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 members of the Inler Angling Club have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
Members are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.
The Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in Inler Angling Club 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. The Inler Angling Club will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in Inler Angling Club through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by Inler Angling Club.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Inler Angling Club Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the Inler Angling Club;
Allow all members 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 junior members (e.g. it is not appropriate for senior members 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 (for example teaching a junior member to cast whilst controlling their grip on the rod). 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 at club competitions.
Ensuring that if male and female junior members are taken away on fishing trips or competitions, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
Ensuring that on trips where an overnight stay is necessary, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
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.
Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer 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.
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 competition:
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
N.B. It may sometimes be necessary for members 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 junior member 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 member and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
If you accidentally hurt a junior member.
If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
If a junior member appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
If a junior member misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of a member of the Inler Angling Club 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.
The Inler Angling Club will assure all members that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that another member is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a member of the club 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; the Club Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue and report the matter to the club committee.
If the allegation is about poor practice by the Club Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the relevant club officials ie Chairman / Secretary who will raise the matter at committee level.
2. Concerns about suspected abuse
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member should be reported to the Club Child Protection Officer, 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.
The Club Child Protection Officer 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.
If the Club Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate club official ie. Chairman / Secretary who will refer the allegation to Social Services.
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:
The Club Child Protection Officer.
The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
The person making the allegation.
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 Inler Angling Club Committee in conjunction with the Child Protection Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the Inler Angling Club Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases, the Inler Angling Club Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance 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 may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process. Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.
Allegations of previous abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member who is still currently working with children).
Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
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 the Club Child Protection Officer 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.
Impose sanctions as necessary.
Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
Inform all club members of action taken.
Keep a written record of action taken.
3. Concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (e.g. a parent or carer):
Report your concerns to the Club Child Protection Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.
See 4. below for the information social services or the police will need.
If the Club Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.
Social Services and the Club Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
The Club Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the Inler Angling Club Committee. The Committee should ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident play a role in Angling Club and act accordingly.
Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
See 4 below regarding information needed for social services.
4. 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.
If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.