Studley Camera Club (SCC)Child Protection Policy
All organisations which make provision for children and young people must ensure 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 will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately

Policy Statement

SCC has a duty of care to safeguard all children from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. A child is defined as under 18 years old. (The Children Act 1989)

Policy Aims

The aim of the SCC Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of SCC
Promoting good practice with young people

Introduction

Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take. Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the club environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher or volunteer may have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where a young person needs protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.

Good Practice Guidelines

All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate within SCC

Always work in an open environment eg avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment ie no secrets
Treating all young people/disabled adults equally and with respect and dignity
Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals
Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with members (it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or share a room with them)
Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision making process
Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people
Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather then negative criticism
Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will
Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to give permission for the administration of 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
Requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars
Ensuring no person under the age of 18 is photographed in an unlawful or unsuitable manner

Practice to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents. For example, a 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

Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others
Avoid taking children to your home where they will be alone with you

Practice 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.

NB. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents/carers. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents/carers of the child are informed.

If you accidentally hurt a member
If he/she seems distressed in any manner
If a member appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
If a member misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done

Responding to suspicions or allegations

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in SCC to take responsibility or 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.

SCC will assure all members that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

Where there is a complaint against a member 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.

Action if there are any concerns

The following action should be taken if there are concerns:

if, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice: the Club Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue
if the allegation is about poor practice by the Club Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to social services or the police who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceeding

Suspected Abuse

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by a member should be reported to the Club Child Protection Officer, 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 Club Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police.

The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.

The Club Child Protection Officer should also notify the Club Chairman who will deal with any media enquiries.

If the Club Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the Club Chairman who will refer the allegation to social services.

Confidentiality

Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned.

Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:

The Club Child Protection Officer
The parents/carers of the person who is alleged to have been abused
The person making the allegation
Social Services/Police
The alleged abuser (and parents/carers if the alleged abuser is a child)

Seek social services advice on who should approach alleged abuser.
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).

Internal Enquiries and Suspension

The SCC Child Protection Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.

Support to deal with the aftermath

Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to children, parents, carers and members of the club. Helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process. The British Association of Counselling Directory may be a useful resource. (The British Association of Counselling Directory is available from the Bristish Association of Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ Tel: 01788 550899 Fax: 01788 562189 Email: bac@bac.co.uk Internet: www.bac.co.uk)

Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to the alleged perpetrator of the abuse.

Allegations of previous abuse

Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event, for example by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member still currently working with children. Where such an allegation is made the Club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside the Club, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.

This policy was written by Simon Moody


This policy has been agreed and accepted by the SCC Committee