Harmony InSpires recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all those involved in club activities, especially vulnerable adults, young people and children. It is unacceptable for us to tolerate abuse of any kind and all suspicions will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately. Club members have a responsibility to report concerns to the Club chair or other committee member.
PURPOSE and FUNCTION of ORGANISATION
Harmony InSpires is a members-only ladies choir singing a cappella music, mainly in the barbershop style. Members participate in weekly rehearsals as well as performances and competitions at a variety of venues.
TO WHOM DOES THE POLICY APPLY
Members of Harmony InSpires are mainly adults, but younger people are welcome to join with the permission of their parents.
This policy recognises vulnerable people as:
- Children up to the age of 16 or young people aged 16-18.
- Adults aged over 18 defined as vulnerable by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006; someone over 18 years old who has care and support needs, is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect as a result of their care and support needs or is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
This policy applies to all vulnerable people who are members of the Harmony InSpires chorus, or who participate in Harmony InSpires activities including rehearsals, singouts and competitions.
The safety of vulnerable people is at all times the responsibility of their parents, guardians or carers.
Membership - This Policy is passed to all parents to inform them that when they are not attending with their children, it is their responsibility to ensure that their children are accompanied and adequately supervised by a responsible adult acting on their behalf.
Joint concerts with schools – Harmony InSpires will make appropriate joint working arrangements to ensure that school groups will always be in the care of their teachers and helpers and/or parents who will bear responsibility for their welfare at all times. This does not detract from the choir's general responsibility to provide a safe environment for joint activities and the principles of this safeguarding policy still apply.
Audiences and Social Events - Harmony InSpires is aware that vulnerable people may attend their concerts as members of the audience, or attend social functions hosted by Harmony InSpires. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure adequate supervision. If a parent is not personally attending an event this policy requires them to be satisfied that the vulnerable person will be accompanied and adequately supervised by a responsible adult acting on their behalf at all times.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOTAPES
Photographs and videos are taken from time to time and may be shared with club members, displayed on the internet or reported in the press, usually to promote the activities of the club. Where a parent does not wish a photograph or video of their child to be taken, it is their responsibility to ensure that the child is not included in the photograph or video.
THE LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE THAT SUPPORTS THIS POLICY
The Children's Act 1989 and 2004; The Human Rights Act 1998; The Protection of Children Act 1999; The Sexual Offences (Amendments) Act 2006; The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991; Government guidance on safeguarding children; Caring for the Young and Vulnerable 2000; The Care Act 2014; The Charity Commission's 'Strategy for Dealing with Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Issues in Charities'.
*Where the word “parent” is used, it means parent/guardian or carer.
Harmony InSpires Child Protection Procedure in the event of suspicion of child abuse
All members of Harmony InSpires have a responsibility for the safety of young people with whom they come into contact in connection with Club activities. This includes young people participating in Harmony InSpires activities and attending Harmony InSpires events (performances/fundraising etc) even if the suspected abuse may not have occurred at a Harmony InSpires event.
The club does not have frequent or regular dealings with young people, therefore there is no designated person trained to handle concerns. This procedure gives guidance on where to go for advice.
How to respond to signs or suspicions of abuse
Any member of the club with concerns about the safety of a child should inform the club chairman or a committee member. There four main forms of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect (see below). The club chair (or other designated person) will decide on whether further action is required. If there is any reasonable suspicion of abuse or uncertainty as to how to proceed, she should contact the local Children and Young People's service for guidance (see below).
It is not the responsibility of the club or its members to find out if abuse has taken place; only to report any instance of suspected abuse.
Any report of suspected abuse must be documented and filed by the Club Secretary, whether it is referred to the local council or not. Rights of individual confidentiality must be respected. The documentation should include any of the following which is available:
- full names and date of birth of the child
- address and contacts for parent, other family members and known carers
- reasons for the referral outlining any injuries, allegations made, witnesses and dates/times/places/any distinct features
- any actions taken and people who have been contacted since the concern started
- details of any immediate or impending danger to the child.
How to recognise signs of abuse
1. Physical abuse
This is when a child is hurt or injured by a child or an adult. Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, punching and other ways of inflicting pain or injury such as poisoning, drowning or smothering. It also includes giving a child harmful drugs or alcohol.
2. Emotional abuse
This is when adults deny children love or affection, or constantly threaten or humiliate them. Sarcasm, degrading punishments and ignoring a child are also forms of emotional abuse and undermine a child's confidence and sense of self-worth.
This is when a child's basic need for love, food, warmth, safety, education and medical attention is not met by parents or carers.
4. Sexual abuse
This is when a child is used sexually by an adult or young person. Sexual abuse can include kissing, touching the child's genitals or breasts, vaginal or anal intercourse and oral sex. Encouraging a child to look at pornographic magazines or videos is also sexual abuse. Bullying, racism and other types of discrimination are forms of child abuse. Like other kinds of abuse they can harm a child physically and emotionally.
Guidance on reporting Child Abuse
See Oxfordshire County Council’s Children and Young People's service: Current Guidance (Oct 2013)
Immediate danger: If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
Immediate concern: If there is an immediate safeguarding concern where a child is deemed at risk or has potentially suffered significant harm, please call the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 050 7666. MASH is the front door to Children’s Social Care for all child protection and immediate safeguarding concerns. For example:
This number will take you through to Customer Services who will ask a series of questions and triage into MASH where safeguarding concerns are raised.
- Allegations/concerns that the child has been sexually/physically abused.
- Concerns that the child is suffering from severe neglect or other severe health risks.
- Concern that a child is living in or will be returned to a situation that may place him/her at immediate risk.
- The child is frightened to return home.
- The child has been abandoned or parent is absent.
- Office hours (8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am – 4pm, Friday): Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
NSPCC safeguarding standards and guidance
Making Music http://www.makingmusic.org.uk/