Children and Young People Protection Policy (Safeguarding)

Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy 

Toonspeak works with children and young people from 0-25 years. The safety and protection of children and young people is paramount to our work and should be a matter of concern for us all. We have a shared responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation. 

The aim of this policy is to set out clear guidelines so that young people and adults can work together in a safe and happy environment.  

Toonspeak will ensure that this Policy and Procedures document is brought to an individual’s attention prior to the commencement of contact with children and young people. This policy will be reviewed annually or as and when new, relevant legislation or guidance is introduced or amended.  

Toonspeak’s Child Protection Officer  

Name: Katie Gillespie 

Office: 0141 552 0234 

Mobile: 07818 686 267

Email: katie@toonspeak.co.uk     

 

The Deputy Child Protection Officer is the Head of Programme and Creative Development. They should be contacted when Katie is unavailable. 

 

Legal Framework 

The key legislative framework supporting the protection of children and young people includes: 

 

Duty of Care 

Section 5 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 states that “it shall be the responsibility of a person who is 16 or over and who has care and or control of a child under 16, to do what is reasonable to safeguard the child’s health, development and welfare.” 

  

For Toonspeak, this creates a duty of care to safeguard the welfare of children who participate in Toonspeak’s activities. At Toonspeak, a child or young person is recognised as someone under the age of 18. 

 

Preventing unsuitable persons from working with children and vulnerable adults 

The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 (POCSA) aims to improve safeguards for children and vulnerable people by preventing unsuitable persons from working with them. The Act provides for Scottish Ministers to maintain a list of persons unsuitable to work in a childcare position in either paid employment or as an unpaid volunteer. 

  

Toonspeak has a recruitment and selection procedure for both employees and volunteers that uphold the requirements of the Act.  

 

All staff and volunteers are PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) checked through Disclosure Scotland. 

 

Criminal Liability 

Section 12 of Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 states that criminal liability can arise where an adult ‘wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons or exposes the child … in a manner likely to cause [the child] unnecessary suffering or injury to health.’ 

  

Guidance indicates that harm does not actually have to occur in order for there to be criminal liability – it is sufficient that harm is likely to occur. Toonspeak recognises the importance of developing a culture of risk awareness amongst its employees and volunteers. 

 

Promoting Safe Practice 

 

Training and Staff Development  

Toonspeak will ensure that employees and volunteers receive appropriate training in child protection issues. This training will be designed to meet the needs of the organisation. 

Group Ratio 

  • As a guideline, there should be one adult per every ten young people 
  • Where required this number may be increased to reflect the needs of the participants 
  • All children attending workshops must be registered using Toonspeak’s Participant Information Forms and return signed consent form 
  • All staff and volunteers should be identifiable during activities 

Health & Safety 

  • There must be adequate space, which is safe to use 
  • Health and Safety risk assessments must be carried out for all venues – this will be supported and monitored by our Head of Finance and Operations 
  • There must be a first aid box available on site 
  • Children who are expecting to be met by a parent/carer should be kept with staff until the parent/carer claims them 
  • All staff must be familiar with procedures to ensure the safety of children in the event of the evacuation of the venue 
  • On the sounding of any alarm staff should have the responsibility of checking that no unaccompanied children are left in the performance or workshop space or related spaces (meeting rooms, toilets etc).  
  • In the event of an evacuation during a workshop, staff must lead children to the assembly point taking the register of children attending the workshop. The register must be checked to ensure that all children are out of the building. If a child is unaccounted for this should be reported immediately to the emergency services. 

Recording H&S Incidents 

All accidents/injuries must be documented and reported to the Office Manager, who is our H&S Officer. A report should be made by the person who witnessed the accident/incident by using the online form at toonspeak.co.uk/report – Health & Safety Incident Form. 

Health & Safety Officer 

Name: Caroline Wilson 

Office: 0141 552 0234 

Email: caroline@toonspeak.co.uk     

 

Managing intimate care needs 

Intimate care commonly involves meeting toileting and medical needs. It is Toonspeak’s policy that intimate care needs are met by the child’s parent/carer. 

 

Use of photographs and images of children  

Toonspeak recognises that photographs can be used as a means of identifying children when they are accompanied with personal information. This information can make the child vulnerable to an individual who may wish to ‘groom’ the child for abuse. Toonspeak also recognises that photo images are adapted by certain individuals and groups for inappropriate use. It is therefore Toonspeak’s policy that: 

  

  • Where photos of individuals are to be published, the name of the child will not be printed with the photograph unless specific consent has been obtained from the Child and parent/carer through the CPO. 
  • Where it is felt to be important to publish a child’s name, a photograph will not support this. 
  • Where group photographs are published, individual children will not be named. 

 

Data Protection and storage of confidential records 

Toonspeak recognises its responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 2018. Information relating to child protection issues will be stored in a secure place. Access to this information will be restricted to Toonspeak’s Child Protection Officer. 

  

Toonspeak is aware that the Data Protection Act 2018 allows for disclosure of information without the consent of the subject in certain conditions, including for the purposes of prevention and detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. The need to safeguard children will always be considered within these parameters. 

 

General Guidelines for Staff and Volunteers 

  • Treat all young people equally, regardless of cultural, economic, social or geographical status 
  • Be aware of the vulnerability of some groups of children to being isolated and hurt (for example, children with disabilities and learning difficulties; children from Gypsy & Traveller communities; Black & Minority Ethnic children) 
  • Never Harass or intimidate a child or worker because of their age, ‘race’, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, socio-economic class or disability 
  • Never be drawn into any derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or young persons 
  • Never allow a child, young person or adult to be bullied or harmed by anyone in the organisation 
  • Do not allow children to swear or use sexualised language unchallenged except when strong language is used as part of a performance 

 

Keeping a professional Boundary 

You must always maintain professional boundaries especially when working with vulnerable groups and individuals 

  • Never make arrangements to contact children outside the activity, project or venue 
  • Never share your personal phone number or email address with a participant or connect or interact with them on social media. Engagement for specific projects on social media may be authorised to key staff by the CPO for use on Toonspeak’s own company social media platforms 
  • Never invite or allow a child or young person to stay with you at your home 
  • Avoid putting yourself in a position where you or the young person are vulnerable. No member of staff should be alone with, or behind a closed door with, a young person or a group of young people. Exceptions such as 1:1 creative therapy or Progression sessions must be approved by the Child Protection Officer 
  • Do not make inappropriate or suggestive adult comments, even if meant in jest 
  • Do not engage in sexually provocative games, including horseplay 
  • Do not encourage inappropriate behaviour. Circumstances like crushes, behavioural problems, bullying, etc, should be treated with professional distance and, if serious, reported to the Child Protection Officer, who may take the matter further 
  • Do not engage in rough physical contact 

Allegations 

If a young person makes allegations of abuse by an employee or volunteer, the Toonspeak Chief Executive will investigate the allegation.  Any allegation will be treated very seriously, regardless of the content of the claim and the company will have the option of immediately suspending any staff or volunteer whilst the investigation is undertaken. 

 

Managing Concerns and Disclosure of Abuse 

If you are concerned that a child or young person is at risk of harm or they have made a disclosure of abuse: 

 

  • Never promise a child that you will not tell anyone or offer to keep secret what is disclosed to you. 
  • Listen carefully to any child who ‘tells you’ (sometimes through drawings and behaviour as well as words) that they are being harmed and report what you have discovered immediately to the Child Protection Officer 
  • Never dismiss what a child tells you as lies or exaggeration. Always record and report appropriately 
  • Your reaction should be neutral and non-judgmental. 
  • Do not press the child for more information. 
  • Do not exaggerate or trivialise another worker’s concerns about a child or ignore an allegation or suspicion of abuse in the hope that it will either ‘go away’ or that ‘someone else will deal with it’ 
  • Keep in mind that the child may have been told not to tell anyone about the abuse. 
  • Write down what the child has told you as soon as you can. 
  • Do not discuss personal issues about a child or their family with other people except with the Child Protection Officer when you are concerned about the child’s well being 
  • Report all the information to Toonspeak’s designated Child Protection Officer. 

 

Referral Procedure 

If a child discloses abuse to you or you suspect abuse: 

  

  1. Report your concerns to the designated Toonspeak Child Protection Officer. 
  1. Do not investigate the child’s disclosure or your suspicion further. 
  1. Record the nature of the disclosure or your concerns using the  Welfare Concern Form  
  1. Toonspeak’s designated Child Protection Officer will then make a referral to either the social work department, the police or reporter and will seek advice on how to manage the immediate situation. 
  1. Once this advice has been obtained, appropriate support is offered to the child and where appropriate the carer or parent 

 

If you have concerns about a young person you do not need to wait for them to make a disclosure. If you observe, hear or perceive something which makes you worry about a young person, complete a welfare concern form as soon as possible. 

The out of hours contact for Social Work is 0300 343 1505. You should use this if for example:- 

  • You suspect a child is in imminent danger of harm 
  • The participant is scared to go home 
  • They have physical signs of abuse 

Call Child Protection Officer for support in this, if they are not available, please note you are still responsible to take action and call Social Work.  

Young people are most likely to disclose information about abuse to people outside the family and often to a trusted adult. If this should happen, try and stay calm. In a difficult situation involving a child try to ensure another member of staff is present. If at any time you suspect a young person is in immediate danger, you must contact the appropriate authorities – do not wait to seek permission.  

 

Other Useful Contact Numbers: 

  • Police Scotland: call 101 (or in an emergency 999). 
  • Crimestoppers: call 0800 555111. 
  • NSPCC: If you are an adult and worried about a child you can call the 24-hour NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 
  • A child or young person can call Childline on 08001111. 
  • Parentline Scotland: call 0800 0282233 or email parentlinescotland@children1st.org.uk 
  • Parentline’s opening hours are from 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday. 

 

 

Role of the Child Protection Officer  

To provide appropriate advice and guidance to employees and volunteers who have concerns about the care, protection and welfare of children (particularly where they suspect that a child is being abused or has disclosed abuse). 

  

Ensuring that a clear referral procedure is in place that facilitates effective referral to the statutory child protection agencies and that all employees and volunteers who work with and support children understand the obligation to follow these procedures. 

  

Ensuring that employees and volunteers have access to, and are encouraged to attend, appropriate training in child protection issues that are pertinent to their roles and responsibilities. 

  

Monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the child protection policy. Keeping up-to­-date with child protection “best practice” as it relates to the voluntary and non-statutory sectors. 

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