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Child Protection Policy

Purpose of this Policy 

This Policy has been adopted by Bridges for Music NPC (“Bridges for Music”) to: 

  • Ensure that the children with whom we work are safeguarded against any harm and that such children are protected from abuse and/or exploitation through measures implemented in this Policy; 
  • That there are clear guidelines on what procedures Bridges for Music, its Board, staff and visitors need to follow in the event of any type of abuse occurring; and 
  • Ensure this Policy is accessible by all staff, visitors and the Board, and that such persons strictly adhere to the policies herein. 

Introduction: 

The charitable objectives of Bridges for Music are to alleviate poverty in underprivileged areas, through skills development and empowering youth to enhance their employment prospects, to equip youth so that they can have access to employment opportunities, particularly in the music industry. Bridges for Music aims to do so through educational workshops, the main aims of which are to provide training and equipment for musical expression, educate unemployed youth and impact skills that will aid such you to obtain employment in the music industry and to other prospects which they otherwise might not have had before. 

In furtherance of its objectives, Bridges for Music provides, or assists in the provision, of education through after-school programs at the Bridges Academy. Bridges for Music works with its international counterparts and agencies to help it deliver its objectives, including Bridges for Music (incorporated in the United Kingdom (a registered Charity in the United Kingdom) and Bridges for Music Inc. (a United States “501(c)(3)” public benefit corporation). 

Legislative Framework 

Section 28(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides the legislative standards for how children’s rights are to be protected. More particularly, a child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. Section 28(2) of the Constitution provides that “a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.” Section 28 of the Constitution will therefore be the reference point for this Policy, as well as all decisions and/or matters concerning this Policy. 

 

Definitions 

In this Child Protection Policy, the following definitions will apply when interpreting the Policy: “child” means a person under the age of 18 (eighteen) years; 

DSO” means designated safety officer; 

Representative” means Board members, volunteers, and employees of Bridges for Music; 

Visitor” means a person who, whether once-off or regularly, spends time at the Bridges Academy and is not a Representative; 

Application 

This Policy applies to the Representatives as well as its contractors, overseas partners, visitors and associates. 

Our safeguarding policy 

We are committed to keeping the welfare of any child who is involved with any of our activities paramount and ensuring that they are valued, protected, listened to, and respected. 

All children, whatever their sex, disability, racial or ethnic background, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, have a right to be in a safe and caring environment when participating in any Bridges for Music activities. 

Every Representative and visitor is responsible for ensuring that children are safe. We will promote the welfare of all children participating in our activities by:- 

  1. appointing a designated safeguarding officer (“DSO”) to whom any concerns or incidents of child abuse or suspicions of child abuse should be referred and relevant action taken; 2. following appropriate procedures when recruiting and selecting new Board Members, staff or volunteers. This will require: 
  2. All Bridges for Music Representatives, who are over the age of 18 years, must: i. submit a copy of the ID; 
  3. provide police clearance, where applicable; 

iii. complete a Disclosure Form; 

  1. sign the Code of Conduct; and 
  2. sign the Photography Policy; 
  3. in addition, all Representatives working directly with children must have Child Protection Register Clearance (Form 29/30) and must sign the Child Protection Policy.
  4. All short-term visitors must: 
  5. Sign in to the academy’s visitor register which includes 
  6. acknowledging the Photography Policy 

iii. acknowledging the Disclosure Form 

  1. Provide training to all Representatives, so that they are clear about their safeguarding and protection responsibilities and they can recognise indicators that a child may be being abused; 
  2. implementing procedures to ensure that any concerns or allegations of abuse are immediately referred appropriately and cooperate with the work of statutory agencies as necessary (see appendix A); 
  3. structuring our programmes to help children protect themselves and understand the importance of protecting others; 
  4. ensuring that our overseas partners and agencies have appropriate safeguarding policies in place and are aware of, and complying with, any local legal obligations that apply when working internationally; 
  5. ensuring that projects are planned to identify and manage possible areas of risk; 8. identifying and implementing good practice about the care, protection and welfare of children and. This includes, but is not limited to, the practice whereby no trustee, employee, volunteer or other individual working with Bridges for Music should be in the sole presence of a child; 
  6. adhering to Bridges for Music’s policy on the taking and use of photographs and recorded images of children (see appendix B); 
  7. encouraging parents and carers to be involved with Bridges for Music’s programmes and develop a relationship with Bridges for Music (and its overseas partners and agencies) which promotes the welfare of their child for whom they care; and 
  8. adhering to all relevant laws and related good practices. 

Review and publication of policy 

The Board will review this policy regularly. 

A copy of this policy will be posted on Bridges for Music’s website. 

Procedures to Mitigate the Risk of Abuse 

Required Documentation: 

Board Members, visitors, volunteers, and employees must complete the Form reflected in Appendix D. Board Members, volunteers and staff (“Representative(s)”) may be required to submit a police clearance and may be required to submit Form 30 & Form 29, where applicable (“the Documents”). Two non-family member references are required as part of the application process. No person, including any Board Member, volunteer or employee, may work with children unless such person has submitted the Documents. Bridges for Music reserves the right, for whatever reasonable reason, to not accept any person as a volunteer or employee following the outcome of any police clearance inquiry or reference inquiry. 

Screening Process: 

  1. A prospective Representative shall complete a Disclosure Form, application for police clearance and may be required to submit Form 30 & Form 29, where applicable (to ascertain whether the person’s name appears on the National Child Protection Register) and provision of references. 
  2. Bridges for Music may contact references to verify the character and history of the prospective Representative. 
  3. The application for police clearance may be required and may not be older than 30 (thirty) days. Depending on the result of the police clearance, Bridges for Music may at its discretion reject the application and prohibit the applicant from participating in Bridges for Music. 
  4. The Form 29 & Form 30 will be submitted to the Department of Social Development. Should the applicant’s name appear on Part B of the National Child Protection Register, then such person will not be permitted to work with children at Bridges for Music. 
  5. If applicants are clear with all aspects of the screening process, the Board / Management shall have the discretion to permit such a person to work with children in the organisation. 6. Representatives may, at the sole discretion of Bridges for Music, be required to be screened by following the abovementioned process. Any refusal by a Representative to be screened may result in prohibition from participating in Bridges for Music. 

Representative Code of Conduct: 

  1. Guardian/parental consent should be given before a child’s enrollment in any Bridges Academy programs 
  2. A child should only ever be disciplined verbally using words that are polite, respectful and positive. Under no circumstance may derogatory words be used toward a child, nor may threats or insults be used. 
  3. No representative may push, shove, throw items at, hit, assault, pinch, shout, or scream at a child, nor may any object or words be used to threaten a child. 
  4. A child should not be left alone with an adult. A Representative should ensure they are in sight of others or request another Representative to accompany them. 
  5. A Representative should always adhere to the Bridges for Music Code of Conduct 6. A Representative should never be in an enclosed or private area alone with a child. The door in any room should always be left wide open. 
  6. While in the care of Bridges for Music, a child must be supervised by a Representative at all times except when a child uses the bathroom. 
  7. When conducting security checks, such security checks should be conducted on the child by a person of the same gender, in the presence of two Representatives conducting the security check. 
  8. No Representative may offer any child or Representative medication, drugs, or alcohol. 10. Representatives should not ask for the full personal and contact particulars of a child. 11. A Representative of Bridges for Music should never: 
  9. communicate privately with any child over social media (including WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook etc.); 
  10. have physical contact with a child in private. The only physical contact that may be permissible in public is “high-fives”, handshakes, brief hugs, and pat on the shoulder, appropriate for the child considering their age; 
  11. kiss (including “peck”) a child, engage in prolonged hugs, hold hands, place hands around the waist, engage in massages, place hands in the pockets of children; d. buy any gifts or provide any gifts to a child without obtaining the consent of a senior employee or Board Member of Bridges for Music, which in any event should only be in appropriate circumstances (for example, a birthday gift). 
  12. speak to or in front of a child in any manner that is disrespectful to the race, gender, sexuality, culture, religion, economic status, health or beliefs of the child, even if such words are spoken as a “joke”. Representatives should adopt a positive way of speaking, and use affirming words and a gentle tone of voice at all times. 
  13. Representatives should annually be trained on risk management, on how to care and protect children. 

Concerns of Abuse Procedures: 

This Policy sets out below how Bridges for Music what abuse is, and how abuse, when identified, can be reported, to ensure that the safety and well-being of the child is upheld. This should be used as a non-exhaustive guideline. All actions taken by a Representative must be in the best interests of the child. 

Forms of Abuse: 

 

Abuse may one be or more of the following: 

  1. power: by intimidating a child to submit to the demands of another; 
  2. physical: where a child is intentionally or negligently harmed, injured or their physical wellbeing is put at risk; 
  3. verbal: belittling a child, swearing or using derogatory or offensive language directed at a child or which may cause a child to feel intimidated or in danger; 
  4. emotional: any behaviour which infringes on the dignity of the child etc.; 5. sexual: where the offender personally sexually abuses, or permits the abuse of a child or allowing a child to be exposed to pornography or pornographic material; 
  5. exploitation: whereby a child is forced into marriage, slavery, sexual exploitation, forced employment, and using a child for prostitution or begging where the carer is enriched by such exploitation; 
  6. harassment: where a child is called names, threatened, stalked, touched inappropriately, sexually suggestive or harmful comments, derogatory comments etc.); and 
  7. bullying: bullying on social media or school, threatening the child, belittling the child, doing anything to harm the integrity or emotional well-being of a child etc. or sexism or racism; and 
  8. neglect: where the child is deprived of basic rights, including to a safe environment, food, clothing, shelter, education, affection and medical attention etc. or allowing or causing a child to be in a risky situation or in a situation where a child’s wellbeing or safety is at risk; 

Reporting Procedures: 

  1. Concerns or allegations of abuse against a child must be dealt with speedily and appropriately. All Representatives must report any suspicions of abuse to the DSO by completing an Incident Report Form as reflected on Appendix E. No Representative is permitted to carry out any investigation themselves. The DSO will compile a written report which shall include all supporting evidence and shall share it as soon as reasonably possible with the Board. 
  2. Confidentiality must be maintained at all times and information will be shared on a need-to-know basis with the person making the allegation, the relevant authorities and parents/guardians, as appropriate. 

Responsibilities of Board Members and DSO: 

  1. Informing parents or guardians of any allegations of abuse, whether the concerns relate to someone within Bridges for Music or a third party, where appropriate and as soon as practicable; 
  2. inform a social worker of any allegations of abuse where the parents or guardians are the alleged perpetrators; 
  3. assess and investigate the incident. If the Board/management has assessed the incident and it has not yet been reported to the SAPS or the DSD, and the Board/management is of the view that they are lawfully required to do so, they shall forthwith take steps to report the matter to the SAPS and/or the DSD where required. The person notifying the SAPS and/or DSD shall make a note of the person who has received the complaint at SAPS and/or DSD, a relevant reference and/or case number, full details of the complaint submitted and the comments made by the person to whom the matter has been reported to. 
  4. ensuring that any allegations of abuse are referred appropriately to relevant police, social services, and other statutory agencies, including Bridges for Music Commission; and 
  5. suspending the alleged perpetrator who is a Representative immediately, pending an investigation into the conduct. 

Important Contact Details: 

  1. Department of Social Development: Langa – 021 815 8421/ 021 815 8446 2. South African Police Services- Emergency: 10111 
  2. South African Police Services- Langa: 021 695 8000 
  3. Childline: 021 930 0859 
  4. Lifelife- 021 461 1113 (Crisis Line) 

 

Photography Policy 

Introduction 

It is important that children and young people feel happy with their achievements and have photographs and films of their special moments. Family and friends want to be able to share the successes of their children when they have been part of an event or activity. 

However, it is important to be aware of child protection and safeguarding issues when people are taking photos or filming at an event or activity. Bridges for Music is aware of the potential risks or dangers and created a policy that puts appropriate measures in place. 

Photography Procedures 

Our policy on the taking and use of photographs including videos of children is as follows: 

  1. a child’s face should not be displayed on any media platform whatsoever unless the consent of the parents has already been obtained by Bridges for Music which consent shall not be sought by any Representative and only shall be engaged with by management or the DSO; 
  2. children’s names or any other personal details including where they live and attend school must not be used in photograph captions nor any reference to health, medical, or socio-economic status; 
  3. children should always be consulted about the use of photography and those who are 12 years and above and who have sufficient understanding to the consent process; 4. Bridges for Music will only use images of children in suitable clothing to reduce the risk of inappropriate use; 
  4. photographs of children taken by professional photographers, parents, carers, family members and others should not be shared on social media or reproduced in any other manner without the express consent in writing of the parent or legal guardian; 
  5. all professional photographers must be made aware of this photography policy and be asked to sign and date a copy of it by way of confirming that they will adhere to it; 
  6. images or video recordings of children must be kept securely. Hard copies of images should be kept in a locked drawer and electronic images should be in a protected folder with restricted access; 
  7. images should only be stored on password-protected portable equipment such as laptops, memory sticks and mobile phones owned by Bridges for Music; 
  8. Any permitted photographs must be approved by Bridges for Music prior to publication; 10. Unless explicitly given permission, no individual outside of the Bridges for Music content or marketing team is allowed to take pictures of children at the Bridges Academy.
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