What is Child Protection?
We believe that every child, young person and vulnerable member of society, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and / or sexual identity has at all times and in all situations a right to feel safe and protected from any situation or practice that results in a child, young person or vulnerable member of society being physically or psychologically damaged. If, through our work, we have suspicions about a child, young person or vulnerable member of society’s physical, sexual or emotional well being, we will take action.
All staff are encouraged to share concerns with the Music Director who will monitor child protection issues. If the situation is clearly an urgent case, the child, young person or vulnerable member of
society is too frightened to go home or we have very serious doubts about the participant's safety, we will contact Social Work Services or the Police immediately. If our concerns are more general about a participant’s welfare, then we will discuss these with the Director, who would then make a referral to Social Work who will make the necessary arrangements. It is important that all staff communicate concerns accurately.
To this end, staff will follow the procedures below;
1) Upon the receipt of any information from a participant or suspicions, it is necessary to record what they have seen, heard or know accurately at the time the event occurs;
2) Share their concerns with the Director and agree action to take;
3) Always REFER never INVESTIGATE any suspicions or allegations about abuse.
If we have concerns, we must act - it may be the final piece of the jigsaw that is needed to protect that child, young person or vulnerable person - or we may prevent further children from being hurt.
The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR do not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
What is Child Abuse?
The formal definition of Child Abuse is:
‘Children may be in need of protection where their basic needs are not being met, in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development, and they will be at risk through avoidable acts of commission or *omission on the part of their parent(s), sibling(s) or other relative(s), or a carer (i.e. the person(s) while not a parent who has actual custody of the child).’
Reference ‘Protecting Children: A Shared Responsibility’.
*NB This means children at risk through either something a person has done to them OR something a person is failing to do for them. This is a very open definition which encourages us to be open minded and think about what child abuse is. For those working in the field of Child Protection the definition gets broken down further into Categories of Abuse, namely:
- Physical Abuse – hurting or injuring a child, for example hitting or shaking them. This category is likely to include bullying
- Sexual Abuse – when an adult exploits their power, authority or position and uses a child sexually to gratify their own needs – it could range from sexually suggestive comments to full intercourse
- Emotional Abuse – when a child is not given love, help and encouragement and is constantly derided, ridiculed or ignored. This also includes racially and sexually abusive remarks.
- Neglect – this usually means failing to meet children’s basic needs such as food, warmth, adequate clothing, medical attention etc. It could also mean failing to ensure they are safe or exposing them to harm.
What are the possible signs of child abuse?
- bruises, particularly recurring bruises
- child pornography
- withdrawn behaviour
- complaining of pain
- attention seeking
- burn marks
- aggression towards other children
- constant hunger
- inadequate clothing
- fear of adults
- sexualised behaviour
- poor supervision
The above list is not conclusive and could relate to other conditions.
Peer on peer abuse
All workshop leader should be aware that children, young people and vulnerable people can abuse their peers (often referred to as peer on peer abuse). This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:
- bullying (including cyberbullying);
- physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
- sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault;
- sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be stand-alone or part of a broader pattern of abuse;
- upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm;
- sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and
- initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.