.
    safety of the child is paramount.  If the child needs urgent medical attention
call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are
made aware that this is a child protection issue
    record all information
    report the incident to the Child Protection Officer, who will then report to the
Management Committee

In all cases if you are not sure what to do you can gain help from
ChildLine help line (24hrs line).  Tel No: 0800 1111 







4.3 Recording Information

To ensure that information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should
always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern.  In recording you should
confine yourself to the facts and distinguish what is your personal knowledge and
what others have told you.  Do not include your own opinions. Information should include the following:

    the child’s name, age and date of birth
    the child’s home address and telephone number
    whether or not the person making the report is expressing their concern or
someone else’s
    the nature of the allegation, including dates, times and any other relevant
information
    a description of any visible bruising or injury, location, size etc.  Also any
indirect signs, such as behavioural changes
    details of witnesses to the incidents
    the child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened 
    have the parents been contacted?  If so what has been said?
    has anyone else been consulted?  If so record details
    has anyone been alleged to be the abuser?  Record detail

4.4 Reporting the Concern

All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately.  It is recognised
that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is
suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty.  It is important to understand
these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any
action to take.
Match-Aid expects its members to discuss any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child immediately with the Child Protection Officer and subsequently check that appropriate action has been taken. If the nominated Child Protection Officer, you should approach a Committee member, if they are not available you should take responsibility and seek advice from the NSPCC helpline or ChildLine, the duty officer at your local Social Services department or the police.  Telephone numbers can be found in your local directory.
Where there is a complaint against an employee or volunteer, there may be three
types of investigation.
    Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved
    Child protection  in which case the Social Services (and possibly) the police
will be involved
   Disciplinary or misconduct in which case Match-Aid will be involved
Social Services have a legal responsibility under The Children Act 1989 to
investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where
appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and
making inquiries jointly with the police.

NB:    If there is any doubt, you must report the incident: it may be just
one of a series of other incidences which together cause concern

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by a member or volunteer should be
reported to Match-Aid who will take appropriate steps
to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at
risk.  This will include the following:
    Match-Aid will refer the matter to Social Services
department    
    the parent/carer of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following
advice from the Social Services Department
    the Chairperson of your organisation should be notified to decide who will deal
with any media inquiries and implement any immediate disciplinary
proceedings
    if the Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation the
report must be made to the appropriate manager who will refer the matter to
Social Services
Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometime after the event.  Where such
allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter
reported to Social Services.  This is because other children in the sport or outside
it may be at risk from the alleged abuser.  Anyone who has a previous conviction
for offences related to abuse against children is automatically excluded from
working with children.

4.5 Concerns outside the Society (e.g. a parent or
carer)

    Report your concerns to the Child Protection officer
    If the Child Protection officer is not available, the person being told or
discovering the abuse should contact their local Social Services department or
the police immediately
    Social Services and the Child Protection officer will decide how to inform the
parents/carers
    Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis

4.6 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:
    Match-Aid's Child Protection Officer 
    The parents of the child
    The person making the allegation
    Social Services/Police
    The members of the Committee involved in the allegation in any way
    The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child)
Seek Social Services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser.
All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to
designated people, in line with data protection laws.

4.7 Internal Inquiries and Suspension

    The Child Protection officer and the Committee will make an immediate
decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily
suspended pending further Police and Social Services inquiries
    Irrespective of the findings of the Social Services or police inquiries the
Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a
member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively
      handled.  This may be a difficult decision; especially where there is insufficient
evidence to uphold any action by the police.  In such cases the Committee
must reach a decision based upon the available information which could
suggest that on the balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the
allegation is true.  The welfare of the child should remain of paramount
importance throughout.

Personnel Working with Children

5.1 Introduction
It is important that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent unsuitable people
from working with children.  This applies equally to paid staff and volunteers,
both full and part time.  To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working
with children, the following steps should be taken:

5.2 Controlling Access to Children

    All Committee members working with young adults should provide the
relevant detail on their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form.  

5.3 Company Requirements

Match-Aid requires:

    All Committee members and volunteers to have an understanding of
Child Protection and a working knowledge of the policy
    Analyse their own practice against what is deemed good practice, and to
ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations
    Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor
practice and/or abuse
    Respond to concerns expressed by a child
    Work safely and effectively with children

 

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