SOUTHWELL RUNNING CLUB
Child Protection Policy
Aim of the Policy
Our aim at Southwell Running Club is to create an environment in which a person under 18 years of age and their parent(s), guardian(s), responsible adult, carer, closest relative; can feel confident that our Athletic Club is providing a safe and wholesome environment for all participants in the sport of athletics.
As a club we can support and offer advice to every club member in order to protect them from neglect, exploitation and abuse. All suspicions and allegations of abuse against young athletes will be responded to, and followed up appropriately in accordance with this policy and local area Child Protection Policy guidelines and procedures.
- All people under the age of 18 years are defined as children for the purposes of this policy.
- All children regardless of their gender, racial origin, culture, religion, ability and sexual orientation have the right to protection from abuse.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and will be responded to by any officer of the club, who through Southwell Running Club’s child protection officer will refer the matter to the Social Services Department in who’s area the incident or suspicion occurred.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means
- Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first.
- Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with other runners (eg it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
- 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. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving, young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
- Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
- Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away for the day or night, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. 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.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – 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 a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (eg the 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), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents.
- Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
- Taking or dropping off a child to an event ( unless consent form is completed by parents)
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. 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 or disabled adults that they can do for themselves.
- Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
Dealing with complaints
An adult may become aware of abuse/poor practice in a number of ways. A child may well tell you, a third party may report incidents or suspicions or you may have seen an incident or have strong suspicions.
Stay calm, do not rush into inappropriate action. Reassure the child he or she is not to blame and make it clear that you know how difficult it must be to confide. Communication should be at the child's pace, without pressure.
Listen to what a child is saying and show that you take him/her seriously. Do not bring in any other adults in this stage, any discrepancies in statements may lead to legal problems. Keep questions to a minimum. Use open-ended questions, i.e., those where more than a 'yes' or 'no' is required. The law is very strict and cases may be dismissed, if it appears a child is being led, or words or ideas suggested. Explain to the child what steps you intend to take having heard their account. Ensure that you clearly understand what the child has said and record it as soon as possible after the conversation.
Your report should include:
- Child's name address and date of birth.
- Date time and nature of incident.
- Your observations of the behaviour and emotional state of the child and any obvious injuries.
- The child's own account of what happened.
- An account of any action you took and comments/advice made to the child. You should state whether parents/carers had been informed.
- A statement is to whether the report is expressing your own concerns or passing on those of someone else. Sign and date the report and refer it to the Child Officer, so that a decision can be made as to the most appropriate action. Keep a copy and ensure maximum confidentiality is maintained.
- Ignore what has been disclosed, or make promises you can't keep;
- Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily;
- Take sole responsibility for further action.
Advice for young people on how to avoid misconduct by others in Athletics and what to do about it. Misconduct is very broadly; any form of unacceptable behaviour towards you such as sexual misbehaviour, physical acts, inappropriate remarks, suggestive gestures, pictures or other material, or physical violence. How can I avoid such misconduct?
- Listen to the advice of your parents.
- Avoid being left alone with anyone.
- If you have to leave a group, tell someone where you are going and how long you are likely to be gone.
- Do not allow anyone to talk to you about something personal concerning yourself or themselves if it has nothing to do with their job or the sport. If they persist, walk away and report it to someone in a senior position.
- Do not agree to meet anyone in your own time without informing another adult.
- Do not accept a lift from anyone if you are the only passenger, unless you have informed another adult. Either refuse or insist someone else goes along with you. Do not except a lift if you feel uncomfortable.
- Do not become over familiar towards those who work with you in athletics.
- Do not walk home alone at night.
- Be especially wary of parked cars with the engine running.
Recommended club action:
If the club decides it is appropriate for them to deal with the situation they should follow the procedure outlined below.
- Reconciliation by getting the parties together. It may be a genuine apology solves the problem.
- If this fails/not appropriate a small panel (Made up from chairman, Welfare Officer, Secretary, committee members) should meet with the parent and child alleging bullying to get details of the allegation. Minutes should be taken for clarity, which should be agreed by all as a true account.
- The same 3 persons should meet with the alleged bully and parent/s and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation. Minutes should again be taken and agreed.
- If bullying has in their view taken place the alleged bully should be warned and put on notice of further action i.e. temporary or permanent suspension if the bullying continues. Consideration should be given as to whether a reconciliation meeting between parties is appropriate at this time.