Trap Media Child Protection Policy Revised 12/01/2006 1. Statement of Intent Trap media has an established initiative that actively targets and delivers activities for young people in arts in education projects. Protecting children from harm is the responsibility of all Trap Media partners, staff, freelance workers or volunteers. The welfare of all children is paramount to Trap media and will take precedence over any issue relating to confidentiality. 2. Definitions of Child Abuse An abused child is a boy or girl under the age of 18 who has suffered from, or is believed to be at significant risk of neglect, physical injury and emotional or sexual abuse. Any adult who has a position of trust or authority with respect to a child may perpetrate Child abuse. 3. Categories of Child Abuse There are four categories of child abuse as defined by the Children's Act of 1989. NEGLECT is the persistent or severe neglect of a child, or the failure to protect a child from exposure of any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting from the significant impairment of the child's health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive. PHYSICAL INJURY is the actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child. SEXUAL ABUSE is the actual, or likely, exploitation of a child or adolescent. EMOTIONAL ABUSE is the actual, or likely, severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. HISTORICAL ABUSE There may be occasions when an adult will disclose abuse (either sexual or physical), which occurred in the past, during their childhood. This information needs to be treated in exactly the same way as a disclosure or suspicion of current child abuse. The reason for this is that the abuser may still represent a risk to children now. 3. Recognising Child Abuse Injury to the child that may arouse suspicion e.g. unexplained bruising. Observation of the child at play or interactions leads you to suspect the child may have been abused. Slow, but definite, changes in the child’s behaviour i.e. regressive toilet habit, becoming withdrawn, poor eating and passive personality. If the parent/carer is evasive, inappropriately hostile or will not respond to enquires regarding injuries this may lead you to suspect non-accidental injury. Some signs and symptoms are common to all forms of abuse – e.g. low self-esteem. Clusters of possible indicators are particularly important. Be aware of possible differences between children from different cultural backgrounds in the way the symptoms may be communicated. Some children who are being abused may not show any obvious signs or symptoms. 4. What to Do in an Emergency Report immediately to the managing director of Trap Media. Should a child require prompt medical attention this will be the first priority. Depending on the circumstances they will: Call an ambulance Ask a GP to call. Ask the parent to take the child to the hospital/clinic/surgery for immediate medical attention. Offer to take the parent and the child to the hospital/surgery for immediate medical attention. Take the child to the hospital/clinic/surgery. Having taken emergency action, Social Services or alternative agencies must be contacted immediately on the numbers listed below. The following can be contacted through your local directory: Police Social Services Samaritans 0345 909090 National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland Free phone 0800 800 500 Children First 0131 337 8539 Child Line 0800 1111 Parent line 0808 800 2222 Confidentiality Trap media will at all times put the interest and safety of the child first. Information shared will be treated confidentially unless this indicates a threat to the child when it is our duty and responsibility to protect the child. 5. A Build Up of Concern Any incident that gives cause for concern should be reported immediately to the Trap Media Co-ordinator. The staff member, freelance worker or volunteer working for Trap Media should log any gradual concerns. This includes any conversation that may take place with the parent/carer. Any observations made must be dated and signed by the member of staff, freelance worker or volunteer. Any such concerns will be discussed at management meetings when observations from all staff, freelance workers or volunteers, may be shared and any action considered necessary may be agreed. 6. Steps in Dealing with Disclosure This applies to a child disclosing, but will also mostly apply to an adult. An adult should be encouraged to approach Social Services themselves, but a staff member, freelance worker or volunteer should always inform the Trap Media Co-ordinator if. When a child/adult wants to confide in you make sure that there is a quiet place to talk where there will be no interruptions. Do remember to: Be accessible and receptive Listen carefully and ask open questions to clarify – non-specific questions to seek clarity. Take it seriously – e.g. this is very serious, I’m sad this has happened to you. Reassure the child they are right to tell – e.g. I’m glad you told me, that was the right thing to do. Negotiate getting help – tell the child you are going to get help for them and their family, prepare them for the fact you must involve others. They will be interviewed by the police and social worker and may need a medical examination to check that they are okay. Explain that you cannot personally protect them, but will support them in telling the right people to make sure it does not happen again and that you will have to tell someone else. Report all suspicions immediately. Make careful records of what is said immediately, using the child’s own words and including questions you asked. DO NOT: Jump to conclusions Try to get the child to disclose – only ask questions you need to know to clarify immediate safety. Speculate or accuse anybody. Ask any leading questions whatsoever – e.g. was it daddy/mummy, etc, or any questions requiring a yes/no answer. Make promises you cannot keep. 7. Referral Where no emergency action is considered necessary the Trap Media Co-ordinator will telephone the appropriate Social Services contact number for the Duty social Worker. They will be asked to state clearly who they are and the reason for telephoning. The following information will be asked for and must be readily available: i) Child’s name ii) Child’s home address iii) Date of birth iv) Where parents/carers can be contacted v) Information about the circumstances, or injuries, giving causes for concerns and any explanation or comment the child or his/her parent/carer have made. 8. Accusations of Abuse Against a member of Trap Media Staff, Freelance Worker or Volunteer Any allegation of child abuse made against a Trap Media staff member, freelance worker or volunteer, will immediately be reported to Social Services and the Trap Media Co-ordinator. The person concerned will be immediately suspended pending an investigation of the incident in accordance with disciplinary procedures. Inspectors will be given full rights to interview the person alleged to have committed the offence and access to any evidence/information necessary for their enquires. The worker will be made aware that the investigation may extend to include their immediate family. If the investigation is not proven, but reveals concerns regarding the worker the individual(s) concerned may be required to undertake further guidance before resuming normal duties. If the allegations are proven the individual concerned will be deemed to have committed Gross Professional Misconduct and will be dealt with in accordance to the LEA’s disciplinary procedures. 9. Staff Guidelines for Working with Children (please also refer to code of conduct) Reduce to a minimum any activities involving lone children. Never become involved with a lone child outside normal working hours, or the workshop times. If you have any Child Protection concerns report them to the Trap Media Co- ordinator immediately. Ensure that you fully understand this Child Protection Policy. 10. Health And Safety The health and safety of children is paramount. All staff members, freelance workers and volunteers working for Trap Media will be briefed on our Health and Safety guidelines. They will be expected to understand and act within them. Any information received from Social Services regarding the health and safety of children will be circulated to all Trap Media staff, freelance workers and volunteers, as well as to the project partners. 11. Obligations to our employees/freelancers/volunteers All volunteers, freelancers and staff, including temporary personnel and helpers who are working with children and young people as part of Trap Media should be subject to a careful and rigorous selection and vetting process with the following elements. Completion of an application form and proof of identity should be provided. Taking up references. All interviews will be conducted by a minimum of 2 people. Gaps in employment or inconsistencies in a person’s CV will be identified and satisfactory explanations for this will be provided. Carrying out police checks and checks with the Criminal Records Bureau (see CRB Policy) Allowing no unsupervised access to children and young people until the above procedures have been completed. If necessary, Trap Media will seek advice about recruiting someone with a criminal record. All employees, freelancers working young people will be required to have a Disclosure of their criminal records undertaken by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Trap Media uses the ITC disclosure service to make applications to the CRB on behalf of individuals it proposes to employ. At the time of interview, potential employees will receive notification that should they be successful the company will make a CRB application on their behalf. Co-operation with this application is a condition of employment. Interviewees and employees are entitled to know that Trap Media will preserve the absolute confidentiality of Disclosure applications. All employees, freelancers, volunteers on the project will read this Child Protection Policy document and sign to say that they have read, understood and agree to be bound by it. It is important to note that the result of a CRB application may result in members of Trap Media’s management authorised to deal with Disclosure matters (the ‘Counter Signatories’) having to interpret the evidence presented. Whilst there are some offences that make it simply impossible to work with or in proximity to children, there are others which are of no relevance and others which may not be of relevance. The company also maintains, within its Equality and Diversity Policy, an understanding of the Rehabilitation of Offenders regulations. In areas of interpretation, the nature of the job will be considered as well as the latest legislative situation. In terms of working practice, all employees are entitled to feel that they are not being put into situations where they could be at danger of malicious or mistaken claims. Trap Media recognises that the law in the area of Child Protection is under constant review. The interpretation of the law and professional guidance is likewise subject to continual change. In common with all of Trap Media policies this policy will be reviewed annually. We realise our obligation to keep abreast of developments in this complex area and the need to pass on information to staff. The training, guidance and supervision of staff are key to the successful operation of a sound Child Protection Policy. 12. Equal Opportunities issues and Criminal Records Disclosure The company is aware that the results of an application to the CRB may raise Equal Opportunities issues, particularly in the area of the rehabilitation of offenders. All recruitment at Trap Media takes places within the company’s commitment to Equal Opportunities and, within this, whatever the legal requirements are on the company as laid down in legislation such as the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.