CAL Committee Calls for More Safeguards for Our Young People

Synopsis: Clear structures, policies and procedures are needed to support the protection and safeguarding of all vulnerable groups. That is the message from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure in its report published today on gaps in child protection and safeguarding across the Culture, Arts and Leisure remit.

Session: 2013/2014

Date: 11 November 2013

Reference: CAL 02/13/14

Clear structures, policies and procedures are needed to support the protection and safeguarding of all vulnerable groups. That is the message from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure in its report published today on gaps in child protection and safeguarding across the Culture, Arts and Leisure remit.

Launching the Report, Chairperson of the Committee, Miss Michelle McIlveen MLA, said: “The Committee believes that standardised training, advice, systems and education is needed. Key stakeholders, including government departments and local government, must work together. The Committee also wants to reach out to private tutors and small, unregulated groups as they are most likely to be unsure of their protection and safeguarding responsibilities.

“The Committee is calling on the CAL Minister to pilot a Chartermark which could become a recognised brand for best practice among regulated organisations who work with vulnerable groups. It would provide assurances to parents and guardians that appropriate protections and safeguards are in place. In time it could also involve unregulated individuals and groups.”

Miss McIlveen continued: “The Report highlights Sport NI’s Child Protection and Sport Unit’s excellent work. The unit has made participation in sport much safer for vulnerable groups. An equivalent of this unit for arts and culture would ensure robust and effective safeguarding systems within this sector.

“The role of educating children and young people, teachers and parents on the positive use of the internet and social media is vital. As part of the CAL Chartermark pilot, the Committee believes that a link must be applied to websites where individuals and groups might go to seek information on protecting and safeguarding vulnerable groups.”

Miss McIlveen concluded: “It is only through working together, sharing information and developing a standardised approach that we can raise awareness and an understanding of rights and responsibilities in child protection and safeguarding.” 

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