Child Protection Policy and Guidelines

Child Protection Policy – OVERVIEW

SportNE understands that child protection is an important issue, that must be addressed and adhered to by all SportNE staff.  Using the national governing body of each sport covered by the company, the child protection policies of each will be adhered to.  Below is an extract from their policy, the aims of this policy are:

  • To develop a positive and pro-active position in order to best protect all children and young people who play sports, enabling them to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment.
  • To demonstrate ethics and high standards through sport participation.

The key principles underpinning this policy are that:

  • The child’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration.
  • All children and young people have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual identity.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

Every child or young person who plays or participates in sport should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse.  This is the responsibility of every adult working or volunteering for SportNE.

SportNE recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm or from neglect or bullying.  SportNE follows the Child Protection Procedures and Practices handbook, and advocates that it should be consulted at all times.

In order for SportNE to keep its high standards, all staff must be suitably qualified for their role within SportNE.  All staff must have an in-date DBS certificate. As well as this SportNE encourages staff to be up to date with current child protection procedures and encourages all staff to undergo first aid training (there will always be a first aid trained member of staff on site).

SportNE maintains equal opportunities in employment; therefore it will subject all staff to checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service.  SportNE will consider, having taken advice, whether anyone who has a previous criminal conviction or caution for offences related to the abuse of children or young people, violence or any sexual offences should be excluded from working with children and young people.  This position is reinforced by U.K. legislation and guidance.

Promotion of good practice

– Introduction

SportNE recognises that child abuse of all nature can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to recognise these feelings; however they must not interfere with the judgement and action taken. SportNE recognises that abuse can occur in all environments, including the home, school or any sporting context, and can occur in the most subtle and obvious forms.

A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer may have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where a young person needs protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document. When a child enters the facility 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 SportNE must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.

Good Practice Guidelines

All people working for SportNE in a sporting environment should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are examples of good practice and should be adhered to at all times by staff:

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment i.e. 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 to have an intimate relationship with a child)
  • 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, and those outlined by the governing body of that sport. An explanation of manual support should be given to the child prior to it occurring and if necessary explanation should also be given to the parent/guardian of the child and agreement sought from both parties. The views of both child and parent/guardian should be carefully considered.
  • Keeping up to date with the technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport, particularly the advancement of coaching techniques and child protection workshops.
  • If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, it shall be ensured that parents/teachers/coaches/officials work in pairs.
  • All coaches are to be viewed as a role model for the child – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people and showing a professional attitude to sport at all times. Particularly important is respect for officials and coaches and the promotion of good attitude towards them should be encouraged.
  • 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 give permission for the administration of 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.

Practice to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur 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:

  • spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others, if necessary ensure there are always two coaches present
  • If a child needs to go to hospital it should be ensured that the child is accompanied by a coach and a responsible adult.
  • If a parent fails to arrive to pick the child up at the end of a session then two coaches must wait while the parent is contacted/or arrives.

Practice never to be sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

  • engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay;
  • 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;

N.B. Coaches of SportNE must avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which they are not appropriately trained, if circumstances occur where they are asked to perform tasks for which they are not trained, e.g. assisting a child to dress appropriately, they must seek assistance and consent from the parent/guardian of the child to perform such tasks. A child should be encouraged to perform these tasks for themselves wherever possible.

If any of the following should occur SportNE coaches should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. They should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:

  • If you accidentally hurt a player.
  • If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
  • If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
  • If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Guidelines for Use of Photographic Filming Equipment at Sporting Events

SportNE recognises that this is a sensitive issue and vigilance is encouraged at all times. If a coach feels inappropriate use of such equipment occurs they must report it immediately. If photography is required, written and verbal consent will be sought from every child and every parent/guardian for that child, having being given an explanation for the reason of the event, prior to the photography/filming taking place.

Photography and filming of a sporting event may occur legitimately for the purpose of event analysis, where this is the case guidelines (given above) will be adhered to and care will be taken for the storage of such films.