We have a duty of care to safeguard all children involved at our club from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. Shevington Sharks will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in the club through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by NWC. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Shevington Sharks Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice. It outlines what is required to provide children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Shevington Sharks. It also aims to facilitate all staff and volunteers at the club to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues. All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations.
Below are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate:
Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
Treating all young people equally, and with respect and dignity.
Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning and achieving goals.
Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players.
Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision making process;
Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play;
Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the Coach Education Programme.
Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport.
Involving parents/carers wherever possible.
Ensuring that if there are mixed teams, there should be a male and female assistant. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
Requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.
Practices To Be Avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or with the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
Avoid spending excessive amount of time alone with children away from others.
Avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event.
Practices Never To Be Sanctioned
The following should never take place. You should never:
Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
Share a room with a child.
Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
Incidents That Must Be Reported / Recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this to another colleague or record the incident. You should also ensure that the parents of the child are informed:
If you accidentally hurt a player.
If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Use of Photographic / Filming Equipment at Sporting Events
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young sportspeople in vulnerable positions. All clubs should be vigilant and any concerns should be reported to the Club Child Protection Officer.
Videoing as a coaching aid:
There is no intention to prevent club coaches using video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, players and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the coaching programme and such films should be stored safely.
Recruitment and Training of Staff and Volunteers
Shevington Sharks recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Pre-selection checks must included the following:
All volunteers/staff should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self disclosure about any criminal record.
Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau.
Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).
Responding to Allegations or Suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working for Shevington Sharks, in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. Shevington Sharks will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:
A criminal investigation.
A child protection investigation.
A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.
Concerns About Poor Practice
If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the Club Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue. If the allegation is about poor practice by the Club Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the relevant NWC officer who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings. The matter may then be referred to the relevant BARLA official.
Concerns About Suspected Abuse
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Club Child Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. The Club Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department. The Club Child Protection Officer should also notify the relevant NWC officer who in turn will inform the BARLA Child Protection Officer who will deal with any media enquiries.
If the Club Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate Manager or in his/her absence the NWC Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to the BARLA Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to Social Services.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
The Club Child Protection Officer.
The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
The person making the allegation.
The Regional Development Manager and BARLA Child Protection Officer.
The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
Advice and Information
Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser. Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Support to Deal with the Aftermath of Abuse
Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process. The British Association for Counselling Directory is available from The British Association for Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ, Tel: 01788 550899, Fax: 01788 562189, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: www.bacp.co.uk.
Consideration should also be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.
Allegations of Previous Abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
Actions if Bullying is Suspected
If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in ‘Responding to suspicions or allegations’ above.
Action to Help the Victim and Prevent Bullying in Sport
In order to prevent bullying from taking place, the following actions should be taken:
Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately).
Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority.
Create an open environment.
Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
Report any concerns to the Club Child Protection Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).
Action Towards the Bullies
The following actions should be taken towards the bullies involved in any incident:
Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully (ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
Inform the bully’s parents.
Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
Provide support for the victim’s coach.
Impose sanctions as necessary.
Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
Inform all organisation members of action taken.
Keep a written record of action taken.
Concerns Outside the Immediate Sporting Environment (e.g. Parent or Carer)
The following actions should be taken if you have any concerns regarding potential bullying outside of the sporting domain:
Report your concerns to the Club Child Protection Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible. See section below for the information social services or the police will need.
If the Club Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.
Social Services and the Club Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
The Club Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the BARLA Governing Body. The Governing Body should ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident play a role in Shevington Sharks and act accordingly.
Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
See section below regarding information needed for social services.
Information for Social Services or the Police about Suspected Abuse
To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which should include the following:
Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded. If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.