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zen Arts Safeguarding Policy

Zen Arts (“Zen”) is passionate about music education and understand the vital importance of Safeguarding clients and participants.

Zen seeks to engage participants in fun, interactive music workshops while considering the welfare of all participants. Zen is committed to keeping children, young people and vulnerable members of society safe. We believe everyone has a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them. We will ensure that all children and young people have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

What are our main obligations to children?

  • The welfare of the child is paramount (Children Act 1989)
  • Abuse and risk of harm must be treated seriously
  • Care provided must be of the highest standard

Zen believes

  • that every child, young person and vulnerable members of society, regardless of age, has at all times, in all situations a right to feel safe and protected from any situation or practice which results in the child being physically or psychologically damaged;
  • that we should all remember that the welfare of the child is of paramount consideration and we must all work together to ensure the protection of children, young people and vulnerable members of society

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable members of society is defined for the purposes of this guidance as:

  • protecting children, young people and vulnerable members of society from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children, young people and vulnerable members of society's health or development;
  • ensuring that children, young people and vulnerable members of society grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children, young people and vulnerable members of society to have the best outcomes.

Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)
Zen’s Designated Safeguarding Officer is Waka Hasegawa, Music Director of the organisation.

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.

Practice

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment i.e. no secrets)
  • Treating all children and young people equally, and with respect and dignity
  • Always putting the welfare of each child and young person first, before achieving goals
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with participants (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child)
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process
  • Making music fun and enjoyable
  • Ensuring that if any form of physical contract is required, it should be provided openly. Young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
  • Involving parents / teachers / carers wherever possible
  • Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people – avoiding competition and not pushing them against their will

Practice to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge (ie teacher) or the child’s parents.

  • Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others
  • Avoid taking children to your home where they will be alone with you
  • Avoid giving lifts to children unless their teacher or parents are present

Practice never to be sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

  • Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
  • Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
  • Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
  • Reduce a child to tears as a form of control
  • Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
  • Do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves
  • Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised

NB. It may sometimes be necessary for staff to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full
understanding and consent of parents and the participants involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her
about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on
the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the teacher / carer and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child or young person or the carer of a vulnerable person and the Music Director of Zen are informed.

  • If you accidentally hurt a participant
  • If he/she seems distressed in any manner
  • If a participant appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
  • If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done

How to React & Listen

If you are concerned about a participant, or a participant tells you (s)he is being abused, you should:

  • Always take action. Do not delay
  • Serious concerns should always be reported immediately to the local Social Services or a Family Support Unit saying: “I wish to report a child at risk of abuse.” and notify the Music Director of Zen who will request you complete an allegation of abuse form. Tell the informant you intend to act
  • Make a record of what the child and / or adult says
  • If it is your own observations that lead you to suspect abuse, write down the reasons for your suspicions
  • If a child wishes to talk you about an issue allow them time to speak and not interrupt nor make suggestions to them which could imply making an investigation
  • Reassure the child that they are glad she or he has told what has happened and that it was right to tell
  • Do not interrogate or question other than to clarify your understanding. If the matter is to be investigated further it will be so done by trained professionals. No matter how well you know the child, spare them having to repeat themselves over and over. Apart from anything else, the child may begin to think that you don’t believe them
  • Be honest, tell the child that you cannot keep it a secret, you have to talk to someone else that can help
  • Remain calm, no matter how difficult it is to listen to the child - think of how hard it must be to say it. Some things are very difficult to talk about, you’ve been chosen because the child feels they can talk to you. If you show anger, disgust, disbelief then the child may stop talking for fear of upsetting you further or feel that your negative feelings are being directed towards them
  • Listen to the child - REALLY LISTEN - take what they say seriously. Tell them that they’ve done the right thing by telling you
  • As soon as practical write down everything the child told you, but remember that this is a confidential matter between you and the child. The only person you should be discussing it with is the committee member for your organisation who has agreed to act as monitor for child protection issues.
  • If you suspect abuse do not question the child, or try to investigate allegations of abuse – it is not your job to do so, and your action may contaminate investigation by legitimate authorities
  • Do not discuss with unauthorised persons

We Will:

  • Treat everyone with respect;
  • Remember that some issues are confidential;
  • Provide an example we would wish others to follow;
  • Be aware that, someone else might misinterpret our actions even if they are well-intentioned;
  • Respect a child’s right to personal privacy;
  • Provide time for children to talk to us;
  • Encourage children to respect and care for others;
  • Take action to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour;
  • Remember to REFER not INVESTIGATE any suspicions or allegations about abuse;
  • Only share concerns and seek support from those identified in the group’s child protection policy;

The Zen musicians will

  • not arrange meetings with children or young adults outside the workshop except in the presence of a parent or other adult
  • not smack or shake any child or young person in our care
  • avoid touching children or young persons in an inappropriate manner

Review of Safeguarding policies

Zen will review it’s Safeguarding policies every 12 months as a minimum.

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