Write By You (hereafter referred to as WBY) aims to provide a safe and secure environment in which we nurture children and young people’s creativity and develop their writing skills through workshops (in persona and digital), one-to-one coaching, team design of group anthology and team planning of a celebration event.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England. A summary of the key legislation is available from nspcc.org.uk/learning.
Purpose of Statement
The purpose of this policy statement is:
- to protect children and young people who take part in WBY activities from harm. This includes the children of adults who use our services
- to provide staff, (which includes freelance writers) as well as WBY members and their families, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
This policy applies to, and must be complied with by, anyone working for or on behalf of WBY (hereafter referred to as ‘staff’), including senior managers and the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, temporary workers, agency staff and students.
Terms and Definitions
For the purpose of this document:
‘Child–’ refers to anyone under the age of 16
‘Young person–’ refers to anyone aged 16 or over but under 18 and anyone aged 18 who is in sixth form or college
‘Adult–’ refers to anyone 18 years of age or older who is no longer in sixth form or college
‘Vulnerable adult–’ refers to any person who is 18 or over that is or may need community care services because of a disability (mental or other), age or illness and is someone who could be unable to look after themselves, or protect themselves from harm or exploitation
‘Member’–refers to any child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult who attends WBY sessions or activities
‘Members’–refers to the children, young people, adults or vulnerable adults who attend WBY sessions or activities
‘Staff’–refers to anyone working for or on behalf of WBY including senior managers and the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, temporary workers, agency staff and students.
We believe that:
- Children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind
- We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.
We recognise that:
- the welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do
- that all children regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting the welfare of children and young people.
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them
- appointing a nominated child protection lead and designated safeguarding officer for children and young people
- adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers
- developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures so that all staff and volunteers know about and follow our policies, procedures and behaviour codes confidently and competently
- recruiting and selecting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and guidance
- sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children and their families
- making sure that children, young people and their families know where to go for help if they have a concern
- using our safeguarding and child protection procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
- using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
- ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance
- building a safeguarding culture where staff, children, and WBY members and their families, treat each other with respect and are comfortable about sharing concerns.
WBY Child Protection Lead & Designated Safeguarding Officer
Name: Sarah Tinsley
Recruitment of Staff
WBY is committed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that unsuitable applicants are prevented from working with children. WBY will ensure that:
- All new staff members have a current and clear DBS check before beginning work.
- All staff members DBS checks are renewed no longer than 3 years after their most recent check was issued.
- References for new staff have been received from a previous employment before beginning work
- All staff members have read, understood and agreed to adhere to this Safeguarding policy and its outlined procedures
- All staff members are aware of their responsibility to report any concerns about non-adherence to this policy or signs of possible abuse
- All staff members respond quickly to any concerns raised by a child, young person or vulnerable adult
Health & Safety
All staff members have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of the children, young people or vulnerable adults who attend WBY whilst attending any WBY related activities. WBY will ensure that:
- All staff, children, young people and vulnerable adults are advised of best practice rules regarding health and safety including any areas that are out of bounds, and appropriate clothing/footwear for sessions
- There is always a minimum of one staff member with a recent First Aid Qualification present at each WBY session or activity
- If anyone is injured while in the care of WBY, a trained First Aider will administer first aid, record the incident in the accident book, and inform their parent or carer of the situation.
- If a child, young person or vulnerable adult joins a WBY session or activity with an obvious injury, this will be recorded in the accident book.
- Medication is not given to a child, young person or vulnerable adult without the written consent or a parent or carer.
- If medication is administered it must be documented in the accident book.
Good Practice during Sessions and Activities
All WBY staff will ensure that they are working with its members in a safe, respectful and effective way at all times. This will include:
- Always having one member of staff aged 18 or over present for WBY sessions and activities
- Working in an open environment where possible (e.g avoiding private/unobserved situations, leaving doors open where safe to do so, encouraging open communication)
- Treating all of WBY’s members with respect, dignity and equality.
- Putting the welfare of WBY’s members first.
- Only having physical contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults when absolutely necessary in relation to a particular activity, and only after gaining consent to do so and making clear the purpose of the physical contact.
- Involving parents and carers wherever possible.
- Being a positive leader and role model
- Giving encouraging and constructive feedback
- Recognising the individual needs of its members and adapting its practice and activities to ensure all of its members have the opportunity to be challenged and to grow
All staff will avoid doing the following (except in exceptional circumstances in which they may find themselves such as needing to escort a child, young person or vulnerable adult to the hospital or if a parent or carer fails to pick up a child on time or at all)
- Spending excessive amounts of time alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult
- Picking up or dropping off a child, young person or vulnerable adult to their home or an event
All staff are strictly prohibited from:
- Being physically rough with WBY’s members
- Engaging in or encouraging sexually provocative games or behaviour during WBY sessions or activities, or make sexually suggestive comments to any of WBY’s members
- Sharing a room with a child, young person or vulnerable adult
- Inviting or allowing children, young people or vulnerable adults to stay with them at their home unsupervised
- Reducing a member to tears as a form of control
- Allowing allegations made by one of WBY’s members to go unrecorded or not acted upon
- Doing things of a personal nature for one of WBY’s members that they can do for themselves
In order to publicise the work and productions of WBY, photographic images and videos may be taken of its members for use in advertisements, social media, and on the website. On occasions, WBY may take photographs and videos for use in WBY sessions both in-person and online. Videos and photographs will only be taken under the following conditions:
- In the case of children, after formal permission in writing has been obtained from a parent or carer.
- In the case of young people and adults, after formal permission in writing has been obtained from the young person themselves or their parent or carer.
- Photographs and videos are only taken of/for WBY related activities or projects
- No inappropriate images will be taken
A parent, carer, young person or adult may withdraw their permission to use images at any point and should do so in writing by emailing sarah.writebyyou.gmail.com
WBY recognises that social media can be a legitimate and effective way to communicate with children, young people and adults. However, contact between WBY and its children, and young people must only occur via WBY’s official social media accounts, listed below:
WBY staff are prohibited from the following:
- Being friends with, sending or accepting friend or follower requests from any of WBY’s children or young people on any of their personal social media channels.
- Joining, accepting invitations to, or contributing to any groups, private or otherwise, relating to WBY activities, productions or its children or young people
- Sending or responding to any private or direct message from any of WBY’s children or young people
- Posting any images or WBY’s children, young people and vulnerable adults excepting as a retweet or similar of a post from an official WBY social media account.
WBY does not expect its staff to remove or block any WBY member who becomes a follower of their personal public social media accounts but all staff must discourage any WBY children or young people from doing so, and must adhere to the conditions of this policy. In this case they must also respect their association with WBY and maintain a duty of care to its children, young people and vulnerable adults when posting on their social media channels.
Incidents that must be reported and/or recorded:
If any of the following incidents occur, staff must report or record them as soon as reasonably possible in the manner set out in this document.
- Any accident or injury that happens during a WBY session or activity must to recorded in the accident book, including accidents or injuries caused by staff or other children, young people or vulnerable adults
- If any child, young person or vulnerable adult seems distressed or is exhibiting notable changes in their behaviour this should be recorded and reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer
- If any child, young person or vulnerable adult appears to be sexually aroused by your action this should be recorded and reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer
- If any child, young person or vulnerable adult misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done this should be recorded and reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer
- If you have concerns or suspicions of abuse or neglect, or a child makes a disclosure of alleged abuse or neglect to you this should be recorded and reported in the manner set out in this document.
Allegations or suspicions of abuse or neglect:
WBY staff are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its children, young people and vulnerable adults. One aspect of this is recognising the signs of abuse and acting accordingly when they have suspicions of or are made aware of, alleged abuse or neglect. It is important to remember that abuse can occur at the hands of other children or young people.
According to Working Together 2018 abuse is defined as:
“A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child 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 others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.”
According to Working Together 2018 Physical abuse is defined as:
“A form of abuse which 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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.”
According to Working Together 2018 Emotional abuse is defined as:
“The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meets 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 feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection 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 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 maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.”
According to Working Together 2018 Sexual abuse is defined as:
“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 assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.”
According to Working Together 2018 Neglect is defined as:
“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. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: a. provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment) b. protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger c. ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers) d. ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment It may also include neglect, of or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.”
There are a number of ways in which abuse may become apparent:
- A child or young person makes a disclosure of abuse
- Someone else discloses that a child has told them they have been abused or they strongly believe they are being abused
- A child or young person may show signs of physical injury for which there appears to be no satisfactory explanation
- A child’s behaviour may indicate that it is likely that they are being abused
- A member of staff’s behaviour or the way in which they relate to a child causes concern
What to do if you are concerned
If you wish to report concerns directly to the Police, please call 101, or in an emergency where the immediate safety of a child, young person or adult is at risk, dial 999.
It is not the responsibility of any WBY staff member to decide if abuse has taken place, however, it is their responsibility to act on any concern via the procedure set out in this document
- If you see or suspect abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult whilst in the care of WBY, you must make this known to the Designated Safeguarding Officer (hereafter referred to as the DSO)
- If you suspect the DSO is the source of the problem you should make your concerns know to the Local Authority Designated Officer (hereafter referred to as LADO)
- You should make a note for your own records of what you have witness or your concerns as well as your response
- If an allegation is made against any WBY staff member, WBY will ensure that the staff member does not have further contact with the child or young person, or any contact with other WBY children or young people until the investigation is concluded.
If any child or young person discloses something to a member of staff that causes concern, it should be recorded as soon as possible whether or not it will be passed onto the DSO or other local authorities.
During disclosure staff should:
- React calmly
- Remember the child or young person may be anxious or scared
- Tell the child that they were right to tell and is not to blame
- Listen carefully and take what the child says seriously
- Recognise the difficulties inherent in interpreting what is said by young children
- Remember that young or disabled children may not be able to express themselves verbally
- Ask no more questions than is necessary to ensure clarity about what has happened
- Reassure the child but do not promise confidentiality. Explain you may have to speak to someone else who can help.
- Make a fully written record of what has been said, heard and/or seen as soon as possible
During disclosure staff should not:
- Allow their feelings of shock or distaste show
- Ask for any more information than what is offered by the child or young person
- Speculate or make assumptions
- Make negative comments about the alleged abuser
- Agree or promise to keep the disclosure a secret
Recording a disclosure or concerns
In order for a record of disclosure or concerns to be as helpful as possible it should be recorded as soon as possible and contain the following:
- The child or young person’s name, age and date of birth
- The child or young person’s home address and telephone number
- Who the disclosure was made to, or who has concerns (whether it is the person making the record or someone else)
- The nature of the allegation including any dates, times or other relevant information
- The alleged abuser, if any, and their details
- Make a clear distinction between what is fact, hearsay and opinion.
- A description of any visible injury or bruising.
- A description of any indirect signs or abuse, such as behavioural changes.
- Details of any witnesses to the incident
- The child, young person or vulnerable adult’s account, if a disclosure, of what has happened or how any injury or bruising occurred.
- Whether the parents or carers have been contacted and if so, what was said
- Whether anyone else has been consulted and if so, detail who
- If not a direct disclosure, has the child, young person or vulnerable adult been spoken to, and if so, what was said
- If referred to the police or social services, a record of this should be taken in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.
Allegations against staff
- If the allegation is about poor safeguarding practice, consultation will be made by the project coordinator with the relevant authorities, in order to decide how to respond to the allegation and whether or not to discipline the member of staff involved in the allegation
- Any suspicion that a child or young person has been abused by a member of staff should be reported to WBY, who will then take all necessary steps to ensure the safety or the child in question and any other children who may be at risk.
- The staff member in question will be suspended from work until a full investigation has been concluded.
- The DSO will refer the allegation to social services who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out of hours.
- The parents or carers will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from social services
- If the DSO is the suspect of the suspicion/allegation, the report can be made directly to social services
Allegations of historical abuse
Any allegation of historical abuse (e.g by an adult who was abused as a child, or any allegation of abuse made some time after the event) will be dealt with in the same manner set out in this document for allegations of current abuse.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned and that information concerning allegations and suspicions is given out purely on a need to know basis.
Remember: If you wish to report concerns directly to the Police, please call 101, or in an emergency where the immediate safety of a child, young person or adult is at risk, dial 999.
Anti-bullying and harassment policy
Bullying is not acceptable at WBY and will not be tolerated in any form. It is important to remember that bullying can occur between staff, from between members, from member to staff and staff to member.
Bullying and harassment may include but is not limited to:
- Physical actions such as hitting, pinching, kicking, smacking or any unwanted physical contact
- Name calling, humiliation, exclusion, ignoring
- Making degrading or disrespectful comments
- Racist, sexist or homophobic insults or gestures
- Continuously discriminating against an individual for any reason
- Making sexual comments or suggestions
- Making inappropriate comments relating to a person’s personality
- Applying undue emotional pressure on an individual
- Cyber-bullying, including via text or email
If any staff member is made aware of bullying whether direct or indirect disclosure, or through observation, the matter will be taken seriously and all people involved will be given support. The following will likely occur:
- Any incident of bullying or harassment will be discussed primarily with the victim(s) and the alleged perpetrator(s) and if necessary with their parents, carer or workshop leader.
- The staff attending to the allegation will attempt to identify the problem and suggest possible solutions
- Appropriate action will be taken quickly to end the bullying or harassing behaviour and if possible those involved will be reconciled
- If the bullying or harassment continues a meeting with the appropriate parties will be called to attempt to find a solution. In cases involving children or young people this will involve their parents or carers. In serious cases, the solution may involve suspension
- In cases of serious bullying or harassment, incidents will be recorded by staff and reported to the appropriate person/people. This could include local authority services or the police
- If necessary, the DSO will be consulted
Online Safety Policy
On occasion it may be necessary for WBY sessions and activities to be conducted online (e.g due to Covid-19 guidelines preventing in person sessions). Whenever digital or online platforms are used for any WBY work, WBY recognises the importance of protecting its children, young people, vulnerable adults and staff, and their families.
Live Video Chat
When live video chat services are used to conduct sessions the following procedure and code of conduct will apply:
- There will be a minimum of two children, young people and/pr vulnerable adults in all sessions.
- When a one-to-one session is taking place, the parents/carers will be informed and the session will be recorded
- The parents and carers of children and young people will be made aware in writing of the date and time and platform to be used for each online WBY session.
- All people on the live video chat must wear appropriate clothing, even on body parts which may not be seen
- When signing in to the chat do not use your full name, but use only your first name and, if necessary, last initial.
- No one is allowed to record or take photos of the session without the prior written consent of all people involved and in the case of children and young people, without the prior written consent of a parent or carer.
- The only adults present during online sessions will be WBY staff or adult members
Videos and other digital content
Working digitally may require members to make/submit videos or other digital content. When doing so WBY will encourage its children, young people, adults and vulnerable adults to do the following:
- Not use their full name
- Not film or record anything that may reveal their address, phone number, school or location of anywhere else they may go to regularly
- Not film anyone else under the age of 18
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Use appropriate language
- Keep themselves safe-e.g not to share anything personal
- Videos and other digital content may not be shared through personal social media platforms and may only be shared via the official WBY social media accounts listed above.
- Videos and other digital content will not be shared if any child, young person, or their parent/carer or any adult involved objects to the content being shared. If an objection is raised after content has been shared, it will be removed as soon as reasonably possible.
All good practice, procedure and policy set out in this document will be reviewed on an annual basis by the DSO.
Who to contact
WBY’s Designated Safeguarding Officer
For concerns about a staff member
LADO phone number: 020 8489 2968/079 8031 6571
Other useful contacts
If you wish to report concerns directly to the Police, please call 101, or in an emergency where the immediate safety of a child, young person or adult is at risk, dial 999.
MASH – Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub:
- Monday to Thursday 8.45am to 5pm; Friday 8.45am to 4.45pm
Tel: 020 8489 4470
- Out of office hours, including weekends the Emergency Duty Team
Tel: 020 8489 0000
Email for concerns regarding a child or young person: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email for concerns regarding an adult:
- Telephone: 020 8489 1400
- Email: email@example.com
NSPCC Helpline : 0808 800 5000
Created: November 2020
Review date: November 2021