Camberwell Choir School Child Protection (Safeguarding) Policy
The trustees and staff of Camberwell Choir School (hereafter known as CCS) fully recognise the contribution they make to safeguarding children. We recognise that all staff, including volunteers have a full and active part to play in protecting children from harm.
We accept that we have a duty to provide a caring, positive safe and stimulating environment, which promotes the social, physical and moral development of the individual child in line with the 5 outcomes of the Every Child Matters Policy 2003:
Enjoying and achieving
Making a positive contribution
This Policy exists for the safeguarding needs of the children and young people we come into contact with at CCS.
The Aims of the Policy
To support the child’s development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence.
To raise the awareness of both staff and volunteers to the need to safeguard children and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse.
To emphasise the need for good levels of communication.
To develop a structured procedure which will be followed by all staff and volunteers in cases of suspected abuse.
To develop and promote effective working relationships with other agencies, especially the Police and Social Services as necessary.
To ensure that all appropriate adults within our organisation who have access to children have been checked as to their suitability.
Our procedures for safeguarding children will be in line with local recommendations. We will ensure that:
We have a designated member of staff as the named Child Protection Officer, who will have undertaken regular training.
All members of staff and volunteers will develop their understanding of the signs and indicators of abuse.
All members of staff/volunteers will know how to respond to a child who discloses abuse.
All parents/carers are made aware of the responsibilities of staff and volunteers with regard to child protection procedures by way of a written notice in the building.
Our procedures will be regularly reviewed and updated at least once a year.
All new members of staff and volunteers will be given a version of our child protection procedures and guidelines as part of their induction before commencing work with the children.
The Child Protection Officer is responsible for:
Adhering to government and local procedures with regard to referring a child if there are concerns about possible abuse.
Keeping written records of concerns about a child even if there is no need to make an immediate referral.
Ensuring that all such records are kept confidentially and securely.
We recognise that a child who is abused or witnesses violence may find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self worth. We recognise that a child in these circumstances may feel helpless and humiliated. We recognise that a child may feel self-blame.
We recognise that attending CCS on a regular basis may provide some stability in the lives of children who have been abused or who are at risk of harm.
We accept that research shows that the behaviour of a child in these circumstances may range from that which is perceived to be normal to aggressive or withdrawn.
CCS will support children by:
Encouraging self-esteem and self-assertiveness whilst not condoning aggression or bullying.
Promoting a caring, safe and positive environment.
Liaising and working together with other support services and those agencies involved in the safeguarding of children.
Notifying Social Services as soon as there is a significant concern.
We recognise that all matters relating to Child Protection are confidential.
The Child Protection Officer will disclose any information about a child to other members of staff on a need to know basis only.
All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children. All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets.
This procedure is to be used when appointing staff/volunteers who wish to work with children at CCS
All new staff members and volunteers must have an informal interview with the CEO or vice chair and another suitable person. They must have the necessary experience and aptitude for working safely with children and will be required to have an up-to-date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which we will undertake prior to appointment or beginning as a volunteer. Members of the Management Committee will also be required to have an enhanced DBS check. Volunteers who are under 18 will not be asked to work on their own without the support of another DBS checked adult and are therefore not required to fulfil the DBS criteria.
Everyone who works with children at CCS, whether paid or unpaid, will be given a copy of our CP policy and required to sign a declaration of compliance.
New volunteers and members of staff will be asked to assist in groups for the first 3 months, followed by an informal assessment by the music director and feedback from other volunteers, before they will be expected to take a lead in groups.
All volunteers and staff should be given some basic training with regard to Child Protection, including how to respond to disclosures.
Good practice in child protection
Work with children and young people should be with a co-worker in the same room where possible.
Staff and volunteers should take all appropriate steps to make sure the environment is safe for children, and report any problems to the CEO or vice chair to act upon.
Should the need arise for children to be taken from the premises (eg on a trip to a concert or to perform at an outside venue) consent forms must always be obtained from parents.
Definitions of Abuse
Child abuse falls into 4 categories
Physical abuse is where a child has been intentionally hurt by an adult or much older child. It can be one incident or could be a series of events over time. Physical abuse is often inflicted on areas of the child’s body that will not be seen
This is where a pattern of criticism, threats, rejection and controlling behaviour impairs a child’s emotional well-being. This can include bullying and domestic violence. Emotional abuse is hard to prove, but it is always present when any of the other forms of abuse take place.
Neglect can be both physical (food, warmth, safety, health, exposure to drugs/alcohol)) and emotional (lack of emotional connection, developmentally appropriate care, rejection, failure to provide what the child needs.
Sexual abuse involves exposing children to adult sexual activities, through force, manipulation or threats. These may be both physical and non-physical contact. Non–contact activities include making children watch inappropriate materials or sexual activities or photographing children in sexualised poses etc.
Responding to a disclosure
When a child or young person confides in an adult that he or she has been abused the following guidelines should be used:
When a child says they want to tell about a secret, always make it clear to them that you must tell people who can help if they or another child are being hurt.
Where practical, have another person with you if the child/young person agrees.
Listen carefully but do not ask leading questions. Use open statements. “I heard you say...do you want to say anything else about that?”
Don't make judgmental comments; don’t show shock, horror or anger about what has happened, as children often take this reaction to confirm that it is they who are at fault.
Show that you care about them, are trying to understand and will take everything they say seriously.
Reassure the child that they did the right thing in telling and they themselves are not to blame.
As soon as you can after the child has spoken to you, record what was said. Make sure someone else looks after the child while you are doing this. This should be in your own words (verbatim account) but it should not have any of your thoughts or opinions about what the child told you. Just record the facts of the conversation. Put your name clearly at the end. Sign and date anything you write.
Once this has happened explain to the child what will happen next. You will talk to the CP Officer and they will help decide what to do. Give the CP officer your report. As a volunteer or staff member your part is now over. You are not responsible for any of the follow-up investigations, or further reporting. The Child Protection Officer deals with this. Following any such disclosure, it is important that you continue to support the child or young person.
If the child or young person is in need of immediate medical care, the CP Officer should contact the emergency services or take them to a hospital, ideally with another worker known to the child or a parent if not implicated in abuse.
The CP officer must assess whether the child or young person would be in immediate danger if they were to return home. If so, they should call the police and ask to speak to their Child Protection Officer.
We recognise that staff/volunteers who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm, may find the situation stressful and upsetting. We will support them by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties and to seek further support as appropriate.
Allegations against staff
We understand that a child may make an allegation against a member of staff/volunteer. If such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the CP Officer.
The CP Officer on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the CEO or vice chair. If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the CP Officer, the member of staff/volunteer should inform the CEO or vice chair. We will then follow the LEA procedures for managing allegations against staff/volunteers.
Our policy is that staff and volunteers must only ever use physical intervention as a last resort, and that at all times it must be the minimal force necessary to prevent injury to another person. We understand that physical intervention of a nature that causes injury or distress to a child may be considered under child protection or disciplinary procedures.
We recognise that staff, volunteers and management committee members can play a part in the prevention of harm by providing children with good lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of care. CCS therefore seeks to establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure and are encouraged to talk and are always listened to.
Reviewed Nov 2022. Next full revision May 2024
The current Child Protection Officer at CCS is Mr Daniel Monte, Musical Director.
The current Chair/CEO is Mr Sidney Swann