Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

Arts Therapies for Children (‘ATFC’) is a charity registered in England & Wales (with charity number 1167912) which provides schools with qualified and experienced Arts Therapists in order to help children with emotional or behavioural difficulties. The safety and welfare of the children we work with is paramount.

Our contact with children takes place exclusively through our therapy sessions within schools, at the request of and/or with the full knowledge and consent of the children involved, their parents or those with parental responsibility for them and the school itself. Accordingly, this policy is applied to work in tandem with the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policies of the schools in which our activities take place and those responsible within the schools for applying their policies.

In order to further support our commitment to child protection and safeguarding, we work with the schools to ensure that they have appropriate systems should any concerns be raised in relation to our own practices and personnel.


  1. The purpose of this Policy
  2. Our Child Protection Policy
  3. What constitutes abusive behaviour?
  4. What we expect from our staff, volunteers and therapists
  5. What to do if you are concerned about a child’s welfare
  6. Related policies


The purpose of this Policy

This Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy explains the procedures and systems we have implemented to protect the children that we come into contact with. Its purpose is to ensure that no child is subjected to any abusive behaviour by anyone associated with ATFC and also to ensure that any concerns about a child’s welfare, from whatever source, are listened to, dealt with sensitively and effectively and are recorded and reported in line with best practice and all legal requirements. It should be read in conjunction with other relevant policies referred to within this policy and listed in section 6, below. ATFC has also adopted[1] the Six Standards recommended by the NSPCC in its ‘Safeguarding Standards and Guidance for the Voluntary and Community Sector Working with Children (2017)’.


[1] See Section 6. a.


1. The Government’s Statutory Guidance defines safeguarding as:

protecting children from maltreatment
preventing impairment of children’s health and development
ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and
taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

Our staff, volunteers and therapists are committed to taking all reasonable steps to safeguard children in our care, both through their own actions and by providing a means for children to report abuse.

2. Our Child Protection Policy

Through this Policy we commit to the following principles and actions:

The welfare of the child is paramount
No child or group of children must be treated any less favourably than others in being able to access services which meet their particular needs
All children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs
This Policy applies to our staff, volunteers and the independent therapists with whom we work
This Policy will be notified to children, their parents or guardians, the teachers and relevant staff within the schools in which our activities take place, as appropriate, along with any other relevant policies, permissions and consents (see section 6)
All concerns, and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously by staff, volunteers and therapists and responded to appropriately. This may require a referral to the school in which our activities take place, children’s social care services, the independent Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for allegations against staff, volunteers or therapists and, in emergencies, the police
Safe recruitment through scrupulous selection, vetting, induction and ongoing training procedures
Proper reference to all of the principles, legislation and guidance that underpin the Policy
This Policy is reviewed, approved and endorsed by our Trustees annually or when legislation or guidance changes.

3. What constitutes abusive behaviour?

Abuse can take many forms and maybe be carried out by any person against anyone else; including by one child against another or by an adult such as a parent, relative, other carer or by someone in authority such as a teacher or police officer. Abuse may include, but is not limited to:

Sexual abuse or inappropriate touching or comments of any kind, whether or not there was, or was perceived by any person, to have been consent to such behaviour.


Bullying[2], threatening, abusive or disparaging or mocking acts or words, including acts of actual or threatened violence or that cause emotional, physical or psychological harm.


Using undue influence and/or doing acts that cause an individual to feel compelled to act in a particular way or to do something against their will or which they do not have the legal, mental or emotional capacity to consent to doing.


Acts or omissions that result in neglect or a lack of care.


The sending by any means of material, whether in words, in pictures or otherwise, that results in abuse or exploitation of the kinds mentioned above.


[2] See, in addition, our Anti-bullying Policy (Section 6. e. below)

4. What we expect from our staff, volunteers and therapists

Our Code of Conduct

The safety and welfare of the children we work with is paramount and so we take great care to ensure that the people working for or on behalf of ATFC are properly recruited and vetted, are fully aware of their responsibilities and subscribe to our code of conduct[3], which states that they must:

  • Treat all children equally, and with respect and dignity.
  • Always put the care, welfare and safety needs of a child first.
  • Only hold therapy sessions or otherwise have contact with a child in a room designated for the purpose by ATFC in agreement with the school or otherwise work in an open environment, avoiding unobserved situations.
  • Never form inappropriate emotional or physical relationships with a child.
  • Never engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games.
  • Never allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
  • Never arrange to see or communicate in any way with a child away from or outside of the place designated by ATFC for contact. This includes contacting, ‘friending’, ‘following’, ‘liking’ or otherwise commenting or engaging through any form of social media.
  • Never make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
  • Never do things of a personal nature for a child, that they can do themselves.
  • Take all reported concerns seriously and never allow allegations made by or about a child to go unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Report immediately any suspicion that a child could be at risk of harm or abuse (see section 5, below).
  • Fully cooperate with any investigation of suspected or alleged abuse and work in partnership with all others involved in such a process.
  • In the case of our trustees and staff in particular, ensure that they keep themselves informed of current legislation and guidelines and that all staff, volunteers and therapists are provided with suitable monitoring and training, and the means to report actual or suspected abuse.


Breaches of this code may lead to disciplinary action and the termination of the working relationship between ATFC and the person involved. Where necessary, incidents may be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Recruitment

Anyone working for or on behalf of ATFC (whether paid or otherwise) who may come into contact with a child will first be subject to a rigorous recruitment and vetting process in accordance with the NSPCC’s Standard 1[4], which will include as a minimum, and as is appropriate to their role:


  • At least one face to face interview with at least two interviewers.
  • At least two written references providing detail about the person’s character and workplace record, and disclosing any concerns relating to their working with children or vulnerable people.
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (‘DBS’) check.


NB: The DBS decides who is unsuitable to work or volunteer with vulnerable persons and it is illegal for a barred person to apply for such work (paid or voluntary), or for a charity to employ a barred person in such work. It is also a legal requirement for employers to refer someone to the DBS if they:

Dismissed them because they harmed a child or adult.
Dismissed them because they might have harmed a child or adult otherwise.
Were planning to dismiss them for either of these reasons, but the person resigned first.
An induction and training programme, and ongoing training as deemed appropriate by ATFC.

5. What to do if you are concerned about a child

ATFC has designated the following persons as our Principal and Deputy safeguarding officers:

Principal Safeguarding Officer:  Tim Anders: tim@artstherapies.org.uk 
Deputy Safeguarding Officer:  Natasha Ainley: natasha@artstherapies.org.uk 


If you are concerned about a child either because of something done or said by the child or someone else, or because of something else that you observe, you must:

  • Immediately make known your concerns to the designated Child Protection Officer at the school in which you are working with the child; AND


  • Either the Principal or the Deputy Safeguarding Officer at ATFC; AND


  • Make an accurate factual note of the circumstances giving rise to your concerns and you must not leave the premises you are working in until you have done the above. This note is an important record for your future reference and for ATFC’s own records.


  • Not give assurances to the child that the information disclosed by them to you will not be disclosed to other responsible persons, including those mentioned above. A child or young person (under 18) cannot refuse for this referral to occur if they have made an allegation of abuse and their welfare is paramount.


  • Subject to the above, comply with regulations relating to confidentiality and data protection, including ATFC’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policies.


The Safeguarding Officer at ATFC will then report the matter as appropriate to the relevant authorities, which may include Children’s Services, the police, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) for e-safety concerns. They will also retain records of the alleged incident or concerns in a secure place for future reference, in compliance with all relevant safeguarding, data protection and other regulations and guidance.

No one should feel in any way constrained from making known to an appropriate person genuine concerns, even if they cannot immediately be substantiated. Accordingly, ATFC maintains a Whistleblowing Policy[5] to protect those who make known such concerns in good faith.


[3] Our therapists also subscribe to the British Association of Art Therapists’ Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Practice (Section 6. h. below)


[4] NSPCC ‘Safeguarding Standards and Guidance for the Voluntary and Community Sector Working with Children’ (2017). Section 6. a. i. below


[5] Section 6. d. below

6. Related Policies


The safety and welfare of the children we work with is paramount, and it is therefore essential to us at ATFC that our staff, volunteers and therapists work are completely trustworthy and work to the highest professional standards. To help to ensure that we only work with dedicated, caring and experienced people who can deliver the best service to the children we help, we apply rigorous standards in our recruitment, induction, training and monitoring of all staff, volunteers and therapists, whilst also recognising their rights to fair and equal treatment, a healthy and safe work environment and one where the privacy and confidentiality of everyone with whom we work is maintained.

Accordingly, we maintain a number of policies explaining our operating standards and practices, and the rights and responsibilities or all parties. Copies of all of these policies, which are listed below, are available on request:

a. Statement of ATFC’s operational standards, referencing the NSPCC’s Standards 1-6:


  • i. Safer Recruitment, Induction and Supervision of Personnel
  • ii. Protecting Children and Young Adults at Risk
  • iii. Preventing and Responding to Bullying
  • iv. Running Safe Activities and Events
  • v. Recording and Storing Information
  • vi. Working with Others


b. ATFC Privacy and Data Protection Policy
c. ATFC Confidentiality Policy
d. ATFC Whistleblowing Policy
e. ATFC Anti-Bullying Policy
f. ATFC Equal Opportunities Policy
g. ATFC Health & Safety Policy
h. British Association of Art Therapists’ Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Practice

Footnotes


[1] See Section 6. a.

[2] See, in addition, our Anti-bullying Policy (Section 6. e. below)

[3] Our therapists also subscribe to the British Association of Art Therapists’ Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Practice (Section 6. h.)

[4] NSPCC ‘Safeguarding Standards and Guidance for the Voluntary and Community Sector Working with Children’ (2017). Section 6. a. i.