AD Guild held a successful webinar this month alongside key speakers on the subject of child safeguarding in the entertainment industry. The panel included P.A.R.T representative Arlene de Cruz, RE Think representative Tim Rogers, CPSH representative Paul Byrne and ISS-Intimacy Stage and Screen representative Lizzy Talbot.
Did you miss out on AD Guild's child safeguarding in the entertainment industry webinar? Here’s what members learnt in regards to child safeguarding in the entertainment industry, including how to ensure you are equipped with the skills and confidence to deal with a variety of incidents, both planned and unplanned, throughout the production process.
Tim Rogers, RE Think representative who works closely as senior consultant for the NSPCC, opened the webinar. He discussed some of the common themes in sex-offenders which included signs and observations. This included utilizing their professional capacity in order to prey on vulnerable young adults and children. He challenged our understanding of what a typical ‘offender’ looks like, and how positions of authority, particularly on set, can complicate this. The importance of AD’s being vigilant and ‘trusting your gut’ was an important take-away, given an AD’s holistic role in dealing directly with chaperones, cast and other people closely and connected to children and young adults on-set.
Arlene de Cruz of P.A.R.T continued this dialogue by discussing the production’s legal and moral duty of care. Having pioneered various processes in place throughout the production process, these steps included supporting continuity of policy and practice, providing an auditable trail of accountability and encouraging streamlining where possible to minimize risk. Whether working with children directly or indirectly, AD’s should ensure they have a clear understanding of child performance legislation and local authority expectations, as well as engaging professional Industry Standard Chaperones (ISC) and tutors trained to the same standards.
During the webinar we discussed further areas where risk is attached when working with children. This includes everything from castings and costume fittings to read-through sessions and rehearsals, as well as arrangements for transport and accommodation. We also learnt what was considered a ‘regulated activity’ where those included require a DBS check, and what was considered an ‘unregulated activity’ such as crew in direct contact with a child. This includes make-up, and sound where production cannot complete the same level of checks.
Being proactive, not reactive was the common theme. Paul Byrne from the Children’s Production Support Hub went on to discuss OFCOM’s code, as well as how young artists between the ages of 16-18 are particularly vulnerable. Paul discussed the role of the Children’s Production Support Hub website, and the range of resources available for Assistant Directors to help in keeping them informed.
Lastly, Lizzy Talbot, a certified Intimacy Coordinator with IDC Professionals, and founder of Intimacy for Stage and Screen, shared her unique perspective. Lizzy discussed being one of the first intimacy coordinators in the UK as well as her experience having worked on leading titles such as Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ and ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’. Some of the main areas in which AD’s are able to better prepare themselves includes ‘filling in the gaps’ by bringing in an intimacy coordinator to further support production throughout the process.
Lizzy flagged that AD’s must consider essential elements such as an Intimacy Workflow, Intimacy Rehearsals and Duty of Care Procedures. Additionally, Lizzy flagged scenes that would require an Intimacy Coordinator to ensure best-practice. These include close bodily contact, kissing with minors, scenes which include the undressing of a minor and any scene with a sexual nature where minors are present. Additionally, to ensure the legal, physical and emotional safeguarding of young adults and children.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the speakers who joined the panel, and all AD Guild members for joining. If AD Guild members have questions they would like to submit to any of the panelists in regards to support for AD’s around child safeguarding, please email email@example.com.