Updated October 2022
Box of Tricks believes that the health, welfare and safety of children and vulnerable adults is paramount and that all people without exception have a human right to be protected from abuse of any kind regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender, lifestyle or family make-up or beliefs.
This policy applies to all staff, freelance associates and volunteers working with Box of Tricks, and individuals will be informed of the policy and procedures where appropriate.
Effective safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults begins with staff being well informed and aware of safeguarding issues and following procedures. Staff, freelance associates and volunteers are required to report any concerns of potential risk to self/others or of abuse immediately through the procedures outlined in this policy.
All concerns of potential risk to self/others and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately and sensitively.
Box of Tricks will:
- Establish and maintain an environment where children and vulnerable adults feel safe, can talk freely about their feelings and experiences in structured ways, and are listened to.
- Take seriously any suspicions or allegations of abuse and respond to such suspicions and allegations swiftly and appropriately in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy.
- Keep up to date with health and safety legislation, child safety legislation and policies and safeguarding legislation and policies.
A child is legally defined as any person under the age of 18.
A young person is someone between the ages of 16 and 18 who may prefer not to be considered a child, though the safeguarding provisions set out in this policy still apply to them.
A vulnerable adult is someone aged 18 years or over who ‘is or may be in need of community care services by reasons of mental health or other disability, age or illness’ and ‘is or may be unable to care of themself or unable to protect themself against significant harm or exploitation’.
Significant harm. For both children and vulnerable adults, what triggers safeguarding action is a concern that the child or adult is experiencing or at risk of significant harm.
The law says that significant harm “is the threshold which justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of the child” (or also, vulnerable adult).
Significant harm therefore triggers action that must involve statutory agencies. The local authority is the agency with legal responsibility for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and for assessing whether significant harm exists. This includes harm related to being drawn into radicalisation or extremism.
Abuse can consist of a single or repeated act of harm or exploitation. It may be perpetrated as a result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance. Abuse can be physical, verbal, psychological, emotional, or a result of neglect or an omission to act. Neglect is the failure to meet a child or vulnerable adult’s basic physical and psychological needs.
For vulnerable adults, abuse can also occur when the person is persuaded to enter into a financial arrangement or sexual relationship to which they have not, or could not, consent to or understand.
Abuse can occur in a wide range of circumstances and be perpetrated by a wide range of adults. Children can be abused by other children. The law recognises four types of abuse (physical, emotional, neglect and sexual), with a fifth (financial) also applying to vulnerable adults.
THE ROLE OF BOX OF TRICKS
Box of Tricks will never assume sole responsibility for a child or young or vulnerable person participating in one of their projects.
Where children and young people are concerned their parents and carers retain the sole responsibility for their children outside school hours whether they are present or not. Within school hours, their teacher has sole responsibility for the participants.
Where vulnerable adults are concerned, Box of Tricks will ensure its work with them is supported by an appropriate partner institution or organisation which has responsibility for the welfare of the people in its care.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Box of Tricks’ Artistic Directors have overall responsibility for ensuring the implementation and monitoring of its safeguarding procedures relating to all participants in its projects, whether staff, freelance associates or beneficiaries.
- The Artistic Directors are responsible (in consultation with other Box of Tricks staff and Board members where necessary) whether any incidents involving children or vulnerable adults should be reported to social care, the police, the DBS or any other relevant authority.
- The Artistic Directors are responsible for ensuring that appropriate DBS checks are carried out in relation to Box of Tricks projects involving children and vulnerable adults and for making decisions in relation to the suitability of individuals for work with children or vulnerable adults in that context.
PROCEDURES FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
- In most circumstances Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates will not be working alone with children or vulnerable adults participating in a project. Where an occasion arises when one of Box of Tricks’ staff or freelance associates may be alone with children or vulnerable adults for a short period, Box of Tricks will ensure that an accredited staff member of the school or partner organisation must be easily accessible. This is to ensure that Box of Tricks’ staff and freelance associates can easily request support and assistance should it be required.
- Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates must maintain professional boundaries at all times. Personal contact details should not be shared with children or vulnerable adults, nor should Box of Tricks staff or freelance associates communicate with children or vulnerable adults by telephone, email or social networks.
- No Box of Tricks staff or freelance associates should travel alone with children or vulnerable adults (for example by giving them lifts in a car). If exceptional circumstances arise that justify a member of Box of Tricks’ staff or freelance associates travelling alone with a child or vulnerable adult, the approval of Box of Tricks’ Artistic Directors should be sought and the incident recorded.
- No Box of Tricks staff or freelance associates should take photographs or video in the course of a project unless this has been specifically authorised in advance. Box of Tricks’ Artistic Directors must ensure that all necessary consents have been obtained before authorising the taking of photographs or video footage.
- It is not usually appropriate to touch children or vulnerable adults during project work. However, there may be limited circumstances where touch is appropriate. Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates should always seek permission from the child or vulnerable adult (and their parent or carer, if present) before touching a child or vulnerable adult.
- Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates should treat all project participants with courtesy and respect, always paying proper regard to their social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs.
Photographs or video footage of children or vulnerable adults participating in Box of Tricks projects will not be taken unless appropriate consent has first been obtained (in the case of children or those unable to indicate their own consent, this should be obtained from parents or carers or from the school). Where photographs and video footage are taken, care will be taken to ensure that the use if such material does not put any child or vulnerable adult at risk. Such material should not be linked online to the full names of project participants or any other personal informational that might put project participants are risk without prior permission from the participants and their parent(s)/carer(s).
DISCLOSURES OF ABUSE AND REPORTING PROCEDURES
It is possible that, during a Box of Tricks activity, a child or vulnerable adult might make a disclosure of abuse or of information that might be an indicator of possible abuse. It is important that Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates know how to respond appropriately to such disclosures. All Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates should follow these guidelines:
- Stay calm
- Listen carefully to what is said and show that you are taking it seriously.
- Find an appropriate, early opportunity to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared with others - do not promise to keep secrets.
- Tell the child or vulnerable adult that the matter will only be disclosed to those who need to know about it.
- Allow the child or vulnerable adult to continue at their own pace.
- Ask questions for clarification only and at all times avoid asking leading questions.
- Reassure the child or vulnerable adult that they have done the right thing in telling you.
- Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared.
- Make no judgment about what you have heard
- Record in writing what was said, using the child or vulnerable adult’s own words as soon as possible –note the date, time, any names mentioned, to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is signed and dated.
- You should also record in writing any incident of abuse or potential abuse you witness in the course of your work for the Artistic Director or the designated safeguarding lead for any partner organisation/institution.
- Remember that whilst you may have been the first person encountering an allegation of abuse it is not your responsibility to decide whether abuse has occurred.
SIGNS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT
You should always be alert to the possible signs of abuse or neglect and raise any concerns with Box of Tricks’ Artistic Directors or the designated safeguarding lead for any partner organisation/institution. Abuse can take many different forms, including emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A good source of advice about the different types of child abuse and possible signs and symptoms of child abuse is the NSPCC website:
Any concerns about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult or possible abuse should be raised in the first instance with Box of Tricks’ Artistic Directors. Such concerns should also be raised with the designated safeguarding lead for any partner organisation/institution.
DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE CHECKS
Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates engaged in ‘regulated activity’ must have undertaken an enhanced DBS check. It is acknowledged that some of Box of Tricks freelance associates may not come within the statutory definition of ‘regulated activity’ (because the work they undertake with children or vulnerable adults may not take place every week or for more than three days in a 30 day period). However, Box of Tricks’ expectation is that all Box of Tricks staff and freelance associates who work with children and vulnerable adults should be subject to an enhance DBS check. All DBS checks must be renewed at least every three years.