Child Protection Policy

Last updated: February 2018

SScOT’s aim is to provide high quality music-making experiences for children aged 8-15 years.

SScOT is fully committed to the wellbeing of all young people who take part in its activities. It recognises its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure best practice and protect children from harm and abuse.

The aim of this policy is to ensure all staff and associated personnel are familiar with good practice in child protection, and to allow staff to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

This policy has been written in conjunction with Creative Scotland’s “Creating Safety” guidelines. SScOT can provide a copy of these guidelines on request.

This policy applies to all staff, including committee members and the board of trustees, paid staff and volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of SScOT.

Key Principles of Working with Children

At the heart of good practice in protecting children lies an understanding of their rights. There are four key principles derived from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which has been ratified by Scotland.

These four key principles, as follows, underpin the work of NYOS with children and young people:

1. The best interests of the child must always be a primary consideration.

2. All children and young people should be treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

3. All children and young people have the right to protection from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

4. All children and young people have the right to express their views on matters that affect them.

Staffing Policy

All course tutors are asked to produce evidence of PVG scheme membership. Where this is not available, a check will be made by SScOT.

We have been advised by Disclosure Scotland that Student Assistants on SScOT courses are not undertaking regulated work and therefore do not require PVG scheme membership. Student assistants are there to assist with the smooth running of the course and support the group musically where required, and will never be placed in a 1-1 care situation with young people. They are, however, bound to abide by the same child protection guidelines as any other members of staff.

Code of Practice

As an adult working for SScOT, you should:

  • Treat all children and young people with respect
  • Provide a good example of acceptable behaviour
  • Where possible, plan activities which involve more than one person being present, or ensure that other adults are within sight or hearing whenever possible
  • Be available to listen to the concerns of young participants, and to refer them to other sources of help where appropriate
  • Try to ensure that your actions cannot be misunderstood or cause offence
  • Encourage young participants to feel comfortable enough to point out attitudes and behaviour they do not like
  • Show understanding when dealing with sensitive issues and recognise that caution is required when discussing such issues
  • Be aware that even caring physical contact with a child or young person can be misinterpreted

You should not:

  • Permit abusive behaviour (bullying, taunting, racist behaviour…)
  • Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with children and young people
  • Jump to conclusions about others without first checking facts
  • Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour
  • Show favouritism to an individual
  • Exaggerate or trivialise any child abuse issues
  • Make suggestive remarks or actions, even in jest
  • Deliberately place yourself or others in potentially compromising situations
  • Believe “it could never happen to me”

admin@sscot.org.uk

Is what I plan to do in the best interests of the child I am working with?
How will the children benefit from the activity and how can I maximise those benefits?
Is my behaviour appropriate for the children I am working with just now?
Do any of the children I am working with have specific needs which I need to take into account?

What to do in the event of suspected abuse:

If you have any reason to suspect a young person at a SScOT event is being abused

  • Inform the Course Director
  • Make a written record of all details of the facts known to you as soon as possible and give a copy to the staff member you have
  • spoken to

If a child tells you about abuse by someone else:

  • Stay calm, do not be shocked, and try to act normally
  • Allow the individual to speak freely, without interruption, but do not question them or attempt to investigate yourself
  • Offer support and reassurance; assure them you believe what they say
  • Explain that you cannot keep it a secret and that you will need to speak to another member of staff about it. Never promise a child that you will keep it a secret.
  • Report the matter as detailed above.

If you receive an allegation of abuse about yourself or any other course staff:

  • Immediately inform the Course Director and keep a written record of all the facts as you know them
  • Try to ensure that no one is placed in a position which could lead to further compromise

In all cases you must refer the matter to either of the course Director. Remember, it is not your role to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. Your role is to report the disclosure as it happened without delay or prejudice. Do not try to deal with any possible cases of abuse on your own.

The SScOT Promise to Participants

All of us at SScOT promise to make sure that you have the best time possible while you are taking part in our activities.

We all believe that you have a right to feel safe and comfortable while you are with us. We will do our very best to live up to the promises we make to you.

We promise to:

  • Make you feel welcome
  • Always think about your needs as the main consideration
  • Treat all young people fairly
  • Make sure that all our staff and volunteers know what they are supposed to be doing
  • Make our activities as safe as possible
  • Listen to what you want to tell us
  • Do our best to make sure you have fun
  • Do what we say we will do!
  • Child Protection Officer

Kate Whitlock, Course Director, 07763 973842, admin@sscot.org.uk

Issues of concern may also be reported to our nominated Trustee, Philip Rossiter prossiter@merchiston.co.uk