Child Safeguarding & Welfare Policy

About Fire Station Artists’ Studios (FSAS)

Located in north-east inner city Dublin, Fire Station Artists’ Studios was established in 1993 to provide support for professional visual artists. FSAS provides subsidised combined living and working studios for Irish and international artists, large scale sculpture workshop facilities and training opportunities for artists. Fire Station Artists’ Studios’ training programme has expanded to include digital and film training and we continue to host technical training and master classes which incorporate critical reflection.

Fire Station Artists’ Studios is a residential place for artists and engages with children and young people through programme activities such as workshops, events open to the public and festivals. The programme is developed by our permanent staff and is delivered by freelance artists and educators. FSAS are positively disposed to involving children, parents and guardians in our services where projects involve contact with young people and children. All measures and procedures as recommended by Tusla will be implemented.

The Legal Framework
We adhere to the recommendations of the Children First Act (2015), Children First: National Guidelines for the protection and Welfare of Children, published by the Department of Health and Children in accordance with the Children First Act 2015 (2017), and Tusla: Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice. We consider the definition of a child to be any person under age 18 who is not married, and has not previously been married as defined in the Child Care Act 1991.

Guiding Principles
We have carried out a risk assessment of any potential harm to children coming in contact with FSAS premises and programmes.

Fire Station Artists’ Studios is committed to a child-centred approach in any of our work with children and young people.

We undertake to provide a safe environment and experience, where the welfare of the child/young person is paramount.

We will ensure, as far as is practicable, that a child, while availing of our services, is safe from harm.

In addition to the procedures detailed in our risk assessment, our Child Safeguarding and Welfare policy highlights our approach and procedure.

We recognise that children’s welfare is the responsibility of all FSAS personnel. Our Child Safeguarding and Welfare policy applies to all paid staff, volunteers, committee / board members, interns and students on work placement within our organisation. All committee board members, staff, volunteers and students must sign up to and abide by the policies, procedures and guidance encompassed within this policy declaration and our child safeguarding policy and accompanying procedures.

We recognise that implementation is an on-going process. Our child safeguarding statement and accompanying child safeguarding policies and procedures will be reviewed every 2 years or sooner if necessary, due to service issues or changes in legislation or national policy.

Our Child Safeguarding Contacts

Our Relevant Person is Helen Carey, Director of Fire Station Artists’ Studios.

The Designated Liaison Person dealing with child protection is Julia Moustacchi, Programme and Operations Manager at Fire Station Artists’ Studios. Her email address is: and she can be contacted on 01 806 9011

Sean Coyle, Administrator, is Deputy Designated Liaison Person and may be contacted on 01 8069010 or

FSAS does not have a mandated person with a statutory obligation to report concerns which meet or exceed the threshold of harm as defined in the Children First Act 2015.

Policy Acceptance
Our Child Safeguarding and Welfare Policy applies to all paid staff, volunteers, committee / board members, interns and students on work placement within our organisation.

All members of the board of directors, all staff, volunteers and students must sign up to and abide by the policies, procedures and guidance encompassed by this policy declaration, in our child safeguarding policy and in accompanying procedures.

Safe Recruitment
FSAS will ensure to the best of its ability that staff and volunteers are selected, trained and supervised if necessary to provide a safe environment for children and young people. All recruitment follows the FSAS staff recruitment procedure.

The roles and responsibility of staff in FSAS are clearly defined. No persons deemed to be a risk to young people will be employed.

Prospective staff and volunteers will be required to read and sign FSAS Child Safeguarding Policy, disclose results of existing Garda vetting to FSAS and any other unsuitability to work with children.

Garda Vetting will be required for staff whose work requires contact with children and young people.

Exclusions to being hired by FSAS include:

  • refusal to sign the Child Protection Policy,
  • any child-related criminal convictions,
  • insufficient evidence of identification,
  • refusal to undertake Garda vetting, and
  • any concealment of unsuitability to work with children.

All project work undertaken in partnership must be organised with agencies that are fully compliant and have expertise in working with children.

Freelancers and organisations engaged by FSAS on any programme elements with children will be required to provide evidence of their own Child Protection Policy, including their Code of Behaviour, to sign up to and abide by FSAS Child Safeguarding and Welfare Policy and Code of Behaviour.

All contractors, when accepting and conducting work on FSAS programmes with children and young people, must agree to undergo Garda vetting or provide proof or the Garda vetting of their staff and volunteers. Any refusal to provide proof of Garda vetting or refusal to undergo Garda vetting will terminate the contract between FSAS and the contractor.

Garda Vetting

FSAS will complete Garda Vetting for relevant staff, volunteers or free-lancers whose work at FSAS may bring them in contact with children, young people.

FSAS will require compliance with Garda vetting requirements from all partner organisations on programmes involving children and young people.

Staff, volunteers and contractors must disclose any unsuitability to working with children.

Vetting disclosures, along with HR files, will be kept confidential by FSAS for the period defined by FSAS Data Policy.

Staff Training
Existing and new staff will sign and abide by FSAS Child Safeguarding policy. Evidence of this will be kept in FSAS HR files.

Existing and new staff will be given an induction to FSAS Child Safeguarding procedures.

Staff whose work requires regular contact with children will be required to complete Tusla’s ‘Children First’ E-Learning Programme.

Supervision of Staff and Volunteers
FSAS ensures that its staff and volunteers receive adequate supervision and training in their work with children and young adults.

Code of Behaviour
FSAS holds its staff, freelance staff, interns and all associated with its operation to the highest standards of behaviour. FSAS will implement these standards and implement procedures to deal with any breaches in line with best practice guidelines.

See Appendix A for FSAS Children and Young People Code of Behaviour

Confidentiality is important for FSAS. But we recognise that in order to safeguard children and young people, we may need to forward information to others on a need-to-know basis in order to safeguard a child. This does not  constitute a breach of confidentiality when this is done for the protection of a child.

Therefore we cannot guarantee total confidentiality where the best interests of the child are at risk.

We recognise that primary carers, children and young people have a right to know if their information is being shared.

Image Consent
All staff, freelance contractors, interns and volunteers must adhere to FSAS Communication and Social Media procedures, including seeking parental / guardian consent for the taking and use of images of Children and Young People.

Reporting Concerns and Disclosure of Abuse
All staff at FSAS, including staff, volunteers, committee / board members, interns and students on work placement with FSAS have a responsibility to safeguard children and young people and to report any concerns that they may have for the safety and welfare of a child / young person. FSAS staff and volunteers must report concerns regarding the safety of children and young people or any disclosure of abuse.

Julia Moustacchi, Programme and Operations Manager, has been designated as the FSAS  Liaison Person and Sean Coyle, Office Manager, as the Deputy Liaison Person. It is also the responsibility of the designated person to liaise with the Health Services Executive or Garda where appropriate.

All concerns must be reported to the Designated Liaison Person or, in her absence, the Deputy Designated Liaison Person. If a concern relates to the Designated Liaison Person, it should be reported to the Director.

All concerns must be recorded in a Child Safeguarding logbook, which will be kept confidentially in the Director’s office. Access is restricted to the Director, Programme and Operation Manager and Office Manager. Reports should include the date, time and the name of people involved, as well as the nature of the disclosure or concern. Any information shared is to be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

The Dedicated Liaison Person will report to Tusla concerns which meet the threshold of ‘reasonable grounds for concern’ following the reporting procedure set out in Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017).

All persons involved in this process will maintain the appropriate levels of confidentiality.

Recognising Abuse and Reasonable Grounds for Concern

Types of Abuse as described in the Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017):

Child abuse can be categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A child may be subjected to one or more forms of abuse at any given time. Abuse and neglect can occur within the family, in the community or in an institutional setting. The abuser may be someone known to the child or a stranger, and can be an adult or another child.

In a situation where abuse is alleged to have been carried out by another child, you should consider it a child welfare and protection issue for both children and you should follow child protection procedures for both the victim and the alleged abuser.

Reasonable grounds for concern that a child has been subject to abuse include:

  • Evidence, for example, of an injury or behaviour that is consistent with abuse and is unlikely to have been caused in any other way
  • Any concern about possible sexual abuse
  • Consistent signs that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect
  • A child saying or indicating by other means that he or she has been abused
  • Admission or indication by an adult or a child of an alleged abuse they committed
  • An account from a person who saw the child being abused

Circumstances Which May Make Children More Vulnerable to Harm

Some children may be more vulnerable to abuse than others. Also, there may be particular times or circumstances when a child may be more vulnerable to abuse in their lives. In particular, children with disabilities, children with communication difficulties, children in care or living away from home, or children with a parent or parents with problems in their own lives may be more susceptible to harm.

Process for Talking to the Parents about Concerns about their Child

Helpful questions we will ask the family before contacting Tusla:

  • Is there anyone else supporting you at the moment? Do you mind if I speak to them?
  • Is there any other support that you feel you need at the moment?
  • What would you ideally like to see happen next?
  • Have you told anyone about this before?
  • Has this happened before?
  • Do you feel that professionals understand your concerns?

Parents and Guardians can access the policy documents and procedures, accessible on our website and in the Appendix B of this document.

Process for Supporting a Child who Says they have been Abused
If you suspect or if it is alleged that a child may have been abused or neglected, is being abused or neglected, or is at risk of abuse or neglect, you must, without delay, report the matter to the designated liaison person (DLP) in accordance with FSAS procedures.

If you receive a disclosure of harm from a child, you must report the concern to the DLP and to TUSLA.

“Harm” in this context, as defined by S.2, Children First Act (2015), means (a) assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or (b) sexual abuse of the child, whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances, or otherwise.

The DLP are not required to judge the truth of the claims or the credibility of the child. If the concern does not meet the threshold of harm to be reported. The DLP should report it to Tusla as a reasonable concern under this Guidance.

If you receive a disclosure of harm from a child, you may feel reluctant to report this for a number of reasons. For example, the child may say that they do not want the disclosure to be reported, or you may take the view that the child is now safe and that the involvement of Tusla may not be desired by either the child or their family.

However, you (as the person to who harm was disclosed) and the DLP must inform Tusla of all risks to children meeting or above the threshold of reasonable grounds for concern, as the removal of a risk to one child does not necessarily mean that there are no other children at risk. The information contained in a disclosure may be critical to Tusla’s assessment of risk to another child either now or in the future.

Dealing With Disclosures
You should deal with disclosures of abuse sensitively and professionally.

The following approach is suggested as best practice for dealing with these disclosures.

  • React calmly
  • Listen carefully and attentively
  • Take the child seriously
  • Reassure the child that they have taken the right action in talking to you
  • Do not promise to keep anything secret
  • Ask questions for clarification only. Do not ask leading questions
  • Check back with the child that what you have heard is correct and understood
  • Do not express any opinions about the alleged abuser
  • Ensure that the child understands the procedures that will follow
  • Make a written record of the conversation as soon as possible, in as much detail as possible
  • Treat the information confidentially, subject to the requirements of this

Children Rights to be Protected from Harm

Facilitators employed by FSAS, as well as FSAS staff members, will precede each activity by a brief introduction on the children’s rights. This moment will be used to identify the person they can talk to if they feel unhappy or unsafe.

Guidance and Legislation

Allegation against Staff or Volunteers
In the event of an allegation against FSAS staff or volunteers, the Designated Liaison Person will deal with issues relating to the child. The Director will deal with allegations against the staff or volunteers.

The Designated Liaison Person will follow the reporting procedures as outlined above. The priority is to ensure that no child is exposed to unnecessary risk. If an allegation relates to the Designated Liaison Person, it should be reported to the Director. Both the primary care givers and the child should be information of actions planned and taken.

The staff member will be informed as soon as possible of the nature of the allegations and will be given an opportunity to respond. The matter will be brought to the attention of the chairperson. Any action following allegations of abuse will be taken in conjunction with HSE and Garda. During the reporting and investigating, the staff may be given alternative duties. HR procedures will be followed to conduct the investigation and any resulting actions.

Retrospective Disclosures and Allegations
FSAS recognises that disclosures and allegations can be made retrospectively and will respond to those as advised by Tusla.

Complaints and Comments Procedure
Complaints or comments received by FSAS will be responded to in writing within two weeks.

Sean Coyle, Administrator/Office Manager, has responsibility for directing complaints and comments to the director.

Verbal complaints will be logged and responded to in the same manner as written complaints.

A confidential logbook will be kept in FSAS office with access restricted to Helen Carey, Julia Moustacchi, and Sean Coyle.

Incidents and Accidents Procedure

It is the responsibility of the Designated Liaison Person to liaise with the Health Services Executive or Garda where appropriate should an incident or accident occur involving a child or young person.

All incidents are to be managed following FSAS Comments and Complaints (Appendix B).

FSAS code of behaviour includes health and safety points that aim to promote the safety of children visiting or engaged on programmes at FSAS. Accidents will be managed and reported following FSAS Accident procedure.

Incidents and accidents procedure follow best practice guidelines according to the attached procedure outline (Appendix C).

FSAS recognises that implementation is an on-going process and may evolve to take account of best practice and changing guidelines. Our Child Safeguarding Statement and accompanying Child Safeguarding policies and procedures will be reviewed every 2 years, or sooner if necessary, due to service issues or changes in legislation or national policy.


Helen Carey


Dated: 04/04/2024

Appendix A

FSAS Children and Young People Code of Behaviour

In its work with Children and Young People, FSAS staff and volunteers will:

  • Treat all children and young people equally
  • Listen to and respect children and young people
  • Provide encouragement, support and equal praise
  • Use appropriate language
  • Encourage a positive atmosphere
  • Treat all children and young people as individuals
  • Respect a child’s or young person’s personal space
  • Use age-appropriate teaching aids and materials
  • Work within a child’s or a young person’s limitations
  • Respect differences of ability, culture, religion, race and sexual orientation

FSAS staff and volunteers will behave appropriately and follow best practice. The following guidelines must be observed at all time:

  • Don’t spend time alone with children/young people without the knowledge of other staff members
  • Never use or allow offensive or sexually suggestive physical and/or verbal language
  • Never single out a particular child/young person for unfair favouritism, criticism, ridicule, or other forms of unwelcome attention
  • Never socialise with children/young people outside of structured activities
  • Never allow/engage in inappropriate touching of any form
  • Avoid physical contact with child/young person (except in an emergency or a dangerous situation)
  • Never hit or physically chastise a child/young person
  • Never verbally chastise a child/young person in an aggressive manner
  • Never engage in horseplay

Health and Safety
No unaccompanied children are allowed on the FSAS premises

Children must remain at all times with parent/guardian/workshop leader/adult in charge

FSAS Accident procedure must be followed should an emergency occur.

Any complaint concerning a breach of this code of conduct will be made following FSAS complaint procedure.

Safe Activity

For activities devised by FSAS for children and young people:

  • We provide a suitable and accessible venue
  • We provide resources and materials needed for the activity
  • We get parental or guardian consent for their child to participate
  • We provide and adult to child ratio that ensures safe levels of supervision
  • We hire facilitators that have knowledge and skills to deliver the activity
  • We have access to first aid equipment
  • We manage incidents and accidents
  • We have parental contact details in case of emergency

Appendix B

Policy Documents & Procedures

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