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Event Planning: Child Protection

Provision for children at an event should be considered even where the event is not specifically aimed at them, as they may accompany family members. You should consider the following points:

  • Care of children at dedicated play areas including number and ages of children, and nature and suitability of children's activities provided.
  • Children with special needs
  • Rides, amusements and outdoor play equipment
  • Events involving early teenager audiences
  • Child protection
  • Lost Children provision and requirements of stewards

As the organiser, you have the responsibility to safeguard the children and vulnerable adults that may attend your event.  All children have the right to protection and this should be taken into account.

Lost and Found Child/Vulnerable Adult Procedure

Guidance from Kent Police

All staff to be briefed prior to event with the following guidelines.

  • Accommodation - allocate a central point to accommodate lost or found children/persons. Do not advertise this as a missing person post, but what it actually is, such as control, or first aid tent
  • Staffing - it is good practice to have two people to care for any found child, and both ideally will have been subject to a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service).
  • General Care Guidelines
    • Children should not be left in the sole care of one person.
    • No food or drink, except plain water should be given to children/vulnerable adults in case of allergies.
    • The person claiming a child should complete a form to include their name and address and relationship to the child and will show a form of identification, always bearing in mind that if the child is unsure or reluctant to be taken by the person collecting them, then further confirmation will be required of the relationship to the child/ person before handing him or her over. The person should be a competent adult.
  • All Staff looking after children are expected to:
    • Respect the wishes of a child as you would an adult, you must not impose yourself on them
    • Remember that children regard adults as role models and ensure your behaviour, language, gestures etc. are appropriate and above reproach
    • Prevent any other member of staff or member of public from putting any child in a situation in which there is a significant risk to their health and safety.
    • Be prompt, calm, assured and professional

Lost Vulnerable Adults

(Example: an adult who has become separated from their family/friends/guardian)

Lost adults who become detached from their friends or family will either make themselves known to staff or a staff member may become aware of them. A procedure should then be in place to assist people with linking up with the other members of their party. Example: ‘The staff member will make a call to the Control in case the person’s friends or family have already made contact. A brief search of the area can be carried out with the lost person to assist in locating friends or family. If the immediate search is unsuccessful the staff member can then escort the lost person back to the lost person allocated area, where the Control will be informed and take appropriate action, such as assist with making phone calls or a public announcement, if appropriate.

Found child

(Example: a child who has become separated from their parent/ guardian)

If a lost child is discovered by any staff member this must be reported immediately to control.

The following procedure is a recommendation only:

  • The child will be taken to the designated lost person point and two DBS checked staff members called to attend to look after the child. The child will be reassured and the following questions will be asked to gather more information:
    • Ask their parents/ guardians names
    • Ask if they know any contact numbers for the persons they were with or other family members/ friends that may help
    • Ask where and when they were last together
    • Ask what they were doing to help you identify where the parents might be
    • Ask what the parents are wearing
    • Ask if they know what the parents plans were/ are
    • If child is calm and it is appropriate to do so, further details may be obtained, such as address and other relatives details.
  • An announcement can be considered to be made from the PA asking their parents/ guardians to go to the designated meeting point. The name of the child must not be announced over the PA or radios. Example: ‘Can  Mrs Brown attend the control point’
  • A search system can be considered to look for the relatives of the found child if appropriate

Missing People

When a person has been reported as lost/missing the following details of the missing person are to be obtained, recorded and passed to Control by an agreed communication system:

  • Name and age
  • Male or Female
  • Ethnicity
  • Hair Colour
  • Height
  • Glasses (Yes/No)
  • Colour and type of clothing
  • Length of time missing
  • Circumstances under which went missing
  • Area where last seen
  • Does the individual have a mobile phone, if so what is the number
  • Is the individual disabled or does he/she have Special Needs
  • Any other vulnerability
  • Any other identifying features
  • Anywhere the missing persons favours to go/ is likely to go or people they may contact
  • What the missing person enjoys doing
  • Any medication

If the missing person is a child this incident takes priority. Parents, accompanied by a steward/ member of staff, should remain in the area where the child was last seen. Control will pass the relevant information to all staff via agreed method of communication. All staff should undertake a search of their areas. In perimeter areas, staff are asked to report on any such child leaving the event site and if necessary stop anyone they think might be the missing child from leaving.

  • Consideration to be given to closing event exits until thorough search is carried out and missing person found
  • Consideration is to be given to preventing any vehicles leaving the event without being searched
  • Consideration to be given to gridding maps and searching by grid plans as agreed at a briefing.

Once a child is located he or she is to be reunited with his or her parents/ guardians and full details to be recorded.

Once a missing person has been found, Control will advise all staff who will resume their normal duties.

Police should be contacted after 20-30 minutes of a person being reported missing in all circumstances – immediately if considered vulnerable

Always contact the Police ‘immediately’ in any of the following circumstances

  • If the child/ missing person has made any allegations
  • If there are any concerns for the missing/ found persons welfare
  • If the found person is hesitant or unwilling to go with the person collecting them
  • If the person reported missing is considered vulnerable in any way