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Playbox Theatre
The Dream Factory
Stratford Road
Warwick CV34 6LE
United Kingdom​

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Child Protection Policy

Home | Safeguarding Policy

Policy statement

Children occupy the central place within Playbox Theatre and the work it is engaged in. We strongly believe that all children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection.

Playbox Theatre is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Staff will always act in the best interest of children.

Playbox Theatre’s child protection policy aims:

  • To provide all staff with the necessary information to enable them to meet their safeguarding and child protection responsibilities. 
  • To ensure consistent good practice. 
  • To demonstrate Playbox Theatre’s commitment with regard to safeguarding and child protection to members, parents and other partners.

The term child is used to refer to anyone under the age of eighteen years. While people between the age of sixteen and eighteen are often referred to as ‘young people’ the term itself has no legal status, and those under the age of eighteen involved with Playbox Theatre are regarded as children in line with the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (individuals between the age of sixteen and eighteen and in employment are regarded as adults).

Mary King and Emily Jane Quash are senior directors with primary responsibility for child protection. This ensures that child protection policies and procedures can be coordinated effectively and offers a first point of contact for any staff or freelancers who wishes to discuss an issue concerning child protection. All staff and freelancers are also provided with relevant child protection information when beginning work with Playbox.

All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of abuse or harm at home, in the community or at Playbox Theatre. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the interests of the child. If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care immediately.

The number of children that can participate in a project varies, however the general policy is that there should be no more than 30 children in any workshop situation. The ratio of adult to child for projects varies depending on the age and nature of the group that are being worked with. 

Risk assessments are carried out by Playbox Theatre. This will include assessing the venues. It is then the member of staff or freelancer delivering the project who is responsible for risk assessing specific workshops or rehearsal.

The parents of all children involved with a project at Playbox are expected to provide information concerning any medical conditions as well as emergency contact details. Staff members and freelancers should record any noticeable injuries a child arrives at a session with (for further details see sections Dealing with disclosure of abuse and Accidents and Injuries below).

Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct 

To ensure Playbox Theatre staff perform to the highest standards and always within the best interests of our members, we expect the following conduct: 

  • Treating all members with respect.
  • Setting a good example by conducting ourselves appropriately. 
  • Encouraging positive, respectful and safe behaviour among members. 
  • Being a good listener. 
  • Being alert to changes in member’s behaviour and to signs of abuse. 
  • Recognising that challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse/bullying/harassment. 
  • Reading and understanding Playbox Theatre’s Child Protection policy and guidance documents on wider safeguarding issues, for example bullying.
  • Maintaining appropriate standards of conversation and interaction with and between members. 
  • Making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is never acceptable.
  • Challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature) which constitute sexual harassment, such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts, or other, and making clear these are not acceptable.

Complaints procedure

Our complaints procedure will be followed where a member or parent raises a concern about poor practice towards a member within an official Playbox Theatre activity. Complaints are managed by the directors and other members of the senior leadership team.

Safe Recruitment for workers and volunteers

The aims of the Safe Recruitment policy are to help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children or are otherwise unsuited to work with children and young people. Aims also include;

  • to ensure that the best possible staff are recruited on the basis of their merits, abilities and suitability for the position; 
  • to ensure that all job applicants are considered equally and consistently; 
  • to ensure that no job applicant is treated unfairly on any grounds including race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or religious belief, sex or sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, disability or age; 
  • to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation, recommendations and guidance and to ensure that we meet our commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Certificate

Playbox Theatre applies for an enhanced disclosure from the DBS and a check of the Children’s Barred List (now known as an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity) in respect of all positions at the company which involve “regulated activity” as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended). 

The purpose of carrying out an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity is to identify whether an applicant is barred from working with children by inclusion on the Children’s Barred List and to obtain other relevant suitability information. It is Playbox Theatre’s policy that the DBS disclosure must be obtained before the commencement of employment of any new employee. It is Playbox Theatre’s policy to re-check employees’ DBS Certificates every three years and in addition any employee that takes leave for more than three months (i.e: maternity leave, career break etc) must be re-checked before they return back to work. 

Members of staff at Playbox Theatre are aware of their obligation to inform the Directors of any cautions or convictions that arise between these checks taking place. DBS checks will still be requested for applicants with recent periods of overseas residence and those with little or no previous UK residence.

Induction and training for staff and volunteers

All staff and volunteers are given details of this policy as part of their induction. All staff and volunteers are required to participate in training courses on child protection issues.

Staff and volunteers also have health and safety procedures detailed to them as part of their induction. 

Following training staff and volunteers should be able to recognise signs of abuse and know the appropriate reporting systems for this.

All staff and volunteers are adequately supervised and their progress reviewed on a regular basis.

Dealing with disclosure of abuse during a Playbox Theatre activity

Adults have a legal responsibility to report any information disclosed by children concerning abuse and it is therefore important to communicate to the child that any information given cannot remain confidential. In the event of a Playbox Theatre employee receiving allegations of abuse from a child involved in the project, Playbox Theatre expects the worker involved to report the allegations to the member of Playbox Theatre staff who is responsible for the project, as follows.

  • Initially information should be disclosed to the member of Playbox Theatre staff responsible for the project.
  • Concerns will be raised with the Director who has responsibility for ensuring the abuse has been adequately reported.
  • Where a child discloses abuse this must be reported by Playbox Theatre Director who will contact the county’s Social Services Department. 

Where abuse is suspected:

Playbox Theatre encourage peer support and communication between staff, volunteers and membership to ensure that any suspicions of abuse can be monitored and where appropriate reported to external agencies.

In both cases:

The member of staff should keep careful contemporaneous notes in order that an accurate record is kept should the disclosure lead to further investigation by external agencies. Playbox Theatre staff members must record any disclosed information or suspicions of abuse in written form, and details of any further action taken should also be noted.

However while abuse disclosed must be reported, it is important to remember that children are entitled to some confidentiality. Disclosure of abuse must not be widely circulated and written records must be safely secured as with documents related to DBS disclosure.

In addition information concerning children provided to Playbox Theatre by external organisations (such as referral information for targeted sessions) must be handled discretely and only given to staff members if it is deemed imperative to the running of the project.

REMEMBER:

DO:

  • Do treat any allegations extremely seriously
  • Do tell the child they are right to tell you
  • Do re-assure them that they are not to blame
  • Do be honest about your position, who you have to tell and why
  • Do tell the child what you are doing and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening
  • Do take further action – you may be the only person in a position to prevent future abuse – tell your nominated person immediately.

DON’T:

  • Don’t make any promises you can’t keep.
  • Don’t interrogate the child – it is not your job to carry out an investigation – this will be up to the police and social services, who have experience in this.
  • Don’t cast doubt on what the child has told you, don’t interrupt or change the subject.
  • Don’t say anything that makes the child feel responsible for the abuse
  • Don’t do nothing – make sure you tell your nominated child protection person immediately – they will know how to follow this up and where to go for further advice.

Anti-Bullying & Harassment Policy

Playbox Theatre does not condone bullying of any kind within its activities. 

Any physical violence by children on their peers during sessions at Playbox Theatre will be stopped immediately. Any sexist, racist or other derogatory remarks will be highlighted as unacceptable. 

The aim of the policy is to state what measures Playbox Theatre has in place to prevent all types of bullying amongst members and to encourage good behaviour. 

Although bullying is not a criminal offence, harassment, threatening behaviour and/or communications could be. 

How will the prevention of bullying be achieved?

  • By creating a safe environment where members respect each other and staff.
  • Creating an ethos at Playbox Theatre of good behaviour. 
  • Involve parents by making them aware that any allegations of bullying will be treated seriously and there are procedures in place to deal with any incidents. 
  • Make it easy to report instances of bullying or suspected bullying. 
  • Have a safe environment to openly be able to discuss bullying.

Procedures for reporting bullying or potential bullying incidents

Playbox Theatre will take the following steps when dealing with all reported incidents of bullying. 

  • If bullying is suspected or reported, the incident will be dealt with immediately by the appropriate member of staff.
  • Playbox Theatre will provide appropriate support for the person being bullied.
  • Playbox Theatre will speak with and inform other staff members, where appropriate.  
  • Playbox Theatre will ensure parents/carers are kept informed about the concern and action taken, as appropriate and in line with child protection and confidentially policies.  
  • If necessary, other agencies may be consulted or involved. 
  • A clear and precise account of bullying incidents during Playbox activities will be recorded. 

Accidents and injuries

The parents of all children involved with Playbox Theatre are expected to provide information concerning any medical conditions as well as emergency contact details.

Playbox Theatre staff members and freelancers should record any noticeable injuries a child arrives with (by raising it with a second member of staff and if appropriate with the parent/carer themselves), to ensure that it is not possible for a parent/carer to ascribe any injury or abuse as having happened within the session in error.

All accidents and injuries are to be recorded in the Playbox Theatre’s accident books. The books are kept in the office.

MARY KING

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

July 2019

Review date September 2021

To be reviewed by Mary King & Emily Quash in August 2022