Child Protection Policy

Introduction

All sporting organisations which make provision for children and young people must ensure that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount;
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or

sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;

  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • All staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.

Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.

 

Policy statement

 

FITT4KIDS has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in FITT4KIDS activities 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. FITT4KIDS will ensure the safety and protection of all children

involved in FITT4KIDS activities.

 

Policy aims

The aim of the FITT4KIDS Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

  • Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of FITT4KIDS
  • Allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

 

Promoting good practice

Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to

understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals

will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor,

teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases

where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this

document.

When a child enters the club having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a

crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the club must work with the appropriate agencies

to ensure the child receives the required support.

 

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 (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging

open communication with no secrets).

  • Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
  • Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (e.g. 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 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. Care is needed, as 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 in sport.
  • 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.

  • 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 and disabled adults – avoiding

excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.

  • Securing parental consent in writing OF SIGNING IN FORM AND MEDICAL FORMS
  • 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 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 amounts 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 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

NOTE. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly

if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of

parents and the children involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully

dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so

if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or

assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not

appropriately trained.

 

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You

should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:

  • If you accidentally hurt a child.
  • If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
  • If a child appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
  • If a child 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 and disabled sportspeople in vulnerable positions. All clubs should be vigilant and any

concerns should to be reported and sent to Simon Arnold.

Videoing as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent club coaches and teachers using video equipment as a

legitimate coaching aid. However, performers 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

FITT4KIDS 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 include 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).

 

Interview and Induction

All employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and

recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction, during which:

  • A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on

criminal records and self-disclosures).

  • Their qualifications should be substantiated.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified..
  • Child protection procedures are explained and training needs are identified.

 

Training

In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and

volunteers to:

  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to

protect them from false allegations.

  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely effectively with children.

 

FITT4KIDS requires:

  • Coaching staff to attend a a meeting with Simon Arnold or attended a school child protection coures to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture

towards good practice and child protection.

  • Non-coaching staff and volunteers to complete a recognised awareness training on child protection.
  • Relevant personnel to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what

to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person.

  • Relevant personnel to gain a national first aid training (where necessary).

 

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in FITT4KIDS , 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.

FITT4KIDS 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.

 

Action if there are concerns

  1. Concerns about poor practice:
  • If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; Simon Arnold will

deal with it as a misconduct issue.

  1. 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 Simon Arnold, 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.

  • Simon Arnold 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.

 

Confidentiality

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:

  • Simon Arnold
  • The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
  • The person making the allegation.
  • Social services/police.
  • The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
  • 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).

 

Internal Enquiries and Suspension

  • The person involved will be suspended until further notice, if found guilty will be released.
  • Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.

 

Action 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:

  • 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 Simon Arnold or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).

Action towards the bully(ies):

  • 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
  • Impose sanctions as necessary.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
  • Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
  • Inform all organisation members of action taken.
  • Keep a written record of action taken.
  1. Concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (e.g. a parent or carer):
  • Report your concerns to the Simon Arnold, who should contact social services or the police

as soon as possible.

  • Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
  • See below regarding information needed for social services.
  1. 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:

  • The child’s name, age and date of birth of the child.
  • The child’s home address and telephone number.
  • Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
  • The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
  • Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
  • A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
  • Details of witnesses to the incidents.
  • The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries

occurred.

  • Have the parents been contacted?
  • If so what has been said?
  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details.
  • If the child was not the person who reported the incident, has the child been spoken to? If so what was

said?

  • Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
  • 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.