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SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS POLICY

AUGUST 2020

This Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy applies to all activities undertaken by Alchemy Film & Arts and impacts upon workers, participants, audiences, volunteers, partners, and artists. Alchemy Film & Arts will monitor the implementation and application of this Safeguarding Policy to ensure that we reflect and meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

The responsibility for implementing this Policy lies with the Board of Trustees, and will be actively supported and implemented by all contracted workers. Volunteers will be fully briefed and provided with a copy of this Policy. Alchemy Film & Arts aims to comply with all relevant legislation and regulations regarding the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

Any complaint or grievance under this Policy should be made in writing to the Board of Trustees. The matter will then be formally investigated by one or more Trustees who will report back to the Board. If the complaint or grievance is considered reasonable, the Board of Trustees shall decide by majority vote on the appropriate action to be taken.

This Safeguarding Policy outlines:

  • Who we are
  • Our commitment to safeguarding
  • Safeguarding information and procedures
  • Safeguarding reporting process
  • Confidentiality

WHO WE ARE
Alchemy Film & Arts is a cultural organisation invested in film as a means of generating discussion, strengthening community, and stimulating creative thought.

We bring the highest quality experimental film to Hawick and the Scottish Borders, celebrating artistic excellence through a diverse range of year-round events – including community filmmaking opportunities, screenings, exhibitions, commissions, residencies and an internationally renowned annual film festival.

Alchemy Film & Arts is a registered Scottish Charity: SC042142.


OUR COMMITMENT TO SAFEGUARDING

This Policy, along with our Privacy Policy and Inclusivity Policy, is designed in conjunction with our vision and values. At Alchemy Film & Arts we believe that it is always unacceptable for a child, young person or adult to experience abuse of any kind and recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults by a commitment to practices which protects them.

A vulnerable adult is a person who is, or may be for any reason, unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. All vulnerable adults at risk, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. Working in partnership with vulnerable adults at risk, their relatives, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting their welfare. 

We recognise that the welfare of children and young people is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989. All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of our Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy and practices is:

  • To provide protection for the children, young people and vulnerable adults who participate in, receive services from, or volunteer with Alchemy Film & Arts.
  • To provide workers, Trustees, contractors, and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child, young person or vulnerable adult may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.
  • To actively promote the empowerment and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Alchemy Film & Arts is committed to supporting the rights of adults at risk to be protected from abuse, and making sure all volunteers, Trustees, and workers act promptly when dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse. 

To support vulnerable adults, children or young people who are experiencing, or at risk from, abuse, Alchemy Film & Arts is committed to:

  • Identifying the abuse of vulnerable adults, children or young people where it is occurring.
  • Responding effectively to any circumstances giving grounds for concern, or where formal complaints or expressions of anxiety are expressed.
  • Ensuring the active participation of individuals, families, groups and communities wherever possible and appropriate.
  • Raising awareness of the extent of abuse on vulnerable adults, children or young people and its impact on them.
  • Promoting and supporting work designed to reduce abuse and the fear of abuse as experienced by vulnerable adults, children or young people.
  • Regularly monitoring and evaluating how our policies, procedures and practices for protecting vulnerable adults, children or young people are working.
  • Making sure our policies, procedures and practices stay up to date with good practice and the law in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults, children or young people.
  • Ensuring our procedures are in line with the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Procedures.

SAFEGUARDING INFORMATION AND PROCEDURES

RECRUITMENT

All workers, volunteers, and Trustees of Alchemy Film & Arts, who work directly with vulnerable adults, children or young people will complete a Criminal Records Disclosure application and/or PVG certification as appropriate. If the interaction is likely to be unsupervised at any time, then an Enhanced Disclosure application will be required.

Alchemy Film & Arts will also check with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) prior, to any interaction with a vulnerable adult to ensure that they have been assessed to work with vulnerable adults.

PREVENTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ABUSE

Alchemy Film & Arts will:

  • Practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of all volunteers including Trustees.
  • Ensure appropriate training and certification is in place where necessary appropriate.
  • Raise awareness of safeguarding issues.
  • Develop and implement procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases of abuse.
  • Provide training where needed for all volunteers and Trustees on safeguarding adults, children and young people.
  • Make the Alchemy Film & Arts Safeguarding Policy available.

NOTICING ABUSE

Concerns about or evidence of abuse can come through:

  • A direct disclosure by the vulnerable adult, child or young person.
  • A complaint or expression of concern by aworker a volunteer, service user, carer, a member of the public or relative.
  • An observation of the behaviour of the vulnerable adult, child or young person.

DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE

Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other persons(s) or group of people. Abuse may be single or repeated acts.

There are many forms of abuse and neglect:

  • SEXUAL ABUSE
    — indecent exposure
    — sexual harassment
    — inappropriate looking or touching
    — sexual teasing or innuendo
    — sexual photography
    — being forced to watch pornography or sexual acts
    — being forced or pressured to take part in sexual acts
    — rape
  • PHYSICAL ABUSE
    — being hit, slapped, pushed or restrained
    — being denied food or water
    — not being helped to go to the bathroom when you need to
    — misuse of your medicines
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
    — emotional abuse
    — threats to hurt or abandon you
    — stopping you from seeing people
    — humiliating, blaming, controlling, intimidating or harassing you
    — verbal abuse
    — cyberbullying and isolation
    — an unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or support networks
  • DOMESTIC ABUSE
    This is typically an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse by someone who is, or has been, an intimate partner or family member.
  • DISCRIMINATORY ABUSE
    This includes some forms of harassment, slurs or unfair treatment relating to:
    — race
    — gender and gender identity
    — age
    — disability
    — sexual orientation
    — religion
  • FINANCIAL ABUSE
    This could be someone stealing money or other valuables. Or it might be that someone appointed to look after money on someone’s behalf is using it inappropriately or coercing them to spend it in a way they’re not happy with.Internet scams and doorstep crime are also common forms of financial abuse.
  • NEGLECT
    Neglect includes not being provided with enough food or with the right kind of food, or not being taken proper care of.
    Leaving you without help to wash or change dirty or wet clothes, not getting you to a doctor when you need one or not making sure you have the right medicines all count as neglect.
  • INSTITUTIONAL
    The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. This includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect children and vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training, supervision and management, record keeping and liaising with other providers of care.Further information regarding abuse and neglect can be found here.

SAFEGUARDING REPORTING PROCESS

The following Process is communicated and made available to all workers, volunteers and Trustees contracted by Alchemy Film & Arts, where ‘you’ is taken to be the worker/volunteer/Trustee.

IMMEDIATE ACTION
If you suspect abuse has or may have occurred, you must act immediately, by:

  • Making sure the person is safe.
  • Informing a senior team member or Trustee immediately.
  • If appropriate, contacting the police if it is thought a crime has been committed.
  • Recording details of the allegation (what was said, observed, when, where, date of allegation)

It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with any parents/carers about any concerns. However, you must not discuss their concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances:

  • Where sexual abuse is suspected.
  • Where organised or multiple abuse is suspected.
  • Where fictitious illness by proxy (also known as Munchausen Syndrome by proxy) is suspected.
  • Where contacting parents/carers would place a child, the worker/volunteer/Trustee or others at immediate risk.

It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present. In these situations, you must:

  • Listen carefully to the child. Do not directly question the child.
  • Give the child time and attention.
  • Allow the child to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
  • Make an accurate record of the information they have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the child’s presentation as well as what was said; this record should be retained, as it may later be needed as evidence.
  • Use the child’s own words where possible.
  • Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information the child has shared.
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • Not ask the child to repeat their account of events to anyone.
  • Reassure the child that:
    — you are pleased they told you;
    — they have done nothing wrong;
    — you may need to get help to keep the child safe.
  • Bring the concern to the attention of a senior management member, who in turn will contact the Police.

NEXT STEPS

  • Senior management member discusses the concerns with Trustees and contacts the local authority referral agency on 0300 100 1800 during office hours. Where a call falls outwith normal office hours, all calls should go through the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on Tel 01896 752111, or the local (Hawick) Police on 101.
  • Refer to most recent Scottish Borders procedural guidelines for vulnerable adults here.
  • Refer to most recent Scottish Borders procedural guidelines for children and young people here.

INVESTIGATION
The Alchemy Film & Arts Board of Trustees will coordinate an investigation.

  • If necessary they will hold a meeting to review the incident and decide on what action to take next.
  • The incident will be recorded in Alchemy Film & Arts’ incidents file.
  • Local authorities or the police will decide what to do next.
  • Alchemy Film & Arts will review its safeguarding procedures and training.

CONFIDENTIALITY
Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible. If this leaves a child, young person or vulnerable adult at risk of harm then the person’s safety has to come first. The confidentiality of the vulnerable person will be respected wherever possible and their consent obtained to share information, however the child or vulnerable person should be made aware that Alchemy cannot ignore issues around abuse and that steps will be taken to deal with the situation in as sensitive manner as possible. The welfare of the individual is paramount.

If abuse to a child or vulnerable person is alleged, suspected, reported or concerns are raised, the safeguarding reporting process must be followed.

Alchemy Film & Arts will ensure that any records made in relation to a referral are kept confidential and in a secure place.

We are committed to reviewing our Policy and good practice annually.