Child Protection Policy – Darcy Dance School

Darcy Dance provides quality dance training for children of all ages under the care of well-trained certified professionals.  The welfare of the pupils who attend Darcy Dance classes is paramount and it is known by all Darcy Dance employees that every child, without exception, has the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs.  This policy is available on request for any parent, business partner, venue, social services, Gardaí or any other party when appropriate.   Darcy Dance fully complies will all data protection legislation,  health and safety  legislation and all regulations and guidelines in relation to child protection in line with National and International Standards.

Our Policy and Guidelines apply to all artists, staff and volunteers who work with Darcy Dance.

In our work with children and young people we abide by the following principles:

  • The safety and wellbeing of each child is our primary concern.
  • We treat all participants in our programmes equally and with respect.
  • We encourage a positive working atmosphere in which participants can feel free to ask questions and offer ideas and in which all criticism will be positive in tone.
  • Any worry or concern of a child or parent/carer will be listened to and acted upon.
  • All Darcy Dance artists/staff/volunteers have a responsibility to prevent the physical, emotional or sexual abuse of any child with whom they come into contact. Any suspicions or allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • All staff, artists/volunteers working with children are required to consent to Garda Clearance (National Vetting Bureau) which will be sought.

We have implemented guidelines and procedures covering:

  • CHILDREN FIRST: National Guidance and Children first Act 2015
  • CONFIDENTIALITY
  • RECRUITMENT
  • CODE OF BEHAVIOUR FOR STAFF/ARTISTS
  • CODE OF BEHAVIOUS FOR PARTIIPANTS/CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE
  • HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES AND REGULATIONS
  • REPORTING OF SUSPECTED OR DISCLOSED ABUSE
  • CODE OF BEHAVIOUR FOR PARENTS/CARERS
  • CHILDREN FIRST: NATIONAL GUIDANCE AND CHILDREN FIRST ACT 2015
  • COMPLAINTS AND COMMENTS

CHILDREN FIRST

 Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.

This is a national policy document, based on legislation, to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm and abuse.

Children First Act 2015

The Act places a number of statutory obligations on specific groups of professionals and on particular organisations providing services to children.

Some people have specific legal responsibilities under the Children First Act 2015.  These include people who are Mandated Persons and/or work in an organisation which is a ‘Relevant Service’.

Mandate Person

Children First Act 2015; Schedule 2 section 2

The following classes of persons are specified as mandated persons for the purposes of this Act:

  1. Person employed in any of the following capacities:

(i) Safeguarding officer, child protection officer or other person (however described) who is employed for the purpose of performing the child welfare and protection function of religious, sporting, recreational, cultural, educational and other bodies and organisations offering services to children.

Relevant Services

Children First Act 2015; Schedule 1, Section 2

  1. Any work or activity which is carried out by a person, a regular and necessary part of which consists mainly of the person having access to, or contact with, children in:

(b) a school or centre of education, both within the meaning of Education Act 1998.

  1. Any work or activity which consists of the provision of;

(a) education, research, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities to children.

Designated Liaison 

The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is appointed by the Principal.

The priority of the DLP is in maintaining the best interests of the children with whom Darcy Dance dancers and staff come into contact and to ensure that everyone is always focused on their welfare and safety.   The DLP needs to make sure that Darcy Dance child safeguarding policies and procedures are followed and that everybody knows about them; workers, volunteers, parents, carers, children.

Procedure

The DLP is there to provide support and advice should Darcy Dance workers or volunteers have a concern about a child protection or welfare matter.

The DLP will go through the concern with the teachers or volunteers discussing what happened and deciding whether there are reasonable grounds to make a report to the Child and Family Agency (Túsla).

The DLP may at this stage call the Túsla Duty Social Worker to clarify whether there are grounds for reporting the concern.  The duty social worker will help in working out the details providing advice and reaching a decision as to whether the concern being discussed does or does not need to be reported at the point in time.

If it is established that there are grounds for concern, the DLP will fill in the Child and Family Agency Report Form and submit it.

The DLP will also maintain a confidential record of the child protection and welfare concerns reported by Darcy Dance to Túsla and /or An Gárda Síochána.

If a decision is made not to report, a log of this is also kept.

If the DLP decides not to make a report to Tusla, they should advise you that, under the Protection of Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998, if you remain concerned, you are free to report the concern to Tusla or An Garda Síochána and that you will not be panelised should you do so.

Children First: National Guidance recommends that the DLP gives you a clear, written explanation as to why they did not report to Túsla.

The confidentiality of all information held is respected and stored in a secure way.

As much as possible, we always try to keep parents informed of any actions we may need to take, where we become aware of a concern regarding their child.

When compiling a report, record all the details that you are aware of and what was said, using the child’s own words, (or the informant’s) as far as possible.

All suspicions and concerns should be recorded, along with observations of injury or behavioural changes that might be consistent with abuse.

Follow up action and any outcomes will also be recorded.

CONFIDENTIALITY

 Darcy Dance is committed to ensuring peoples’ rights to confidentiality.   However, in relation to child protection and welfare we undertake that:

  • Information will only be forwarded on a ‘need to know’ basis in order to safeguard the child/young person.
  • Giving such information to others for the protection of a child or young person is not a breach of confidentiality.
  • We cannot guarantee total confidentiality where the best interests of the child or young person are at risk.
  • Primary carers, children and young people have a right to know if personal information is being shared and/or a report is being made to Túsla, unless doing so could put the child/young person at further risk.
  • Images of a child/young person will not be used for any reason without the consent of the parent/carer (however, we cannot guarantee that cameras/videos will not be used at public performances.)
  • Procedures are in place in relation to the use of images of children/young people.
  • Procedures are in place for the recording and storing of information in line with our confidentiality policy.

Personal Information

 Before a child can participate in any dance class Darcy Dance seek the written consent of a parent/carer.  This is usually achieved through our own application/consent form.

This form asks for several pieces of information:

  • Childs Name, Gender, Date of Birth
  • Parent/Carers name and consenting signature
  • Email, address and telephone number of parent/carer.
  • Any medical history of the child pertinent to dance activity, earlier injuries or allergies.

All information is held in the strictest confidence and is never passed on to a third party. Any information concerning a child’s medical history and or ongoing condition is disseminated on a need to know basis; namely Darcy Dance Teachers and if necessary first aiders.  Consent forms are stored in a secure location for a period of two years. After that time the information is shredded.

Photography 

  • Darcy Dance always seeks permission from parents/carers before cameras or video equipment are used to record class, workshops, rehearsals and performances.
  • We cannot however, guarantee public venues which included the image of a child without the express written consent of a parent or guardian.
  • On occasion, local newspapers, radio or television companies will be involved in reporting and publicising our work. Again, expressed written permission will be sought from parents/carers before any recording begins.
  • Darcy Dance may record occasional performances. This is solely for participating dancers and will not be distributed to the general public.
  • Darcy Dance will never knowingly allow publication of images of children to the internet without the consent of parents/guardians.

RECRURITMENT

Teachers and Assistants are selected by Darcy Dance by interview and audition.

Darcy Dance ensures that all staff/ assistants/ volunteers are selected, supervised and trained to provide a safe environment for all children and young people by observing the following principals:

  • Roles and responsibilities will be clearly defined for every job.
  • We endeavour to select the most suitably qualified personnel.
  • Candidates will be subject to Garda Vetting.
  • No person who will be deemed to constitute a ‘risk’ will be employed.
  • References and verbal verification will be required for any new staff member.
  • Candidates will undergo a probationary period of employment of up to three months.

Managing and Supervising Staff/Assistants/Volunteers

 All staff and volunteers are required to read Darcy Dances Child Protection Policy statement and agree to abide by it.

  • All staff and volunteers are made aware of our code of conduct and health and safety procedures.
  • All staff and volunteers will be made aware of the identity and role of the Designated Liaison Person.
  • Time is set aside to discuss subject matter, preparation and responsibilities before all projects/classes commence. Further time is set aside for assessment and feedback.
  • Assessment may be sought from observers if there is a collaboration with a school for example.

CODE OF BEHAVIOUR FOR STAFF/ARTISTS

Darcy Dance endeavours to provide a safe, supportive and creative environment during its work with children and young people.  In all our work the children and young people are our primary focus. Darcy Dance is about having a child centred approach acknowledging each child and young person being unique.  We treat all participants in our school equally and with respect.   We encourage a positive working atmosphere in which participants can feel free to ask questions and offer ideas and in which all criticism will be positive in tone.

Dance tuition and performance demand complex skills of coordination.  All physical instruction will be demonstrated.  Physical contact may be made with students in order to further understanding of posture, position or movement.  Tutors will deal with this area sensitively and explanation will always be made as the purpose of the physical contact.

Verbal language used during tuition sessions will be appropriate to the age, ability and experience of the young people involved.  Description of movement and shape for example ‘stretch of the cat’ or ‘plunge of the dagger’ in order to aid understanding for students.  Technical terminology and Ballet French terminology will be utilised solely with groups of students cognisant with Ballet training.  We recognise the pitch and tone of the voice and an implicit factor in description and instruction.

Often Ballet is perceived and an elitist activity.  A primary ethos behind Darcy Dance is that Ballet should be accessible to all and Darcy Dance strives to be all-inclusive within their ability.  Differences in race, culture and religion are always considered with sensitivity and respect.   Students with physical disability and additional learning needs are included in the programme where possible and with the concurrence of parents and carers and specified support.

Good Practice

Darcy Dance has several procedures that it follows within its work with the community.  These are essential and necessary for those taking part and provide a necessary structure for those taking a tutorial role.  These procedures are reviewed regularly and are tailored to each project.

Special Projects in Schools

Darcy Dance collaborates with schools around the country with special project individual to the school involved.  This is conducted in liaison with school head and teachers involved.  Appropriate subject matter is agreed with teachers and will reflect the age, background and gender ratio of the class.

Assessment

Our work undergoes frequent appraisal through regular dialogue with students, parents, partners theatre managers, school teachers, together with input from audience members, advisors the Irish Ballet Teachers Association and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance.

Good Practice Guidelines

It is essential that we protect the welfare of all children we work with.  Guidelines are to aid artists and staff:

  • Respect each child as a valuable individual.
  • Offer encouragement and praise. Remember, correction can always be positive in tone.
  • Take time to listen to and consider children’s ideas and points of view.
  • Where possible take on board children’s views in any relevant decision-making process.

 Contact with Children

  • Respect a young person’s right to privacy.
  • Do not do anything of a personal nature for a child if they can do it themselves.
  • In theatres often there are not sufficient dressing rooms. Allocation of separate times or screens will be put in place where necessary.
  • There are times when physical contact for correction is the most expediential route to further technical understand. Always explain what you are doing and why and try to ascertain whether a child is comfortable being touched.  Touch is dealt with in more detail under physical contact.
  • Keep your relationship with students on a professional level.
  • The law says someone is a child until they are 18.

Inappropriate Behaviour

The following are guidelines followed by Darcy Dance:

Teachers should avoid as far as possible situations where they are left alone with a student.   If this is unavoidable, make sure that you are within sight or hearing of others.

Language used during class should be appropriate for the age group involved.  Foul or sexually suggestive language must never be used.  Remember also the pitch and tone of your voice.  Avoid getting angry shouting.

Dance is an activity that involves physical contact; however, teachers should avoid unnecessary physical contact with children.  The purpose of physical contact should always be made clear and with a child’s consent.

Teachers will not engage in inappropriate touching nor will permit inappropriate touching.

Teachers will never hit or physical chastise a child in any way.

Praise where deserved should be given.  Teachers, however, should be aware of bias towards a particular child.  Conversely, a child should never be singled out for ridicule.  Teachers should be sensitive to the needs of shy children and young people.  All critique and feedback should be positive in tone.

Teachers should not socialise with children or young people inappropriately, for example outside of structured organisational activities or school outings.

Examples of Inappropriate Behaviour

  • Hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse children
  • Develop relationships with children which could be in any way deemed exploitive or abusive
  • Act in ways that may be abusive or place a child at risk of abuse
  • Use language, make suggestion, or offer advice, which is inappropriate, offensive, or abusive
  • Behave physically in a manner which is inappropriate or sexually provocative
  • Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do themselves
  • Condone, or participate in, behaviour of children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive
  • Act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle, or degrade children, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse
  • Discriminate against, show differential treatment, or favour particular children to the exclusions of others.
  • Physically push children against their will to carry out physical activities
  • Pull children in an aggressive manner inflicting damage to limbs

This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list.  The principal is that staff/parents/carers/volunteers should avoid actions or behaviour which might constitute poor actions or behaviour.

Physical Contact

Dance, as a social activity and as a performance discipline frequently involves physical contact.  During sessions of coaching and instruction, tutors often utilise physical contact as an economic route to furthering understanding of posture, position or movement. Children and young people have varying levels of comfort with touch, however, and teachers will need to deal with this issue sensitively.

Exercises involving physical contact will be appropriate for the age group involved and comfort levels individual participants.   With older children consent can be ascertained for example; contact with hands on shoulders or waists for example.  Undue emphasis should not be made concerning touch and contact.

Explanation will be made for older children and young adults if physical contact is used for means of adjustment or technical correction.   Permission will be ascertained, again without undue emphasis, from each individual concerned.  Physical contact should only be made if it is deemed the most expeditious route to promoting physical understanding of a position or movement.

Basic Guidelines about touching children that should always be followed:

  • Consider whether the correction or observation could be clarified in another way. For example; you or another student could demonstrate, use imagery or analogies.
  • Children and young people must always be treated with respect and dignity. If touch is necessary, it is important that it is done in an atmosphere of understanding and agreement.  This approach could be explained at the start of each new term or new class.  It is important that parents/carers understand the need for physical contact as well as the children involved.
  • A touch can be misconstrued, so it is important that a child understands the intention behind the action. Ensure that you touch in firm, unambiguous manner.  It is important that you are neither too rough nor too delicate, both of which can be misunderstood.
  • Be sensitive to the individual. If a child states they are uncomfortable with touch, or if you sense that this is the case, respect that.   There could be many reasons; bulling, abuse or adolescence.

CODE OF BEHAVIOUR FOR PARTICIPANTS/CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE

 The enjoyable, physical nature of dance is often conducive to creating an atmosphere of fun and excitement, particularly with young children. Young children however have rules to follow in class in order to create a safe environment for everyone.

  • Appropriate Clothing – some clothing /footwear could be unsafe to dance in and for this reason jewellery including watches should not be worn.
  • Physical consideration. Dance is about teaching the individual to be in charge of themselves. herself. We must be careful when moving quickly that we don’t inadvertently hurt others.
  • Rest periods will be indicated when appropriate.
  • Bullying, and indeed any violent behaviour, physical or verbal, will not be tolerated.
  • Participants have a duty to report any instance of inappropriate behaviour. These can be directed to the following:
    • The Principal
    • Designated Liaison
    • A trusted Parent
    • Túsla
    • Garda Síochána.
  • Older children and young people are directed to the ‘Dancers Code of Behaviour’ and Health and Safety Rules’ at Darcy Dance School and are expected to abide by them.

Bullying

Bulling is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons’) and which is repeated over time.  The following types of bullying behaviours are included in the definition of bulling:

  • Deliberate, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying.
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the traveller community or bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.

Bullying Behaviour can include:

  • Physical pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching etc.
  • Name calling, spreading rumours, persistent teasing and humiliation or the continual ignoring of others.
  • Posting of derogatory or abusive comments, videos or images on social media.
  • Racial, homophobic, transphobic or sexist comments, taunts or gestures.
  • Sexual comments, suggestions or behaviour
  • Unwanted physical contact

Bullying affects the lives of an increasing number of children and can be the cause of genuine concern about a child’s welfare. In cases where instances of bullying where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, a referral may need to be made to Túsla and/or An Gárda Síochána.

Abuse

In order to be able to safeguard the children and young people in our care, it is important that Darcy Dance teachers be able to recognise abuse.   Children First Identifies four main types of Abuse.

Neglect

Children First National Guidance states that:

 “Neglect occurs when a child does not receive adequate care of supervision to the extent that the child is harmed Physically or developmentally.  It is generally defined in terms of an omission of care, where a child’s health, development or welfare in impaired by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, medical care, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety.”

Child abuse is the most frequent reported type of abuse to Túsla.  It may become apparent over time or from a single event.

Some features of neglect may include:

  • Poor attendance
  • Poor hygiene
  • A lack of suitable clothing
  • A child being left alone without adequate care or supervision
  • Malnourishment, lacking in food, inappropriate food or erratic feeding
  • Lack of protection and exposure to dancer
  • Abandonment or desertion
  • Inadequate care for the child’s medical and developmental needs.

The impact on the child is the same whether the child’s needs are being neglected as a result of:

  • An intentional act (wilful neglect), or
  • Circumstances that a family finds itself in (circumstantial neglect).
  • Ongoing chronic neglect can be very damaging to the child’s health, development and welfare and can have serious long-term negative consequences.

Emotional Abuse

Children First: National Guidance states that:

“Emotional Abuse occurs when a child’s basic need for attention, affection, approval, consistency and security are not met due to incapacity or indifference from their parent/caregiver. Once-off and occasional difficulties between a parent/carer and a child are not considered emotional abuse. A reasonable concern for the child’s welfare would exist when the behaviour becomes typical of the relationship between the child and the parent or carer”.

Emotional abuse is not easy to recognise because the effects are often not obvious.  There may be no physical signs of emotional abuse unless it occurs with another type of abuse.

A child may show signs that they have experienced emotional abuse through their behaviour such as:

  • Persistent, extreme unhappiness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Education and developmental underachievement
  • Risk taking
  • Aggressive Behaviour

There may also be concerns in relation to the interactions between a child and an adult, such as:

  • A lack of attachment
  • Extreme over-protectiveness
  • Consistently rejecting or blaming the child
  • Exposure to domestic violence

Some additional ways to recognise emotional abuse are:

  • Persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility or blaming of the child
  • Persistent lack of comfort, love praise and encouragement
  • Seriously inappropriate expectations of a child relative to his/her age and stage of development

Emotional Abuse is more likely to impact negatively on a child where it is persistent over time.

Physical Abuse

Children First: National Guidance states that:

“Physical abuse is when someone deliberately physically hurts a child or puts them at risk of being physically hurt.  It may occur as a single incident or as a pattern of incidents.  A reasonable concern exists where the child’s health and/or development is, may be or has been damaged as a result of suspected physical abuse”.

Physical abuse happens when a child is physically harmed or is put at risk of being physically harmed.   A child can also be physically harmed from a lack of interaction.   There may be single or repeated incidents.

Evidence of physical abuse may be when a child has bruises, fractured bones, burns, bite marks or is shaken.   A lack of interaction or poor supervision may result in a child being physically hurt.

Physical abuse can be recognised in some of these ways:

  • Use of excessive force in handling
  • Pushing, shaking or throwing
  • Beating, slapping, hitting or kicking

The following should significantly increase concern for the welfare of a child:

  • Unsatisfactory or different explanations for the injuries by the child or parents/carers
  • A frequent or clustering of worrying marks

Sexual Abuse

Children First: National Guidance states that:

 “Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or arousal or for that of others.  It involves the child being involved in sexual acts or exposing the child to sexual activity directly or through pornography”.

Child sexual abuse may cover many different abusive activities. Some examples of abusive activities are:

  • Sexual touching
  • Engaging a child in sexual acts
  • Encouraging/forcing a child to observe sexual or indecent acts

Sexual activity involving a young person may be sexual abuse even if the young person does not recognise it as abuse.

Some children may be more vulnerable to abuse than others.

There may be particular times or particular circumstances when a child may be more vulnerable to abuse.

Circumstances when a child may be more vulnerable to abuse include:

Parent and carer factors:

  • The child living with one or more parents/carer with an additional or mental health issue.
  • The child experiencing domestic violence at home.

Child factors, such as:

  • The child having a disability or mental health issue
  • Being ’in care’ or living away from home

Community and Environmental factors:

  • The child living in poor housing
  • Experiencing poverty and begging
  • The child being bullied

Besides recognising features of abuse, you might also be told of concerns about abuse.

For example:

  • A parent/carer tells you that they cannot cope, that their child is always hungry, and they don’t have enough money to feed and clothe them.
  • A child speaks to you about a person who is locking them in their room for hours at a time as punishment
  • An adult tells you about someone who abused them when they were a child and they are worried that this person could still be hurting children.

REPORTING OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR DISCLOSED ABUSE

It is important that all dancers and staff are aware that the first person that has concerns or encounters a case of alleged or suspected abuse is not responsible for deciding whether abuse has occurred.  However, we all have a duty of care to the child or young person to report any suspicions we may have.

Making a disclosure of abuse is a very difficult thing for a child or adult to do.  Abused children will only tell people they trust and with whom they feel safe.

If a child lets you know, by whatever means, that she/he has been abused, or if someone else tells you that a child is being abused, or if you see something yourself that leads you to think a child may be being abused, you should take time and care:

  • React calmly
  • Listen carefully and attentively
  • Take the child/adult seriously.
  • Reassure the child/adult that they have taken the right step in talking to you.
  • Do not ask leading questions.
  • Do not promise to keep anything secret but advise the child/adult you will only speak to the people who know how to respond to this situation.
  • Do not express any opinions about the alleged abuser.
  • Ensure that the child/adult understands the steps that will follow

Following your conversation:

Make a written record, with as much detail as possible.

Treat the information as confidential and only share the information with the DLP or with Tulsa.

If you receive disclosure from an adult that they were abused as a child, you should report this information to Túsla, as they alleged abuser may pose a current or future risk to children.

Reporting concerns about a child

 Anyone can make a report to Túlsa if they are worried about the safety or welfare of a child, whether a professional such as a teacher or public health nurse or a concerned parent or neighbour.

You should always inform Túsla if you have reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being or is at risk of being abused or neglected.

It is not necessary for you to prove that abuse has occurred in order to report a concern to Túsla.

You can report your concern to the local social work service in the area where the child lives. You can report in person by telephone or in writing, including by email.

Reasonable grounds for a child protection or welfare concern include:

  • Evidence, for example an injury or behaviour, that is consistent with abuse and is unlikely to have been caused in any other way.
  • Any concern about possible sexual abuse.
  • Consistent signs that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect.
  • A child saying or indicating by other means that he or she has been abused.
  • An account from a person who saw the child being abused.
  • Admission or indication by an adult or a child of an alleged abuse they committed.

Procedure for concerns about a child

  • Report to DLP
  • The DLP will ensure that Darcy Dance’s reporting procedure for child protection and welfare concerns is followed.
  • Provide advice and support.
  • Ensure a Túsla Child Protection and Welfare From is submitted to Tusla, when appropriate.
  • Mandate persons or staff operating on their own will need to contact or report directly to Túsla, when appropriate.
  • If you think a child is in danger and you cannot contact Túsla, ring the Gardaí.

Procedure for concerns about staff

  • Report to Principal – Louise D’Arcy
  • Report to DLP Designated Liaison – Adrienne Kelly
  • Report to Local Social Worker
  • Report Directly to Túsla

PARENTS AND PRIMARY CARERS

Darcy Dance is committed to being open with all parents/primary carers.

Darcy Dance requests all parents and carers to abide by Darcy Dance Rules and Regulations.

We undertake to:

  • Advise parents/primary carers of our child protection policy.
  • Inform parents/primary carers and schools of all activities and potential activities.
  • Issue contact/consent forms where relevant.
  • Comply with the health and safety practices of our host venues.
  • Operate child-centred policies in accordance with best practice.
  • Adhere to our recruitment guidelines.
  • Ensure as far as possible that the activities are age-appropriate.
  • Encourage and facilitate the involvement of parents, carers or responsible adults where appropriate.

If we have concerns about the welfare of the child/young person, we will:

  • Respond to the needs of the child or young person.
  • Inform the parents/primary carers on an on-going basis unless this action puts the child or young person at further risk.
  • Where there are child protection and welfare concerns, we are obliged to pass these on to the Túsla Duty Social Worker and in an emergency the Gardai.
  • In the event of a complaint against a member of staff, we will immediately ensure the safety of the child/young person and inform primary carers as appropriate.

As a child-centred organisation, we are committed to putting the interest of the child/young person first.  To that end we will:

  • Contact local Túsla services and/or Garda Síochána where there is a child protection welfare concern.
  • Encourage parents/primary carers to work in partnership with us under the guidelines set out by our organisation to ensure the safety of their children.

HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES AND REGULATIONS

Currently all activities at Darcy Dance with children and young people take place at host venues.  Darcy Dance closely liaises with these venues to ensure safety at the work place.  We consider carefully all local procedures concerning health and safety and take cognisance of all areas of risk.

CODE OF BEHAVIOUS FOR STAFF – HEALTH AND SAFETY

 A safe working environment is of paramount importance in the execution of physical exercise and dance.  This is particularly so when children and young adults are involved.  Darcy Dance endeavours to be constantly vigilant during it’s work with young people and aims to maintain the highest standards of safety.

 Children are never left unsupervised.

Individual arrangements for the dropping off and collection of participants in classes by parents/carers are always ascertained.

The incident diary which contains contact numbers for all participants, is kept at hand and all accidents, complaints and concerns are recorded therein.

All parents/carers are required to complete a consent form to state their acquiescence in the participation of their charges.  There is room here for the particular needs of each child to be recorded.

The identity and situation of local qualified ‘First Aiders’ is always established.  All host venues are equipped with a first aid box and some venues a defibrillator.

Theatre Safety

  • Darcy Dance projects often take place on stage in a theatre environment.
  • With collaboration with theatre staff, all stage tools and equipment will be made secure.
  • All wiring (sound equipment etc.) will be thoroughly secured at floor level.
  • A special floor covering, designed for dance, will always be laid and secured where necessary.
  • All areas posing a threat to safety will be identified and indicated to participants.
  • Participants will be allocated dressing room space where possible appropriate to age and gender.
  • Young performers will be accompanied to and from the stage area.
  • A holding area will be identified in which young performers will await their entrance. Children waiting in the wings will be kept to a minimum of number and time.
  • No free-standing ‘boom’ lighting will be used in the wings. No lighting cable will hang within a three-meter reach of the stage.
  • Rules and boundaries will be established to ensure safety. The first rule backstage – ‘do not touch’ will be instilled.
  • All local theatre staff will be issued with a copy of Darcy Dance Child Protection Policy and a copy of all procedures associated with the event.

Schools and Community Groups

Darcy Dance also collaborates with schools and local communities with special projects hosted throughout the year.

Schools and community groups deal with many complex issues, often pertinent to local concerns, which no ballet school would consider.

Darcy Dance will always follow any relevant procedures required by schools or community groups.

We intend our child protection policies to ally with those of our host schools and communities.

We require the collaboration and appraisal of local teaching staff. Preparation for, and follow-up work, is an essential component of Darcy Dance work in schools.  We aim to enhance the everyday learning experience laid out in the national curriculum.

COMPLAINTS AND COMMENTS

Darcy Dance aims to maintain the highest standards in its work with children and young people.  We regularly review our policies and activities and welcome advise for all sources.  We consider carefully all feedback positive and negative and where possible will use this constructively to improve upon our working environment.

Complaints and Comments can be made directly to:

Louise D’Arcy, Principal Darcy Dance louise@darcydanceschool.ie

Adrienne Keogh, Designated Liaison: adriennekeogh@outlook.ie

This policy was reviewed in June 2024.