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Safeguarding Guidance For Face-to-Face Events & Activities


Amnesty International UK wants to safely include children, young people, and adults-at-risk in our work. The aim of this guidance is to ensure that events, activities, and trips organised and run by AIUK staff and volunteers are done so in a way which prevents harm being caused and is inclusive. This guidance should be read alongside other documents including the safeguarding policy & procedure

By events and activities, we mean any event, trip, protest, or any other activity run by AIUK staff, volunteers, board members or lead activists, which will be associated with AIUK’s work. There is additional, separate guidance available for regular local group meetings which include individuals under 18, and for involving them as lead activists.

There is also guidance for inclusivity at events.

Content of guidance 

  • Organising safe events with speakers who are ‘individuals at risk’
  • Making events and activities safe for children, young people, and adults-at-risk
  • Before the event/activity
  • During the event/activity
  • Procedure for running residential (over-night) activities with individuals under
  • Before the event
  • During the event
  • Travel to and from residential
  • You should also consider safeguarding at residential events for just adults.
  • Role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) at events
  • Consent
  • Photo consent
  • Storing consent forms
  • Risk assessment template and important considerations needed.
  • Ratios
  • Helpful links

Organising safe events with speakers who are ‘individuals at risk’

There is a full guidance document accessible by the team. However, in terms of safeguarding, you need to consider including the safeguarding risks in a risk assessment, and a designated safeguarding lead should be allocated to be at the event, who should know the escalation process if there is a concern. 

You also need to consider the wellbeing of the presenter, checking with them before and after the event to make sure they are okay. 

Make sure you have asked them how they feel about photos being taken, they may have reasons that they do not want a photo taken and used by AIUK. 

If you have any concerns or would like support on how to work with individuals at risk, you can contact the Individuals at Risk team on

Making events and activities safe for children, young people, and adults-at-risk

Before the event/activity:

1. When planning an event/activity, you should start by completing a risk assessment. In the risk assessment you should consider 

  • a.    Who is attending?
    • i.    are there adults-at-risk attending – how can you make sure reasonable adjustments are made,
    • ii.    are there individuals under 18 attending – what risks are associated with that and how to do you mitigate them?
  • b.    The venue and any risks associated with that – This could be physical risks as well as safeguarding risks posed by people to other people.
  • c.    What is the topic? Is there sensitive/traumatic information, which could be difficult for someone to hear. How can you prepare people for this and offer support to mitigate harm?
  • d.    Are there any risks from the community? E.g., are you travelling somewhere? Will there be bystanders who could impact or be impacted by the event/activity?
  • e.    Number of staff attending and responsible – are there enough to cover is someone gets sick or has to leave because of an emergency?

2. During sign up, consider what information needs to be collected. Always ask if individuals attending need any reasonable adjustments to make the event accessible? And consider if you need to ask if the attendees are under 18/16? 

3. Consider if you need a designated safeguarding lead – if there may be individuals under 18 or adults-at-risk possible attending, then you should designate someone who has that responsibility, and a backup person in case the allocated DSL is unavailable. 

  • a.    They are responsible for making decisions and/or taking any actions if any safeguarding concerns arise. 
  • b.    They should have completed the NSPCC safeguarding training and have read AIUK’s safeguarding policy and procedures. 
  • c.    A discussion can be had with the Safeguarding Manager about this beforehand if there are any concerns regarding this.

4. Get consent forms where needed – see section below

5. Make sure you have enough adults with criminal record checks to run the event safely – when the event is aimed at individuals under 18, ideally an adult in all break-out rooms should be checked. See details later on ratios.

6. If there is any aspect of the event which includes driving, see AIUK’s driving for work guidance.

During the event/activity 

1. Designated safeguarding lead should be allocated and known to those running the event present so they can refer to them if a safeguarding concern arises. 

  • a.    They or an allocated other person, should have the details for all the individual under 18, their emergency contacts and health forms. These should be kept with the person at all times and not left around, and at the end of the event a decision needs to be made about whether they need to be stored or destroyed. See later section on consent for further details on what information to gather.

2. If an event with individuals under 18 is taking place in AIUK HRAC, and on a weekday, other members of staff should be informed that an event is taking place and they should not access the space that the individuals under 18 are in.

3. Ensure that any reasonable adjustments which have been agreed on are in place to make the event/activity accessible. 

4. A first aider should be available in case of incidents, and all staff/volunteers should be made aware who they are.

5. If it is a difficult and potentially triggering subject matter being focused on, then it may be helpful to have a safe space individuals can go for a break and making that clear at the beginning of the meeting. All staff/volunteers helping at the event should know where this is. Please bear in mind that an adult should never be left 1:1 with a young person in this space.

6. Make sure to abide by the following

  • a.    Never be alone with any young person – if you do need a private conversation, try and do it in a space you can be seen but not overheard. 
  • b.    Make sure to record and report all concerns as soon as possible using the reporting template available on the safeguarding page on the website.
  • c.    Make sure that if someone does not have a criminal record check, they are not left alone with a group of individuals under 18.

7. Before the event, all staff/volunteers involved in the running of the event should be made aware of who the safeguarding lead is, who the first aider is, and what to do if there is a concern about an individual attending, I.e., make sure the individual is safe and report to the safeguarding lead or first aider as appropriate.

Procedure for running residential (over-night) activities with individuals under 18. 

This should provide clear direction to staff and volunteers at AIUK when running an activity which involves an overnight stay for one or more individuals under 18. It may be that it is an activity with a mix of individuals under 18 and adults staying overnight, or it may be an activity just aimed at individuals under 18, with only adults who are there to supervise. Either way, risks need to be considered and mitigated. 

This applies to circumstances of a child or young person being overnight at an AIUK organised event or meeting, including;

•    Youth advisory group meetings
•    Attendance at the National Conference and Annual General Meeting
•    Youth Conference
•    Youth member of a Network Committee 
•    Youth representative to Activism Sub-Committee if the Board
•    Other similar roles

This applies to individuals between the ages of 14 and 17. We require that individuals under the age of 14 to be accompanied by their own parent/ carer if staying overnight. 

This does not apply to Local, Student or Youth groups. If any group is holding an event which requires a residential element, then they should contact AIUK’S safeguarding team for advice. 

A residential event is any which includes the hours between 02:00 and 06:00

Before the event

1. Determine if an overnight element is necessary and why, for example it would be necessary if

  • a.    The event is over two or more days 
  • b.    Travel time to meeting/event requires an overnight stay for attendees 

2. Undertake a risk assessment of the event, including the risks posed by an overnight stay, and how they will be mitigated, consider…

  • a.    Where are you staying – are you renting a whole hostel or are you staying in hotel rooms?
  • b.    Who will therefore have access to the individuals under 18 – if it’s a hotel then other people will be staying there, how can you minimise that risk?
  • c.    How you will be travelling
  • d.    What should be done in case of an emergency – see safeguarding policy and procedure for more information on safeguarding concerns arising.

3. Ensure that there enough adults with the appropriate criminal record check – if they are staying overnight, they should have an enhanced and barring check

4. All adults in roles of responsibility should have gone through safer recruitment processes (interview and references) and undertaken the NSPCC safeguarding training.

5. Ratios should be:

  • a.    1 child = at least 1 adult
  • b.    2-9 children = at least 2 adults (ideally 3)
  • c.    10+ children = a ratio of one adult for every 10 children e.g. 30 children, at least 3 adults
  • d.    At least one adult scheduled on stand-by in case of adult illness/unforeseen circumstances.

6. There should be an allocated designated safeguarding lead (DSL) for the overnight part of the activity, this person should have an up-to-date criminal record check, have undertaken safeguarding training, and be the person who holds the details of the home/emergency and contacts and health forms for all the individuals under 18 in attendance. 

7. A consent form should have been signed by the parents/carers and young person attending the residential – this form should include any health/adjustment needs – you can find a draft of this form here

8. There should be one first aider on the residential, or reassurance from the venue that they have a trained first aider on site. 

9. Should offer the option to all individuals under 18 and their parent/carer to provide their own chaperone and where necessary AIUK should cover the costs of travel and accommodation for that person (to a reasonable extent).

10. When allocating rooms

  • a.    No under 18 to share with an over 18-year-old (unless they are related and previously agreed by parents/carers)
  • b.    Where there is the possibility of sharing rooms then apply the following rules:
    • i.    Consider and discuss with individuals under 18 if there is a reasonable need for them to have a room to themselves (some people may have a significant reason for needing a room to themselves)
    • ii.    Discuss with the young person their preference for who they share a room with and accommodate where possible. 
    • iii.    Where possible try to accommodate them with someone in the same agree bracket as themselves (e.g., 14-15, 15-16, 16-17)

During the event

1. Review the risk assessment and make sure there is a DSL for each night of the event.

2. The responsible adults (those allocated by the ratios above) should not consume alcohol – no adult in attendance should consume illegal substances. 

3. Ensure there is enough food provided to accommodate all attendees and duty adults and that all dietary requirements are catered for.

4. Responsible adults to be aware at all times of their roles as role models to individuals under 18, how their behaviour and language can be interpreted particularly with the power dynamics and should follow the Best Safeguarding practices with young people guidance

  • a.    In particular for overnights, avoid going into the individuals under 18’s room, make sure you are never left alone 1:1 in the room if you do have to go into the room and, that if you do have to, all in the room are appropriately dressed. 
  • b.    If a private conversation is needed, try to have this in a quiet area of a public space such as the lobby where it can be observed but not overheard.

5. At the start of the overnight stay brief all the individuals under 18’s with the expectations 

  • a.    Explain to individuals under 18 that they should not leave the venue without permission from the responsible adult, or in the case of an emergency. 
  • b.    Ensure all individuals under 18 have contact details and room number/location of the responsible adults. 
  • c.    Ensure that all individuals under 18 know how and where to raise concerns/questions.
  • d.    Ensure that a clear meeting point with location and time is agreed with the individual under 18 the morning.
  • e.    Ensure that they agree to respect each other and support each other in their requirements, for example need for sleep, space to do homework.
  • f.    Make sure they know not to consume alcohol or illegal substances during the residential 

6. No under 18 should at any point be left at the venue unaccompanied. It may be that before 02:00 or after 06:00, this adult may not be the responsible adult for the overnight stay, but that adult should still have had safeguarding training and an up-to-date criminal record check.

7. Ensure that all responsible adults have full access to the room allocation and contact details for individuals under 18.

8. Consider what would happen if the responsible adult got unwell during the night, is there someone who can step in and help? This should be included in the risk assessment for the event. 

Travel to and from residential 

1.    Agree travel arrangements with young person and their parent/carer in advance of the meeting. 

2.    Clearly indicate the point from which AIUK staff become responsible for the young person e.g., on arrival to the venue/station/getting onto the train.

3.    Where possible use a AIUK phone to make contact – for those who may not have an AIUK phone, ensure that any contact with individuals under 18 or parents/carers is limited to communication about the event and the numbers of any young person should be deleted when it is no longer needed. 

4.    If you are communicating with a individuals under 18 via phone, make sure they have their phones charged and can make as well as receive calls. 

5.    Ensure that the responsible adult who is meeting the young person has their contact details and at least two parent/carer contact details to contact in case of emergency. Also make sure the parent/carer and young person have the responsible adults and possibly a backup adults contact details.

6.    Ensure a meeting point is arranged prior to the collection in case you are not able to communicate. 

7.    At point of contact and drop off (at end of event)

  • a.    Make sure adult is there early (prior to arrival time) – only leave once young person is on transport.
  • b.    Make sure to update parent/carer (either adult or young person can do this)
  • c.    Continue to update other responsible adults involved throughout travel to make sure they know your movements. If it is only one child, then a backup person or manager should be updated to give accountability and support where needed.

You should also consider safeguarding at residential events for just adults. 

On these occasions consider the following:

1.    Sharing a room – ask individuals attending if they are okay with sharing a room. Where possible a request to have their own room should be accommodated. If it isn’t possible then the individual should be informed about why that is the case and alternative solutions considered (e.g. is it the venue that is the problem? Is there a particular person they would be happy to share with?).

2.    Accessibility & safety of the venue 

  • a.    is the venue in a safe area? For example, if someone were to access it at night would they be safe (street lights, public area) – it may be that a taxi is needed ro get the person there safely. 
  • b.    is an adult with a disability able to access their room and leave it quickly if need be. Does the venue have emergency evacuation procedures? (This should be considered in a EQIA.)
  • c.    are there staff working all night? If so, make sure individuals staying know where to go for help or have contact numbers for help if they aren’t 

3.    Health – an individual whatever their age, may get ill at a residential. When planning the event make sure to record where a hospital is and what would happen if someone got ill – would this effect ratios?

Role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) at events

If a safeguarding concern arises, these should be reported to the pre-allocated DSL. These concerns could include an adult at the conference making a disclosure about abuse they or someone else is experiencing, or a concern about someone’s mental health. It may also be a concern raised about the way that someone is speaking/what they are saying/something they have done, leading to a belief that they pose a risk to others. 

If you are the designated safeguarding lead, when a concern is raised, if there is immediate worry about safety, then immediate actions should be taken. For example, a report to the police may be needed if someone has disclosed they are being abused, or the individual may need support in reporting to a domestic abuse charity to get support. With adults, this should always be done with consent from the individual who is at risk and done with them. 

A more likely circumstance is that support links may need to be offered and it may be that if available, a mental first aider is needed. If the concern is about a child, and there is immediate risk of harm, the safeguarding lead should follow the safeguarding procedures and report to the police or the local authorities' children social services. If the child is at immediate risk of harm consent from the child or parents/carers is not needed.

If there is no immediate risk, give the individual at risk time to speak and share their concern, offer the support links available and ask the person for their contact details, explaining you are going to follow up with the Safeguarding Manager to see if there is any other support. Following this have a conversation with the safeguarding manager on the next working day and together you can decide if anything else can be done. 

Before the event you can print of or make sure you have access to the quick safeguarding guide available on the safeguarding SharePoint, which will give guidance on what to do when a concern arises.

Below are also some additional support links in case any specific areas of concern arise

If there is a concern that someone poses a risk, if it is appropriate, address it with them, or if you are not comfortable with that, ask the reporter to share exactly what was said/done and by whom, and then discuss it with the Safeguarding Manager.

Remember that before an event a safeguarding lead should be allocated, and they can meet with the safeguarding manager to discuss the role and their responsibilities.


Good practice is to always get parental consent for anyone under the age of 18 engaging in AIUK activities. Therefore, if an under 18 is regularly attending group activities, such as meetings, or attending a one-off event at HRAC, you should get their parent/carers contact details and consent for the individual under 18 to attend.

However, it is not always that simple, as there are complexities around consent you need to consider. Some good guiding principles are…

  • If you are travelling anywhere get parent/carer consent for any individual under 18 
  • If you are meeting regularly get parent/carer consent for any individual under 18
  • If it’s a one-off event in a public space or at the HRAC, then should have consent for any individual under 16 - 16-17 year olds can consent for themselves, but should make themselves known as under 18 (e.g. in the sign up)
  • If it’s at a private venue/space should have consent for any individual under 18
  • If it is a public event (e.g. a protest), and the individual under 18 has no defined role, then no consent is needed for them to attend.

With these in mind, you could ask yourself… 

•    Are you travelling with the under 18 and are they able to get back from where you are going alone? If they aren’t travelling alone and you are taking responsibility for them, then you need parental details and consent. If it is a public event which they are travelling to alone, but meeting a group there to attend, for example a protest, then consent may not be needed.

•    Do you or another adult need to give the individual a lift anywhere? You should avoid being left 1:1 with a young person, but if anyone under 18 needs a lift, you should have parental consent as this is a more vulnerable position for the young person (and puts the driver at risk of allegations).

•    Are you taking responsibility for the under 18 in any way? If you are, then you should get parental consent as this ensures you are not putting yourself in a position where unfounded allegations about your intentions could be made.

•    Are you going to be at a private venue/space (for example someone’s home)? Generally, it is safer and more inclusive not to meet in someone’s home, but if you are, then making sure the parents/guardians know where you are meeting and have given consent for their child to be there, is good practice.

If you do need consent, then you should always talk through getting consent with the child involved. Discuss the role they are taking on and why you need consent, explaining about safeguarding and the responsibilities AIUK has. You should then ask if it is okay to reach out to their parent/carer and seek parent/carer consent and ask for their parent/carers contact details. It is good practice to then include the individual under 18 in any communication with their parents/carers, to keep them fully informed. 

In some cases, the individual under 18, may express concerns, for example, because of a fear of retribution at home because of their association with AIUK or their involvement in activism. In these situations, staff should seek to explore appropriate solutions together with the activist while managing their expectations and explaining Amnesty’s legal duties. For further advice or guidance on these, these situations can be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the AIUK Safeguarding Manager.

If an individual attends an event without a consent form, then you can call and speak to their parent/carers to get consent and ask for the parent/carers to share this via email. If this cannot be done, then the individual should not attend the event on this occasion. Check with them that they are able to get home okay, and if not continue trying to contact a parent/carer. 

Photo consent  

For events where people of all ages are attending, if you are taking photos, then it is good practice to have signs up around the event venue saying that photography/filming is taking place and that individuals can inform a member of staff if they don’t want to be photographed. 

If you don’t want attendees to take photos, then this should be made clear at the sign-up stage and be included in the signs around the venue and particularly at the entrance.

When an activity is aimed at individuals under 18, you will also need to get consent to take photos and use them, consent for this is included in the consent form, and to ensure the consent is informed consent, you need to be specific about what it will be used for. It is also important to note that 13+ can give their own consent for their data to be used, so when getting consent you should get both their consent and their parent/carers.

If consent is not given for a photograph of an under 18 to be taken at an event, or there are particular concerns about taking photos of certain adults, then the photographer should be informed of who these people are so they can avoid. If it is an event where several individuals would be put at risk if their photograph was taken and shared, then photographs where individuals are identifiable, should be avoided. 

Storing consent forms 

You also need to make a decision about how these will be stored and for how long. During the event you need to be careful that consent forms, or any information about participants is not left around or made accessible to other attendees. Only specific staff who need the information should have access to it. 

Following the event any paper documents should be destroyed (i.e. shredded). Information should then be kept in line with the data retention guidance. 

A draft version of the consent form can be found here, it can be added to, but all information on it should be requested where needed. For more information on data retention and why and how we store information, you can refer to AIUK’s privacy notice

Risk assessment template and important considerations needed. 

When you are running an activity or event, you should always complete a risk assessment in advance. You can find the template for this here. If you have never done one before, you can contact the facilities team and safeguarding manager for support in completing it.

Within these risk assessments, you should consider the different safeguarding risk factors and how these risks should be mitigated. When thinking about the safeguarding risks consider…

  • The different types of abuse to children and adults, as detailed in the Safeguarding Policy
  • If individuals under 18 are attending and if so, what risks are specifically posed to them?
    • do all those running the activity/event have appropriate training, including safeguarding training, and have the necessary vetting and barring checks been undertaken?
    • is everyone clear about their own roles and responsibilities and, crucially, what to do if they have any concerns about an individual’s welfare?
    • is the right level (ratios as stated) of supervision in place for your group?
    • what are the facilities available for toilets, washing and changing?
    • will the location be accessible to the public? If so, what risks does this present in terms of safeguarding?
    • do the individuals under 18 themselves know and understand the ground rules for the activity, and why they are there?
  • Are there additional risks to adults with disabilities or additional needs? Or does the topic of the event increase risk to people from a specific background attending the event, for example people from different nationalities? And if so, how can you mitigate these additional risks? Should you be asking in advance? Should you offer them additional support?
  • Staffing – are there enough staff to cover if someone needed to leave in case of an emergency. 
  • Worst case scenarios – they may be unlikely but if the harm would be extreme, we need to consider (and record) why the risk is low and how/if we can make it lower. 
  • The topics being discussed at the event/activity, and support needed/impact of those topics – could it be triggering for anyone? If so, do you need to give a trigger warning or a space they can go for a break.

For more information on non-safeguarding concerns to consider in your risk assessment, such as planning for incidents and emergencies, you can refer to the health and safety policy


When running an event with individuals under 18:

As stated above, ratios for overnight events should be:

  • 1 child = at least 1 adult
  • 2-9 children = at least 2 adults (ideally 3)
  • 10+ children = a ratio of one adult for every 10 children e.g. 30 children, at least 3 adults
  • At least one adult scheduled on stand-by in case of adult illness/unforeseen circumstances.

    For day events, these ratios aren’t needed, when schools are bringing groups of under 18s, it is their responsibility to provide the appropriate ratios. When it is a group of under 18s not associated with schools, there should always be 2 adults present in any room, and ideally at least 2 adults per 30 children.

For adult only events:

For adult only events, you need to consider staff to attendee ratios. There is no specific ratio for this, but a good idea is at least one professional per fifty to one hundred attendees. However, in deciding more specifically how many staff to have, you should consider in the risk assessment…

a) Are any attendees more at risk and therefore in need of more direct support? If so, you will need more staff. 

b) What activities are happening? Are they in different rooms, and therefore do you need to make sure at least one member of staff is in each room, maybe two in case a concern arises?

c) Are you leaving the main venue? If so, what are the risks involved? Do you need staff to make sure people getting somewhere and back safely? Should you be checking numbers? Is there anyone with disabilities who would be more at risk and need more support?

d) What roles are needed? Do you need someone in specific roles? e.g. designated safeguarding lead

Helpful links

If you have a safeguarding concern email 

In case of emergency at an event based at AIUK HRAC in Hackney:

  • Hackney MASH (Children & families) – 020 8356 5500 
  • Hackney EDT (Children & families) - 020 8356 2710
  • Hackney Adults Social Care - 020 8356 6262
  • Hackney Adults out of hours - 020 8356 2300

For more information on safeguarding at AIUK look on the staff portal or the safeguarding page on the website.

Having read this guidance, if you have any questions or feedback, or wish to discuss safeguarding at your event please contact the AIUK Safeguarding Manager. 

AIUK Safeguarding Guidance For Face-to-Face Events & Activities