Everyone has a role to play in making sure New Zealand children are safe and well cared for as part of their family and the community.
The Attitude Pictures Group produce and broadcast documentary content. Some of our films include stories that include children.
We are sensitive about how we communicate with the children we film, and how we portray them on screen. We believe all adults who work with children have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare.
The following child protection policy has been written in response to the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. However, no Code of Conduct can provide a complete checklist to cover all circumstances. In addition to this policy, we will continue to consult the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Children’s Commissioner if and when we are unsure of a particular situation.
This Policy covers all those engaged with Attitude Pictures, whether paid or voluntary, and all children that we come in to contact with in the nature of our work. For the purpose of this policy a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18.
For the purpose of this Code of Conduct Child Abuse is "...the harming (whether physically, emotionally, sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person”.
Responsibilities of all Attitude staff/contractors when working with children:
- Read the following code of conduct and apply.
- The Children, Young Person’s and Their Families Act 1989 states that the welfare of a child is paramount. You have a responsibility to disclose any concerns you have for the child’s wellbeing.
- As we are working the best interests of the children, we cannot promise confidentiality.
- Ensure communication with children is professional.
- Treat children with respect, and take time to explain to them what you are intending and why.
- Respect the subjects feelings, energy levels, need for personal space.
- Always maintain professional boundaries including and avoid behavior that may be misinterpreted.
- Never use your position to intimidate, bully, humiliate, threaten or promote relationships of a sexual nature.
- Consider appropriateness of social contact and take care when meeting a child’s parent in socially to ensure interactions are safe and appropriate.
- Have no secret contact with children or their parents.
- Be circumspect in your communications with children to avoid any misinterpretation of their motives, which could be construed as grooming.
- Use appropriate language.
- Dress appropriately, practically and not in a way that is sexually or politically suggestive.
- Be aware of children who develop an infatuation and if this occurs discuss this at the earliest opportunity with a senior manger to avoid hurt, distress or embarrassment.
- Avoid situations of being one to one with a child.
- Be mindful of cultural or religious views around touch and never touch a child in a way that could be considered indecent.
- Maintain privacy (both your own and theirs).
- Travel: Wherever practicable, a child’s parents or guardian should transport them. However, where a contractor or staff member must transport a child, it should always be undertaken in the company vehicle, and clear arrangements made with the child’s guardian. The child must be in the appropriate legal child restraint. All impromptu or emergency arrangements must be recorded and can be justified if questioned.
Procedure for reporting disclosure of abuse or concerns when working with children:
- Don’t panic
- The safety and well-being of the child comes before the interests of any other person
- Listen to the child and accept what the child says:
- Look at the child directly, but don’t appear shocked
- Don’t seek help while the child is talking to you
- Reassure them that they did the right thing by telling someone. o Assure them that it is not their fault and you will do your best to help them
- Keep questions open, you’re simply trying to clarify the information. Any leading questions, and disclosure that could be perceived as being influenced by the adult.
- Let them know that you need to tell someone else.
- Let them know what you are going to do next and you will let them know what happens
- Be aware that the child may have been threatened.
- Reassure the child that you believe them, and you will try to help.
- Write down what the child says in their words and write what you have seen and heard also. Accuracy is paramount, so note which comments are the child’s and which are your own.
- Report the information to the Programme Producer who will keep a written copy on file.
- Programme Producer to inform Child Youth and Family or the Police, if appropriate.
Responsibilities of all Attitude staff/contractors when working with footage of children:
Consent: An Attitude Pictures release form must be signed by the child’s legal guardian before broadcast of any material.
As per the Broadcasting Standards Act (BSA):
“If footage obtained could cause shame or embarrassment to the child should not be used, unless it is vital to the story. Programmes containing disturbing social and domestic friction or sequences in which people especially children or animals may be humiliated or badly treated, should be handled with care and sensitivity. All gratuitous material of this nature should be avoided and any scenes must pass the test of relevancy within the context of the programme. Children’s vulnerability must be a prime concern to broadcasters, even when informed consent has been obtained. Where a broadcast breaches a child’s privacy, broadcasters shall satisfy themselves that the broadcast is in the child’s best interests, regardless of whether consent has been obtained."
Specifically we must be aware of the following scenarios:
- Where a child’s parents or family members are filmed, consider how this footage (i.e. the behavior or interview content provided) may affect the child.
- Where a child or parent discloses abuse of any sort towards the child or any member of the family.
- No full or partial nudity of any child is to be screened, or any footage of that child that could be misinterpreted as sexually suggestive.
- Consideration of how a discussion about bullies and bullying may affect the child and their reputation.
There are few official rules and guidelines surrounding social media. Attitude Pictures will apply our broadcast guidelines and the same principles of respect and dignity towards the children we portray using these mediums.
- Where any media, such as Facebook and twitter is used, in the promotion or broadcast of Attitude content, the ownership, longevity, and the ability of others to exploit these images must be considered.
- Where projects call for children to be actively involved on the internet such as using social media, the infrastructure of such projects needs to be carefully designed (for instance so a parent or guardian is posting on behalf of the child).
- Attitude Pictures requires all staff and contractors working as online editors to be abreast, within reason, of current Internet safety.
Complaints against Attitude Staff
Attitude Pictures will respond to suspicions and allegations of child abuse by a member of staff in a manner which best ensures children’s or young persons’ immediate and long-term safety and will treat suspicions or allegations against a staff member with the same seriousness as suspicions or allegations made against any other person.