Shakehaus Child Protection Policy 2024


  1. The Company undertakes to:
  • Ensure that the welfare of children and young people is the paramount consideration above any editorial decision;
  • Treat children and young people with care, respect and dignity;
  • Provide a safe environment for all children and young people participating in our programmes;
  • Ensure that all relevant licences and permissions are put in place and all applicable guidelines and regulations regarding child performances will be followed;
  • Consider in depth on a case by case basis any safeguards which should be put into place to protect the child or young person when they are placed in a situation which deals with sensitive, controversial or mature topics;
  • Store all data relating to child performers in a secure manner;
  • Encourage staff to set a good example, to be good role models and act in a professional, responsible and trustworthy manner at all times;
  • Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of children and young people;
  • Recognise that those engaged by the Company will be perceived by children and young people as trusted representatives of the Company and therefore require all those engaged by the Company to adopt and abide by the Company’s Child Protection Policy as outlined within this document;
  • Ensure communication with children and young people is open and clear;
  • Inform each child and young person who the appropriate person or people are to speak to if they have any questions or concerns;
  • Fully assess the risks to children of its activities;
  • Ensure staff avoid physical contact with children and young people except for reasons of health and safety, or under supervision as part of their work;
  • Respond to any allegations appropriately and implement a disciplinary process as appropriate; and
  • Review this policy on a regular basis.

The Company undertakes to ensure that every child or young person, whether or not required to be licensed to perform in the Company’s productions by the relevant Local Education Authority, is supervised during the period of their engagement on any production (including for any periods of travel or accommodation) by a registered chaperone, parent/guardian* or, in certain circumstances and with the prior written approval of SHAKEHAUS LTD, a teacher of the child/young person in question.

Young people aged 16-18 will be treated with due care and supervision even though they may not be licensed by a Local Education Authority. Wherever possible they should be chaperoned by a parent/guardian*. If a parent/guardian* is not available at any time then the Company shall take all steps to ensure that due regard is given to the age of the young person and that they should not be treated as an adult (with particular regard to such matters as provision for dressing rooms, hours of work and that the young person will be working alongside adults). In addition, the consent of a parent/guardian* may be required in certain circumstances (see travel and accommodation provision below).

     2          Introduction and Responsibility

SHAKEHAUS LTD is committed to safeguarding the welfare of young people (aged 16-18) and children. Every year the Company works with children and young people in its productions and has developed this child protection policy to support those engaged by the Company in putting this commitment into practice.

This policy establishes the roles and responsibilities of everyone engaged by the Company in relation to the protection of children and young people with whom their work brings them into contact. In the context of child protection “children and young persons” refers to anyone less than 18 years of age.

This policy is based on, and reflects, the principles of both UK legislation and guidance and the Company’s other relevant policies and procedures. The approach has been developed in such a way as to be consistent with ‘Best Practice’ within the field of child protection and to adhere to the child protection standards established by UK broadcasters. The key principles are:

  • The welfare of the child or young person is the paramount consideration (above any editorial decision) and should be at the heart of the production, including preserving the dignity of the child or young person and ensuring no child or young person is put through any unnecessary distress or anxiety as a result of their participation.
  • All children and young people, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief and sexual identity have a right to protection from harm or abuse.

It is the responsibility of everyone employed or otherwise engaged by the Company to promote the protection of children and young people and comply with the policy. In following the policy, those engaged by the Company are always expected to maintain a sense of proportion, apply common sense to situations and protect the child’s welfare as a priority.

It is also the Company’s duty to ensure that those engaged by the Company are never placed in situations where abuse might be alleged. It is not intended that the policy should restrict those engaged by the Company from normal ways of working, but staff always need to consider how an action or activity may be perceived, as opposed to how it is intended.

All HODs have a specific responsibility to operate within the boundaries of this policy, ensure that all employees understand the standards of behaviour expected of them and to take action when behaviour falls below its requirements.

If anyone employed or otherwise engaged by the Company is concerned about the welfare of a child or young person on the Company’s production, they should immediately report such concerns to the Producer of the project or to Shakehaus LTD’s Managing Director (Maragrita Veberaite).

3 Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

A child is abused or neglected when somebody inflicts harm, or fails to act to prevent harm, it can be over a period of time or a one-off action. Harm can include ill treatment that is physical or not physical as well as the impact or witnessing ill treatment of others.  A child or young person up to the age of 18 years can suffer abuse or neglect and require protection. Forms of abuse or neglect may include:

Physical Abuse – May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

Sexual Abuse – May involve forcing or enticing a child/young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of what is happening, may involve: physical contact; non-contact activities; or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect – Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Emotional Abuse – The persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional and behavioural development. It may involve conveying to the child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age and developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children to feel frightened or in danger, for example witnessing domestic abuse within the home or being bullied, or the exploitation or corruption of children.

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

4 Recruitment and disclosure

New appointments

In the case of any offers of engagement to positions where working with children and young people is an expected part of the job and where, because of the nature of the work, full disclosure is a requirement, the Company will submit an application for a DBS check or disclosure (“DBS Disclosure”) via an organisation registered for this purpose with the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau) in England, Disclosure Scotland in Scotland or Access NI in Northern Ireland (“DBS”). This enables the Company to make more thorough recruitment and selection checks for positions which involve working with children and young people. The applicant would receive a copy of the DBS report and must disclose its contents to the Company.

All freelance production staff engaged by the Company are required to warrant in their contract with the Company that they have never been subject to a disciplinary action or sanction relating to, any person under the age of 18.

Current Staff

Those engaged by the Company in positions which do not usually entail working with children may, on occasions where an assignment involves supervised contact with children, be required to complete a Personal Disclosure Form, to be provided by the Company. The Company recognises the sensitivity of such a requirement, and shall endeavour to keep occasions to the minimum when completion of the Personal Disclosure Form is required. However, all those engaged by the Company should recognise that there will be times when the Company is required to obtain a completed Personal Disclosure Form from the relevant person, and so any refusal on the part of any person to complete a Personal Disclosure Form when requested, may be viewed by the Company as gross misconduct, entitling the Company to terminate that person’s engagement with immediate effect.

In cases, which should be exceptional, where the position is going to entail unsupervised work, i.e. regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge with children and young people, a DBS Disclosure will be required before the role may be undertaken. Again, the Company recognises the sensitivity of such a requirement, and shall endeavour to keep to a minimum occasions when a DBS Disclosure is required. However, all those engaged by the Company should recognise that there will be times the Company is required to obtain a completed DBS Disclosure from the relevant person, and so any refusal on the part of any person to submit to a DBS Disclosure when requested, may be viewed by the Company as gross misconduct, entitling the Company to terminate that person’s engagement with immediate effect.

Where production staff work with children as part of their roles, a member of the production team (usually the producer) will be nominated by the Company to have special responsibility for the management of the child protection policy during the production in question – training may be required to fulfil this role. The nominated person will decide which positions require the signing of a Personal Disclosure Form or a DBS Disclosure and will be the focal point for all child protection questions within the production.

5 Disclosure Issues

Any person who discloses (whether in a Personal Disclosure Form or subsequent to a DBS Disclosure) that they have been convicted of any offence relating to children or young people; and/or subject to any disciplinary action or sanction (criminal or otherwise) relating to children, will not be permitted to work on any production/project which involves contact with children.

6 Complaints

In the event of a complaint against a member of staff/ contractor and/or anybody else connected with the production of a programme for whom the Company is responsible, the person to whom the complaint is made should:

  • Remain sensitive and stay calm so as not to frighten the young person;
  • Reassure them that they are safe, they are not to blame and that it was right to tell;
  • Listen to them showing that you are taking them seriously. Let them speak and not interrupt;
  • Keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said. The child shall not be interviewed. The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested during questioning. Only questions which clarify shall be asked;
  • Inform the child that they need to inform other people about what they have been told however they will maintain confidentiality;
  • Not make promises which cannot be kept e.g. that the alleged abuser will go to jail;
  • Ensure that the safety of the young person is the priority. If the child needs urgent medical attention an ambulance shall be called, doctors shall be informed of the concern and made aware that this is a child safeguarding issue;
  • Produce a record of all information as soon as possible; and
  • Report the incident to the Producer or Line Producer who will notify the Company’s Managing Director (Margarita Veberaite) who will liaise directly with the appropriate authorities to investigate the incident.

Employees who make complaints or who participate in good faith in any investigation must not suffer any form of retaliation or victimisation as a result. Anyone found to have retaliated against or victimised someone in this way will be subject to disciplinary action.

 7    Examples of Poor Practice

The following behaviour is not acceptable:

  • Unnecessarily spending time alone with young people away from others;
  • Divulging personal details of any children or young people including home address, personal telephone number, e-mall address and membership of any social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook;
  • Taking children or young people alone in a car on journeys, however short that journey might be;
  • Engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay;
  • Allowing or engaging in inappropriate touching of any form;
  • Making arrangements to meet a child or young person socially outside of work;
  • Using inappropriate language in the presence of children or young people;
  • Allowing access to inappropriate literature or images via books, magazines, television, videos, DVD or computer;
  • Making sexually suggestive comments to a child or young person, even in jest;
  • Taking photographs of children or young people without first obtaining parental consent;
  • Divulging confidential or other information about a child or young person to an unauthorised person; • Allowing allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon; and
  • Doing things of a personal nature that the young person can do for themselves.

8      Consent

In addition to obtaining informed parental/guardian* consent, we will endeavour wherever appropriate to also seek the child’s or young person’s personal consent. The programme should be explained in terms which are relevant and understandable to the child or young person, and their consent recorded in the most appropriate manner. No child or young person should be forced to participate in or be caused unnecessary distress by their involvement in our programmes.

9     Evaluating the Impact of a Contribution on a Contributor

Even once the Company has secured informed parental consent and informed consent from a child or young person, the Company must carefully consider the impact and possible consequences of any material which involves a child, both during the production process and once the material has been broadcast.

The Company will consider the story it wants to tell and how to do so in a way that is not detrimental to the child or young person, either at the time of filming, or afterwards. Consideration should be given as to what is appropriate to put into the public domain. The Company will pay particular attention to the expectations of privacy of children and young people, and those who are vulnerable.

The Company will think carefully about each child’s privacy, paying particular attention to the expectations of privacy for under sixteens (under 16s). Parental and child informed consent should normally be obtained if a contributor is to be featured in the Company’s output in a way that would infringe the contributor’s privacy.

Productions must consider whether it would be helpful to seek advice from an appropriately qualified professional, such as a child counsellor or psychologist (someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the child’s participation) depending on the nature of the programme and the child or young person’s role.

On some projects it may also be appropriate to seek professional advice, such as a psychologist or child psychologist, during the selection process for actors to assess whether a young person or child has hidden vulnerabilities or is emotionally robust enough to cope with the proposed involvement.

The involvement of a psychologist will help to ensure proper considerations are taken over the welfare of contributors throughout the production process, from filming to TX and post transmission. Their advice and guidance can prove invaluable to production teams, helping to ensure best practice and that duty of care protocols are in place and followed.

In all cases the Company will consider how a child or young person’s involvement in the programme might affect that individual child, especially on sensitive or controversial projects. This will include considering their health, emotional and physical, background and educational circumstances.

Where young people and children are involved in content about sensitive and/or controversial material, in addition to any expert opinion, the Company should speak to the Head Teacher of the child’s school (or someone who knows the child or young person well) for an opinion as to whether it could harm the child if they become involved in the project. If the child does take part and the Head Teacher knows about it, the Company may also ask the Head Teacher to also keep an eye out in case there are any issues post – transmission in the school environment.

10 Travel and Transport  

When children are being transported on behalf of the Company they should be accompanied by an official chaperone, parent/guardian* or, in certain circumstances and with the prior written approval of SHAKEHAUS LTD, a teacher of the child/young person in question.

Young People aged 16-18

Although outside of the sphere of responsibility for Local Education Authorities, the Company will provide a duty of care for young persons when travelling on behalf of the Company.

Young persons engaged on the Company’s productions may be transported unaccompanied in taxi or private transport companies approved by the Company. Written consent of the parent/guardian* should be sought for this or any other means of unaccompanied travel for a young person.

11    Accommodation


It will be requested that any child, if required to stay overnight on any Company production, will be accompanied by a parent/guardian*. If a parent/guardian* is not able to accompany the child, then the child shall be accompanied by a registered Local Education Authority chaperone.

Young People

Written consent of the parent/guardian* must be sought before a young person is asked to stay unaccompanied overnight in accommodation. SHAKEHAUS LTD’s Managing Director should be notified in advance and in writing if a child or young person is to stay unaccompanied overnight in accommodation.

12   Health & Safety

Where a child or young person is involved in production, a risk assessment will be undertaken in accordance with the Company’s Health & Safety Policy, with particular regard to the care and supervision of the child or young person in question and how this will be communicated to the appropriate parties.

The health & safety controls will include those needed for:

the people the children or young person will meet

the environment they will be in

the equipment they will be using

the work they will be doing

the way the work will be organised and carried out

the pattern and hours of work

any transport arrangements.