Safeguarding Policy

The Statement of the SHADES Theatre Company on the Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable adults

As the members of SHADES Theatre Company, we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the company, and those invited to perform with us, of all ages. It is the responsibility of each one of us to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

It is the duty of a person working with children, young people and vulnerable adults to prevent abuse and to report any abuse discovered or suspected.

General guidelines

Kinds of abuse

  • Physical, where children or young people receive physical hurt or injury.
  • Sexual, where adults seek sexual gratification by using children and young people.
  • Emotional, where children or young people are harmed by a constant lack of love and affection, or threats, taunting, etc.

The following may be signs of abuse:

  • Physical abuse: unexplained injuries or those that have received no medical attention, hidden injuries, signs of neglect.
  • Sexual abuse: allegations made by the child or young person, pre-occupation with sexual matters, sexual activity through words, play or drawings, severe sleep disturbances with fears and phobias, being sexually provocative with adults.
  • Emotional abuse: regression in behaviour, nervousness, sudden under-achievement, inappropriate relationships with peers/adults, attention seeking, running away / stealing/ lying, looking uncared-for.

N.B. Physical abuse and neglect are difficult to hide. Sexual abuse can be almost impossible to identify and prove. Many symptoms of distress can point to abuse but there may be other explanations.

Many of the above signs also apply to vulnerable adults.

Vulnerable adults include abused men & women, including those suffering from domestic violence. Those who are physically or mentally disabled.

It is important, therefore, that the signs mentioned previously are not taken as indications that abuse has taken place. They should make us stop and think, but not necessarily jump to conclusions.

If you suspect abuse

  • Do not delay.
  • Consult with the person to whom you are responsible for work with children and young people Chairman, Director, the independent person appointed within SHADES Theatre Company, or another appropriate person. Consult with the Director and the Independent Person Appointed for the event (IPA). Also, be sure that the Safeguarding Officer and Chairman is made aware of your suspicion.
  • Contact the statutory services responsible for child protection in your area, i.e., Social Services, or NSPCC or the police.

Be aware

In every area there are procedures for investigating cases where a child is at risk. The Social Services Department has the main responsibility and will normally set up a Case Conference carried out by social workers and police. You may be asked to attend either to give information or to support the parent/family. It is important to clarify in what capacity you have been invited and how you want to be seen by the family, i.e. as a member of the conference or as a support.

If a child or young person wants to talk about abuse

  • Accept what the child or young person says, keeping calm and looking at them directly.
  • Let them know that you need to tell someone else, do not promise confidentiality.
  • Even when a child or young person has broken a rule, they are not to blame.
  • Be aware that the child or young person may have been threatened.
  • Never push for information.
  • Reassure the child or young person they were right to tell you and believe them.
  • Let the child or young person know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens.
  • Make notes as soon as possible, writing down exactly what was said and when he/she said it.
  • Record dates and times of these events and keep the hand-written record.

Where there are concerns the adult services department of the local authority should be contacted. For East Sussex the number is 03456080191 from 8am to 8pm. There is a link on the ESCC website to a leaflet that covers the types of abuse i.e. Physical, sexual, domestic, organised, financial, psychological and self-neglect.

If suspected abuse of a child or vulnerable adult has taken place, during a production, workshop etc notify the Chairman immediately as well as taking the steps outlined above.

As we are an evangelistic group, we have adopted a Safeguarding Policy in keeping with that as used by churches within our locale. This will ensure that any direct involvement between us and church groups will not be hampered by vastly differing policies.

Additional guidelines in respect to performing shows, plays etc. in which children and young people participate.

Safer Activities/Practice

  • Ensure that there is a nominated person who has an enhanced DBS check who has overall responsibility for the updating of the policy and when plays etc are being performed. Ideally have more than one DBS person at each performance as with current practice.
  • If necessary, to undertake a risk assessment regarding the venue/location before agreeing that performances will take place.
  • Have a first aid kit to hand and a qualified first aider at each performance.
  • Ensure that firm arrangements are made with parents/carers for collecting of children/young adults and vulnerable adults as applicable.
  • As we are a theatre company, the appointed person will make all policy decisions after consultation with show director.
  • Because of the needs of the group the director’s decision can only be overturned by the elected committee.
  • All adults who are to perform with children and young people must sign a declaration that they are free of any child abuse convictions. Once a signature has been obtained and where appropriate a check made, all adults will be registered with SHADES as being able to work with children and young people. A DBS check will be made in most cases and SHADES reserves the right to do this.
  • It is envisaged that more than one person will obtain DBS clearance for working with children.

When we work for, or alongside outside groups, such as Church Together, a decision must be made at the outset as to who is responsible as a body for children and young people and whose Safeguarding Policy will be adopted.

No rehearsals will take place involving one adult and one child or young person on a one to one basis. An adult who will be present throughout will monitor any such rehearsal.

A copy of these guidelines will be handed to all members of SHADES.


SHADES Theatre Company is a Christian drama group with a purpose of spreading the Gospel; this of course makes us close allies of the church. The church is a place for sinners, for the vulnerable and for those in need. Abusers are people in desperate need of help.

Whenever help and support is offered to an ex-offender the protection of the children within, and under the protection, of our group must come first.

With this point in mind any production involving the inclusion of children and young people must, of necessity, preclude the involvement of any ex-offender.

Portfolio of Gifted Children and Young People

  • The person appointed by SHADES as the responsible person for the welfare of children and young people will be responsible for maintaining the portfolio and keeping it up to date.
  • Parents or guardians will be asked to produce a brief C.V. of their child/young person for inclusion in the portfolio.
  • It will be the parent’s or guardian’s responsibility to see that this information is kept up to date.
  • Membership of our Company by parent or guardian would be actively encouraged so as to allow child/young person access to our newsletter.
  • SHADES Theatre Company in no way wishes to become a babysitting service and it is hoped that parental membership would discourage this.
  • Parents or guardians will be responsible for delivering and collecting their child/young person to and from the rehearsal or show venue at stipulated times.
  • Rehearsal times for children and young children to be realistic, under normal circumstances not ending later than 9.30pm. This of course might change during the immediate lead up to a show and to the show running period. All cast would be expected to stay until the end.
  • No child/young person is to leave the premises of the show or rehearsal unless accompanied by an approved adult.
  • Health declaration of all children/young people is to be provided. This would include any known allergies.
  • It is envisaged that we will have a number of approved adults and this list will be held by the appointed child care person and the director of the current production.
  • An approved person will be in attendance at all venues.
  • Invitations will be issued to children/young people to attend workshops as and when available. It will be the responsibility of the workshop leader to ascertain how many places will be allocated to children/young people.
  • Children/young people will be taken off the register if no interest is shown for an eighteen-month period; this will not include exam periods where it is understandable that priorities would lie elsewhere.
  • Children/young people who become disruptive, or cause others to be disruptive will be removed from the portfolio and will be excluded from the drama group.
  • We recognise that children below a certain age will have restricted time slots and that time limits will be imposed. These limits will be in accordance with laid down guidelines and all workshop leaders and production directors will have time schedules to adhere to.
  • SHADES Theatre Company recognises the need for children and young people to be encouraged in the pursuit of the performing arts and we will do all we can to actively encourage them to work alongside of us.
  • SHADES Theatre Company reserves the right to change any ruling regarding the portfolio at any time.