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.
Child Protection Policy
Strensall Sports Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in activities organised on the facilities at Durlston Drive Strensall York YO32 5AT from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of children with disabilities, and others who may be particularly vulnerable, must be taken into account. The Trustees will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in activities on the Sports ground and buildings through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the Association. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 years. (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Strensall Sports Club Child Protection Policy is:
- To promote good practice.
- To provide children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst participating in any way in activities using the facilities.
- To enable all users to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Promoting good practice.
Child abuse, in particular, sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not to allow them to interfere with the judgement about the appropriate action to take. Abuse can occur within many situations, including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some adults will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. An instructor, sessional worker, staff member or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where a child is in need of protection. All users will be required to understand this policy and adopt its guidelines.
Good practice guidelines.
All users should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are examples of setting a positive culture and climate.
- Always work in an open environment, avoiding private situations and encourage open communication.
- Treat all young people and vulnerable adults equally and with respect and dignity.
- Put the welfare of each young person first.
- Maintain a safe and appropriate distance with children. For example, it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them.
- Build balanced relationships, based on mutual trust and empower children to share in decision-making.
- Ensure that if any form of physical support is needed, it should be provided openly and young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
- Keep up to date with skills qualifications and insurance.
- Ensure that if children are involved in activities requiring overnight accommodation they are accompanied by volunteers or staff who have been CRB checked and trained.
- Adults in charge of children or young people should not smoke or drink alcohol while working with the children.
- Try to give constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognise the developmental needs and capacity of a young person involved in an activity.
- Secure parental consent in writing to act ‘in loco parentis’ if the need arises to administer emergency first aid until medical treatment can be sought and parents informed.
- Keep a written record of any injury, which occurs during a project activity along with written details of any treatment given.
- Secure parental/carer agreement in writing if young people are transported in project staff cars. Check that all cars are appropriately insured.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a situation arises where these situations cannot be avoided, action taken should be with the consent of the leader of the project activity at the time. In general avoid
- Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
- Collecting or dropping off a child after an event except with parental consent.
- Engaging in rough physical or sexually provocative games.
- Sharing a room with a child.
- Allowing or engaging in any form of inappropriate touching.
- Allowing children to use inappropriate or abusive language unchallenged.
- Making sexually suggestive comments to children even in fun.
- Allowing allegations made by a child to go unchallenged unrecorded or not acted upon.
- Do things of a personal nature for a child, which they can do for themselves.
- Invite or allow children to stay at your home unsupervised.
NB There are occasions when it may be necessary to help a child with a personal task. Obtain the consent of the parent for this purpose and explain what you are doing to the child concerned. Avoid taking responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
Incidents, which must be reported
If any of the following occur, you should report this immediately to another colleague and report the incident. You should also ensure that the parent/carer is informed.
- If you accidentally hurt a child.
- If a child seems distressed in any way.
- If a child behaves in an inappropriately sexual way.
- If a child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Recruitment and Training of Staff and Volunteers
The Trustees will ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent unsuitable people from working with children.
Pre-selection checks must include
All staff and volunteers involved with sports club children’s activities should sign an agreement to comply with this policy. All officials of sports clubs to produce evidence of adults in charge of children have been checked through the Criminal Records Bureau.
Interview and induction
All employees will be required to be interviewed following an appropriate protocol. All employees should receive an induction during which:
- Their qualifications are substantiated.
- The job requirements should be clarified.
- Child Protection procedures are explained and training needs identified.
The safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff to:
- Keep their own practice under review and ensure that they practice in such as way as to protect themselves from false allegation.
- Recognise that their responsibilities are to report any concerns about poor practice or vulnerable situations.
- Respond to concerns expressed by a child.
- Work safely and effectively with children There is a legal responsibility placed on the Strensall Sports Club and any staff member user to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. All such concerns must be discussed with the Chairman who will contact the appropriate agency. There are three types of investigation when there is a complaint against a member of staff.
- 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.
1. Concerns about poor practice
If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Trustees will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
2. Concerns about suspected abuse
- Any suspicion that a child has been abused by a member of staff or volunteer should be reported to a Trustee who will take steps to ensure the safety of that child and any others who may be at risk.
- The Trustees will refer the allegation to Social Services.
- The parents or carers of the child will be informed as soon as possible following advice from the Social Services Department.
- If a Trustee is the subject of suspicion or allegation, the report must be made to the Chairman, who will refer the matter to Social Services.
Every effort will be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all involved. Information should be handled and disseminated on a ‘need to know’ basis only.
This includes the following.
- The Safeguarding person nominated by the Trustees.
- The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
- The person making the allegation.
- Social Services staff and the Police
- The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child) Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with Data Protection laws i.e. that data is accurate, updated, relevant and secure.
Internal enquiries and suspicion
The Trustees will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending enquiries by Social Services and the Police. Notwithstanding the enquiries of the official bodies, the trustees will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or a user can be reinstated and how this may be carefully managed. In some cases, there is insufficient evidence for the Police to proceed. In such cases the Trustees must reach a decision based on all the available information. The welfare of the child must remain paramount throughout.
Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse
Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff, or users may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process. The British Association of Counselling Directory is available from The BACP. Consideration should be given to the support that may be available for the alleged abuser.
Allegations of previous abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event, e.g. an adult who was abused as a young person with whom the member of staff was working. Where such an allegation is made the Trustees will follow the procedure as detailed above and report the matter to Social Services. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is detailed in the Protection of Children Act 1999.
Action if bullying is suspected
- Take all signs of suspected bullying very seriously.
- Encourage children to speak and share their concerns. Help the child to speak out and tell someone in authority.
- Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure that the child is safe.
- Speak with the victim and the bully separately.
- Reassure the victim that you can be trusted but that you cannot promise not to tell anyone else.
- Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom and when).
- Report any concerns to the Trustees.
Action towards the bully/ies
- Talk with the bully, explain the situation and try to get the bully to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim.
- Inform the bully’s parents.
- Impose sanctions as necessary.
- Encourage and support the bully to change their behaviour.
- Meet with the families to report on progress.
- Inform all organisation members of action taken.
- Keep written record of action taken.
Concerns outside the environment of Solace e.g. re parents or carer
- Report your concerns to social services or the police as soon as possible.
- See below for information, which will be needed.
- Social services will make decisions on the course of action.
- Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
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 kept at the time of the disclosure or 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, including dates, times, any special factors or other relevant information.
- Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
- A description of any visible bruising or 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 took place and how any bruising or other injury occurred.
- Whether the parents have bee contacted.
- If so, what was said?
- Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details?
- Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser?
- Referral to the Police or Social Services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the person who took to referral should be recorded.
Advice about procedures can be sought from:
NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000