Cornwall Film Festival Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy

Cornwall Film Festival believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practice which protects them.

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief,
  • sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of the policy:

  • To provide protection for the children and young people who receive Cornwall Film Festival services, including the children of adult members or users.
  • To provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.

This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers and the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers and sessional workers, agency staff, students or anyone working on behalf of Cornwall Film Festival.

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them
  • adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers
  • recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
  • sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
  • developing and implementing an effective e-safety/photo policy and related procedures

Legal framework

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely: Children Act 1989

United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991

Data Protection Act 1998

Sexual Offences Act 2003

Children Act 2004

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

Relevant government guidance on safeguarding children

INTRODUCTION:

If any parent or young person/child has any concerns about the conduct of any member of the organisation, this should be raised in the first instance with Louise Fox, (the designated child protection contact).

POLICY GUIDELINES

1.Immediate Action to Ensure Safety

Immediate action may be necessary at any stage in involvement with children and families.

IN ALL CASES IT IS VITAL TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILD/REN  ie:

  • If emergency medical attention is required this can be secured by calling an ambulance (dial 999) or taking a child to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
  • If a child is in immediate danger the police should be contacted (dial 999) as they alone have the power to remove a child immediately if protection is necessary, via Police Protection Order.

2.Recognition of Abuse or Neglect

Abuse or neglect of a child is caused by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.  Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting: by those known to them or more rarely by a stranger.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms, of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after.  This situation is commonly described using terms such as, fabricated illness by proxy or Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person.  It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.  It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child though it may occur alone.

 

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (eg rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts.  This may include non-penetrative acts.  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.  It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Individuals within the organisation need to be alert to the potential abuse of children both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of that organisation.

The organisation should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving children.  There is an expected responsibility for all members of the organisation to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with these procedures.

It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with parents/carers about any concerns.

However, you must not discuss your concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances:

  • where sexual abuse is suspected
  • where organised or multiple abuse is suspected
  • where fictitious illness by proxy (also known as Munchausen Syndrome by proxy) is suspected
  • where contacting parents/carers would place a child, yourself or others at immediate risk.

What to do if children talk to you about abuse or neglect

It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present.  In these situations you must:

  • Listen carefully to the child.  DO NOT directly question the child.
  • Give the child time and attention.
  • Allow the child to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
  • Make an accurate record of the information you have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the child’s presentation as well as what was said.  Do not throw this away as it may later be needed as evidence.
  • Use the child’s own words where possible.
  • Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared.
  • Reassure the child that:
  • you are glad they have told you;
  • they have not done anything wrong;
  • what you are going to do next.
  • Explain that you will need to get help to keep the child safe.
  • Do NOT ask the child to repeat his or her account of events to anyone.

3.Consulting about your concern

The purpose of consultation is to discuss your concerns in relation to a child and decide what action is necessary.

You may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you, because of your observations of, or information about that child.

It is good practice to ask a child why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused, or respond to a child wanting to talk to you.  This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.

If you are concerned about a child you must share your concerns.  Initially you should talk to one of the people designated as responsible for child protection within your organisation.  In this organisation this person is Louise Fox tel: 07814 906420 If one of those people is implicated in the concerns you should discuss your concerns directly with Social Services.

You should consult externally with your local Social Services Department in the following circumstances:

  • when you remain unsure after internal consultation as to whether child protection concerns exist
  • when there is disagreement as to whether child protection concerns exist
  • when you are unable to consult promptly or at all with your designated internal contact for child protection
  • when the concerns relate to any member of the organising committee.

Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Social Services or the Police should progress.

4.Making a referral

A referral involves giving Social Services or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action.

In certain cases the level of concern will lead straight to a referral without external consultation being necessary.

Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances in which the parents or carers have been identified as the perpetrator.

 

However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made.  It would then become a joint decision with Social Services about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.

IF YOUR CONCERN IS ABOUT ABUSE OR RISK OF ABUSE FROM SOMEONE NOT KNOWN TO THE CHILD OR CHILD’S FAMILY, YOU SHOULD MAKE A TELEPHONE REFERRAL DIRECTLY TO THE POLICE AND CONSULT WITH THE PARENTS.

If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from a family member or someone known to the children, you should make a telephone referral to your local Social Services Office. Contact the Multi Agency referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116.

Information required

Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available).  Unavailability of some information should not stop you making a referral.

  • Your name, telephone number, position and request the same of the person to whom you are speaking.
  • Full name and address, telephone number of family, date of birth of child and siblings.
  • Gender, ethnicity, first language, any special needs.
  • Names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant others.
  • The names of professionals’ known to be involved with the child/family eg: GP, Health Visitor, School.
  • The nature of the concern; and foundation for them.
  • An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.
  • Your view of what appears to be the needs of the child and family.
  • Whether the consent of a parent with parental responsibility has been given to the referral being made.

Action to be taken following the referral

  • Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concern(s) made at the time.
  • Put your concerns in writing to Social Services following the referral (within 48 hours).
  • Accurately record the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.
  1. Confidentiality policy

The legal principle that the “welfare of the child is paramount”

Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first. Remember:

  • Legally, it is fine to share information if someone is worried about the safety of a child.
  • Not everyone needs to know when a concern or worry is raised. This respects the child’s, family’s and/or staff’s rights to privacy. So only people who need to know should be told about it. Otherwise there might be gossip and rumours or other people may be genuinely concerned.
  • It is fine to say that a concern has been raised and it is being dealt with following the group’s procedures.
  • The organisation will ensure that any records made in relation to a referral should be kept confidentially and in a secure place.

We committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.