It is not unusual for young people to submit work which focuses on adult themes and in most cases, this is not something to be concerned about. However, on occasion young people can use creative work as a way to raise issues they don’t feel able to talk about. We therefore ask that all applications or competition entries are checked from a safeguarding perspective and any concerns are discussed and reported.
Guidance on the application process
- If a competition or application process is open for a long period of time you should organise regular checks to ensure that child protection or safeguarding issues are dealt with within a reasonable timeframe.
- Do ask for an adult contact with telephone number, however, be aware that some young people may not wish to share their entry or application with an adult as they may want to share something they do not feel comfortable sharing with any adult in their life.
- To save time following up concerns unnecessarily we recommend you add a safeguarding question to applications process so that people are aware this is something we will take into consideration, for example:
If we see anything in an application which could be a potential safeguarding concern we will contact you. If you know that there are strong themes e.g. violence, abuse, neglect, mental health concerns and are confident the child is safe then it’s helpful to tell us.
Guidance for readers
If you have a clear sense that the child could be in immediate danger, then do not hesitate to act. Contact the Designated Child Protection Officer, or a line manager, or member of Senior Management Team. This will happen very rarely. In most cases you may come across themes such as violence, abuse, coercion, sexual assault and suicide, which can be part of the fictional world of the story or there may be mention of mental health issues.
We often see work of this nature from teenagers and usually it's not a major concern, however sometimes young people use creative work as a way to share things that they feel unable to talk about. You should talk it through with your child protection rep in the first instance and then fill out a Wellbeing Concern Form (Competitions). In most cases an email to the teacher or young person will suffice.