Our Child Protection Policy
Theatre Box is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people. It recognises its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation. Theatre Box acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse. Paid staff and volunteers will endeavour to work together to encourage the development of an ethos which embraces difference and diversity and respects the rights of children, young people and adults.
Theatre Box recognises its duty of care under the Children and Young
Persons Act 1963, the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations
2014, the Children Act 1989 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (in Scotland Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003). Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013
Theatre Box believes that:
• The welfare of the child is paramount;
• All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
• All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
• All members and employees of Theatre Box should be clear on how to respond appropriately
Theatre Box will ensure that:
• all children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity;
• the welfare of each child will always be put first;
• a balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process;
• enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than negative criticism;
• bullying will not be accepted or condoned;
• all adult members of Theatre Box provide a positive role model for dealing with other people;
• action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour;
• it will keep up-to-date with health & safety legislation;
• it will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children;
• it will undertake relevant development and training;
• it will hold a register of every child involved with Theatre Box and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies.
Theatre Box has child protection procedures which accompany this policy. This policy should also be read in conjunction with Theatre Box’s Equal Opportunities Policy and Health & Safety Policy.
Theatre Box has a dedicated Child Protection/Welfare Officer, who is in charge of ensuring that the child protection policy and procedures are adhered to. That person's name is Adrian Edmeades and he can be contacted on 07818 840252.
In implementing this child protection policy Theatre Box will:
• Communicate to all workers/members their legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation
• Communicate to all workers/members/volunteers/members their responsibility to work to the standards that are detailed in the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board and the need to work at all times towards maintaining high standards of practice in protection of children
• Ensure that all workers/members understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child or young person, or a worker’s conduct towards a child/young person, to the Theatre Box’s named person for child protection
• Ensure that the Theatre Box named person for child protection understands his/her responsibility to refer any child protection concerns to the statutory child protection agencies (i.e. Police and/or Children’s Social Care)
• Ensure that any procedures relating to the conduct of workers/members are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner
• Facilitate opportunities for children and young people to express their ideas and views on a wide range of issues in connection with the service they are provided with and to have access to the Theatre Box’s Complaints Procedure.
• Facilitate involvement of parents or carers in the work of Theatre Box and to make child protection policies and procedures available to them.
This policy will be regularly monitored by the Executive Committee of Theatre Box and will be subject to annual review.
Date: 16th May 2023.
3. Developing Procedures
Theatre Box’s child protection procedures should detail the steps which will be followed where there are concerns that a child or young person could be experiencing abuse and/or neglect. The procedures should help to ensure a speedy and effective response for dealing with such concerns.
Section 1 – Introduction
These procedures have been designed to ensure that the welfare and protection of any child and/or young person who accesses the services provided by Theatre Box. The procedures recognise that child protection can be a very difficult subject to deal with to the extent that it is sometimes easier to close your eyes to what is happening or believe that it is somebody else’s problem to deal with.
Theatre Box is committed to the belief that protecting children and young people is everybody’s responsibility and therefore the aim here is to provide guidelines that will enable all workers/members and volunteers to act appropriately to any concerns that arise in respect of a child/young person.
Please see Theatre Box’s equal opportunities policy.
Section 2 – Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
Physical Abuse: Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, and burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the Childs 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 include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate. It may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as over protection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying) causing children to frequently 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, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may include non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images or watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect: Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or a carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, (including exclusion from home or abandonment) failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger , failing to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers) or the failure to ensure access to the appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsive to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Bullying: Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else – such as name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone.
It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It’s usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally.
Bullying that happens online, using social networks and mobile phones, is often called cyber bullying. A child can feel like there’s no escape because it can happen wherever they are, at any time of day or night.
Child Sexual Exploitation: Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, drugs, alcohol, accommodation or gifts as a result of them performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can also occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet or mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. Child sexual exploitation is a hidden crime. Young people often trust their abuser and don’t understand that they’re being abused. They may depend on their abuser or be too scared to tell anyone what’s happening. Children who work in entertainment may be sexually exploited in return for offers of TV, film or modelling/ photographic work and roles in professional stage productions.
Section 3 - Responsibilities of the Organisation
At the outset of any production Theatre Box will:
• undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk throughout the production process;
• identify at the outset the person with designated responsibility for child protection;
• engage in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with responsibility for children, including appropriate vetting (if necessary in consultation with the local authority);
• ensure that children are supervised at all times;
• know how to get in touch with the local authority social care services, in case it needs to report a concern.
Section 4 - Named Person(s) for Child Protection
Theatre Box has an appointed individual who is responsible for dealing with any child protection concerns. In their absence, a deputy will always be available for workers/members to consult with.
The named persons for Child Protection within Theatre Box are:
Named Person for Child Protection: Adrian Edmeades
Work telephone number:
Mobile number: 07818 840252 Emergency contact no: 07818 840252
Name of contact person: Abbi Holland
Work telephone number:
Mobile number: 07813 295542 Emergency contact no: 07813 295542
The role and responsibilities of the named person(s) are:
> To ensure that all staff are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they are concerned that a child/young person may be subject to abuse or neglect.
> Ensure that any concerns about a child/young person are acted on, clearly recorded, referred on where necessary and, followed up to ensure the issues are addressed.
> The Named Person(s) will record any reported incidents in relation to a
child/young person. These will be kept in a secure place.
Section 5 – Stages to follow if you are worried about a child
Suspicion of abuse
• If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of Theatre Box, please make this known to the person with responsibility for child protection.
• If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the local authority designated officer ( LADO)
• Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved.
• If a serious allegation is made against any member of Theatre box,
chaperone, venue staff etc., action will be taken to ensure the individual does not have further contact with the child until the investigation is concluded. The individual will be excluded from the theatre, rehearsal rooms, filming location, TV Studio, etc. and will not have any unsupervised contact with any other children in the production.
Disclosure of abuse
If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:
• Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
• Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don't ask questions that suggest a particular answer.
• Don't promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others.
Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
• Reassure the child that 'they did the right thing' in telling someone.
• Tell the child what you are going to do next.
• Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person's responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually Children’s Social care or the Police.
• Never investigate or take sole responsibility for a situation where a child makes a disclosure
• As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child's own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.
Who to tell and what to tell them
• If you have concerns about the wellbeing of a child in your care you have a duty to report it to Theatre Box’s welfare officer who will contact the child employment manager. If you are unable to contact them you should contact Surrey County Council Children’s Services.
• The telephone number is shown on the ‘useful contacts’ page at the end of this policy.
• Where you make such a referral, please advise the child employment office at the earliest opportunity. We can offer you the appropriate support and advice where required. Response to your referral Child protection investigation.
Recording of information
• In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.
• An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or
disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken e.g. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.
• The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.
Section 6 – Creating a safe organisation
Photographs and images of children
· There are risks posed directly and indirectly to children and young people through the use of photographs on web sites and in other publications such as theatre programmes. Photographs can be used as a means of identifying children when they are accompanied with personal information, for example, "this is X who goes to such-and-such a school and who likes playing football". This information can make a child vulnerable to an individual who may wish to start to 'groom' that child for abuse. Secondly the content of the photo can be used or adapted for inappropriate use. There is evidence of this adapted material finding its way on to child pornography sites.
· Theatre Box will assess the potential risks to the child when making decision about the type of images they wish to use and the way they are used. Theatre Box will need to assess the potential risks to the child when making decisions about the type of images they wish to use and the way they are used. Theatre box will ensure that parents support the policy. Use of names of individuals in a photograph should be limited and it is sensible to avoid use of any additional information that might help locate the child. Using only images of children in suitable dress may reduce the risk of inappropriate use. Parental permission to use an image of a young person must be sought in advance.
If parents or other members of the audience are intending to photograph or video an event they should be made aware of Theatre Box’s policy. The use of cameras or mobile phones with camera or filming capability in dressing rooms and other inappropriate environments should be expressly forbidden.
• Most of our children will use mobile phones and computers. They are a source of fun, entertainment, communication and education. However, we know that some men, women and young people will use these technologies to harm children. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings.
• Theatre Box’s e-safety policy explains how we try to keep children safe by not communicating with children via their phone, but with their parents.
• Cyber-bullying by children, via texts and emails, will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying.
· Theatre Box believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and Theatre Box. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the activities of Theatre Box and to share responsibility for the care of children.
· All parents will be given a copy Theatre Box’s Child Protection Policy and procedures.
· All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. Theatre Box has a responsibility to ensure suitable arrangements are in place to take children home.
· Theatre Box will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with children.
· If possible there will always be two adults in the room when working with children.
· If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimise risk. For example, work will be carried out in a public area or in a designated room with a door open.
· If it is predicted that an individual is likely to require unsupervised contact with children, he or she may be required to obtain a criminal record disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service
· All children will be chaperoned at all times
Gifts made to the children
Gifts of any sort, including sweets and chocolates given to the children must be made via the chaperone and with consent of the parents
Chaperones will be mindful of any allergies/food intolerances in the group before accepting gifts for the children
Favouritism of any child(ren) is not appropriate
All gifts should be made to all the children rather than any specific child(ren)
• All adults will maintain a safe and appropriate distance from children.
• Adults will only touch children when it is absolutely necessary in relation to the particular activity.
• Adults will seek the consent of the child prior to any physical contact and the purpose of the contact shall be made clear.
Managing sensitive information
• Theatre Box has a policy and procedures for the taking, using and storage of photographs or images of children.
• Permission will be sought from the parents for use of photographic material featuring children for promotional or other purposes.
• Theatre Box’s web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use.
• Theatre Box will ensure confidentiality in order to protect the rights of its members, including the safe handling, storage and disposal of any sensitive information such as criminal record disclosures.
Rights & Confidentiality
• If a complaint is made against a member of Theatre Box he or she will be made aware of his rights under Theatre Box’s disciplinary procedures.
• No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.
• To avoid accidents, chaperones and children will be advised of "house rules" regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
• If a child is injured while in the care of Theatre Box, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in Theatre Box’s accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for child protection.
• If a child joins the production with an obvious physical injury a record of this will be made in the accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for child protection. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later, and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the production.
• Chaperones registered with their local authority, will be appointed by Theatre Box for the care of children during the production process. The chaperone is acting in loco-parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child. The maximum number of children in the chaperone's care shall not exceed 12.
• Potential chaperones will be required to obtain a chaperone registration from their local authority and to supply this registration to Theatre Box once the local authority has approved them as a chaperone.
• Chaperones will be made aware of Theatre Box’s Child Protection Policy and
• Chaperones may have unsupervised access to children in their care consequently a criminal record disclosure will be sought as a requirement of the local authority, before the grant approval for the chaperone
• Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the producer. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue.
• If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform the producer and not allow the child to continue.
• Under the Dangerous Performances Act no child of compulsory school age is permitted to do anything which may endanger life or limb. This could include working on wires or heavy lifting. Chaperones should tell the producer to stop involving children in dangerous performances, and should contact the local authority.
• During performances, chaperones will be responsible for meeting children at the stage door and signing them into the building.
• Children will be kept together at all times except when using separate dressing rooms.
• Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times.
• Children are not to leave the place of performance unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents.
• Children will be adequately supervised while going to and from the toilets.
• Children will not be allowed to enter the adult dressing rooms.
• Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures
in the venue, and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger.
• Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by Theatre Box.
• Chaperones should examine accident books each day. If an accident has occurred, the producer is not allowed to use that child until a medically qualified opinion has been obtained (not just the word of the parent or child).
• Chaperones should have written arrangements for children after performances. If someone different is to collect the child, a telephone call should be made to the parent to confirm the arrangements.
• Children should be signed out when leaving and a record made of the person collecting.
• If a parent has not collected the child, it is the duty of the chaperone to stay with that child until arrangements have been made to take the child home.
Section 7 – Disseminating/Reviewing policies and Procedures
Theatre Box has in place a system for disseminating and reviewing their overall policies and procedures. They are reviewed annually, signed by Trustees/Governors and/or anyone within Theatre Box that has overall responsibility for the service being provided.
Any changes/amendments are clarified and shared with staff and where significant changes appear these are relayed to parents/carers. Best practice guidelines advise the involvement of parents/carers and young people in developing policies that affect them.
Appendix 2: useful contacts
Child employment office
Child employment manager
Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
0300 470 9100
Children’s Services emergency duty team (out of hours)