As a community organisation, The White Hut Community Hall wants every child who uses the Hall, regardless of age, to develop their potential and to enjoy and benefit from the services and facilities we have to offer. We therefore believe that at all times and in all situations they have a right to feel safe and protected from any situation or practice that might lead to their being physically or psychologically damaged. This policy is our commitment to provide systems for recognising and reporting any such risk, and outlines our duty of care to safeguard all children involved in activities at the Hall.
We also understand that most groups that work with children will also have their own comprehensive Child Protection Policies and The White Hut Community Hall is happy to work in a co-ordinated approach with these groups to protect the children who use the Hall.
The aim of The White Hut Community Hall’s Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice and to allow all staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Staff Involvement & Policy Application
Staff and Volunteers working directly with The White Hut Community Hall do not have regular or extensive involvement with children; the majority of contact is indirect through the use of the premises by external groups or clubs.
The Child Protection Policy applies to all Trustees, staff, volunteers, members, hirers and their associated, and members of the public using any premises operated or owned by The White Hut Community Hall.
It is the responsibility of all staff, paid and volunteers, Trustees, members and Hall users to follow The White Hut Community Hall’s Child Protection Policy guidelines and to work together to maximise the protection we can offer children who use our facilities.
Whilst all staff are aware of, and have agreed to comply with, this policy, there will be many events and activities at the Hall where parents are present and must accept full responsibility the activities and behaviour of their children.
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parent or carer of the child is informed:
• If you accidentally hurt a child
• If he/she seems distressed in any manner
• If a child appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
• If a child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Good Practice Guidelines
Good Practice Means:
• Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
• Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
• Always putting the welfare of each young person first. Making activities fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance.
• Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
• Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly.
• Involving parents/carers wherever possible.
• Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
• Securing parental consent in writing, in case the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
• Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given. (This should be recorded in the accident book located in the building’s main kitchen.
• Requesting written parental consent if officials are required to transport young people in their cars (though this should be avoided).
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (e.g. the child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge of the group or the child’s parents.
• Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
• Taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity, without written parental consent.
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
• Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
• Share a room with a child.
• 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.
Use of photographic or filming equipment
Evidence suggests that some people have used some activities as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled people in vulnerable positions. All clubs should be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the group leader.
Video as a training aid: there is no intention to prevent appropriate groups using video equipment as a legitimate training/teaching aid. However, children and their parents or carers should be made aware that this is part of the programme and give written consent. Such films should be stored safely.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and only discussed on a need to know basis only (with need being defined as need to ‘have access in the course of their duties’). This includes the following people:
• The Child Protection Officer of the Community Hall
• The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
• The person making the allegation
• Social Services
• The Community Hall’s Chairperson.
No confidentiality agreement should be offered to children in a disclosure situation.
Responding to Allegations or Suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in The White Hut Community Hall, in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. Contact should be made with the Child Protection Officers who will support you in following the reporting procedures, according to the Torfaen Safeguarding Children’s Board.
The White Hut Community Hall will assure all staff or volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his or her concern that a Hall user is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:
• A Criminal investigation
• A Child Protection investigation
• A Disciplinary or Misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.
Hall users must call an ambulance if a child requires emergency medical treatment. Tell the ambulance and hospital staff immediately if there is any suspicion that the injury is non-accidental. There are useful numbers at the back of this policy.
Staff must not transport children in their own cars.
Parents or carers must be contacted immediately if possible. A written consent form for emergency medical treatment should have been completed when the child started using the provision if this is appropriate.
Concerns about Suspected Abuse
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to a Child Protection Officer of the Hall, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.
The Officers will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department which may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the Social Services Department.
The Officer should also notify the Chair of The White Hut Community Hall who will deal with any media enquiries.
If the Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to an alternative officer or Trustee, who will refer the allegation to social services.
Disclosure of Abuse
In cases where a child makes a disclosure of abuse or where there is strong suspicion of abuse, the procedure is slightly different:
STAFF MUST NOT TRY TO INVESTIGATE THE MATTER THEMSELVES, or question a child for further information. This is a specialist task and is the responsibility of the Social Services Department who work in conjunction with the Police Child Protection Team. Inappropriate questioning can lead to vital evidence being inadmissible in court. It is also essential that where a child’s clothing may be used as evidence, it is not tampered with, and that any evidence, such as a child’s drawing, is not discarded.
The Hall user must immediately report the concerns or incident to the Duty Social Worker at the Social Services Department who will decide what action to take. In cases where the parents or carers are the alleged abusers, the Hall user or group leader must not inform parents or carers before reporting it the Duty Social Worker.
Action if Bullying is Suspected
If bullying is suspected, the following procedure should be followed:
• Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
• Inform the bully(ies)’s parents.
• Provide support for the victim and their parent/carers.
• Impose sanctions as necessary (see behaviour policy).
• Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
• Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
• Inform all organization members of action taken.
• Keep a written record of action taken.
Useful Numbers or Websites:
Torfaen County Borough Council
01495 762200 (during office hours Mon-Fri 8.45am-5.15pm)
0800 328 4432 (emergency duty service)
This is a centralised switchboard so tell them it is a Child Protection referral.
South East Wales Safeguarding Children Board (SEWSC) – http://www.sewsc.org.uk
Childline on 0800 1111 – http://www.childline.org.uk
Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or 101
Gwent Police on 01633 838111 or in an emergency 999