Child Protection Policy

Child Protection Officer                                  

Catriona Sutherland-Hawes
07919 596040



W11 OPERA for Young People, or W11 Children’s Opera or “W11 Opera” recognises its duty  of  care  under  the  Children  and  Young  Persons  Act 1963,  the  Child  (Performances) Regulations 1968, the Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (in Scotland change to Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003).

W11  Opera  recognises  that  abuse  can  take  many  forms,  whether  it  be  physical  abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. W11 Opera is committed to practice which protects children from harm. All members of W11 Opera accept and recognize their responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.

W11 Opera believes that:

  • the welfare of the child is paramount;
  • all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
  • all suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • all members and employees of the W11 Opera should be clear on how to respond appropriately.

W11 Opera will ensure that:

  • all children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity;
  • the welfare of each child will always be put first;
  • a balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process;
  • enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than negative criticism;
  • bullying will not be accepted or condoned
  • all adult members of W11 Opera provide a positive role model for dealing with other people
  • action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour;
  • it will keep up-to-date with health and safety legislation;
  • it will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children;
  • it will undertake relevant development and training;
  • it will hold a register of every child involved with W11 Opera and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies.

W11 Opera has child protection procedures which accompany this policy.  This policy should also be read in conjunction with W11 Opera’s Equal Opportunities Policy, Volunteer Policy and Complaint Procedure.

The W11 Opera has a dedicated Child Protection Officer, who is in charge of ensuring that the child protection policy and procedures are adhered to. That person’s name is Catriona Sutherland Hawes, and she can be contacted on 07919 596040, or or 40 Ravenscourt Gardens, London W6 0TU.

This policy will be regularly monitored by the Trustees of W11 Opera for Young People and will be subject to annual review.

Date:  January, 2020


Responsibilities of W11 Opera:

At the outset of any production involving children W11 Opera will:

  • undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk throughout the production process; this is conducted by the stage manager for the performances and shall be extended to cover the production period.
  • identify at the outset of each production the person with designated responsibility for child protection;
  • engage  in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with responsibility for children, including appropriate vetting;
  • ensure that children are supervised at all times;
  • know how to get in touch with the local authority social services, in case a need to report a concern arises.


  • Some parents of the children performing in W11 Opera act as chaperones for the full cast at principal rehearsals for each production and the final production/performances.
  • W11 Opera believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and W11 Opera. Parents are strongly encouraged to be involved in the activities of W11 Opera and to share responsibility for the care of children.
  • W11 Opera For Young People Child Protection Policy is available to all parents upon request.
  • All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. It is NOT the responsibility of W11 Opera to take children home.

Unsupervised Contact:

  • W11 Opera will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with children.
  • If possible there will always be two adults in the room when working with children.
  • If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimize risk. For example, work will be carried out in a public area or in a designated room with a door open.
  • If it is predicted that an individual is likely to require unsupervised contact with children, he or she will be required to obtain a criminal record disclosure.

Physical Contact:

  • All adults will maintain a safe and appropriate distance from children.
  • Adults will only touch children when it is absolutely necessary in relation to the particular activity.

Managing sensitive information:

  • W11 Opera has a policy and procedures for the taking, using and storage of photographs or images of children.
  • Permission will be sought from the  parents for  use of  photographic material featuring children  for promotional or other purposes.
  • W11 Opera’s web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use.
  • W11 Opera will ensure confidentiality in order to protect the rights of its members, including the safe handling, storage and disposal of any sensitive information such as criminal record disclosures.

Suspicion of abuse:

  • If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of W11 Opera, please make this known to the person with responsibility for child protection. If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the Chairman.
  • Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved.
  • If a serious allegation is made against any member of the W11 Opera, chaperone, venue staff etc., that individual will be suspended immediately until the investigation is concluded. The individual will be excluded from the theatre, rehearsal rooms etc. and will not have any unsupervised contact with any other children in the production.

Disclosure of abuse:

  • If a  child confides in you that abuse has taken place:
  • Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
  • Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
  • Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone.
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually social services or the police.
  • As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.


  • In all  situations,  including those in  which  the cause of  concern arises  from  a disclosure  made  in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.
  • An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken eg. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.
  • The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.

Rights & Confidentiality:

  • If a complaint is made against a member of W11 Opera he or she will be made aware of his rights under W11 Opera’s disciplinary procedures.
  • No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.
  • In criminal law the Crown or  other  prosecuting authority has to  prove guilt and  the defendant  is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


  • To avoid accidents, chaperones and children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will  be notified of  areas that are out of  bounds. Children  will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
  • If a child is injured while in the care of W11 Opera, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in W11 Opera’s accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for child protection.
  • If a child joins the production with an obvious physical injury a record of this will be made in the accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for child protection. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later, and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the production.

Criminal Record Disclosures:

  • W11 Opera believes it is in its best interests to obtain DBS checks for chaperones and other personnel, W11 Opera endeavours to check all adults who will be in contact with young people.
  • For those parents who already hold a standard DBS disclosure, this shall be acceptable for 3 years from date of issue for supervised access to children. W11 Opera will accept valid disclosures initiated by other legitimate schools or organisations.
  • Parents who do not already hold a DBS disclosure and will have access to children shall endeavour to attain one.
  • An Enhanced DBS disclosure will be required for anyone with  unsupervised access to children. Again, these shall be acceptable for 3 years from date of issue for supervised access to children. W11 Opera will accept valid disclosures initiated by other legitimate schools or organisations.
  • W11 Opera will have a written code of practice for the handling of disclosure information.
  • W11 Opera will ensure that information contained in the disclosure is not misused.


  • Chaperones will be appointed by W11 Opera for the care of children during the production process. By law the chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child. The maximum number of children in the chaperone’s care is not envisaged to be more than 12.
  • Principal chaperones will be DBS checked.
  • Chaperones will be made aware of W11 Opera’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures
  • Chaperones will not usually have unsupervised access to children in their care.  If unsupervised access is unavoidable, or if this is a requirement of the local authority, a criminal record disclosure will be sought.
  • Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the producer. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue.
  • If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform the producer and not allow the child to continue.
  • Under the Dangerous Performances Act no child of compulsory school age is permitted to do anything which may endanger life or limb. This could include working on wires or heavy lifting.   Chaperones should tell the producer to cease using children in this way, and should contact the local authority.
  • During performances, chaperones will be responsible  for meeting children prior to the rehearsal and/or performance and signing them in.
  • Children will be kept together at all times except when using separate dressing rooms.
  • Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times.
  • Children are not to leave the theatre unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents.
  • Children will not be allowed  to enter the adult dressing  rooms, in the event there are any adult dressing rooms on site.
  • Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures  in the venue, and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger.
  • Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by the W11 Opera.
  • Parents should liase with chaperones regarding  arrangements  for  children after rehearsals and performances.  If  someone different  is  to collect the child, a telephone call should be made to the Chaperones to confirm the arrangements.
  • If a  parent  has  not  collected  the child,  it  is the  duty  of  the chaperone  to stay  with  that  child  until acceptable arrangements are made.