Child protection information
Child protection policy
- Profound Decisions runs Empire LRP events (‘the event’) on four weekends each year at the Dadford Road Campsite near Silverstone in Buckinghamshire.
- The aim of the event is to provide an interactive environment for live roleplayers of all ages to enjoy as individuals, groups or families.
- The event is organised by Profound Decisions Ltd (‘the event organiser’), a family run company based in Preston, Lancashire.
- All policies and guidelines relate to children under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults of any age. Prior to the event the event organisers will draw the attention of parents or guardians (‘carers’) to the latest version of the policy available online for their information. This acknowledges the part they play in partnership with the event organiser in the implementation of a child protection policy.
- Some children and vulnerable adults may have specific needs in order to take part. If this is the case we ask the responsible carers to contact Profound Decisions prior to arrival. Profound Decisions actively seeks wherever possible to meet these needs, but we must know beforehand in order to prepare support – or to advise that help cannot be provided on this occasion.
- The event aims to provide a safe environment for children to enjoy live roleplaying alongside participants of all ages, as far as is reasonable and practicable, but it is not a child care organisation in the full meaning of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
- Carers are reminded that the physical and emotional safety of children together with their belongings remains their responsibility during the event. All carers should ensure that they are familiar with any activities their dependents are engaging in before allowing them to participate.
- All those who assist in running the event are volunteers. They are recruited upon recommendation by those who manage the event as professional people in their own right and/or supporters of the event with good character. The event holds contact details for all personnel, but standard crew are not processed or cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously called the Criminal Records Bureau).
- After discussion with the DBS, they have informed us that we are not eligible to request DBS checks on crew, as it is not required for the activities we provide. In essence, the new guidelines state that because there is no intention to provide activities to children or vulnerable persons without the presence of a parent or guardian then it is not possible to request a DBS check as this would violate the privacy of our crew.
- When attending the event, carers must ensure that children are adequately supervised by themselves or by another responsible adult acting on their behalf. Our cleared crew will offer to act in this capacity upon occasion as part of their event activities. Our standard crew are not able to provide supervision. Camping areas and toilets are not supervised.
- The event follows a strict non-discrimination policy and all participants are treated equally irrespective of race, gender, religion, physical/mental disability, sexual orientation, age or ethnic origin.
- In the event of a problem, any member of crew may be approached and, if not able to deal with the problem themselves, they will contact somebody who is able to help. All problems will be dealt with sympathetically and discreetly, and will be properly documented where that is appropriate.
- All event crew are familiar with this policy and the guidelines and definitions that follow.
- There are no formal restrictions on photographing the event or participants. Photographers are asked to be discreet to preserve the immersive feel of the event, through application of common sense and following the directions of the event organiser where given.
- This policy is kept under review by the event organiser and will be improved or enhanced from time to time as may be deemed necessary.
- All volunteers working for the event are given access to a copy of this Child Protection Policy with the following Code of Good Practice and Definitions of Abuse. They will pass any concerns to one of the nominated officers (listed at the end of this document), and are expected to observe all the agreed procedures.
- The event organisers will store in an electronic format only the necessary information relating to the administration and operation of the event. This is broadly limited to contact information, game information about the characters an attendee is playing and any declared medical conditions that will be passed to the first aid team.
Code of Good Practice
- Good practice includes valuing and respecting children as individuals and the adult modelling of appropriate conduct. Appropriate conduct excludes bullying, racism, sectarianism, sexism or other forms of discrimination.
- It is important to minimize any physical contact with children who attend the event, beyond what is an essential part of roleplaying activities. Avoid any inappropriate or sexual contact, regardless of the in-character situation.
- You must take all reasonable steps to avoid spending time with a child who is by themselves. If you are supervising children without their carer present, try to ensure that you are working with groups of two or more children at any give time. You should also try to ensure that you are working alongside at least one other cleared crew member. There should be two or more adults in the company of two or more children at all times, as far as is reasonably possible.
- Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about a child, even in fun, as these could be misinterpreted.
- Those who abuse children can be of any age (even other children), gender, ethnic background or class. It is important not to allow any preconceptions preventing the appropriate action being taken.
- It is the responsibility of every adult to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and young people wherever they can and to report any actual or suspected abuse that comes to light.
Note - scope for abuse will be minimized if the event is run with the safety of all its members in mind and sensible steps are taken in dealings with children. If an allegation is made, or concerns are raised, they should – with minimum delay – be brought to the attention of one of the persons named at the end of this document.
Definitions of Abuse
The following definitions of child abuse are taken from the HM Government publication “Working Together to Safeguard Children” 2006.
- Physical Abuse. Physical abuse may involve hitting, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. It may be the result of a deliberate act, but also could be caused through the omission or failure to act to protect.
- Emotional Abuse. Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional 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 feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the 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, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children looking at, or taking part in the production of pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
- Neglect. Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
It is important to note that the event involves the context of a live roleplaying game and children may be directly or indirectly exposed to simulated behaviour or themes that could otherwise be of concern. The event organiser places clear responsibility on the carer to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are immediately removed from any situations that concern them. If at any point the event organiser believes that this responsibility is not being followed then they reserve the right to sanction, remove or ban the Carer or child involved from this or future events.
Advice on Responding to an Allegation
The following information is intended to assist you should you become involved in a potential child protection situation:
- Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse, and stay calm. Take what is said seriously: it is rare for children to make false allegations.
- If you can, write brief notes of what they are telling you while they are speaking – these may help later if you have to remember exactly what was said. Keep your original notes however rough: it is what you wrote at the time that may be important later, not a tidier and improved version you wrote up afterwards. If you don’t have the means to write at the time, make notes of what was said as soon as possible afterwards.
- Never make a promise that you will keep what is said confidential or secret. If you are told about abuse you have a responsibility to report it so that action can be taken. Give reassurance that only those who need to know will be told.
- Do not ask leading questions that might give your own ideas of what could have happened (e.g. “Did he do XX to you?”), just ask: “What do you want to tell me?” or “Is there anything else you want to say?”
- Allow the child to continue at his/her own pace and reassure the child he/she has done the right thing in telling you.
- Inform the child what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared.
- Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse by interviewing people etc. yourself; you could cause more damage and spoil possible criminal proceedings. That is a task for a professional person working with a Child Protection agency, and would follow a referral from the event’s nominated child protection officer.
Nominated child protection officers
The event officers who need to know about any allegation of child abuse and who are responsible for taking any necessary action are:
- Matthew Pennington.
- Alison Pennington.
Thanks to the following organisations for sight of their child protection policies:
- North London Festival of Music, Drama and Dance
- Wansbeck Music Festival