Child Protection and Care of Children and Youth Policy
Society: Showbiz Christchurch | Last updated: July 2021
Showbiz Christchurch’s core activity is staging musical theatre productions, which utilise a large number of volunteers to bring to the stage. Most of our shows have volunteers under the age of 18 involved in each show, either on and/or offstage.
This policy has been developed to set out the requirements for children and young persons involved in a production and how they should be managed appropriately
Part of Showbiz Christchurch’s mission includes:
- Foster talent in musical theatre to the highest quality through the production and support of high quality musical productions, training and education opportunities and social interaction.
- Cultivate and advance the arts of musical theatre, dance, music and drama in their various branches by the encouragement of public interest and appreciation.
- Provide education and entertainment for the members of Showbiz Christchurch and the Canterbury community by the production of musical and dramatic entertainment.
Involvement of Youth under 18 years of age in our productions is a core part of achieving these goals.
This policy applies to all Showbiz Christchurch members, Board members, Heads of Department, Independent Contractors and participating volunteers involved in our productions and Society operations, herewith referred to as Showbiz personnel.
This policy applies to all children involved in a Showbiz production, workshop or event.
- A child is defined as individuals aged 0-15 years
This policy does not apply to young persons involved in a production, workshop or event.
- Young persons are defined as those aged 16 – 18 years of age.
- In the case of those 16 years of age and over, a designated support person will be put in place.
The purpose of this policy is to:
- Provide guidance to members and volunteers with respect to Child Protection and the Care of Children involved with Showbiz Christchurch.
- Set out the accountabilities and responsibilities of Showbiz Christchurch personnel in relation to the involvement of volunteers under 18 years of age in our productions.
- Set a clear protocol of action and a framework for our responsibilities and legal duties in relation to each child’s vulnerability and protection.
- Ensure a consistent and effective response in the event of any concern for the welfare of a person who is under 18 years and involved in our productions or events, and to support any child or young person.
- Guidance for attendance and supervision of children at Social events, workshops or other events.
Showbiz Christchurch is committed to providing support, care and protection to any children involved in our productions.
The society believes that:
- The welfare of the child is paramount.
- All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, ethnicity, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- All personnel of the society should be clear on how to respond appropriately.
- To be cast as part of the adult ensemble of a Showbiz Christchurch show, an individual must be 16 years of age by/on the date of the opening night performance of the season
- To be part of one of the backstage teams a Showbiz Christchurch show, an individual must be 16 years of age by/on the date of the opening night performance of the season
- Some shows have a script requirement for children to be included in the onstage cast. The ‘stage age’ of each role will be as prescribed by the script of the show.
Showbiz Christchurch takes responsibility for the well-being and protection of children involved in its production, by ensuring the organization has the information, tools and support to be able to:
- Ensure the safety and well-being of children is at the forefront of all we do and provide;
- Have workable and a robust child protection policy and procedures;
- Create opportunities for volunteers, members and independent contractors to:
- be informed and gain understanding;
- increase knowledge, skills and confidence to implement procedures;
- create opportunities for personnel to become trusted child safety contacts.
The society will ensure that:
- All children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity.
- The duty of care to children will always be put first.
- A balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process.
- Enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than negative criticism.
- Bullying will not be accepted or condoned.
- All adult members of the society provide a positive role model for dealing with other people.
- Action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour.
- It will keep up to date with health & safety legislation.
- It will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children.
- It will hold a register of every child involved with the society in a production, workshop, training or social event and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies.
At the outset of any production involving children the society will:
- Undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk throughout the production process.
- Identify at the outset the person with designated responsibility for child protection.
- Engage in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with responsibility for children, including appropriate vetting (if necessary in consultation with the local police authority).
- Ensure that children are supervised at all times.
- Know how to get in touch with the local authority social services, in case it needs to report a concern.
- Ensure children are allocated their own dressing room, and do not share dressing rooms with adults
- Ensure male and female children do not share dressing rooms.
- In the case where children or young people identify as non binary, give the individual the choice as to which dressing room and bathroom facilities they wish to utilise.
Designated Person (DP) for Child Protection
The General Manager of Showbiz Christchurch a holds the overall responsibility for child protection and the Production Manager of an Production or Event responsible for ensuring that the organisation’s polices are followed. The production manager, as the designated person (DP) takes the responsibility for ensuring child protection is a key focus, and that appropriate protocols and procedures, such as child protection policy implementation, staff training, and support is in place. This role is not a ‘job’ within itself, but usually sits as a function of an established role.
- Being a source of advice, guidance and support for staff who may have child protection concerns;
- Ensuring the Child Protection Policy is reviewed regularly, and that all Showbiz personnel are informed;
- Ensuring required volunteers have received regular child protection training, and that this is recorded;
- Ensuring practices and procedures within the organisation have a child protection lens applied;
- Overseeing the maintenance and confidentiality of child protection records and documentation.
- Ensuring a child Chaperone(s) is appointed for the production, and that the job description is provided to that person(s)
- Chaperones will be appointed by the society for the care of children during the production process. By law the chaperone is acting in loco parent is and should exercise the care, which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child. The maximum number of children in the chaperone’s care shall not exceed 12.
- Separate Child Chaperone Job Description prepared – refer attached.
- Potential chaperones will be required to supply photographic proof of identity (e.g. passport, driving licence) and two references from individuals with knowledge of their previous work with children, unless already well known to the society. They will also be asked to sign a declaration stating that there is no reason why they would be considered unsuitable to work with children.
- Chaperones will be made aware of the society’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
- Chaperones will not usually have unsupervised access to children in their care.
- If unsupervised access is unavoidable, or if this is a requirement of the local authority, a criminal record disclosure will be sought.
- Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the DP. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily, the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue.
- If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform the DP and not allow the child to continue.
- During performances, chaperones will be responsible for meeting children at the stage door and signing them into the building.
- Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times.
- Children are not to leave the theatre unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents or designated caregiver.
- Children will not be allowed to enter the adult dressing rooms unless it is under circumstances understood and approved by the chaperone.
- Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures in the venue and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger.
- Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by the society.
- Chaperones should have written arrangements for children after performances. If someone different is to collect the child, a telephone call should be made to the parent to confirm the arrangements.
- Children should be signed out when leaving and a record made of the person collecting.
- If a parent has not collected the child, it is the duty of the chaperone to stay with that child or communicate arrangements with the DP to get them safely home.
- The Society believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and the society. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the activities of the society and to share responsibility for the care of children. All parents will be given a copy the society’s Child Protection Policy and procedures.
- All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. It is NOT the responsibility of the society to take children home.
- The society will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with Children.
- A child chaperone(s) will be appointed for a production to which children are involved whom will be specifically tasked with the care and supervision of children under the age of 16.
- The child chaperone(s) will supervise children from the time they are dropped off at the theatre/rehearsal by their parents, to the time they are collected from the theatre/rehearsal by their parents.
- If possible there will always be two adults in the room when working with children.
- If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimize risk. For example, work will be carried out in a public area, or in a designated room with a door open.
- If it is predicted that an individual is likely to require unsupervised contact with children, he or she may be required to obtain a criminal record disclosure.
- At no time is any adult permitted to be alone in a dressing room with a child with the door closed.
- Adults will only touch children when it is absolutely necessary in relation to the particular stage or rehearsal activity.
- Adults will seek the consent of the child prior to any physical contact and the purpose of the contact shall be made clear.
Managing sensitive information
- The society has a policy and procedures for the taking, using and storage of photographs or images of children.
- Permission will be sought from the parents for use of photographic material featuring children for promotional or other purposes.
- The society’s web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored by Management for inappropriate use by Showbiz Personnel.
- The society will ensure confidentiality in order to protect the rights of its members, including the safe handling, storage and disposal of any sensitive information such as criminal record disclosures.
Suspicion of abuse
- All individuals involved in a production are responsible for reporting disclosures and any provision of care concerns, and for contributing to the elimination of organisational child protection procedure flaws to enable reporting.
- If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of the society, please make this known to the DP. If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the General Manager.
- Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved.
- If a serious allegation is made against any Showbiz personnel, venue staff etc., that individual will be suspended immediately until the investigation is concluded. The individual will be excluded from the theatre, rehearsal rooms etc.and will not have any unsupervised contact with any other children in the production.
Disclosure of abuse
If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:
- Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
- Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.
- Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the DP. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
- Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone.
- Tell the child what you are going to do next.
- Speak immediately to the DP. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually social services or the police.
- As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.
- To avoid accidents, chaperones and children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
- If a child is injured while in the care of the society, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in the society’s accident book.
- This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child protection.
- If a child joins the production with an obvious physical injury a record of this will be made in the accident book. This record will be countersigned by the DP.
This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the production.
Criminal Record Disclosures
- If the society believes it is in its best interests to obtain criminal record disclosures for relevant production personnel, it will inform the individual of the necessary procedures and the level of disclosure required.
- Individuals in the following roles, which have close involvement with children involved in a production, shall be required as part of their roles to obtain a copy of their criminal record, and provide this to Showbiz Christchurch prior to commencement of involvement in the production.
- Child Chaperone(s)
- Musical Director
- Production Manager
- Stage Manager
- Sales and Marketing Manager
- Make up artists allocated to children
- Adult actors who have significant time with and whom are required to have physical contact with any child due to their role in the production
- The society will have a written code of practice for the handling of disclosure information which will be given to them by Management.
- The society will ensure that information contained in the disclosure is not misused.
- At times there are social events held in conjunction with a Showbiz Christchurch production
- Children are permitted to attend show social events.
- Children must be accompanied to any/all show social events by a parent or guardian.
- The supervision of the child, and transportation home at those social events is the responsibility of the parent or guardian, not Showbiz Christchurch or any personnel, including the child Chaperone.
- Some social events are held on licensed facilities. Children and their parents and guardians must also comply for the terms of the Sale of Liquor License while on licensed premises
- No child shall be permitted to purchase, consume or be provided alcohol at any time while involved in a Showbiz Christchurch production, including, but not limited to Social events.
|Child/tamariki||Individuals aged 0-15 years
|Young person/rangatahi||Individuals aged 16 – 18 years
|Bullying and cyber bullying||Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else – such as name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours,threatening or undermining someone. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It’s usually repeated over a long period and can hurt a child/young person both physically and emotionally.
|Child abuse and neglect||The harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation of any child or young person.
|Physical abuse||Is any behaviour or action which inflicts physical harm to a child or young person, which can include unexplained bruises, welts, cuts and abrasions, unexplained fractures and dislocations, burns, fabricated illness such as Munchausen by proxy.
|Sexual abuse||Is any act where an adult or a more powerful person uses a child or young person for a sexual purpose. This can be direct contact or exposing children to adult materials.
|Emotional Abuse||Any act or omission that results in impaired psychological, social, intellectual and or emotional functioning and development of a child or young person.
|Neglect||Any act or omission that results in impaired physical/emotional functioning, injury, and/or development of a child or young person and can include:
|Child protection||The activities carried out to ensure the safety of a child/tamariki and young person/rangatahi, in cases where there is abuse or neglect.|
- Complaints about any aspects of auditions or the casting process should, in the first instance, be addressed formally to Showbiz Christchurch in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, and not to any individual of the audition team or board.
- Showbiz Christchurch undertakes to treat all complaints confidentially and with respect.
- An acknowledgement of receipt will be made to the complainant immediately on receipt of the complaint
- Showbiz Christchurch endeavors to investigate any complaints objectively and in a timely manner, and reply formally in writing and confidentially to the complainant within 2 weeks of the complaint being received.
- If a complaint is made against a member of the society, he or she will be made aware of his or her rights under the society’s disciplinary procedures.
- No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality.
- Any reckless or willful violation of this policy or negligent behaviour, corrective or disciplinary action may be appropriate through either an informal or formal process.
Who should read this policy
The following persons or groups must read and understand this policy in order to effectively discharge their duties to Showbiz Christchurch:
- all members and Board members of Showbiz Christchurch.
- all volunteers associated with the Showbiz Christchurch and its productions.
- Showbiz Christchurch staff.
- Directors, Musical Directors, Choreographers and Production Managers for any Showbiz Christchurch show.
- All parents, guardians and caregivers of children involved in a Showbiz Christchurch production.
Last updated: July 2021
Next review: July 2023
Key Contact Agencies
- Emergency: Ph 111
- Non Emergency: Ph 105
- Online reporting: 105.police.govt.nz
- Report of Concern: Ph 0508 326 459
- Email: email@example.com
- Ph: 0800 37 66 33
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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