Child Safeguarding Policy

The Royal Drawing School is committed to keeping children taking part in its activities safe from harm as enshrined in the Children’s Act 1989 - 2004. Hereafter, ‘children’ refers to all young people aged under 18 regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity.

We do this by:

  • Following safe recruitment procedures for all staff, self-employed tutors and artist models working with children.
  • Ensuring everyone working with children receives safeguarding training and ongoing support and supervision. 
  • Publishing our Child Safeguarding Policy online and circulating it to everyone to whom it applies.
  • Updating and circulating guidelines for appropriate behaviour including a Safeguarding Code of Conduct
  • Ensuring Designated Safeguarding Leads stay up to date with current best safeguarding practice and advice from relevant external agencies.    

Sharing Information about Child Protection and Good Practice with Parents, Staff and Tutors

The School will listen to all allegations and suspicions of abuse, and any concerns falling within the scope of this policy, in a serious and considered manner.

It is the responsibility of the School’s management and trustees to ensure that information is available to, and exchanged between, all those to whom it applies. Some information is confidential and will only be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis.

Parents and those with parental responsibility are ultimately responsible for their children’s welfare at all times. They should be assured that their children are involved with a credible organisation.

The School achieves this by:

  • Publicising information on all our work with children
  • Publishing the named Designated Child Protection Person(s) and how to make a complaint on the website 
  • Publishing a full copy of the Child Protection Policy on the website

Staff, Self-employed Tutors and Model 
As an organisation which teaches children, it is imperative that each member of staff and faculty is aware of their responsibilities under Child Protection legislation and has a working knowledge of the School’s procedures. Each member of staff and faculty will receive training in Child Protection appropriate to the nature of their role at the School.

Reporting Allegations and Concerns

All allegations or suspicions of abuse must be reported immediately in accordance with the procedure set out overleaf.

In all cases where an allegation is made, or concerns have been raised, the School will record the matter. Details will include, as far as practical:

  • Name of child
  • Age
  • Home Address (if known)
  • Date of Birth (if known)
  • Name/s and Address of parent/s or person/s with parental responsibility
  • Telephone numbers if available
  • Is the person making the report expressing their own concerns, or passing on those of somebody else? If so, record details
  • What has prompted the concerns? Include dates and times of any specific incidents
  • Has the child been spoken to? If so, what was said?
  • Has anybody been alleged to be the abuser? If so, record details
  • Who has this been passed on to, in order that appropriate action is taken? e.g. school, designated officer, social services etc.
  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details
Safeguarding Children Policy - Reporting Procedure

What to do if a Child Tells You About Abuse or if You Are Concerned About Their Welfare?

If a child discloses information to a member of staff or tutor that they have been physically or sexually abused, the reporting procedures must be followed, with reference to the following particular guidelines:

  • Never guarantee absolute confidentiality, as Child Protection will always have precedence over any other issues. If a child refuses to continue, offer privacy and the opportunity to contact Child line 0800 1111. This is a confidential service
  • Listen to the child, rather than question him or her directly. Offer him / her reassurance without making promises, and take what the child says seriously
  • Allow the child to speak without interruption
  • Accept what is said – it is not your role to investigate or question. Do not overreact
  • Alleviate feelings of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgment
  • Advise that you will try to offer support, but that you must pass the information on
  • Explain what you have to do and whom you have to tell
  • Record the discussion accurately, as soon as possible after the event (in any event within 24 hours)
  • Use the child’s words or explanations – do not translate into your own words, in case you have misconstrued what the child was trying to say
  • Report the matter to one of the School’s Designated Person(s) immediately
  • If either Designated Person is not available, or it is inappropriate to approach them, the tutor / member of staff with the concern should make direct contact with the police or social services themselves

Allegations Against Staff

Any allegation or suspicions of abuse by a staff member, self-employed tutor or artist model must be reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, in accordance with the procedure set out. 

There is an obligation to report abusive behaviour or suspicion of abuse to the Royal Drawing School even when this takes place outside of an employee’s or associate’s professional engagement. Any allegation will be investigated through the appropriate channels with the necessary immediate actions taken to protect children and young people.

What to do if You Have Concerns about an Adult Who Works With Children? 

Sometimes, adults deliberately seek work or positions that will give them ready access to children for sexual abuse. There may be others who would be horrified at the thought of harming a child, but who nonetheless unintentionally put children at risk, or actually harm them.  

The Royal Drawing School has a clear, comprehensive whistle blowing policy to help you protect children from those who might put them at risk. You have a duty to seek advice from the Safeguarding Team where you observe: 

  • A lack of appropriate boundaries e.g. in physical contact
  • Personal issues affecting behaviour with children
  • Ignorance of or refusal to accept health and safety issues
  • An uncontrolled tendency to lash out when angry
  • Special attention to a child or group of children that singles them out from others in a group
  • Attempts to make contact with children outside the work environment 
  • Flouting of guidelines for working with children 
  • Possible targeting and grooming of individual children 
  • A child’s disclosure of abuse or of behaviour that has made the child feel unsafe. 

If any member of the Safeguarding Team is the person about whom you have concerns, contact the HR Manager, The Executive Director or Chairperson of the Trustees. 

Reporting the behaviour of a colleague is usually an uncomfortable situation, particularly if you are unsure about what is happening. You might be worried that you are over-reacting and that you might be wrong.  It is useful to consider what could happen if your concerns are well-founded and you fail to act; it is very likely that children will come to harm. Your role is to pass on concerns, not to investigate their merit. You have no option but to pass on behaviour in a colleague that worries you. 

The whistle blowing policy is designed to protect you during the process of investigation; if your concerns turn out to be mistaken, you will not be made to feel that you were wrong to bring it to anyone’s attention. Whistle blowers are protected by the law. 

What to do if You Have Concerns About a Child or Young Person Who Might be Harming Other Children? 

It is important to be aware that children can abuse other children. It is therefore important to understand the difference between consenting and abusive, and between appropriate and exploitative peer relationships. Employees should not dismiss some abusive sexual behaviour as ‘normal’ between young people, and should not develop high thresholds before taking action. 

Therefore, when another child or young person within or outside the family alleges abuse of a child, the safeguarding procedures must be followed in respect of both the victim and considered in relation to the alleged abuser. 

The needs of children and young people who abuse other children is considered separately from the needs of their victims, and an assessment will be carried out in each case. They may also be in need of protection. The perpetrator of abuse should therefore also be referred to the statutory child protection agencies.

The Responsibilities of the Safeguarding Lead After a Referral is Made 

If the statutory safeguarding agencies decide a child is at risk of significant harm, a safeguarding plan will be formed in order to try and keep the child safe and support the child and family appropriately in taking measures to lower the level of risk. Wherever possible, work will be done to try and keep the child within the family. But if the child cannot be safe there, despite everyone’s best efforts, the child will be looked after by the local authority instead of the parents. 

The role of the Safeguarding Lead is to support the statutory agencies in seeking the best outcome for the child.   

The Safeguarding Lead will respond to requests for ongoing involvement where appropriate.

The Legal Framework

The Royal Drawing School Safeguarding policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:

  • Children Act 1989
  • United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Children Act 2004
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

This policy should be read alongside our policies and procedures on:

Definitions of Abuse:

Physical Abuse 
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in, a child. 

Emotional Abuse 
Emotional abuse is the persistent ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitations of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual Abuse 
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children

Child sexual exploitation 
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health and development. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing or shelter, including exclusion from home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-givers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include the neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. 

FGM, Female Genital Mutilation 
FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this. It is frequently a very traumatic and violent act for the victim and can cause harm in many ways. The practice can cause severe pain and there may be immediate and/or long-term health consequences, including mental health problems, difficulties in childbirth, causing danger to the child and mother; and/or death. The age at which FGM is carried out varies enormously according to the community. The procedure may be carried out shortly after birth, during childhood or adolescence, just before marriage or during a woman’s first pregnancy

Radicalisation is when someone starts to believe or support extreme views. They could be pressured to do things illegal by someone else. Or they might change their behaviour and beliefs.

Indicators of Abuse: 

There can never be a definitive list of signs and symptoms of abuse. Children are all individuals and the spectrum of abuse is very wide. Below are some of the common indicators seen in abused children. However, many of them can be explained by something other than abuse, and many abused children behave in a way that is not described below.  Any sudden change from a child’s typical behaviour, or any situation where your instincts tell you something is not right, should be discussed with the Safeguarding Leads.

Indicators of Physical Abuse 
Parents have the right to reasonable discipline of a child, but if an injury is left on a child as a result, the line has been crossed. (In Scotland, hitting a child who is under the age of 3, or hitting any child on the head area, is also considered to be unreasonable). 

Always ask about an injury. Use an open, non-threatening question, e.g. ‘How did that happen?’ Ask the child rather than the parent, unless communication with the child is not possible. If the injury you see does not fit the explanation, or if there is something about the reaction of the child that makes you suspicious, always seek advice.  

Typical indicators of physical abuse include: 

  • Swollen, bruised or black eyes 
  • ‘Fingertip’ bruises that seem to have been made by a hand, or marks that show something that has been used to hit the child 
  • Defensive wounds commonly on the forearm, upper arm, back of the leg, hands or feet
  • Signs (or disclosure) of over-restraint (e.g. tying a child up) 
  • Poisoning (resulting from giving a child inappropriate drugs or alcohol) 
  • Locking a child up 
  • Denying access to food or water
  • Fabrication or induction of illness in a child is known under a number of terms: Factitious illness; Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy or Fabricated illness. The terminology covers an illness or disability where the carer has deliberately induced (e.g. with drugs) or that the carer pretends is there, allowing the child to undergo medical examinations and treatments that are not necessary.   

Use the Royal Drawing School Safeguarding concern form to make a note of exactly where on the child’s body an injury was seen, and what it looked like. This will be very helpful to the safeguarding professionals who will deal with the situation. Be as detailed as possible: for example, rather than ‘a bruise on her face’, say ‘a bruise the size of a five pence piece just above the left cheekbone’. 

Speedy action is vital in physical abuse; it is the abuse most likely to result in serious injury or potentially death.

Indicators of Sexual Abuse 
Sexual abuse covers a wide spectrum of behaviour. It may involve no physical contact at all, for example if children are shown pornography or made to pose for pornographic images. What these behaviours have in common is that the contact is being sought for the sexual gratification of the adult, who exploits the child for his or her own gain.  The indicators shown below are not necessarily signs of sexual abuse, but they are often found in sexually abused children. Seek advice from the Safeguarding Team promptly, if you are worried about sexual abuse. Do not talk to the parents/carers about it without taking advice first. 

Typical indicators of sexual abuse include: 

  • Sexual behaviour beyond a child’s years; 
  • Very young children often inadvertently disclose abuse because they copy patterns of behaviour that show a really advanced sexual knowledge that is way beyond that of their peers. 
  • Reckless behaviour, self-harm, withdrawal or sudden aggression;
  • These behaviours are certainly likely to be indicators of distress; they may or not be abuse, but either way the underlying cause needs to be addressed.
  • Injuries around the genital area or recurrent and unexplained urine infections can indicate abuse and may in any case need medical attention. 
  • Fear of certain places or people. Of course, some children develop what appear to be irrational fears for all sorts of reasons, but a fear that is sudden, or unusual, may be an indicator of harm 
  • Explicit drawings or writing can be a way of re-living abuse, or perhaps trying to make sense of what has happened. These behaviours can be repetitive and compulsive. 

Sexual abuse is almost always (over 90%) perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts. Often, a relationship is built with the child and the family before abuse begins, making it even harder for the child to tell. 

Indicators of Child Sexual Exploitation 
Child sexual exploitation is a complex form of abuse and it can be difficult to identify and assess. The indicators for child sexual exploitation can sometimes be mistaken for ‘normal adolescent behaviours’. It requires knowledge, skills, professional curiosity and an assessment which analyses the risk factors and personal circumstances of individual children to ensure that the signs and symptoms are interpreted correctly and appropriate support is given. 

Children rarely self-report child sexual exploitation so it is important that practitioners are aware of potential indicators of risk, including:

  • Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones etc. without plausible explanation; 
  • Gang-association and/or isolation from peers/social networks; 
  • Exclusion or unexplained absences from school, college or course; 
  • Excessive receipt of texts/phone calls; 
  • Under the influence of drugs/alcohol; 
  • Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age/sexually transmitted infections; 
  • Evidence of/suspicions of physical or sexual assault; 
  • Relationships with controlling or significantly older individuals or groups; 
  • Multiple callers (unknown adults or peers); 
  • Frequenting areas known for sex work; 
  • Concerning use of internet or other social media; 
  • Increasing secretiveness around behaviours;  
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being. 

Even where a young person is old enough to legally consent to sexual activity, the law states that consent is only valid where they make a choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. If a child feels they have no other meaningful choice, are under the influence of harmful substances or fearful of what might happen if they don’t comply (all of which are common features in cases of child sexual exploitation) consent cannot legally be given whatever the age of the child.

Indicators of Emotional Abuse 
‘Persistent’ is the key word. No parents behave impeccably towards their children all the time; they get tired, stressed and unwell. The threshold is crossed when the child is receiving a drip-feed of negative or uncaring messages: children grow up feeling worthless, unloved or only loved as long as they measure up to the standards of what the parents consider being a ‘good’ child. Emotional abuse can lead to: 

  • Fear of trying anything new, which can be either because children have been taught to believe they will fail, or because they have been so over-protected they see the world away from their parents’ authority as a frightening place. 
  • Sudden inexplicable rages; perhaps because the expression of anger is never allowed at home, or is dealt with aggressively; 
  • Inability to deal with the normal range of emotions shown in others; for some emotionally abused children other people’s emotions can be overwhelming and they will react aggressively; others are bewildered or, having learned that their emotions will not have any impact, they adopt a calm, smiling or blank (sometimes called a ‘scorched earth’) expression whatever happens. 

Indicators of Neglect 
Typical indicators of neglect include: 

  • Extremely dirty/smelly appearance, particularly to the point where the child’s peers refuse to play with him/her 
  • Lack of response to a child’s social/emotional needs.

Neglect, like emotional abuse, is centred on ‘persistent’ activity. Many families go through short periods of stress where the care of the children is poor, but if this becomes a persistent pattern of behaviour, the child will be at risk of significant harm.

Indicators FGM May Have Taken Place
A girl at immediate risk of FGM may not know what's going to happen. But she might talk about or you may become aware of:

  • A long holiday abroad or going 'home' to visit family
  • Relative or cutter visiting from abroad
  • A special occasion or ceremony to 'become a woman' or get ready for marriage
  • A female relative being cut – a sister, cousin, or an older female relative such as a mother or aunt.

 A girl or woman who's had female genital mutilation (FGM) may:

  • Have difficulty walking, standing or sitting
  • Spend longer in the bathroom or toilet
  • Appear withdrawn, anxious or depressed
  • Have unusual behaviour after an absence from school or college
  • Be particularly reluctant to undergo normal medical examinations
  • Ask for help, but may not be explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear.

FGM can be extremely painful and dangerous. It can cause:

  • Severe pain
  • Shock
  • Bleeding
  • Infection such as tetanus, HIV and hepatitis B and C
  • Organ damage
  • Blood loss and infections that can cause death in some cases.

Indicators of Radicalisation 
If someone is at risk of being radicalised they might:

  • Talk positively about dangerous groups or people who promote hate, or make it seem like these groups are acceptable
  • Spend time with people or on websites that promote violence, hate, racism, homophobia or islamophobia
  • Become secretive and not want to talk to anyone about where they spend time or what they’re doing online
  • Refuse to talk to people from a certain country or who have a different sexuality or belief
  • Be rude, aggressive or violent towards a particular group of people, for example, Jewish, Muslim people or those who supports a certain political party.

Creating a Safeguarding Organisation & Culture

Recruiting, Selecting and Managing Staff Safely
The Royal Drawing School acknowledges that it is possible that unsuitable people will attempt to get work in our organisation. The best way to ensure that only the most suitable people are recruited to work with us is to have rigorous recruitment and selection policies. The Royal Drawing School’s recruitment and selection policies are designed to deter unsuitable individuals from seeking work with us.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
We work with the Disclosure and Barring Service to obtain information, when relevant, about potential employees and self-employed tutors and models who work directly with us. No employee is permitted to come into unsupervised direct contact with children.

Induction for new employees
All new employees are required to complete an induction, usually led by their line manager that will show them the requirements of their role and reinforce the principles of the Royal Drawing School. As part of this induction, employees will be required to meet with a member of the Safeguarding Team, read the Safeguarding policy and confirm they have done so with a signature.

Designated Child Protection Persons

 All allegations, suspicions and concerns of abuse must be reported immediately to one of the School’s Designated Child Protection Persons, who will take over responsibility for deciding the appropriate course of action from this point forward.

Daniel McAuliffe
Tel: Shoreditch: 020 7613 8524 / Trinity Buoy Wharf: 0207 536 9688 / Mobile: 07402 022002

Kate Osborn
Tel: 020 7613 8574

In the event of a serious concern, the Designated Person(s) will inform the relevant outside organisation in accordance with the reporting procedures.

Any allegation concerning the Designated Child Protection Persons should be made directly to:

Stephen Davis trustee, treasurer and Chair of Staff & Finance Committee.  

Providing Effective Management For Staff & Tutors Through Supervision, Support & Training

The School supports its staff, self-employed tutors and artist models through ongoing support, supervision and training in Child Safeguarding.

Each new member of staff or self-employed tutor is made familiar with the School’s policies and procedures including the Child Safeguarding Policy

Training And DBS
The School has assessed the child safeguarding training and checks appropriate to its staff, self-employed tutors and models as set out in the following table. It is the responsibility of management to ensure the implementation of these procedures.

Safeguarding Children Policy Table

*Children’s programmes identified as Young Artists, Foundation Masterclasses and Young People’s Public Programmes.

The School reviews and updates its Child Safeguarding Policy annually and reviews the training needs of its staff, self-employed tutors and artist models termly.

Key Contacts

Social Services
Direct contact can be made with social services, by anyone who has immediate concern about a child’s safety.  The social services department of the borough in which the child is resident will be responsible for assessing the concern. The School’s Charlotte Road premises is located in the London Borough of Hackney.

Children’s Access and Assessment Social Work Service
Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY
Tel: 020 8356 5500 (Duty Line Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm) / 020 8356 2710 (Emergency Out of Hours Team)
Fax: 020 8356 5516

In an emergency, call 999
To make a report that is not an emergency, dial 111

NSPCC Help line
Tel: 0808 800 5000
Text: 88858