Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy


Our strong safeguarding culture

Why it is important

        • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and it is the duty of Cheerforce Ten to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This is our core safeguarding principle.
        • In adhering to this principle we focus on providing a safe and welcoming environment for all of our children regardless of age, ability, culture, race, language, religion, gender identity or sexual identity. All of our children have equal rights to support and protection.
        • One of the cornerstones of our safeguarding culture is this policy and the procedures contained within it. This policy applies to all staff, and volunteers , all of whom are trained upon its contents and on their safeguarding duties. We update this policy at least annually to reflect changes to law and guidance and best practice.


  • All of our staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may indicate that a child is at risk of harm. Any athlete or staff involved in child protection or safeguarding issue will receive appropriate support.
  • Our strong safeguarding culture ensures that we treat all athletes with respect and involve them in decisions that affect them. We encourage positive, respectful and safe behaviour among pupils and we set a good example by conducting ourselves appropriately.
  • Identifying safeguarding and child protection concerns often begin with recognising changes in pupils’ behaviour and knowing that these changes may be signs of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse.
  • All of our staff and volunteerswill reassure children that their concerns and disclosures will be taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe.


The following safeguarding legislation and guidance has been considered when drafting this policy:

  • Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021)
  • Working Together to Safeguarding Children (2018)
  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015)
  • The Teacher Standards 2012
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Section 157 of the Education Act 2002
  • The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014
  • The Domestic Abuse Act 2021


Rachael Smart DSL – 07966 966 026


  • The designated safeguarding lead takes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety) for all athletes. The DSL duties include:
  • ensuring child protection policies are known, understood and used appropriately by staff and volunteers.
  • to ensure that the clubs safeguarding policy is reviewed annually and that the procedures are reviewed regularly
  • acting as a source of support, advice and expertise for all staff and volunteers on child protection and safeguarding matters
  • acting as a point of contact with safeguarding organisations
  • making and managing referrals to children’s social care, the police, or other agencies


  • Some children are at greater risk of abuse. This increased risk can be caused by many factors including social exclusion, isolation, discrimination and prejudice. To ensure that all of our pupils receive equal protection, we give special consideration to children who:
  • are vulnerable because of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender identity or sexuality
  • are vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying
  • are at risk of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, or being drawn into extremism
  • live in chaotic or unsupportive home situations
  • live transient lifestyles or live away from home or in temporary accommodation
  • are affected by parental substance abuse, domestic violence or parental mental health needs
  • do not have English as a first language


  • Children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children, which can include:
  • assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
  • being more prone to peer group isolation that other children;
  • the potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs; and
  • communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
  • Our staff and volunteers are trained to be aware of and identify these additional barriers to ensure this group of children are appropriately safeguarded.


  • Cheerforce Ten have an important role to play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their athletes.
  • All staff and volunteers are aware that mental health problems can be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Staff and volunteers also aware that where children have suffered adverse childhood experiences those experiences can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education.
  • Where staff are concerned that a child’s mental health is also a safeguarding concern, they will discuss it with the programme


  • Peer on peer abuse – children harming other children – is unacceptable and will be taken seriously; it will not be tolerated or passed off as ‘banter’, ‘just having a laugh’, ‘part of growing up’ or ‘boys being boys’. It is more likely that boys will be perpetrators of peer on peer abuse and girls victims, but allegations will be dealt with in the same manner, regardless of whether they are made by boys or girls.
  • All staff and volunteers should be clear about the clubs policy and procedures for addressing peer on peer abuse.
  • Peer on peer abuse can take many forms, including:
  • physical abuse such as shaking, hitting, biting, kicking or hair pulling
  • bullying, including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying
  • sexual violence and harassment such as rape and sexual assault or sexual comments and inappropriate sexual language, remarks or jokes
  • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party
  • upskirting, which involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their knowledge for the purposes of sexual gratification or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm
  • consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery) including pressuring others to share sexual content
  • abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers (also known as teenage relationship abuse) – such as a pattern of actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • initiation/hazing – used to induct newcomers into sports team or school groups by subjecting them to potentially humiliating or abusing trials with the aim of creating a bond
  • Different gender issues can be prevalent when dealing with peer on peer abuse, for example girls being sexually touched/assaulted or boys being subject to initiation/hazing type violence.
  • All staff recognise that even if there are no reported cases of peer on peer abuse, such abuse may still be taking place but is not being reported.
  • Minimising risk
    • We take the following steps to minimise or prevent the risk of peer on peer abuse:
    • Promoting an open and honest environment where children feel safe and confident to share their concerns and worries
  • Investigating allegations
    • All allegations of peer on peer abuse should be passed to the DSL immediately who will investigate and manage the allegation as follows:
    • Gather information – children and staff will be spoken with immediately to gather relevant information.


  • Decide on action – if it is believed that any child is at risk of significant harm, a referral will be made to children’s social care. The DSL will then work with children’s social care to decide on next steps, which may include contacting the police. In other cases, we may follow our behaviour policy alongside this Child Protection Policy.


  • Inform parents – we will usually discuss concerns with the parents. However, our focus is the safety and wellbeing of the pupil and so if the school believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to a child or exacerbate the problem, advice will first be sought from children’s social care and/or the police before parents are contacted.


  • Recorded – all concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions will be recorded in writing, kept confidential and stored securely on the school’s child protection and safeguarding systems and/or in the child’s separate child protection file. The record will include a clear and comprehensive summary of the concern, details of how the concern was followed up and resolved, and a note of the action taken, decisions reached and the outcome.
  • Where allegations of a sexual nature are made, the school will follow the statutory guidance set out in Part 5 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021.
  • Children can report allegations or concerns of peer on peer abuse to any staff member or volunteer and that staff member or volunteer will pass on the allegation to the DSL in accordance with this policy.


  • Supporting those involved
    • The support required for the athlete who has been harmed will depend on their particular circumstance and the nature of the abuse. The support we provide could include counselling and mentoring or some restorative justice work.
    • Support may also be required for the athlete that caused harm. We will seek to understand why the athlete acted in this way and consider what support may be required to help the athlete and/or change behaviours. The consequences for the harm caused or intended will be addressed.


  • All staff and volunteers are made aware of indicators that children are at risk from or are involved with serious violent crime. These include increased absence, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts could also indicate that children have been approached by or are involved with individuals associated with criminal gangs.
  • All staff and volunteers are made aware of the range of risk factors which increase the likelihood of involvement in serious violence, such as being male, having been frequently absent or permanently excluded from school, having experienced maltreatment and having been involved in offending, such as theft or robbery.


  • Both CCE and CSE are forms of abuse and both occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in sexual or criminal activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or through violence or the threat of violence. This power imbalance can be due to a range of factors, including:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Sexual identity
    • Cognitive ability
    • Physical strength
    • Status
    • Access to economic or other resources
  • The abuse can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. They can be one-off occurrences or a series of incidents over time and may or may not involve force or violence. Exploitation can be physical and take place online.
  • Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
    • CCE can include children being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money through county lines, working in cannabis factories, shoplifting or pickpocketing, being forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others.
    • Children can become trapped by this exploitation as perpetrators can threaten victims (and their families) with violence or entrap and coerce them into debt. They may be coerced into carrying weapons such as knives or carry a knife for a sense of protection.
    • Children involved in criminal exploitation often commit crimes themselves. They may still have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be something they have agreed or consented to.
    • It is important to note that the experience of girls who are criminally exploited can be very different to that of boys and both boys and girls being criminally exploited may be at higher risk of sexual exploitation.
  • CCE Indicators
    • CCE indicators can include children who:
      • appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions
      • associate with other young people involved in exploitation
      • suffer from changes in emotional well-being
      • misuse drugs or alcohol
      • go missing for periods of time or regular return home late
      • regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education
    • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
      • CSE is a form of child sexual abuse which may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or nonpenetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse.
      • CSE can occur over time or be a one-off occurrence and may happen without the child’s immediate knowledge e.g. through others sharing videos or images of them on social media.
      • CSE can affect any child, who has been coerced into engaging in sexual activities. This includes 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex. Some children may not realise they are being exploited e.g. they believe they are in a genuine romantic relationship.
      • Sexual exploitation is a serious crime and can have a long-lasting adverse impact on a child’s physical and emotional health. It may also be linked to child trafficking.
    • CSE Indicators
      • The above indicators can also be indicators of CSE, as can children who:
        • have older boyfriends
        • suffer sexually transmitted infections or become pregnant
      • Victims of criminal and sexual exploitation can be boys or girls and it can have an adverse impact on a child’s physical and emotional health.
      • All staff and volunteers are aware of the indicators that children are at risk of or are experiencing CCE or CSE. All concerns are reported immediately to the DSL. Staff and volunteers must always act on any concerns that a child is suffering from or is at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation.



  • County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs around the country using dedicated mobile phone lines. Children and vulnerable adults are exploited to move, store and sell drugs and money, with offenders often using coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons to ensure compliance of victims.
  • County lines exploitation can occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child. This power imbalance can be due to the same range of factors set out at paragraph 10.1 of this policy.
  • Children can be targeted and recruited into county lines in a number of locations, including schools and colleges. Indicators of county lines include those indicators set out at 10.3 of this policy, with the main indicator being missing episodes from home and/or school.
  • Additional specific indicators that may be present where a child is criminally exploited include children who:
  • go missing and are subsequently found in areas away from home
  • have been the victim or perpetrator of serious violence (e.g. knife crime)
  • are involved in receiving requests for drugs via a phone line, moving drugs, handing over and collecting money for drugs
  • are exposed to techniques such as ‘plugging’, where drugs are concealed internally to avoid detection
  • are found in accommodation with which they have no connection or in a hotel room where there is drug activity
  • owe a ‘debt bond’ to their exploiters
  • have their bank accounts used to facilitate drug dealing.


  • All staff and volunteers are aware of indicators that children are at risk from or experiencing criminal exploitation. The main indicator is increased absence during which time the child may have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs or money.


  • Sharing photos, videos and live streams online is part of daily life for many children and young people, enabling them to share their experiences, connect with friends and record their lives. Sharing nudes and semi-nudes means the sending or posting online of nude or semi-nude images, videos or live streams by young people under the age of 18. This could be via social media, gaming platforms, chat apps or forums, or carried out offline between devices via services like Apple’s AirDrop.
  • The term ‘nudes’ is used as it is most commonly recognised by young people and more appropriately covers all types of image sharing incidents. Alternative terms used by children and young people may include ‘dick pics’ or ‘pics’. Other terms used in education include ‘sexting’, youth produced sexual imagery’ and ‘youth involved sexual imagery’.
  • The motivations for taking and sharing nudes and semi-nudes are not always sexually or criminally motivated. Such images may be created and shared consensually by young people who are in relationships, as well as between those who are not in a relationship. It is also possible for a young person in a consensual relationship to be coerced into sharing an image with their partner. Incidents may also occur where:
  • children and young people find nudes and semi-nudes online and share them claiming to be from a peer
  • children and young people digitally manipulate an image of a young person into an existing nude online
  • images created or shared are used to abuse peers e.g. by selling images online or obtaining images to share more widely without consent to publicly shame
    • All incidents involving nude or semi-nude images will be managed as follows:
      • The incident will be referred to the DSL immediately and the DSL will discuss it with the appropriate staff or volunteer. If necessary, the DSL may also interview the children involved.
      • Parents will be informed at an early stage and involved in the process unless there is good reason to believe that involving parents would put a child at risk of harm.
      • At any point in the process, if there is a concern a young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm we will refer the matter to the police and/or children’s social care.
    • The UK Council for Internet Safety updated its advice for managing incidences of sharing nudes and semi-nudes in December 2020 – UKCIS advice 2020 . Cheerforce Ten will have regard to this advice when managing these issues.


  • It is essential that children are safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. As well as educating children about online risks, we have appropriate filtering and monitoring systems in place to limit the risk of children being exposed to inappropriate content, subjected to harmful online interaction with other users and to ensure their own personal online behaviour does not put them at risk.
  • Online safety risks can be categorised into four areas of risk:
  • Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content such as pornography, fake news, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, radicalisation and extremism
  • Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users such as peer to peer pressure and adults posing as children or young adults to groom or exploit children
  • Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm such as making, sending and receiving explicit images, sharing other explicit images and online bullying
  • Commerce: risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing or financial scams.
  • All staff and volunteers are aware of these risk areas and should report any concerns to the DSL.


  • The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 introduces a legal definition of domestic abuse and recognises the impact of domestic abuse on children if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse.
  • Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse, between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It includes people who have been or are married, are or have been civil partners, have agreed to marry one another or each have or have had a parental relationship in relation to the same child. It can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.
  • Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of sexual identity, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality or background and domestic abuse can take place inside or outside of the home.
  • Children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic violence in their home life. Experiencing domestic abuse and exposure to it can have a serious emotional and psychological impact on children, and in some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.
  • Where police have been called to a domestic violence incident where children are in the household and experienced that incident, the police will inform the DSL. This ensures that the school has up to date safeguarding information about the child.
  • All staff and volunteers are aware of the impact domestic violence can have on a child. If any of our staff are concerned that a child has witnessed domestic abuse, they will report their concerns immediately to the DSL.


  • So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses actions taken to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and practices such as breast ironing.
  • Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. Our staff and volunteers are aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors and we take them into consideration when deciding what safeguarding action to take.
  • If staff or volunteers are concerned that a child may be at risk of HBA or who has suffered from HBA, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead.
  • Female Genital Mutilation
    • FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.
    • FGM is carried out on females of any age, from babies to teenagers to women. Our staff are trained to be aware of risk indicators, including concerns expressed by girls about going on a long holiday during the summer break. If staff are concerned that a child may be at risk of FGM or who has suffered FGM, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead. Teachers are also under legal duty to report to the police where they discover that FGM has been carried out on a child under 18. In such circumstances, teachers will personal report the matter to the police as well as informing the designated safeguarding lead.
  • Forced Marriage
    • A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Coercion may include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure or abuse. Forced marriage is illegal.
    • Our staff and volunteers are trained to be aware of risk indicators, which may include being taken abroad and not being allowed to return to the UK.
    • Forced marriage is not the same as arranged marriage, which is common in many cultures.
    • If staff or volunteers are concerned that a child may be at risk of forced marriage, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead.


  • Extremism is defined as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
  • Children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation. Whilst Islamic fundamentalism is the most widely publicised, extremism and radicalisation can occur in other cultures, religions and beliefs, including the far right and white supremacy. Our staff and volunteers are trained to identify those at risk of being radicalised or drawn into extremism.
  • If staff or volunteers are concerned that a child may be at risk of radicalisation or being drawn into extremism, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead.


  • Staff and volunteers are aware that inappropriate behaviour towards pupils is unacceptable and that it is a criminal offence for them to engage in any sexual activity with a pupil under the age of 18.
  • We provide our staff and volunteers with advice regarding their personal online activity and we have clear rules regarding electronic communications and online contact with athletes. It is considered a serious disciplinary issue if staff or volunteers breach these rules.


  • If an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer, our set procedures must be followed. Cheerforce will use section for of the KCSIE 2021 document to help guide this process.


  • It is important that all staff and volunteers feel able to raise concerns about a colleague’s practice. All such concerns should be reported to the Programme Director, unless the complaint is about the Programme Director, in which case concern should be reported to the police.
  • Staff and volunteers may also report their concerns directly to children’s social care or the police if they believe direct reporting is necessary to secure action.


  • Our staff receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which is regularly updated. In addition, all staff receive safeguarding and child protection updates on a regular basis to ensure they are up to date and empowered to provide exceptional safeguarding to our pupils.
  • New staff and volunteers receive a briefing during their induction which covers this Child Protection and Safeguarding policy and our staff behaviour policy, how to report and record concerns and information about our Designated Safeguarding Lead.


  • Recognising abuse
    • Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Abuse may be committed by adult men or women and by other children and young people.
    • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 refers to four categories of abuse. These are set out at Appendix One along with indicators of abuse.
  • Taking action

Any child could become a victim of abuse. Key points for staff to remember for taking action are:

  • in an emergency take the action necessary to help the child, if necessary call 999
  • complete a record of concern form and report your concern to the DSL as soon as possible
  • share information on a need-to-know basis only and do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family
  • If you are concerned about a pupil’s welfare
    • Staff and volunteers may suspect that an athlete may be at risk. This may be because the pupil’s behaviour has changed, their appearance has changed or physical signs are noticed. In these circumstances, staff or volunteers will give the athlete an opportunity to talk and ask if they are OK.
    • If the athlete does reveal that they are being harmed, staff or volunteers should follow the advice below.
  • If an athlete discloses to you
    • If an athlete tells a member of staff or volunteer about a risk to their safety or wellbeing, the staff member or volunteer will:
    • remain calm and not overreact
    • allow them to speak freely
    • not be afraid of silences
    • not ask investigative questions
    • give reassuring nods or words of comfort – ‘I’m so sorry this has happened’, ‘I want to help’, ‘This isn’t your fault’, ‘You are doing the right thing in talking to me’
    • not automatically offer physical touch as comfort
    • let the pupil know that in order to help them they must pass the information on to the DSL
    • tell the pupil what will happen next
    • complete the concern form and pass it to the DSL as soon as possible
    • report verbally to the DSL even if the child has promised to do it by themselves
  • Notifying parents
    • Cheerforce Ten will normally seek to discuss any concerns about an athlete with their parents. If the club believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, advice will first be sought from children’s social care and/or the police before parents are notified.


  • The DSL will make a referral to children’s social care if it is believed that a pupil is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm. The athelete (subject to their age and understanding) and the parents will be told that a referral is being made, unless to do so would increase the risk to the child.



  • Staff or volunteers should follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy. However, they may also share information directly with children’s social care or the police if they are convinced that a direct report is required.


  • Child protection issues necessitate a high level of confidentiality. Staff or volunteers should only discuss concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
  • Sharing information
    • The DSL will normally obtain consent from the pupil and/or parents to share child protection information. Where there is good reason to do so, the DSL may share information without consent, and will record the reason for deciding to do so.
    • Information sharing will take place in a timely and secure manner and only when it is necessary and proportionate to do so and the information to be shared is relevant, adequate and accurate.
    • Information sharing decisions will be recorded, whether or not the decision is taken to share.
    • The UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 do not prevent school staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child. If any member of staff receives a request from a pupil or parent to see child protection records, they will refer the request to the Data Protection Officer.
  • Storing information
    • Child protection information will be stored separately from the pupil’s school file and the school file will be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held. It will be stored and handled in line with our Retention and Destruction Policy.
    • Our Confidentiality and Information Sharing policy and our Retention and Destruction policy is available to parents and pupils on request.


  • Looked after children

The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse or neglect. The club ensures that staff and volunteers have the necessary skills and understanding to keep looked after children safe. Appropriate staff and volunteers have information about a child’s looked after status and care arrangements, including the level of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after the child. The DSL have details of the child’s social worker and the name and contact details of the local authority’s virtual head for children in care.