Child Protection Policy
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
"NYMT": The Children's Music Theatre Limited, t/a The National Youth Music Theatre.
"The Board of Member for Child Protection": the Board member with responsibility to supervise and monitor the application of the Child Protection Policy. This responsibility also extends to supervising and monitoring of the policy in regard to members of vulnerable groups, whatever their age.
"Child" and "Children": a child (or children) up to their eighteenth (18th) birthday.
“Member of a vulnerable group”: a person of any age whose requirements are more specific than others in a way that is defined by the carer together with details of good practice in caring for this person during activities. This title could also apply to any member of the company eighteen years and over at times when that person is entirely in the care and control of pastoral and artistic staff during a project.
"The Pastoral Manager" a person appointed by, and responsible to, the Board Member for Child Protection who will have executive responsibility for the Child Protection Policy. This person will be referred to during projects as The Head of Pastoral Staff.
"A member of Pastoral Staff": a person appointed by the Board on the recommendation of the Board Member for Child Protection who will be responsible for NYMT's pastoral care during participatory events or courses.
"Child Protection Policy": the policy written and approved by the Board of the National Youth Music Theatre. This policy will be kept under constant review by the Board Member for Child Protection; and will be reviewed formally by the Board annually.
PHILOSOPHY AND PRINCIPLES
The NYMT is committed to protecting children and vulnerable groups and ensuring that their welfare is paramount in every project that it runs and in every aspect of its work. Accordingly:
All children and members of vulnerable groups working with NYMT whatever their, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual orientation have the right to protection from harm or abuse.
All parent/guardian/carers have a right to feel safe when entrusting their children or members of vulnerable groups to NYMT.
All suspicions, and allegations, of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately in accordance with this Child Protection Policy. All complaints will be dealt with by the Board member with responsibility for this policy.
All staff and others working for NYMT (paid and unpaid) will be made aware of this policy and its procedures throughout all areas of their work. Their supervisor(s) will ensure that they understand their responsibilities, have read and have ready access to the guidance on appropriate responses which is set down in the appendices of this policy.
NYMT will not tolerate an environment which allows any form of treatment which would be classified as abuse - see appendices.
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
The NYMT Board is ultimately responsible for the correct application of the Child Protection Policy. It will appoint the Board Member for Child Protection with specific responsibility to supervise and monitor it. The Pastoral Manager will ensure that all staff/tutors/pastoral staff are fully aware of the policy and apply it rigorously. At the outset of each project, all workers will be informed of this chain of responsibilities, in writing, each with their part clearly laid out. The content of meetings regarding children and vulnerable groups will be defined. They will be provided with contact details.
The Board Member for Child Protection and the Pastoral Manager will jointly undertake effective recruitment, including Enhanced Disclosures for all staff and volunteers who work with children or have access to their contact details. All Board members, as the decision-makers on what activities with children will take place, and as the group holding ultimate responsibility, will be required to undertake Enhanced Disclosures.
Staff and volunteers dealing directly with children or having access to their contact details during office work will be required to have Enhanced Disclosure Certificates from the Criminal Records Bureau before the start of an engagement with NYMT.
The Board Member for Child Protection, in cogniscence that a Disclosure is only Enhanced when the organisation holds the Employer’s Copy of the Disclosure, will ensure that all Employer’s Copies are held for all staff or volunteers involved before any activity takes place.
Enhanced Disclosures will be repeated for all Board members, staff and volunteers at appropriate intervals, as defined by the Board member with responsibility.
All artists/facilitators will be required to hold recent Enhanced Disclosure Certificates and, as noted above, the Employer’s Copy of these Disclosure Certificates must be held, meaning that they must be disclosed through NYMT. Full documentation supporting the procedures involved in disclosure will be provided to all artists/facilitators.
Where payment is required, NYMT will pay for Disclosures for Board and staff members, including helpers and pastoral staff. Freelance staff, directors and facilitators will be required to cover the fee themselves.
NYMT will ensure that someone employed at the premises in which they are working is on hand to ensure the safety of those on site.
Photographs, films or web-based materials of children or young adults participating in any NYMT project will only be taken with the consent of the parents/guardians/carers and in consultation with the children involved. Where permission is sought, the NYMT permissions form will follow data protection guidelines.
NYMT will not pass on details of children or members of vulnerable groups, bearing in mind the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Children Act 2004 and The Safety of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, and will follow the requirements and guidelines of these Acts when employing staff or volunteers who will have access to children’s records.
Anyone working for NYMT will not take or give contact details without first referring to the terms of their contract(s) and then following the rigorous procedures and lines of responsibility laid down in the Guidelines for Project Leaders, Guidelines for the Pastoral Manager and Pastoral Staff.
NYMT will support confidentiality in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and will not hand out any information about employees/artists or arts facilitators to other arts organisations other than in the ordinary course of business.
NYMT will keep up to date with health and safety regulations in artistic and management practice and with changes in legislation regarding the protection of children and young adults.
Whilst in NYMT's care, no child will be allowed to leave the premises which NYMT is using, without supervision deemed appropriate by The Pastoral Manager.
Parents/guardians/ will be required to inform the Pastoral Manager in writing of the identity of the person who will be escorting their child(ren) from NYMT activities and, from week to week, inform the Pastoral Manager of any changes. Where parents/guardians/carers wish to allow their child(ren) to travel home from NYMT activities without adult supervision, NYMT will require that authorisation in writing before the course/activity commences.
NYMT will bear in mind the recommended ratios for supervision of children recommended by the NSPCC when deciding staffing of activities.
NYMT will ensure that the Board Member for Child Protection undertakes reasonable risk assessments for every project that it runs. These will be monitored regularly. The risk assessment will cover:
Practical details of the project.
Elements/aspects that can go wrong in the project.
Likelihood of elements going wrong.
Impact of these elements going wrong.
ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES
NYMT will maintain an accident record book and will require staff to enter a record of the accident when a child or young adult is injured whilst under NYMT's supervision. The record will be countersigned by the person responsible for the child, or, in the absence of that person, by a responsible member of staff. The accident book will be kept for 3 years.
If a child or member of a vulnerable group arrives at the session with an obvious physical injury, a record will be made in the accident book and the person with responsibility for that individual will be required to counter-sign. This record will be used if a formal allegation is made later as a record that the individual did not sustain the injury whilst working with NYMT.
CONDUCT IN THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
The NYMT operates a no-smoking policy. Staff, others working for NYMT, children or adult members of the company may not smoke anywhere in premises being used or occupied by NYMT.
Alcohol and recreational drugs may not be taken into any space where children or young adults are working. As part of their contract staff are not allowed to consume alcohol or take recreational drugs before working with, or in the presence of, children or adult members of the company.
Prescribed drugs will be kept locked and out of reach of children and adult members of the company.
Staff language and conversation will be appropriate when talking to or within hearing distance of children or adult members of the company. Likewise, all participants will be actively encouraged to maintain the same standards in language and conversation, both with staff and with each other. All staff will be issued with guidelines at the start of each new project.
CONDUCT WITH YOUNG PERSONS
All staff, volunteers, tutors, and project leaders:
Must read their guidelines and contract terms carefully and participate in any meetings with the Pastoral Manager which define the manner in which work with children and/or members of vulnerable groups will take place.
Must not take, receive or pass on contact details from children or members of vulnerable groups except through the lines of permission set down by the Pastoral Manager or Board member with specific responsibility.
Will not arrange any contact with children or young adults met through NYMT activities outside of those activities, except with the express permission of parent/guardian/carers, which must be sent to the Pastoral Manager who will make a note on file.
Must keep an appropriate distance from participants and not engage in any inappropriate physical contact. May only touch participants when it is absolutely necessary to the particular arts activity. In this case, agreement will be sought from participants prior to any physical contact.
Will not make sexually suggestive comments, even in fun.
Will always treat children and adult members of the company equally, and with respect and dignity, putting the welfare of each participant before the goals of the project.
Should try to ensure that feedback is enthusiastic and constructive.
May never shout at a Child or adult member of the company .
Will always work in an open environment and avoid private or unobserved situations.
Will teach and expect the NYMT "high 5" as the only form of physical contact and actively but kindly discourage all other types of physical conduct that a child or young adult may wish to initiate (eg, a hug).
For the use of NYMT staff and volunteers and the information of parents/guardians/carers.
WHAT TO DO IF A CHILD DISCLOSES ABUSE
Look at the child directly.
Accept what the child says.
Be aware that the child may have been threatened.
Do not adopt a critical approach.
Do not press for information.
Reassure the child that (s)he is right to tell you, and that you will take what (s)he says very seriously.
Do not promise to keep the information the child has disclosed a secret.
Let the child know what you are going to do next, who you are going to tell, and why, and roughly what will happen.
Finish on a positive note.
As soon as possible afterwards, make hand written notes of exactly what the child said and the date and time.
SUBSEQUENT ACTION TO BE TAKEN
Do not delay.
Do not act alone.
Do not start to investigate.
Inform the Pastoral Manager of the position immediately.
The Pastoral Manager will consult with others relevant to the incident.
Meet with the Pastoral Manager and take a written record of the facts.
Notify the Board Member for Child Protection.
The Board Member for Child Protection will then inform the social services of the disclosure who will then liaise with the relevant departments on a need-to-know basis and will, if appropriate, inform the police. It is the responsibility of the authorities eg, London Borough of Westminster, to determine whether abuse has occurred.
DETAILS OF COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
NYMT will take seriously all complaints of suspected or actual child abuse or concerns that a child(ren) is being put at risk. The complaints/concerns will be acted upon immediately. If someone believes that a child may be suffering, or may be at risk of suffering significant harm, then s/he must make the Pastoral Manager aware, who will then notify social services. In the event of a complaint, the Pastoral Manager will take a record which includes:
Name of the child.
The child's address.
Relevant phone numbers.
What is said to have happened, or what was seen.
When it occurred. Who else was there.
What was said by those involved.
Whether there is any actual evidence eg, bruises, bleeding, changed behaviour.
Who has been told about it.
Who was concerned.
Was the child able to say what happened?
Whether the parents/guardians/carers have been advised.
RIGHTS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
If a complaint or allegation is made against a member of staff, s/he should be made aware of his or her rights under both employment law and internal disciplinary procedures.
DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child, such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development. It may involve conveying to the child(ren) that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.
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. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic and/or psychological needs. It may involve a parent/guardian/carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child's basic emotional needs.
Signs and Indicators of Abuse
The signs of physical abuse may include:
unexplained bruising, marks or injuries
bruises that reflect hand marks or fingertips
Changes in behaviour can also indicate physical abuse:
fear of parents being approached for an explanation
aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts
flinching when approached or touched
It is important to remember that children and young adults collect cuts and bruises in their daily life. It is important that these can be readily explained.
The signs of sexual abuse may include:
Changes in behaviour that might indicate sexual abuse include:
sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour
fear of being left with a specific person or group of people
eating problems such as overeating or anorexia
self harm or mutilation, sometimes leading to suicide attempts
saying they have a secret they cannot tell anybody about
substance or alcohol abuse
suddenly having unexplained sources of money
not allowed to have friends (particularly in adolescence)
acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults
Some indicators of neglect may include:
looking badly presented with old, torn clothing
always hungry and looking for food
not being expected to be at home when it seems reasonable that they should be
adults not seeming to know or be interested in what is happening to them
becoming thin and under-nourished
not having what they need for their studies
not receiving medical attention when it seems appropriate
Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify but changes in behaviour may include:
fear of making mistakes
sudden speech disorders
fear of parent being approached concerning their behaviour
Further information / guidance can be found at:
NSPCC Child Protection Helpline for adults on 0808 800 5000
Firstcheck: a step by step guide for organisations to safeguard children: www.nspcc.org.uk
Keeping Arts Safe www.artscouncil.org.uk
Disclosure & Barring Service line: 0870 90 90 811 www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service
Terms & Conditions
Auditions: Auditions booked through the NYMT website are non-refundable. However, we are very happy to reschedule auditions, if we can, where necessary.
Tickets: Tickets booked through the NYMT website are non-refundable. Unless otherwise stated, seating is unreserved.
Merchandise: All products ordered through the NYMT website are subject to availability. Refunds or amendments can be made for merchandise orders.