Old Rutlishians’ Mini & Junior Rugby Safeguarding Policy
This policy statement covers the safeguarding of children involved in Minis and Junior Rugby at Old Rutlishians' Rugby Football Club. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the ORRFC Safeguarding Officer, Ian Lambert or a member of the RFU detailed at the end of this article.
This policy is based on the following key principles of the RFU Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults Policy:
- The welfare of the child is paramount
- All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race, faith, size, language or sexual identity, 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.
Children are defined in the Children Act 1989 as people under the age of 18 years. For the purposes of this Policy the legal definition applies.
All those who volunteer or are in a paid role at a rugby club and work with children are part of the children’s workforce, providing services to children. We all work towards creating a safe, friendly and welcoming environment and treat children with respect in accordance with the Core Values reproduced below and
- Understand and comply with this club’s safeguarding policy
- Aim to follow all guidance in this document when working with children
- Completes any training considered appropriate for their role
Disclosure And Barring Service (DBS)
The DBS was created when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in December 2012 as a result of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA). The DBS runs checks at three different levels providing information on an individual’s criminal records.
The statutory definition of Regulated Activity applies to this Policy. In summary, this means teaching, training, instruction, care or supervision of children carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often) or on four or more days in a 30 day period, or overnight. Those working in Regulated Activity and over the age of 16 years will have an enhanced DBS disclosure processed and cleared by the RFU, in accordance with RFU Regulations.
Regulations 15 and 21
Regulation 15 is the RFU Regulation which deals with Age Grade Rugby and it is advisable for all those working with children in rugby union to read and refer to this regulation regularly.
Regulation 21 relates to safeguarding aspects within the rugby union environment
R.F.U. Safeguarding Team
The Safeguarding Team consists of the Safeguarding Manager, Case Officer, Advisor and Compliance Officer all based at Twickenham. Their contact details are on the last page of this policy as well as on the RFU website.
This Policy should be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Toolkit which provides further guidance and advice on safeguarding matters.
17 Year Olds Playing in the Adult Game
A child or young person is anyone under the age of 18 engaged in any rugby union activity. Where a 17 year old player is playing in the adult game the club’s management team will have assessed and continue to assess, that the 17 year old male player playing in adult games or training is both physically, emotionally and intellectually capable of taking part.
The management of any adult team which include 17 year olds, will also be mindful of their safety and wellbeing and ensure that a suitable adult from within the team and management acts as a mentor or buddy, be fully aware of all Safeguarding matters and have a current DBS Certificate.
We acknowledge and promote the RFU Core Values of
TEAMWORK DISCIPLINE SPORTSMANSHIP RESPECT ENJOYMENT
The people who work in every rugby club are the most important asset a club has. Therefore a good recruitment process is essential to ensure the best people are chosen for the roles they undertake. These must be people who are suited to the club and who are less likely to harm children, intentionally or accidentally. We ensure that we have good recruitment, induction and supervision processes in order to demonstrate to those working there, the value which we put on children’s safety and wellbeing.
Official checks and vetting procedures are not, on their own, enough to protect children. They are only part of a wider set of practices and an organisational culture which supports safe practice.
Paid and volunteer staff need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, how they should respond to child protection concerns and if necessary, make a referral to the Club Safeguarding Officer who will take the necessary action.
Working Together: Roles & Responsibilities
The club has appointed a Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO) as the first point of contact (see the last page of this document) for safeguarding and welfare concerns and has ensured that the CSO:
- Attends the appropriate Safeguarding courses and renews their certification every three years.
- Attends the appropriate club committees making safeguarding issues a priority at the proper level
- Works in accordance with the Safeguarding Toolkit
- Ensured each mini and youth age group has at least one person who has attended the “Play It Safe” course
- Ensured all club officers and committee members are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities
- Ensures that at any youth disciplinary panel the CSO will support the child and ensures the panel considers the child’s emotional wellbeing throughout
- Identifies any signs of harm and reports them to the CBSM and/or the RFU Safeguarding team
- Ensures that the club children’s workforce have up-to-date DBS checks in accordance with Best Practice Guidance and Regulation 21.
The ORRFC acknowledges its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in from harm. ORRFC confirms that it adheres to the Rugby Football Union's Safeguarding Policy. This policy should be read in conjunction with that Policy and does not replace nor supersede it.
The ORRFC recognises that all children and young people have the right to participate in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment whilst at the same time being protected from abuse, neglect, harm and poor practice. This is the responsibility of everyone involved, in whatever capacity, at the Club.
Types of Abuse
There are four main types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. 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 often considered to be a fifth type of abuse but when it occurs it usually has elements of one or more of the four categories identified. Incidents of poor practice arise 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.
Examples of poor practice may be shouting, excessive training, creation of intra-club ‘elite squads’, ridicule of players’ errors, ignoring health and safety guidelines and failing to adhere to the club’s code of conduct.
Best Practice Guidance
The ORRFC’s aim is to create a culture where everyone feels confident to raise legitimate concerns without prejudice to their own position. Concerns about the behaviour of coaches, officials or any members of the children’s workforce which may be harmful to a child in their care must be reported to the Club Safeguarding Officer.
Safeguarding Best Practice
ORRFC will ensure that all coaches, volunteers, and officials comply with the Safeguarding Best Practice Guidance as issued by the RFU. In summary, the following are NOT acceptable and will be treated seriously by the club and may result in disciplinary action being taken by the Club:
- Working alone with a child or young people
- Consuming alcohol or smoking whilst working with children or young people
- Failing to comply with the RFU guidelines on phone, email, messaging, internet and online contact with children or young people
- Providing alcohol to children or young people or allowing its supply
- Humiliating children or young people
- Inappropriate or unnecessary physical contact with a child, young person or vulnerable adult
- Participating in, or allowing, contact or physical games between adults and children or young people
- Having an intimate or sexual relationship with any child, young person or vulnerable adult developed as a result of being in a “position of trust"
- Making sexually explicit comments or sharing sexually explicit material.
The club aims to provide a safe environment where the possibility of abuse is openly acknowledged; volunteers and employees are appropriately recruited 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 information given to parents at the start of the season (such as the CSO’s name), choosing the correct and appropriate method of providing information to children (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 be avoided, unless in exceptional circumstances.
Covered earlier but it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure all reasonable steps should be taken to exclude anyone who may pose a threat to children.
We encourage all club officials and adults who have a coaching role to attend an appropriate Rugby Union Coaching course and a “Play It Safe” course. The behaviour and performance of new volunteers and employees is monitored for a period to ensure they are following best practice.
Supervision & Adult:Child Ratios
Coaching always takes place in an open environment with at least one DBS checked adult in charge of any group of children. The RFU recommended minimum ratio of adult to children of: 1:10 for children over 8 years old aged at least 9 ; 1:8 for children under 8 years old aged 7 and 8 ; 1:6 for children under 7 years old is a primary aim. These ratios also apply to tours.
Any tours, overseas or domestic, undertaken by ORRFC must comply with the relevant RFU Regulations and Guidance relating to tours. All Tours must be notified to the RFU in advance and all overseas tours require RFU approval in advance. Tour organisers should contact the Club Safeguarding Officer in the first instance.
Safeguarding disabled children
The club is aware that disabled children and their families may need additional information, help and support and is willing to help facilitate their participation if possible.
Good role models
The ORRFC children’s workforce is expected to display high standards of personal behaviour and appearance and refrain from pursuits considered unhealthy in front of their players. They must not make sexually explicit comments to children 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.
The club acts in the manner prescribed by the law and the club’s licence. The workforce is expected to act in a responsible manner whilst responsible for their children.
Contact rugby and coaching techniques
These are done in a safe and secure manner according to the guidelines laid down by the RFU.
Physical intervention or Positive Handling
Is only to be used as a final measure when there is a risk of danger to a child involved – all such incidents are to be reported to the CSO as soon as possible.
Changing rooms and showers
Care is always taken that adults and children never use the same facilities to shower or change at the same time. If supervision is required it will always involve two adults of the same gender as the children and with enhanced DBS clearance (unless there is an emergency situation requiring immediate action). No pressure is placed on any child to shower or change if they prefer to use their home facilities.
Inappropriate Relationships with Children (This is reproduced in full from the RFU Safeguarding Policy)
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 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 DBS. Therefore, an adult in a position of trust involved in a sexual relationship with a child over 16 years of age may be referred to the DBS for consideration. This could result in the adult being barred from working with children by the DBS. No-one in a position of trust should encourage a physical or emotionally dependent relationship to develop between them and a child in their care; this is often referred to as grooming. Adults must never send children inappropriate or sexually provocative messages or images by text, or other electronic media.
ORRFC Photographic Policy is clearly stated on the membership form.
Websites, Online and Mobile Communications
ORRFC follows the RFU Guidance for Websites, Online and Mobile Communications as set out on the RFU website.
ORRFC follows the RFU Guidance for Transportation as set out on the RFU website.
Codes of Conduct
ORRFC follows the RFU Code of Conduct and the Codes of Conduct for Coaches, Spectators and Officials.
The Good Parent's code
In Rugby Union coaches and administrators both fully acknowledge that parents are an integral part of the partnership, which ensures that young players enjoy their involvement in the sport and experience an environment in which they can flourish.
In Rugby Union parents are encouraged to:
- Be familiar with the coaching and training programme in order that they can ensure that their child is fully involved and the coaches are aware of their availability.
- Be familiar with the teaching and coaching methods used by observing the sessions in which your child participates.
- Be aware that the club has a duty of care and therefore, where appropriate, assist coaches with the supervision of the young players, particularly where numbers are large and there is a need to transport youngsters to away games.
- Be involved with club activities and share your expertise.
- Share concerns, if you have them, with club officials.
- Be familiar with the "Good Coach's code". In particular:
- Coaches should recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when coaching young players.
- Coaches should keep winning and losing in perspective, encouraging young players to behave with dignity in all circumstances.
It is important that parents support coaches in instilling these virtues.
The Good Spectator’s code
Young rugby players are impressionable and their behaviour will often reflect that of adults around them. In Rugby Union we welcome spectators on our touchlines who embrace the ethos of the game as one of fun, enjoyment and skill development.
In Rugby Union spectators are encouraged to:
- Act as positive role models to all young players.
- Be familiar with, and abide by, the RFU child protection guidance in relation to verbal and emotional abuse.
- Respect the rugby club policy with regard to spectator behaviour.
In Rugby Union spectators should:
- Remember children play sport for their enjoyment not yours.
- Acknowledge good individual and team performance from all youngsters irrespective of which team they play for.
- Respect match official's decisions. Remember, they are volunteers providing an opportunity for youngsters to play rugby.
- Never verbally abuse young players, match officials, fellow spectators or coaches. Such behaviour can create a negative environment for young players and their behaviour will often reflect this.
- Acknowledge effort and good performance rather than the "win at all costs" ethic.
- Verbally encourage all youngsters in a positive way. If you do want to shout make sure it is 'for', not 'at', the players.
- Condemn bad language, rude behaviour and violence.
- Encourage all youngsters irrespective of their ability – never ridicule any individual player, regardless of the team they play for.
- Remember - It's only a game!
Anyone witnessing or aware of an incident where the welfare of a child, young person or vulnerable adult has been put at risk must in the first instance inform the Club Safeguarding Officer.
If an incident involves the Club Safeguarding Officer the Club Chairman should be informed and also either the Surrey RFU Safeguarding Manager or the RFU Safeguarding Executive.
Disclosure And Barring Service (DBS) Checks: All members of ORRFC who have a regular supervisory contact with children or a management responsibility for those working with children must undertake an RFU Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. It is a criminal offence to work with children unsupervised without such a check.
Wondering whether you need a check? If you are over 16 and working with children or young people more than once per week or 4 or more times in a 30 day period, you need a check.
ORRFC will provide its coaches and volunteers with the support and safeguarding training required for their position and role. Coaches and Volunteers must ensure they attend this training.
Any events held on ORRFC premises must comply with this Policy and if appropriate a Safeguarding Plan specific to that event should be discussed and circulated to those affected.
ORRFC has adopted the RFU’s Anti–Bullying policy.
The welfare of children at ORRFC will only be protected properly if this policy is implemented effectively. ORRFC has a designated individual, the Club Safeguarding Officer, with child protection responsibility.
Useful Contact Details
Old Rutlishians’ Rugby Football Club
T: 0208 642 6315 M: 07425150637
The RFU Safeguarding team contacts are:
T: 0208 831 7832
Safeguarding Case Officer
Annie Davis Safeguarding Advisor
Safeguarding Compliance Officer
T: 0808 800 5000
(for adults - 24hrs)
Child Protection in Sport Unit
T: 0116 234 7278
- Written by Ian Lambert