Northern Football Club Ltd.

-Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy


CONTENTS

1 Northern FC Safeguarding Officer(s)

1.1 Key Tasks 

2 Northern FC’s responsibility

3 Policy statement from RFU

3.1 Safe Environments

3.1.1 Regulations 15 and 21

3.2 Recruitment

3.3 Training

3.4 Supervision

3.5 Adult: Child Ratios

3.6 On Tour

3.7 Inappropriate Relationships with Children or Vulnerable Adults

3.8 Safeguarding Disabled Children & Vulnerable Adults 

3.9 Good role models 

3.10 Alcohol

3.11 Contact rugby

3.12 Coaching techniques 

3.13 Physical intervention

3.14 Changing rooms and showers 

3.15 Transportation 

3.16 Photographic Images

3.17 Sharing of electronic material/media

4 Prohibited practices 

5 Positions of Trust

6 DBS Disclosure

7 What is abuse?

8 Procedures 13

Appendix 


Northern FC Safeguarding Officer(s)

Northern FC appoints volunteer Safeguarding Officers (S.O.s) with club responsibility for both rugby and squash and a volunteer assistant Safeguarding Officer with responsibility for the club’s rugby youth and mini sections.

The Safeguarding Officers report to the club’s executive committee and the rugby S.O. works closely with the County Safeguarding Manager.

The rugby S.O. is required to undertake appropriate RFU safeguarding courses.

The rugby S.O.s will ensure that all club members who have contact with children are aware of and use the RFU Safeguarding Toolkit (http://www.englandrugby.com/mm/Document/Governance/Safeguarding/01/30/34/52/safeguarding_toolkit_fullcolour_aw_singlepages_Neutral.pdf)

1.1 Key Tasks

The club safeguarding Officer(s) will:

· Implement Northern FC’s own safeguarding vulnerable people policy and procedures in conjunction with the RFU policy. He/she will circulate and promote the RFU and club’s codes of conduct

· Be visible and approachable to all club members and ensure contact details are available to all young people, parents and club personnel and that these are posted on club notice boards and on the club website and registered on GMS

· Ensure that all club officers and committee members are aware of their responsibilities relating to child protection and that Northern FC responds to any indication of poor practice or abuse in line with RFU/W policy

· In conjunction with the Constituent Body Safeguarding Manager (CBSM), develop an effective Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) processing system within the club to ensure that all individuals working with young people undertake a DBS application every three years

· Co-ordinate a programme of training in conjunction with the CBSM and/or Regional Development Officer (RDO) for Northern FC personnel, including the club executive committee, who are involved in working with young people (i.e. Safeguarding and Protecting Young People in Rugby Union courses)

· Ensure that all safeguarding issues and incidents involving adults, children and young people are reported promptly to the CBSM (or RFU Safeguarding team in the CBSM’s absence)

· Have contact details for RFU and local agencies and liaise with them when necessary. These may be found in the Appendix

· Ensure that the club has an induction pack, which includes the club safeguarding/child protection policy, for new mini and youth players and that all parents sign for its receipt

· Be aware of individual children’s special educational or medical needs and the need to inform appropriate club age-group coaches/managers

· Be an active or co-opted member of the club executive committee

· Ensure that Northern FC’s first aid coordinator complies with RFU medical/first aid protocols

· Monitor Northern FC’s website for inappropriate content and report/amend as appropriate

· Be involved in Northern FC’s seal of approval accreditation and to verify and confirm the information provided to the RDO is correct

· Distribute literature, electronic communication and new developments concerning the safeguarding of young people to club personnel as appropriate.


Northern FC’s responsibility

In addition to ensuring the roles specified for the Safeguarding Officer Northern FC:

· Ensures that all relevant members who have regular supervisory contact with children or a management responsibility for those working with young people undertake Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure

· Ensures that 3rd party users of Northern FC’s facilities have appropriate safeguarding policies in place

· Identifies a disciplinary panel which, where necessary, is able to manage cases of poor practice as identified by the RFU Child Protection Officer.


3. Policy statement from RFU

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the sport. All children are entitled to feel safe and protected from any form of abuse and neglect, and have the right to take part in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment. in the sport. All children are entitled to feel safe and protected from any form of abuse and neglect, and have the right to take part in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment.

This policy statement is based on the following key principles:

· The welfare of the child is paramount

· All participants regardless of age, sex, ability or disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, size, or sexual orientation have the right to protection from harm

· All allegations, suspicions of harm and concerns will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately

· Everyone will work in partnership to promote the welfare, health and development of children

Effective safeguarding arrangements in every local area should be underpinned by two key principles:

· safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility: for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part; and

· a child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.

(Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2013)

Northern FC implements the following policy:

3.1 Safe Environments

A safe environment is one where: the possibility of abuse is openly acknowledged; volunteers and employees are vetted and trained; and those who report suspicions and concerns are confident that these will be treated seriously and confidentially.

Communication is central to maintaining a safe environment; this includes in the rugby union environment appropriate method of providing information to children and vulnerable adults (email/phone to parents), listening to children’s views on matters which affect them, as well as considering how to communicate in an emergency (mobile/landline).Messages relating to children, sent via telephone, emails and texts, should be through their parents/guardians. Where appropriate, older players may be copied in but this should always be done by blind copying in order to protect their data. Direct personal communication with children should always be avoided, unless in exceptional circumstances.

3.1.1 Regulations 15 and 21

Northern FC implements the RFU regulations 15 and 21. Regulation 15 is the RFU regulation which deals with age-grade rugby. All those working with children in rugby union should read and refer to this regulation regularly. Regulation 21 relates to safeguarding aspects within the rugby union environment.

3.2 Recruitment

Northern FC has both a paid and volunteer workforce and all reasonable steps are taken to exclude anyone who may pose a threat to children or vulnerable adults. When recruiting new volunteers, Northern FC requires anyone unknown to the club to provide a written reference, which Northern FC then verifies.

3.3 Training

Northern FC encourages all adults who have a coaching role to attend an appropriate Rugby Union Coaching Award course and an RFU Safeguarding and Protecting Young People in Rugby Union training course.

All Club Safeguarding Officers must, within six months of being appointed, attend the RFU Club Safeguarding Officers Workshop, which covers their role and responsibilities. Failure to attend means they may not be permitted to continue in the role.

The behaviour and performance of new volunteers and employees is monitored for a period to ensure they are using best practice.

3.4 Supervision

To provide a safe environment, Northern FC ensures that its volunteers and employees when working with children or vulnerable adults avoid working in isolation out of the sight of parents or other volunteers. Whilst volunteers and employees are awaiting their DBS disclosure they are supervised by someone who does have DBS clearance.

Contingency planning ensures that if a player’s injury requires significant attention, or coaches are absent or away with a team, levels of supervision can be maintained by suitably vetted individuals. However, in an emergency, the first attention must be paid to an injured player and if there are insufficient suitably vetted people available to supervise the remaining players, clearly, responsible adults will need to be asked to step in.

3.5 Adult: Child Ratios

There should always be more than one suitably vetted adult in charge of any group of children or vulnerable adults. The RFU recommends a minimum ratio of:

· 1:10 for children over 8 years old or vulnerable adults

· 1:8 for children under 8 years old aged and 8

· 1:6 for children under 7 years old.

3.6 On Tour

These Policy guidelines apply equally on tour as at Northern FC. When on tour if an adult is solely there supporting their own child they will not need DBS clearance but they will if they are acting in any official capacity with other children. This would apply to those on bedtime or other supervisory duties.

Specifically Northern FC requires:

· All young people and adults involved with tour organisation to be current members of the club

· Full details (names, phone contact numbers) of all members of tour parties to be submitted to the club Safeguarding Officer prior to the tour.

3.7 Inappropriate Relationships with Children or Vulnerable Adults

An adult in a position of trust must not enter into a sexual relationship with a child in their care. Sexual intercourse, sexual activity, or inappropriate touching by an adult with a child under the age of 16 years is a criminal offence, even where there is apparent consent from the child.

A sexual relationship between an adult in a position of trust and a child over 16 years of age, or a vulnerable adult, is a breach of trust and an abuse of the adult’s position. Whilst it may not be a criminal offence, in a rugby union setting it will be treated very seriously and may result in RFU disciplinary action, including suspension from attending rugby clubs.

The RFU has a legal duty to refer anyone removed from Regulated Activity to the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Therefore, an adult in a position of trust involved in a consensual sexual relationship with a child over 16 years of age, or a vulnerable adult, may be referred to the ISA for consideration. This could result in the adult being barred from working with children or vulnerable adults by the ISA.

No-one in a position of trust should encourage a physical or emotionally dependent relationship to develop between them and a child or vulnerable adult in their care; this is often referred to as grooming. Adults must never send children or vulnerable adults inappropriate or sexually provocative messages or images by text, or other electronic media.

3.8 Safeguarding Disabled Children & Vulnerable Adults

Disabled children and adults and their families may need additional information, help and support. Northern FC’s paid and volunteer workforce is given appropriate training and advice to ensure they include and safeguard them.

Some children and vulnerable adults may be more susceptible to harm than other participants because they may: lack the mutual support and protection of a peer group, require higher degrees of physical care and support, have limited communication skills, find it difficult to resist inappropriate interventions, have several carers making it difficult to identify an abuser, have a history of having limited or no choice or have a degree of dependency on a carer conflicting with the need to report harm or raise concerns.

For disabled children, the RFU recognises the guidance in the Government document Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) which states:”Expertise in both safeguarding and promoting the welfare of child and disability has to be brought together to ensure that disabled children receive the same levels of protection from harm as other children”.

It is also important to be aware of the additional needs some children experience as a result of a wide spectrum of issues such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a variety of other disorders. There is guidance on how to deal with some of these issues on the RFU website.

3.9 Good role models

Northern FC’s paid and volunteer workforce is required to consistently display high standards of personal behaviour and appearance and refrain from pursuits considered unhealthy in front of players. They must not make sexually explicit comments to children or vulnerable adults and any language which causes them to feel uncomfortable or lose confidence or self-esteem is unacceptable, as is the use of obscene or foul language.

3.10 Alcohol

It is important that Northern FC’s executive committee takes considered and positive action to ensure that it is a responsible licensee.

It is against the law:

· To sell alcohol to someone under 18

· For an adult to buy or attempt to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18

· For someone under 18 to buy alcohol, attempt to buy alcohol or to be sold alcohol

· For someone under 18 to drink alcohol in licensed premises, with one exception - a 16 or 17 year old is allowed to drink beer, wine or cider with a table meal provided that an adult purchases the drink and accompanies the 16 or 17 year old(s) at the table meal. Bar snacks do not count as a table meal. (BIIAB handbook Level 2 2007 section 16.2 b)

· 16 and 17 year olds accompanied by an adult can drink but not buy beer, wine and cider with a table meal

· For an adult to buy alcohol for a person under 18 for consumption on licensed premises, except as above

At training sessions and games for children, adults’ drinking habits may affect both children’s attitude to alcohol and their emotional well-being. As role models adults should avoid excessive drinking in their presence. The unexpected can always happen; there should always be adults who abstain from drinking alcohol to deal with any emergencies and to manage the safety and welfare of children and vulnerable adults in their care.

3.11 Contact rugby

The wellbeing and safety of children and vulnerable adults must be placed above the development of performance. Contact skills must be taught in a safe, secure manner paying due regard to the physical development of the players involved.

Adults and children must never play contact versions of the sport together including training games or contact drills. They may play either tag or touch rugby together if these games are managed and organised appropriately (see the RFU website for

further information). A risk assessment on the conditions, players and apparent risks should be carried out by a person responsible for the overall session.

There is further information available in the Guidance to Regulation 15 which also provides a variety of alternatives.

3.12 Coaching techniques

Any inappropriate or aggressive contact or touching between adults and children or vulnerable adults is unacceptable and a number of principles should be followed when teaching contact rugby:

· Physical handling by a coach must only be used for safety reasons or where there is no other way of coaching the technique (Level 1 Coaching Award in Rugby Union)

· The reasons for physical contact should be explained wherever practicable so that children and their parents are comfortable with this approach

· The activity should always be conducted in an open environment and in the presence of another appropriately vetted adult.

3.13 Physical intervention

Discipline on the field of play is the responsibility of the players. Coaches, team managers and parents must always promote good discipline amongst their players, both on and off the field. Penalising lack of discipline on the field of play which contravenes the laws of the game is the responsibility of the referee. Coaches, managers and spectators should not intervene or enter the field of play. Coaches of U7s and U8s may direct and develop play in a coaching sense on the field of play from behind their teams. In a situation where individuals have to consider whether to intervene to prevent a child being injured, injuring themselves or others, physical intervention should always be avoided unless absolutely necessary. In these situations it is imperative to:

· Consider your own safety

· Give verbal instructions first

· Use the minimum reasonable force and only when necessary to resolve the incident, the purpose being restraint and reducing risk

· Do not strike blows, act with unnecessary force or retaliate

· Avoid contact with intimate parts of the body, the head and neck

· Stay in control of your actions.

The CSO or CBSM should be notified at the earliest opportunity of an incident of physical intervention which involves possible dispute as a complaint might be lodged with the RFU or the police by a parent whose child has been physically restrained. The incident should be recorded on the RFU Initial Issue/Concern Reporting Form

which may be found on the Safeguarding pages of the RFU website and sent to the RFU’s Safeguarding Team.

3.14 Changing rooms and showers

Adults and children must never use the same facilities to shower or change at the same time. Adults must only enter changing rooms when absolutely necessary due to poor behaviour, injury or illness. Adults must only ever enter the changing rooms by themselves in an emergency and when waiting for another adult could result in harm to a child.

If children or vulnerable adults need supervising in changing rooms, or coaches or managers need to carry out a range of tasks in that environment this must involve two suitably vetted adults of the same gender as the children or vulnerable adults. For mixed gender activities separate facilities should be available. If the same facilities must be used by adults and children or vulnerable adults on the same day a clear timetable should be established.

No pressure should be placed on children or vulnerable adults who feel uncomfortable changing or showering with others, if this is the case they should be allowed to shower and change at home.

Where a disability requires significant support from a parent; or carer, the person concerned and their parents should decide how they should be assisted to change or shower.

Before any assistance is offered by another person, appropriate consent should be given by a parent.

3.15 Transportation

Northern FC has a transport policy which is publicised to parents giving advice on dropping off and collecting children.

It is made clear that in most instances it is the responsibility of parents, not the club, to transport their child or vulnerable adult to and from the club or nominated meeting point. If parents make arrangements between themselves this is a private arrangement and at the parents’ discretion.

If Northern FC formally arranges transport eg using minibuses or people carriers (as opposed to facilitating travel arrangements between parents) then Northern FC ensures that:

· Drivers have a valid driving licence and recruitment procedures, including vetting criteria have been followed and appropriate insurance and breakdown cover has been arranged

· The vehicle is suitable for the number of passengers and has operational safety belts and appropriate child car seats

· Parents give their consent and have the driver’s contact details, with the driver having easy access to parents’ contact details including mobile phon

No child or vulnerable adult is left alone in the car with the driver, unless it is the adult’s own child or vulnerable adult. If, in extenuating circumstances, this situation arises the child or vulnerable adult should sit in the back of the car if possible

· The children involved are happy with the arrangement and adults are alert to any signs of disquiet.

If Northern FC hires a coach from a reputable commercial coach company it assumes that the company provides properly maintained and insured vehicles and properly licensed drivers. However, children must never travel unaccompanied. A member of the club must travel with the children and that adult’s contact details must be readily available to any parent who has reason to contact them.

In the event of a late collection of children or vulnerable adults, coaches and volunteers should: attempt to contact the parents, wait with the child or vulnerable adult, preferably in the company of others, notify the CSO/club official and remind parents of their responsibility to collect their child promptly.

3.16 Photographic Images

The RFU welcomes the taking of appropriate images of children in rugby clubs and has developed guidance for parents and the paid and volunteer workforce to enable suitable photographs to be taken celebrating the Core Values of the sport.

There are risks associated with the use of photographic images. RFU Guidance on Photographic Images and professional photography can be found on the Safeguarding pages of the Safeguarding Toolkit; it is based on common sense. Clubs are advised to ensure that everyone is fully aware of, and complies with, this guidance. The key principle is that clubs should ensure they obtain parental consent for photographs to be taken whilst a child is either at the club or at away fixtures.

3.17 Sharing of electronic material/media

Northern FC follows the advice contained in the CyberGuidance, available in the Safeguarding Toolkit.

(Websites can be a positive way to communicate with children. However, there are risks associated with internet usage.

Rugby clubs are legally responsible for their website content and there should be nothing included which could harm a child, directly or indirectly. It is important to note that it is not acceptable to share sexually explicit or inappropriate material via any form of media with children or vulnerable adults. The online environment is ever changing; the guidance will be reviewed and updated when necessary.)


4 Prohibited practices

Northern FC implements the following policy:

· Coaches, managers or volunteers including all professional staff must never:

a) Take young people to their own home or any other place where they will be alone with them

b) Spend any amount of time alone with young people away from others

c) Take young people alone on car journeys, however short

· If it should arise that such situations are unavoidable they should only take place with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in Northern FC and/or a person with parental responsibility for the young person. In exceptional circumstances where a coach, manager or volunteer cannot obtain the consent of the person in charge in Northern FC and/or person with parental responsibility for the young person then if it is in the welfare interest of the young person, (a) and (c) above do not have to be followed. If this occurs the adult must record the occurrence with the Northern FC Safeguarding officer

· Engage in rough, physical games, sexually provocative games or horseplay with children/young people

· Take part as a player in any dynamic contact games or training sessions with young people. If there is a need for an adult to facilitate learning within a coaching session through the use of coaching aids e.g. contact pads, this should be done with the utmost care and with due regard to the safety of the young players

· Share a room with a young person unless the individual is the parent/guardian of that young person

· Engage in any form of inappropriate sexual contact and/or behaviour

· Allow any form of inappropriate touching

· Make sexually suggestive remarks to a young person even in fun

· Use inappropriate language or allow young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged

· Allow allegations by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon

· Do things of a personal nature for a young person that they can do for themselves unless you have been requested to do so by the parents/carer (please note that it is recognised that some young people will always need help with things such as lace tying, adjustment of Tag belts, fitting head guards and it is also recognised that this does not preclude anyone attending to an injured/ill young person or rendering first aid)

· Depart the rugby club or agreed rendezvous point until the safe dispersal of all young people is complete

· Cause an individual to lose self esteem by embarrassing, humiliating or undermining the individual

· Treat some young people more favourably than others

· Agree to meet a young person on their own on a one to one basis.


5 Positions of Trust

Northern FC informs all those involved with young people that:

· All adults who work with young people are in a position of trust which has been invested in them by the parents, the sport and the young person. This relationship can be described as one in which the adult is in a position of power and influence by virtue of their position. Sexual intercourse or touching by an adult with a child under the age of 16 years is unlawful, even where there is apparent consent from the child

· A sexual relationship between an adult in a position of trust within the rugby setting and a child over 16 years of age is contrary to the Policy and Procedures for the Welfare of Young People in the Sport of Rugby Union

· Adults must not encourage a physical or emotionally dependant relationship to develop between the person in a position of trust and the young person in their care

· All those within Northern FC have a duty to raise concerns about the behaviour of coaches, officials, volunteers, administrators and professional staff which may be harmful to the children, young people in their care, without prejudice to their own position.


6.DBS Disclosure

Northern FC requires that:

· All adults who have ‘regular supervisory contact with young people’ must undertake DBS disclosure within eight weeks of their appointment to a position which involves regular supervisory contact with young people

These adults will include;

· Professional Staff

· All coaches/assistant coaches

· Heads of Mini/Midi Rugby sections

· Heads of Youth Rugby Sections

· Team Managers

· All Referees who regularly officiate mini/midi and youth games

· Welfare Officers

· Physiotherapists

· Club administrators.

7 What is abuse?

Types of abuse

Abuse is maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly or may be responsible for abuse by failing to prevent another person harming that child. Bullying is also abusive behaviour which generally incorporates more than one of the four types of abusive behaviour. Those involved with children should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label and in most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. Examples of physical abuse in sport include extreme physical punishments; forcing a child into training and competition that exceeds the capacity of his or her immature and growing body or limitations of a disability; assaulting a person; or where the child is given drugs to enhance performance or in the case of a child, delay puberty.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative sexual acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual photographic or online images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via text or the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed. These may include interactions that are PHYSICAL, SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL, AND NEGLECT 16 beyond the child’s

developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing them from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve a child seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another as well as serious bullying (including on-line bullying) causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may also occur alone. Examples of emotional abuse in sport include subjecting children to constant criticism, name-calling, and sarcasm or bullying. It could also include their regular exclusion from an activity, such as unjustified non-selection for a team, failing to rotate squad positions or more subtle actions such as staring at or ignoring a child. Putting players under consistent pressure to perform to unrealistically high standards is also a form of emotional abuse.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. Examples of neglect in sport could include: not ensuring children are safe; exposing them to undue cold or heat or unsuitable weather conditions, or exposing them to unnecessary risk of injury.

Bullying

Bullying is often considered to be a fifth type of abuse but when it does occur it usually has elements of one or more of the four categories identified. The bully can be a parent who pushes too hard, a coach or manager with a ‘win at all costs’ attitude or another intimidating child. It should also be recognised that bullying can take place in the virtual world of social networking sites, emails or text messages (online bullying sometimes referred to as cyberbullying). Bullying is serious and must not be ignored and in common with all other forms of abuse the victim should be supported through what can be a traumatic experience. Bullying will not just go away. Bullies can be very cunning and develop strategies to avoid it being seen by anyone but the victim. Bullying takes many forms, but ultimately it is the perception of the victim that determines whether or not they are being bullied rather than the intention of the bully. There are opportunities to bully at any rugby club or activity. It is the way that bullying concerns are dealt with which makes the difference between life being tolerable or becoming a misery for the victim.

Poor Practice

Poor practice arises when the needs of children are not afforded the necessary priority, compromising their wellbeing. Poor practice can easily turn into abuse if it is not dealt with as soon as concerns are raised or reported. Clubs which allow poor practice to go unchallenged may find that their culture is one which allows abuse to exist and be accepted as the norm. Examples of poor practice may include shouting, excessive training, creation of intra-club ‘elite squads’, ridicule of children or children’s errors, ignoring health and safety guidelines and failing to adhere to the club’s code of conduct.


7 What is abuse?

Types of abuse

Abuse is maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly or may be responsible for abuse by failing to prevent another person harming that child. Bullying is also abusive behaviour which generally incorporates more than one of the four types of abusive behaviour. Those involved with children should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label and in most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. Examples of physical abuse in sport include extreme physical punishments; forcing a child into training and competition that exceeds the capacity of his or her immature and growing body or limitations of a disability; assaulting a person; or where the child is given drugs to enhance performance or in the case of a child, delay puberty.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative sexual acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual photographic or online images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via text or the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed. These may include interactions that are PHYSICAL, SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL, AND NEGLECT 16 beyond the child’s

developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing them from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve a child seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another as well as serious bullying (including on-line bullying) causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may also occur alone. Examples of emotional abuse in sport include subjecting children to constant criticism, name-calling, and sarcasm or bullying. It could also include their regular exclusion from an activity, such as unjustified non-selection for a team, failing to rotate squad positions or more subtle actions such as staring at or ignoring a child. Putting players under consistent pressure to perform to unrealistically high standards is also a form of emotional abuse.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. Examples of neglect in sport could include: not ensuring children are safe; exposing them to undue cold or heat or unsuitable weather conditions, or exposing them to unnecessary risk of injury.

Bullying

Bullying is often considered to be a fifth type of abuse but when it does occur it usually has elements of one or more of the four categories identified. The bully can be a parent who pushes too hard, a coach or manager with a ‘win at all costs’ attitude or another intimidating child. It should also be recognised that bullying can take place in the virtual world of social networking sites, emails or text messages (online bullying sometimes referred to as cyberbullying). Bullying is serious and must not be ignored and in common with all other forms of abuse the victim should be supported through what can be a traumatic experience. Bullying will not just go away. Bullies can be very cunning and develop strategies to avoid it being seen by anyone but the victim. Bullying takes many forms, but ultimately it is the perception of the victim that determines whether or not they are being bullied rather than the intention of the bully. There are opportunities to bully at any rugby club or activity. It is the way that bullying concerns are dealt with which makes the difference between life being tolerable or becoming a misery for the victim.

Poor Practice

Poor practice arises when the needs of children are not afforded the necessary priority, compromising their wellbeing. Poor practice can easily turn into abuse if it is not dealt with as soon as concerns are raised or reported. Clubs which allow poor practice to go unchallenged may find that their culture is one which allows abuse to exist and be accepted as the norm. Examples of poor practice may include shouting, excessive training, creation of intra-club ‘elite squads’, ridicule of children or children’s errors, ignoring health and safety guidelines and failing to adhere to the club’s code of conduct.


8 Procedures

How to react to concerns about the welfare and safety of children.

Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility. This means that everyone in rugby has a responsibility to respond to any concerns that they or others, may have about a child, or the behaviour of an adult. This relates to concerns which arise both within the rugby environment and outside of the rugby environment.

Harm in the context of this policy is an action or behaviour which has a detrimental effect on a child’s physical or emotional health or wellbeing. Neither poor practice nor

suspicions of harm should be ignored. Whether physical, sexual, emotional, bullying or neglect, suspicions of harm should always be reported and victims supported throughout. Please refer to the flowchart for the steps to be followed. The flowchart does not distinguish between the environment in which the concerns arise whether inside or outside the rugby environment. It is also appropriate to follow this procedure for allegations of abuse by one child against another.

Signs of Harm

It is important that in the rugby environment signs of harm are not ignored. These signs may include a child:

· changing their usual routine

· beginning to be disruptive during sessions

· becoming withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence

· having possessions going missing

· becoming aggressive or unreasonable

· starting to stammer or stopping communicating

· having unexplained cuts or bruises

· starting to bully other children

· being frequently dirty, hungry or inadequately dressed

· displaying sexual behaviour or using sexual language inappropriate for their age • seeming afraid of parents or carers

· stopping eating

· being frightened to say what’s wrong

· not wanting to attend training or club activities, or even leaving the club

Abuse should always be taken seriously and any concerns should be reported to the CSO. In their absence the CBSM or RFU Safeguarding Team should be informed at the earliest possible opportunity. Any report must be made in writing using the RFU Initial Issue/Concern Reporting Form. The Reporting Form may be found at englandrugby.com/safeguarding along with the contact details for all the Safeguarding Team.

Dealing with Concerns

Any member of the children’s workforce who suspects abuse or neglect or hears a complaint of abuse or neglect:

· should listen carefully to the child and keep an open mind. They should not take a decision as to whether or not the abuse has taken place

· should not ask leading questions, i.e. a question which suggests its own answer

· should reassure the child but not give a guarantee of absolute confidentiality. The adult should explain that they need to pass on the information in accordance with this policy so that the correct action can be taken

· and should keep a sufficient written record of the conversation. The record should include: (i) the date and time; (ii) the place of the conversation; and (iii) the essence of what was said and done by whom and in whose presence

· and should be signed by the person making it, using names and not initials.

All other evidence, for example, scribbled notes, mobile phones containing text messages, clothing, and computers, should be kept securely with the written record (see below) and passed on when reporting the matter in accordance with this Policy. Recording the Concern All concerns about a child should be recorded in writing. Records should be factual and signed and dated, with the name of the signatory clearly printed in writing. Records should include:

· the child’s details: name, date of birth, address and family details

· date and time of the event / concern

· the action taken and by whom

· the name and position of the person making the record.

An individual who becomes aware of any suspicions or concerns about the safety or welfare of a child should pass these on to the CSO as soon as possible. If they feel the child is in immediate risk of abuse then a statutory agency (local children’s services or the police) should be contacted immediately. Otherwise the CSO must contact the RFU Safeguarding Team or if they are not available the CB Safeguarding Manager to report the matter or discuss how to proceed



Appendix

Useful Contact Details

RFU

The RFU Safeguarding Team

contacts are:

Richard Smallbone

Senior Safeguarding Manager

richardsmallbone@rfu.com

02088317832

Kath Bennett

Safeguarding Case Manager

kathbennett@rfu.com

02088327479

Clare Scott

Safeguarding Case Officer

clarescott@rfu.com

02088317480

Referral Management Group

rmg@therfu.com

NSPCC Helpline

08088005000

www.nspcc.org.uk

(for adults - 24 hours)

Children Protection in Sport Unit

01162347278

www.thecpsu.org.uk

Childline

08001111

(for children - 24hours) 

Northern FC Safeguarding Officer, Chris Matthews MBE, cdm65@talktalk.net Home: 0191 2856494 Mobile: 07587 155909

CB Safeguarding Manager, Alan Heinzman, Alan.heinzman@btopenworld.com Home: 0191 2362987 Mobile: 07511 644483

CB Assistant Safeguarding Manager, Gary Robson, garyrobson1@gmail.com Home: 01434 634182 Mobile: 07717 201931

General Advice CB Chair of Youth, Lee Weatherley, leeweatherley73@gmail.com Mobile: 07590427459

County Administrator, Claire Sharpe, claire.sharpe@northumberlandrfu.co.uk Office: 0191 2864399

Rugby Development Officer, Dave Reed, davereed@rfu.com Mobile: 07736 517728


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