ST AGNES RFC Child Protection Policy
For the purpose of this Policy it is deemed that anyone under the age of 18years of age should be considered as a child or young person.
St Agnes RFC acknowledges and adopts the recommendations of the governing body, the RFU, and at all times seeks to implement best practices in line with achieving the ‘Seal of Approval’ accreditation and Sport England ‘Clubmark’ awards recognizing St Agnes RFC as a safe, efficient and child friendly club.
It is widely accepted that it is the responsibility of every adult to protect children or young people from abuse.
Abuse can occur within many situations which can include the home, school or sporting environment. It can happen to your children. Everyone working in Rugby Union, either in a paid or voluntary capacity at this club or others, have a role to play in safeguarding the welfare of children or young people and thus preventing abuse. All adult club members and coaches who have regular contact with children or young people can be a very important link in identifying cases where they might need protection.
When establishing guidelines concerning the protection of children and young people, it is important to recognize that St Agnes RFC has both a moral and legal obligation to ensure that when given responsibility for children and young people, it will provide them with the highest possible standard of care.
The members of St Agnes RFC recognize that they have a responsibility to:
•Safeguard and promote the interests and well-being of children and young people with whom they are working.
•Take all reasonable practical steps to protect children and young people from harm, discrimination or degrading treatment.
•Respect their rights, wishes and feelings.
Child protection procedures within St Agnes RFC will ensure that:
•The welfare of all children and young people is paramount.
•All children and young people, regardless of age, gender, ability, race, religion, ethnic origin, nationality, social status or sexual orientation should be able to enjoy the game in an environment safe from abuse of any kind.
•They will offer safeguards to the children and young people, members of staff, coaches and club members.
•It is the responsibility of Child Protection professionals to determine whether abuse has taken place but it is everybody’s responsibility within the sport of Rugby Union to report concerns.
•All allegations and suspicions of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately as per RFU/RFUW Policy and Procedures.
•Working in partnership with parents/carers is essential for the protection of children and young people.
•All members of staff, coaches, volunteers and parent helpers must be prepared to undergo a Criminal Records (CRB) check before being actively involved with children or young people.
•Those waiting to be checked by the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) will not be allowed to work with the children or young people and must be supervised at all times.
•Encouragement will be given to all Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Parent Helpers in the Junior, Midi and Mini Section to take and complete the appropriate coaching courses that are currently available.
It must be recognized that any procedure is only as effective as the ability and skill of those who operate it.
St Agnes RFC are therefore committed to the sound recruitment, provision of support and appropriate training for all their staff, coaches, volunteers, parent helpers and club members.
St Agnes RFC –Principles Statement
THE MAIN FORMS OF ABUSE
Abuse is a powerful and emotive term. Child abuse is a term used to describe ways in which children or young people are harmed, usually by adults and often by those they know and trust. The coach often holds this trust and may be at risk of misusing his/her power over the young players. It is widely recognized that there are four main areas of abuse of which coaches and volunteers should be aware. They are, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse. There may, however, be an increased risk within Rugby Union for abuse to occur which does not necessarily fall into these categories. The culture and traditions of rugby may give rise to unacceptable behavior leading to situations where abuse may occur or coaches and/or young players are at increased risk.
This occurs when individuals persistently fail to show children and young people due care with regard to their emotional welfare, where a child or young person may be constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted, or be subject to sarcasm and unrealistic pressures. There may be over-protection, preventing children and young people from socializing, or bullying to perform to high expectations. The child or young person may become withdrawn and nervous and could lose self-confidence.
In rugby situation, emotional abuse may occur when coaches, volunteers or parents:
•Provide repeated negative feedback.
•Repeatedly ignore a young player’s efforts to progress.
•Repeatedly demand performance levels above the young player’s capability.
•Over-emphasise the winning ethic.
ABUSE BY NEGLECT
This occurs when a child’s or young person’s need for food, warmth and care, both physical and emotional are not met.
In a rugby situation, neglect may occur when:
•Young players are left alone without proper supervision.
•A young player is exposed to unnecessary heat or cold.
•A young player is not provided with necessary fluids for re-hydration.
•A young player is exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury.
This occurs when individuals including other young people, deliberately inflict injuries on a child or young person, or knowingly do not prevent such injuries. It includes injuries caused by hitting, shaking, squeezing, biting or using excessive force. It also occurs when children or young people are given alcohol or inappropriate drugs or there is a failure to supervise their access to these substances.
In a rugby situation, physical abuse may also occur when:
•Young players are exposed to exercise/training which disregards the capacity of the player’s immature and growing body.
•Young players are exposed to over-playing, over-training or fatigue.
•Any person exposes young players to alcohol and gives them the opportunity to drink alcohol below the legal age or fail to supervise access to alcohol.
•Young players are provided with or encouraged to take prohibited substances including performance enhancing drugs.
Girls or boys can be abuse by adults (both male and female), or other young people. This may include encouraging or forcing a child or young person to take part in sexual activity.
In a rugby situation, sexual abuse may occur when:
•An adult uses the context of a training session to touch children or young people in an inappropriate sexual way.
•Coaches, managers or volunteers use their position of power and authority to coerce young players into a sexual relationship.
•Coaches or managers imply better progression of the player in return for sexual favours.
Bullying is not always easy to define and will not always be an adult abusing a child or young person. It is often the case that the bully will indeed be a young person. Bullying is the use of aggression with the intention of hurting another person. Bullying results in pain and distress to the victim.
Bullying can be:
•Emotional, being unfriendly, excluding (emotionally and physically), tormenting (e.g. hiding rugby kit, threatening gestures including sending threatening text messages).
•Physical, pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
•Racist, racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.
•Sexual, unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments.
•Homophobic, because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality.
•Verbal, name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing.
Allegations of bullying will be taken seriously, responded to promptly, and procedures followed to deal with the situation.
INDICATIONS OF ABUSE
Abuse in all its form can affect a child or young person of any age. If not treated, the effects can be so damaging that they may follow the individual into adulthood.
Dealing with child abuse is rarely straight forward. In some cases a child’s or young person’s disturbed behaviour, or an injury, may suggest abuse has been used. However, in many situations, there may not be clear cut signs thus making decisions about what action to take difficult. The following list of signs or indicators is not exhaustive, and it must be remembered that one or more indicators does not prove abuse is taking place.
SIGNS/INDICATORS FOR COACHES, STAFF OR VOLUNTEERS TO BE AWARE OF:
•Injuries where the explanations seem inconsistent.
•The child or young person appears to describe an act of abuse involving him/her.
•A third party, adult or young person, expresses concern about another child’s welfare.
•The child or young person becomes withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence.
•The child or young person begins displaying sexually explicit behaviour.
•There are signs of distrust towards adults from the child or young person, particularly those adults with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
•The child or young person has difficulty making friends.
•The normal routine of the child or young person changes.
•The child or young person is frightened to say what is wrong.
RESPONDING TO SUSPICIONS
It is understandable that people within rugby being well-motivated, loving and caring individuals and with a commitment to their sport, are reluctant to believe that children or young people may be suffering harm in the sporting environment or at home.
It may be difficult to accept that children or young people could be at risk because of the way the organization is being run and the attitudes of those involved.
Levels of awareness need to be raised without creating anxiety or a suspicious atmosphere. But, if you become aware of anything that causes you to feel uncomfortable you should talk to someone else about it. Meaning, be aware of the attitudes of coaching staff, paid staff, and volunteers and of the interactions between them and the children or young people.
Be alert to any unusual incidents or activities that take place where you feel that the coaching staff, paid staff or volunteers may be putting themselves into a vulnerable position.
St Agnes RFC recognizes that young players are coached in a variety of environments and by more than one coach. Thus the term ‘Person in Charge’ will refer to the head coach or senior official responsible for the event.
Following consideration of an allegation which is clearly about poor practice, the Person in Charge will deal with it internally.
If the allegation is about poor practice by the Person in Charge, or where concerns remain that the matter has been handled inadequately, then this should be referred to a member of the St Agnes RFC committee. They will need to decide how this will be dealt with and whether or not to initiate a formal course of action.
Any suspicion that a child or young person has been the victim of abuse by either a member of the coaching staff, paid staff or volunteer must be reported to a Person in Charge who will take such steps that he or she considers necessary to ensure the safety of the child or young person and any other child or young person who may be at risk.
The Person in Charge, after consultation with the professional body of the RFU/RFUW, will refer the allegation to the Social Services, who may involve the Police.
The child’s or young person’s parents/carers will be contacted as soon as possible following the Social Service’s advice.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned and who should deal with any media enquiries.
If the Person in Charge is the subject of the allegation/suspicion the professional body of the RFU/RFUW should be informed who will then be responsible for taking action outlined above.
St Agnes RFC will make an immediate decision whether to temporarily suspend any individual who has been accused of abuse pending further Police and Social Services inquiries.
St Agnes RFC must assess all individual cases under the appropriate disciplinary/misconduct procedure, irrespective of the findings of the Police or Social Services. They must decide whether a member of staff, coach or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision, especially where there is insufficient evidence for any action by the Police. In such cases St Agnes RFC must reach a decision that is based upon the information available. The welfare of the child or young person must always remain paramount.
Consideration should be given to what support may be appropriate to children, young people, their parents and members of staff during these enquiries.
Where the allegations are unfounded, St Agnes RFC will work professionally to ensure that the individual concerned is given full support to continue his or her work in rugby.
St Agnes RFC Coaches’ Codes of Conduct
These Codes of Conduct have been written to remind or inform Coaches and Assistant Coaches of their responsibilities and the minimum standards of behavior commensurate with fulfilling them. Each season every Coach and Assistant Coach who is active in the Junior, Midi and Mini section will be called upon to warrant that they have read, understood, and that they intend to abide by these codes.
•Rugby is only a part of players’ lives. Recognize this and allow for it in your demand of them.
•Rugby is for everyone. St Agnes RFC is for everyone. Do not rely on ‘star’ players and never make any player feel like a ‘spare part’.
•Never ridicule any player. Never belittle any player. Always make every player feel valued.
•All young players should be coached in a safe environment and that there is adequate first aid readily to hand.
•There should be appropriate supervision of young players, on and off the field of play.
•Young players should never be exposed to extremes of heat, cold or unacceptable risk of injury.
•Avoid overplaying by using a squad system which gives everybody a satisfactory amount of playing time.
•Never permit a player to drink under the age of 18years, it is illegal.
•Always ensure that knowledge and coaching strategies are up-to-date and in line with RFU expectations.
•Be aware of, and abide by, RFU recommended procedures for taking young people on residential tours at home and abroad.
•Be a positive role model.
•Keep winning and losing in perspective and encourage young players to behave with dignity in all circumstances.
•Ensure there is respect for referees and the decisions they make. The referee is always right, even when he is wrong!
•Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner to all young players during coaching sessions and games.
•Do not allow young players to train/play on an injury. If unsure err on the side of caution.
•Do not put yourself in a position where you could be suspected of, or accused of, physical or sexual abuse of any child or young person associated with the club. Use a separate changing room from the players. Never be alone with individuals behind closed doors and never get in the bath or shower with children or young people.
•Where there are mixed teams competing, they must be accompanied by at least one male and one female adult.
•Never use inappropriate language towards players or officials.
•Ensure that equipment and facilities are safe and appropriate for the age and ability of the players.
•Never offer to give a ‘lift’ to a player when by yourself without prior approval of the parent.
•Never leave a player to wait alone for parents/carers after a training session or game.
Players’ Codes Of Conduct
These Codes of Conduct have been written to remind or inform players of their responsibilities and the minimum standards of behavior required to fulfill them. Every season all players in the Junior, Midi and Mini section will be called upon to vouch that they have read, understood and will intend to abide by these codes.
•Play by the rules of the game and for the enjoyment of it.
•Abide by the officials’ decisions. Never argue: they are always right!
•Never use bad language towards an official, coach or spectator.
•Control your emotions and do not let your temper get the better of you.
•Treat each other with the same respect and fairness.
•Be a good sport. Applaud all good play, whether by your team or the opposition.
•Treat all players as you would like to be treated. Don’t interfere with, bully or take unfair advantage of any players.
•Remember that the aim of the game is to have fun, improve your skills and feel good. Do not act irresponsibly.
•Co-operate with your Coaches, team-mates opponents and match officials.
•Respect the differences in gender, disability, culture, race, ethnicity and religious belief.
•Take time to thank those who assist, whether it be coaches, family, organizations or team mates.
Codes of Conduct in the Home Club
•The club should be respected with appropriate good behavior.
•Disciplinary action will be taken against any player found causing damage to the club, its contents or cars in the car park. This could result in being banned from the club
•Rugby boots are not to be worn in the clubhouse entrance or in either of the function rooms.
•Rugby boots are not to be worn or cleaned in the shower area.
•Players should be accompanied by an adult in the club.
•Running is not allowed in the changing facilities, especially wearing rugby boots, it contravenes Health and Safety Regulations.
•Do not leave valuables in the changing rooms. The club will not be liable for any loss from the changing rooms: they do not necessarily get locked.
•Respect the rules when visiting away clubs.
Parents’ Codes of Conduct
•Remember that young people play rugby for their enjoyment, not that of their parents.
•Entering the field of play MUST NOT take place, unless CRB checked and asked to do so by the coach or match official.
•Encourage young people to play, do not force them.
•Focus on the players’ efforts rather than on winning or losing.
•Encourage young players to play by the rules of the game.
•Be realistic about a young players’ ability. Don’t push them towards a level that they are not capable of achieving.
•Remember that persistent, negative messages will adversely affect the player’s performance and attitude.
•Always support the club in their efforts to eradicate coarse and abusive behavior from the game.
•Remember that young people learn by example.
•Show appreciation of good play by ALL young players, both from your own club and the opposition.
•Respect decisions made by the match officials and encourage the young players to do likewise.
•Do not use abusive language toward the match officials or opposition players.
•Recognize the importance of coaches and volunteers. They give up their time so that young people can enjoy the sport. Support them in any way you can.
•Try to go into the club after training and games to socialize; it helps cross the border between young and old.
•Training is important, try to ensure attendance is punctual and the coaching staff are informed of any absences.
Child Protection Guidelines for Match Officials
When refereeing young players match officials should
•Recognize the importance of fun and enjoyment when officiating young players.
•Provide verbal feedback in a positive way during games.
•Appreciate the needs of players.
•Be a positive role model.
•Recognize that safety is paramount.
•Explain decisions – most young players are still learning.
•Do not tolerate verbal abuse.
Officials should not
•Change in the same area as young players.
•Shower with young players – agree with coaches a timetable.
•Be alone with young players at any time. If a player comes into the dressing room ensure another adult is present.
•Check studs without the coach or other responsible adult being present.
•Administer first aid.
•Allow a young player to continue playing if there are doubts about their fitness.
•Tolerate bad language from young players.
•Engage in any inappropriate contact with young players.
•Gift a lift to a young player unless there are other people or adults in the car and the parents are aware.
•Take a young player to your home.
•Overly criticize young players or use language which may cause the player to lose confidence or self esteem.
•Make sexually explicit remarks to young people, even in fun.
Officials must always
Report, in writing, to the club or CB Welfare Officer and/or Society Secretary, behavior by adults which you feel contravenes RFU Child Protection Policy.
•Verbal bullying by coaches/parents/spectators.
•Physical abuse by coaches/parents/spectators.
•Inappropriate or aggressive contact by an adult to a young person.
•Verbal abuse directed to you by young people or adults.
‘The welfare of all young people is paramount’