Child Protection and  Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Policy

Bespoken Theatre acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse. Its staff will endeavor to work together to encourage the development of an ethos that embraces difference and diversity and respects the rights of all children, young people and adults.

Safeguarding Children and Young People
Bespoken Theatre will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in our workshops through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines. A child is defined as under 18 The Children Act 1989.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.
We also acknowledge our responsibilities in respect of adult participants who might be deemed to be ‘at risk’ because they are ‘vulnerable’. A vulnerable person may be identified as a person aged 18 or over who has a condition of the following type: (i) a substantial learning or physical disability; (ii) a physical or mental illness or mental disorder, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; or (iii) a significant reduction in physical or mental capacity.

Policy Aims Of Bespoken Theatre

• Provide children and young people and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Bespoken Theatre

• Allow all staff to make informed and confident responses to specific child and vulnerable adult protection issues

update knowledge and training of safeguarding issues.

consult with professionals who are experienced and qualified in safeguarding for supervision and guidance.

Bespoken Theatre believe that

• The welfare of children and vulnerable adults are vital and that safety and welfare come first in all instances.

• All children, and vulnerable adults 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

• All staff including teachers, care staff assistants and volunteers working for and alongside Bespoken Theatre have a responsibility to report concerns to the identified staff responsible for safeguarding.

Bespoken Theatre has a duty of care to safeguard all children and vulnerable adults involved in our workshops from harm.

All children have a right to protection and the needs of disabled children and others including adults who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.

Bespoken Theatre will adhere to

• Always work in an open environment with and alongside support staff from the school/institution/community group (e.g. avoid private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment i.e. no secrets)

• Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.

• Always putting the welfare of each young person/disabled adult first, before winning or achieving goals.

• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with all participants (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or vulnerable adult)

• Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children/vulnerable adults to share in the decision-making process.

• Making performing fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.

Ensuring that all material (i.e scripts /scene content) is age/ability appropriate and never makes a child/vulnerable adult feel uncomfortable or concerned or exploited.

• Keeping up to date with the skills, qualifications and insurance in performing arts, safeguarding policies, diversity and mental health training.

• Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people, vulnerable adult. Always aiming to speak in a positive manner and remembering that building confidence and ensuring the child/vulnerable adult is having a positive experience is always the main aim.

• Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism

Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given in an accident report book that is property of the school/institution/community group.

Informing school/community group staff if any child/vulnerable adult is taken ill or injured during workshops, communicating with parents/carers if relevant and necessary

Never offering or allowing children/vulnerable adult to be transported home in cars or to events through staff employed by Bespoken.

The following practice is never acceptable from Bespoken Theatre 

Encouraging rough, physical or sexually provocative games

• Allowing, engaging in any form of inappropriate touching

. Encourage violent or intimidating behavior (Towards self or others or environment)

• Allow children/vulnerable adult to use inappropriate language unchallenged

• Make sexually suggestive comments to a child/vulnerable adult

• Reduce a child/vulnerable adult to tears as a form of control

• Allow allegations made by a child/vulnerable adult to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon

• Do things of a personal nature for children/vulnerable adult that they can do for themselves

Guidelines for use of photographic filming

Bespoken Theatre does not allow any filming or photographing to take place UNLESS;
We/or the school/institution/community group have signed consent in advance from parents/carers or those in position of guidance and responsibility working with a vulnerable adult. (If they are unable to do so themselves.)

We ask all participants to put mobile phones away in bags, completely out of sight before starting any workshops

Bespoken staff may use technology for playing music in sessions or performances only

Recruitment and selecting staff

The company recognizes that anyone may have the potential to abuse children/vulnerable adults in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children and vulnerable adults.
All staff employed by Bespoken Theatre have full records consistent and in accordance with the Criminal Records Bureau (DBS CHECK) Including evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo)

Responding to suspicions or allegations

It is not the responsibility of anyone working at Bespoken Theatre in a paid or unpaid capacity to take responsibility or to decide whether or not abuse has taken place towards a child or vulnerable adult.
However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. Bespoken Theatre will assure all staff 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/vulnerable adult.

Suspected abuse

Any suspicion that a child/vulnerable adult has been abused by any member of staff should be reported to the designated safeguarding lead who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child/person in question and any other child/person who may be at risk.

Should a child/young person or vulnerable adult wish to speak about any concerning issue, all Bespoken staff will let that person know that they have a duty of care to inform a professional if they believe in good faith their is a safeguarding risk or threat to that person.

Should any child/young person or vulnerable adult make any concerning disclosure to staff employed by Bespoken they will inform the designated safeguarding leads who will take the appropriate action as a duty of care to the person who is disclosing the information.

Dealing with Bullying and Intimidating Behavior

Have a zero-tolerance policy to bullying

Take all signs of bullying very seriously

Work alongside and support a school's/institutions anti bullying statement

Challenge the intimidating behavior immediately and explain the situation and try to get child/vulnerable adult who is doing the bullying to understand the consequences of their behavior

Seek an apology to the victim/s.

If behavior remains unsafe and continues we will ask the child/person who is showing intimidating behavior to leave the workshop with other members of responsible and identified staff.

Speak to the teacher/s of children involved with the incident.

Speak to the staff responsible for all vulnerable adults well-being and safety.

Report any concerns to the designated safeguarding leads within the schools and institutions/community groups that we work within.

Inform staff who are responsible for a vulnerable adults safety and well being.

Encourage and support changes in bullying and negative behavior

Inform all appropriate members of the action taken

Keep a written record of action taken (whom, when etc) For school, institution and community group

 Safeguarding contacts for Bespoken Theatre Company Petra Woodford and Cherie Hughes July 2020