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Developing your safeguarding
Date posted: 13 December 2019
Membership Development Manager and safeguarding lead at People Dancing, Shelley Trevelyan offers some guidance and support in relation to safeguarding

Shelley is our lead for membership and part of her role at People Dancing is to oversee the DBS service, but Shelley is also our Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO).

In this role Shelley keeps us informed of all the latest legislation and issues relating to safeguarding and she regularly attends training and development workshops. Shelley also co-leads sessions at our in-person courses and intensives, offering support to individual dance artists. She is often asked for support from our members and partners.

Here Shelley looks to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about safeguarding.

Why do you think it is important for us to talk about safeguarding to our members?

I think we all understand that keeping those we work with safe from harm is what matters most, and we do this by using safe procedures in our daily work. Yet my feeling from my conversations with members is that we aren’t always confident about our current knowledge around safeguarding. People ask if they’re doing enough, and how to identify ‘gaps’ in their knowledge.

It seems to be a bit of a ‘minefield’ - can you offer some practical support?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed after a short Google search on the topic, but there are many fantastic resources out there. I think it’s about focussing on our individual responsibility for proactive safeguarding and having access to help and support when we need it.

What are the most common questions you get asked?

Weirdly enough I am often asked simply, what is safeguarding? I use the definition the NSPCC use, safeguarding is the action to protect children and young people (those under the age of 18) using policies and procedures, underpinned by government legislation. Simply put, safeguarding applies to anyone who works with or around children and/or adults at risk. It’s about being able to respond safely and well if there is a problem or concern. The NSPCC is a great resource generally and their advice gets straight to the point using plain English, so I am happy to signpost people to their learning website where there is information about Safeguarding children and child protection

Is there a difference between safeguarding adults and safeguarding children?

Yes, although adults and children can experience similar and different types of abuse, the way in which it is reported and managed is different. As well as looking at the NSPCC website (link above) have a look at the Social care institute for excellence for a great resource on safeguarding relating to adults.

Sometimes we speak to dance artists who work with participants and their carers in the same session and they raise concerns about how to deal with and discuss possible carer abuse. This can be a really emotional and difficult situation to deal with on your own. If you are looking for advice on how to report a concern about an adult at risk, I’d encourage you to visit the mencap website.

Do dance practitioners need a safeguarding policy and if so, how do they write one?

Best practice is always to have one. A safeguarding policy should include procedures around how you protect the groups you work with and how you will respond to concerns or a disclosure made to you. Don’t be daunted by writing a safeguarding policy. Having an up-to-date safeguarding policy will take you through the thinking process around resources and support, and you’ll be ready to respond to any issues should they arise.

To help create your own policy you can also visit NSPCC who have information on writing safeguarding policies and procedures.

There is also the Ann Craft Trust who have Tips for Writing and Implementing a Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedure Document.