Safeguarding Policy

Cheshire Dance strive to ensure everyone has access to dance and can benefit from its transformative power.

We are committed to a practice which protects children and adults at risk from harm, creating accessible environments where everyone can feel safe, valued and creative.


 Safeguarding Policy Contents


  • Cheshire Dance Mission
  • Cheshire Dance Values
  • Policy Statement and Commitment
  • Aims and Objectives
  • Who the policy applies to
  • Rights under the policy
  • Responsibilities
  • Legislative Framework and National Context
  • Monitoring and Review
  • What is Abuse?
  • Types and Signs of Abuse
  • Good Practice Principles
  • Safeguarding Procedures
  • Social Media and Safeguarding
  • Other Resources
  • Commitment


Cheshire Dance Mission

Through the ongoing development of innovative, person centred dance practices and collaborations with participants, audiences, artists and other organisations, we champion dance and the voices of those who engage with it and we do this with a commitment to excellence and diversity.


Cheshire Dance Values

Awareness – Of self and others, both physical and emotional as well as the space, environment and context

Flexibility – Adapting to others needs and aspirations, the environment and changing circumstances

Authenticity – True to our own unique way of moving, encouraging people to be themselves

Diversity – Celebrating difference as a source of creativity

 Enquiry – Forever curious, exploring boundaries, open to new ideas and challenges

 Ownership – Developing belonging and personal/group progression


 Policy Statement and Commitment

Cheshire Dance believes that safeguarding is more than the protection of children and adults at risk from harm. Safeguarding should be part of our practice both in practical dance delivery and in the running of Cheshire Dance. It is our responsibility to create accessible environments where everyone can feel safe, valued and creative thus enabling everyone to benefit from the transformative power of dance.

We accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause harm and to ensure safe practice is implemented across our programme of work.

All children and adults at risk have a right to be protected from harm regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual identity.   The protection of children and adults at risk is paramount.

Cheshire Dance expects all staff on permanent and freelance contracts to approach their sessions competently and safely.  Policy and procedural documents exist for

  • Single Equality
  • Health & Safety
  • Recruitment, Selection and Employment
  • Use of Personal Information (GDPR)


A child is defined as under 18 The Children Act 1989


An ‘adult at risk’ is defined by the Department of Health in the No Secrets Guidance (2000), as ‘a person aged 18 years or over, who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation’.



  Aims and Objectives of this Policy

 To ensure the protection of all children and adults at risk who dance with Cheshire Dance. To enable them to access the transformative power of dance through participating in an enjoyable and safe environment by:

  • Ensuring good practice in recruitment
  • Ensuring all staff are issued with, read and understand this policy
  • Understanding the various types and signs of abuse as stated in Section 11.
  • Adhering to the good practice principles as stated in Section 12.
  • Following safeguarding procedures as stated in Section 13 when concerns are raised.

Who the policy applies to

This policy relates to all board members and staff who are employed with Cheshire Dance

Staff includes:-

  • Permanent and temporary employees
  • Freelancers
  • Contracted artists
  • Contracted specialists
  • Shadowers (Volunteers)
  • Volunteers

Rights under this policy

 Every participant registered with Cheshire Dance who takes part in any activity organised with Cheshire Dance has the right to be safe from harm.

They further have the right to express concerns about a safeguarding issue to Cheshire Dance staff.

Cheshire Dance staff have the right under this policy to refer any concerns about the safety of a child or an adult at risk to the appropriate person as specified in guidance issued by the safeguarding boards of the relevant local authority in the area in which the individual lives.


All staff and board members of Cheshire Dance are fully committed to the implementation of this policy.  They will:-

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the policy
  • Champion and embed the safety of all participants in all aspects of Cheshire Dance’s work.


Responsibility for monitoring the terms of this policy, including the review timetable rests with the board.


The Director will co-ordinate implementation of the policy. This will include:

  • Ensuring appropriate structures and procedures are in place to implement safeguarding.
  • Taking appropriate measures to ensure this policy is kept up-to-date with latest guidance from safeguarding boards.
  • Collection and analysis of monitoring information.
  • Ensuring line managers and others know and understand their responsibilities
  • Ensuring that appropriate information is available in the organisation so that new staff can be briefed in the policy and trained in its implementation.
  • Ensure the terms of this policy are adhered to and that all staff, particularly those with managerial and supervisory responsibility, are aware of and trained in the requirements of this policy.
  • Ensure that the terms of this policy are effectively integrated with the Recruitment, Selection and Employment Policy.
  • Promote the policy, making all members of staff, job applicants, and other stakeholders aware of the policy.
  • Monitor the policy and make appropriate changes as a result.
  • Continuously review procedures and, where necessary, make changes as a result.

Staff, Artists, Customers, Suppliers, Stakeholders

Everyone has a ‘duty of care’ towards all children under 18 and adults at risk.  It is your responsibility to Recognise, Respond, Record and Report if you suspect abuse.

However, it is not the responsibility of anyone working at or for Cheshire Dance to decide whether or not abuse has taken place.  All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

Legislative Framework and National Context–2

 Monitoring and Review

Cheshire Dance is committed to reviewing this policy and good practice every two years or as guidance alters from local authority safeguarding boards.

What is Abuse?

 Abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child or adult at risk.

The Children Act 1989 introduced Significant Harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children.

Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. Neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child or adult at risk as physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Somebody may abuse or neglect an individual by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.

Harm is defined as the ill treatment or impairment of health and development. This definition was clarified in section 120 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (implemented on 31 January 2005) so that it may include, “for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another”.

There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Sometimes a single violent episode may constitute significant harm but more often it is an accumulation of significant events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt, damage or change the child’s development.

The impact of harm upon a person will be individual and depend upon each person’s circumstances and the severity, degree and impact or affect of this upon that person.

An abused child or adult at risk will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online.

Abuse occurs throughout society and affects individuals of all ages.

Types and Signs of Abuse

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or adult at risk. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Signs that may suggest physical abuse:

  • any bruising to an immobile child;
  • multiple bruising to different parts of the body;
  • bruising of different colours indicating repeated injuries;
  • fingertip bruising to the face, chest, back, arms or legs;
  • burns or scalds with clear outlines e.g. a gloves and socks effect or burns of uniform depth over a large area. Also, splash marks above the main scald area – associated with throwing;
  • retinal or pin point haemorrhaging – associated with shaking;
  • rib fractures in very young children;
  • adult bite marks;
  • an injury for which there is no adequate explanation.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or adult at risk such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child or adult at risk’s emotional development. It may involve:

  • conveying to a child/adult at risk that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person;
  • age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.

These may include interactions that are beyond the child/adult at risk’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction;

  • not giving the child/adult at risk opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or making fun of what they say or how they communicate;
  • causing children/adult at risks frequently to feel frightened or in danger;
  • seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another person;
  • the exploitation or corruption of children/adult at risks;
  • serious bullying, including cyber-bullying.

Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child/adult at risk, though it may occur alone.

Signs that may suggest emotional abuse:

  • excessive bedwetting/soiling, eating, rocking, head banging, aggression;
  • self harm;
  • attempted suicide;
  • high levels of anxiety, unhappiness or withdrawal;
  • seek out or avoid affection;
  • sleeplessness/night terrors;
  • food refusal;
  • attention seeking;

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or adult at risk to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child/adult at risk is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration e.g. rape or oral sex or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing.  They may include non contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of sexual images or in watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse, including via the internet.  Sexual abuse may be committed by men, women and children.

Signs that may suggest sexual abuse:

  • injuries, infections, or abnormal discharge, in the genital/anal/oral area;
  • pregnancy, and identity of father is a secret or vague;
  • shows worrying sexualised behaviour in their play or with other children or adults;
  • seems to have inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age;
  • a confusion of ordinary affectionate contact with abuse.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child or adult at risk’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child/adult at risk’s health or development.

Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse or failure to participate in ante-natal care.

Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, shelter and clothing (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • protect a child from physical harm or danger
  • respond to a child’s basic emotional needs
  • ensure adequate supervision (including inadequate substitute care-givers)
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

Signs which may suggest neglect:

  • squalid, unhygienic or dangerous home conditions
  • parents fail to attend to their children’s health or development needs
  • children appear persistently undersized or underweight
  • children continually appear tired or lacking in energy
  • children suffer frequent injuries due to lack of supervision
  • the child is not attached or is anxiously attached to the parent
  • the child is not regularly sent to school including preschool
  • developmental delay due to lack of stimulation
  • the child has cold skin mottled with pink or purple
  • the child has swollen limbs with pitted sores which are slow to heal
  • the child’s skin condition is poor, especially in the nappy area
  • the child has dry sparse hair
  • the child stays frozen in one position for an unnaturally long time

Additionally, adult at risks may be at risk of the following forms of abuse:

 Financial abuse

The use of a person’s property, assets, income, funds or any resources without their informed consent or authorisation. Financial abuse is a crime.

It includes:

  • Theft or fraud
  • Exploitation
  • Undue pressure in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • The misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
  • The misuse of an enduring power of attorney or a lasting power of attorney, or appointeeship

Discriminatory abuse

Evidence of any one indicator from the following list should not be taken on its own as proof that abuse is occurring. However, it should alert practitioners to make further assessments and to consider other factors associated with the adult at risk’s situation.

Possible indicators

  • Signs that the adult at risk is being offered a substandard service
  • Repeated exclusion from basic rights such as health, education, employment, criminal justice and civic status
  • Tendency of the adult at risk to be withdrawn and isolated
  • Expressions of anger, frustration, fear or anxiety by the adult at risk
  • The support on offer does not take account of the adult at risk’s individual needs in terms of race, age, sex, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender reassignment or pregnancy/maternity status (known as the ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010)

Examples of behaviour

  • Lack of respect shown to the adult at risk
  • Unequal treatment of the adult at risk based on their protected characteristics
  • Verbal abuse
  • Inappropriate use of language
  • Denial of the adult at risk’s communication needs (e.g. not allowing access to an interpreter, signer or lip-reader)
  • Derogatory remarks about, for example, the adult at risk’s age, disability, race or sexuality
  • Harassment on the grounds of disability or other characteristics
  • Deliberate exclusion based on the adult at risk’s protected characteristics

Institutional abuse

Evidence of any one indicator from the following list should not be taken on its own as proof that abuse is occurring. However, it should alert practitioners to make further assessments and to consider other factors associated with the adult at risk’s situation.

Possible indicators

  • Lack of flexibility and choice for adults using the service
  • Inadequate staffing levels
  • People being hungry or dehydrated
  • Pervasive inappropriate care and poor standards of care
  • Residents abusive to staff and other residents
  • Residents sexually or racially harassing staff or other residents
  • Lack of personal clothing and possessions, including the use of communal toiletries
  • Lack of adequate procedures for the management of finances
  • Lack of adequate procedures for the management of medication
  • Failure to ensure privacy and personal dignity
  • Lack of respect shown to adults using the service (e.g. use of derogatory language and remarks)
  • Poor record-keeping and missing documents
  • An ongoing absence of visitors
  • Few social, recreational and educational activities
  • Public discussion of personal matters
  • Absence of individual care plans
  • Lack of management overview and support

Examples of behaviour

  • Discouragement of visits to – or the involvement of – relatives or friends in the life of the adult at risk
  • Run-down or overcrowded establishment
  • Authoritarian or rigid management
  • Lack of leadership and/or supervision
  • Disharmony and/or very high turnover of staff
  • Pervasive, abusive and disrespectful attitudes among staff
  • Inappropriate use of restraints by staff
  • Poor practice in the provision of intimate care
  • Not providing adequate food and drink, or placing it out of reach
  • Not offering choice over meals and bed-times
  • Misuse of medication on an ongoing basis
  • Loss of or failure to provide dentures; failure to ensure that the person’s dentures are cleaned and reserved for their use
  • Sensory deprivation (e.g. denial of use of spectacles or hearing aids)
  • Staff not taking account of individuals’ cultural, religious or ethnic needs
  • Failure to take action when there have been incidents of racial harassment or other forms of abuse by staff or other service users
  • Unwelcoming of people from outside the service making contact
  • Interference with mail and/or online communication
  • Failure to respond to complaints by adults using the service or their friends and relatives.

Good Practice Principles

Cheshire Dance will endeavour to safeguard children and adults at risk by adhering to the following good-practice principles:


  • To maintain up to date insurance policies and to ensure that guidelines are followed.

Photography and Film

  • Any photographs or film of children or adults at risk will only be taken in consultation with those involved and only used with their consent and that of their parents/carers.
  • Completed consent forms will be filed securely in Cheshire Dance’s office.
  • Images will be stored on Cheshire Dance’s server which is only accessible by staff with a password.


Cheshire Dance recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children and adults at risk in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children and adults at risk. When undertaking pre-selection checks the following will be included:

  • All staff including freelancers should complete an application form. The application form will seek information about applicants past and require self-disclosure about any criminal record.  This does not contravene the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as it relates to recruitment for positions of trust.
  • All Cheshire Dance artistic team and freelancers must have a DBS check – the DBS numbers will be stored on Cheshire Dance’s server which is only accessible by staff with a password. Consent must be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Disclosure and Baring Service. The safeguarding lead will be responsible for checking these records are up to date.
  • Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children and/or adults at risk. These references must be taken up and confirmed.
  • All staff including freelancers must have completed Safeguarding training in order to work for Cheshire Dance. If this training was not with Cheshire Dance, they MUST commit to attending the next available Cheshire Dance in-house Safeguarding course as part of their contract.
  • All staff including freelancers must receive a copy of this policy and sign that they have read and understood it.

 Project/Session Planning and Delivery


  • Lesson plans must be available on request to comply with insurance – this is good practice and will also enable facilitators to clearly explain advocate for and respond to questions about the work they are delivering.
  • A Risk Assessment should be part of planning any project or series of classes and should take into account what might go wrong, their likelihood and impact.  Then you can identify measures to reduce risk including allocating roles to monitor and manage child protection as well as what to do if things do go wrong. Groups should also do their own verbal risk assessment in new venues/situations.
  • Always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations – particularly one to one – and encourage openness).
  • No child or adult at risk should be left on their own with an adult.  If necessary, ask the parent/carer of the last but one child/adult at risk leaving a session to stay, or, in extenuating circumstances call the police to assist.
  • Ensure you have up to date registers for all sessions including:
  • Emergency contact details for parents/carer
  • Medical needs (including allergies)
  • Pick up information
  • Ensure you always have access to a phone in case of emergencies
  • Only allow children/adults at risk to be picked up by the person identified on the register – unless you have prior confirmation that this will be different. Children making their own way home must have written permission to do so from their parent/carer. If in doubt – contact their emergency contact number for confirmation.
  • When working within partner organisations such as schools, youth clubs, day centres, hospitals – try and ensure that a member of staff from the organisation is present in the session. It is important to request this during the set up/development of a project so that it is mutually agreed and in place when delivery begins.
  • Defer to and involve parents/carers/teachers/youth leaders wherever possible.
  • Always gain written parental consent if you are required to transport young people and ensure you have the appropriate Business Insurance on your car.
  • If groups have to be supervised to change, try and ensure that adults supervise in pairs.
  • Ensure your ratios of adult to children are at least 1:11, but ideally 2:11 (in case one adult needs to attend to any unplanned situations)


  • Always put the welfare of children and adults at risk before achieving goals.
  • Maintain a safe and appropriate relationship with children and adults at risk (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
  • Strive for equitable relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children and adults at risk to share in the decision-making process.
  • Ensure that Dance is fun and enjoyable and promote healthy, safe practice.
  • Be an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of children
  • Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Be aware of the developmental needs and capacity of children and adults at risk.

 Use of Touch in dance sessions

Cheshire Dance believe that the use of touch within dance practice can be highly beneficial, and as touch in society becomes more stigmatised and sexualised, Cheshire Dance believe that dance artists can be advocates of touch as an affirming and beneficial experience, provided it is facilitated clearly and sensitively by experienced practitioners.

  • Always ensure that any form of manual/physical touch is appropriate to the lesson, provided openly and the intention of the task/touch clearly communicated. Things to consider include:
  • Care is needed, as it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the person is moving.
  • Children and adults at risk should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Provide an introduction to the nature of the contact work and encourage a ‘no’ response if anyone feels it is unacceptable.
  • Many people are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered. Back up through lesson plans and communication with parents/carers

Cheshire Dance uses the Jabadao touch policy (Appendix 1) as a best practice guideline and it should be distributed to and read by all facilitators, shadowers and partners.

Cheshire Dance acknowledge that the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 and associated social distancing measures will bring further considerations and sensitivities around the use of touch. All Cheshire Dance activity should adhere to the current social distancing guidelines of the time. As social distancing measures are relaxed and eventually removed, Cheshire Dance staff should work with their participants to gradually reintroduce touch (where necessary and beneficial as outlined above) at a pace that is right for all those involved. Cheshire Dance will provide training and support for staff in approaching this.

Please refer to Cheshire Dance Covid-19 risk assessments for latest guidance.

Residential Activity

  • During residential events, avoid one to one situations and being alone with a child or adult at risk in a bedroom.


  • be alone with a child or adult at risk
  • engage in rough, or sexually provocative games
  • share a room with a child or adult at risk
  • allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
  • allow children and adult at risks to use inappropriate language unchallenged
  • make sexually suggestive comments to a child or adult at risk, even in fun
  • reduce a child or adult at risk to tears as a form of control
  • allow allegations made by a child or adult at risk to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
  • do things of a personal nature for children or adults at risk, that they can do for themselves
  • invite or allow children or adults at risk to stay with you at your home unsupervised.

 Safeguarding Procedures

See Appendix 2 for Responding to Safeguarding Issues Flow Chart – this document should be carried by Cheshire Dance freelancers at all times.

Responding to Possible Abuse and to Disclosure

  • Remain calm
  • Listen carefully
  • Do not ask leading questions – only questions for clarification
  • Do not promise to keep a secret – say you must share the information with people who can help
  • Reassure the person concerned and tell them what you are going to do next.
  • Make notes as soon as possible after the disclosure in the person’s own words

Recording Concerns

You should keep a confidential record of any concern, disclosure, referral and responses you make.  You may well be called upon at a later stage.  The more detail that is recorded the greater likelihood of uncovering the truth in any investigation.  You will be asked by Cheshire Dance to complete an Accident/Incident form.  This form should be counter-signed and dated by the person with legal responsibility for the child/adult at risk.

Reporting Concerns

Any suspicion that a child has been abused should be reported to the person legally responsible for the child or adult at risk.  It is their responsibility to contact the relevant authorities.

Suspicions should also be reported to the Creative Director of Cheshire Dance at the earliest opportunity, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the person concerned and any other child or adult who may be at risk.

If the legally responsible person is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, report your concern to the Creative Director of Cheshire Dance who will contact the relevant authorities.  If the Creative Director is not available, seek a consultation with the Social Services Access Team or phone the local police. In an emergency phone 999.

Access Team contact details for the 2 districts of Cheshire are:

Cheshire West

Reporting suspected child abuse:


Reporting suspected abuse of an adult at risk:


Cheshire East

Reporting suspected child abuse – The Cheshire East Consultation Service (ChECS):


Reporting suspected abuse of a adult at risk:



Whilst working for Cheshire Dance there may be occasions when group members disclose personal details.  Within the group setting this is to be expected, however we are obliged to breach confidence if any of the following apply:

  1. The risk of harm to an individual (particularly a child) is a real one.
  2. The degree of harm to be avoided is judged to be serious.
  3. Breach of confidentiality may serve to avoid the harm.


 Social Media and Safeguarding (Adapted from Yorkshire Dance’s ‘Engagement with Social Media’ Policy)

Cheshire Dance fully recognises the benefits of social media services, and encourages staff to use them within the guidelines set out here.

Social media for marketing

Cheshire Dance has profiles on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Instagram etc. that are managed by the Marketing and Events Co-ordinator. If any staff members wish to create a page/profile for a project or group, they must first check with the Marketing and Events Co-ordinator.

All core staff members have access to the organisation’s social media profiles and have a responsibility to use them appropriately.

Social media for communicating with young people

Social media platforms such as Facebook are a useful way of communicating with young people who engage with Cheshire Dance projects. When Cheshire Dance  staff members are using Facebook to send messages to young people e.g. members of the Youth Company, they should not do this using their own personal profile. Instead they should set up a work profile specific to their work with young people which they can then use to add young people to as ‘friends’. This is to protect the staff member and the young people involved.

Social Media Key Considerations

Remember, what you publish is widely accessible and is permanent. Consider the content carefully. If in doubt, do not post.

Be transparent. This translates to “be honest.” When communicating on a professional level be upfront about who you are and that you work for Cheshire Dance, otherwise you must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Cheshire Dance. Respect copyright and fair use rules. Don’t cite or reference customers, partners or suppliers without their approval. When you do make a reference, where possible link back to or reference the source.

Be sensible. Make sure that your efforts to be transparent don’t violate any of Cheshire Dance’s policies, privacy and confidentiality guidelines. Never comment on anything related to legal matters.

Respect your audience. Don’t use language or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in Cheshire Dance’s workplace. You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy.

Stay true.  Make sure you write and post about your areas of expertise.  It applies in public forums as much as it applies to conversations with the media.  If you’re not the best person to comment on a topic, you shouldn’t do so in an official capacity.

Create interest. Cheshire Dance is making positive contributions to the dance world and social media is providing a forum to reach new audiences and educate them on those contributions.




View a complete copy of this Safeguarding Policy .


For questions or queries, please contact: