More in this section:
MedwayTri Club fully accepts its legal (Children Acts, 1989 & 2004) and moral obligations to provide a duty of care to protect all children (and vulnerable adults) safeguard and promote their welfare, irrespective of age, any disability they have, gender, racial origin, religious belief and sexual identity.
In pursuit of this, MedwayTri Club is committed to ensuring that:
- The welfare of young people (and vulnerable adults) is paramount and children have the right to protection from abuse.
- All young people who take part in Triathlon should be able to participate in a fun and safe environment.
- It takes all reasonable practical steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and respects their rights, wishes and feelings.
- All suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately; MedwayTri Club will implement suitable suspension, complaints, disciplinary and appeals procedures.
- All affiliated clubs are required to sign up to the MedwayTri Club procedures for good practice and child protection that clearly state what is required of them.
- All employees and volunteers are carefully selected, informed about their responsibilities and provided with guidance and/or training in safe guarding children good practice and child protection procedures.
- High standards of behaviour and practice are demanded through compliance with the MedwayTri Club codes of conduct produced for coaches, team managers, parents and volunteers.
- Everyone knows and accepts their responsibilities and works together: parents, triathletes, coaches, team managers, volunteers and professional staff.
Terms and Abbreviations
The following terms and abbreviations are used in this document:
- Anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a child/young person.
- All policies and procedures described refer to vulnerable adults as well as children.
- The term parent is used as a generic term to represent parents, carers and guardians.
- Section 1: MedwayTri Club Vulnerable Adults Statement
- Section 2: Good Practice, Poor Practice and Abuse
- Section 3: Recruitment, Selection and Training
- Section 4: Responding to Disclosure, Suspicions and Allegations
- Section 5: Implementation and Monitoring Procedures
- Appendix A: MedwayTri Code of Conduct
- Appendix B: MedwayTri Club Guidelines for the Use of Photographic & Video Images of Children/Young
People under the age of 18
- Appendix C: Anti Bullying Policy
- Appendix D: Child protection Statement
1.0 Who is a vulnerable adult?
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves, or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may be because they have a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment, are old and frail, or have some form of illness.
Mental Capacity refers to the ability to make decisions for yourself about your own life. Some people have difficulties in making such decisions. This is called 'lacking capacity'.
Under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) there are now laws governing who can make decisions on someone else's behalf, which help to safeguard vulnerable people.
What do we mean by abuse?
Abuse is a violation of a person's human rights or dignity by someone else.
There are many kinds of abuse; some are listed below:
- Physical - Including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, restraint or inappropriate sanctions.
- Sexual - Including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, could not consent or was pressured into consenting.
- Psychological - Including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
- Financial or material - Including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
- Neglect or acts of omission - Including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health care, social care, education services or misuse of medication, adequate nutrition or heating.
- Discriminatory -Including racist, sexist behaviour and harassment based on a person's ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, age or disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
- Institutional abuse - This can sometimes happen in residential homes, nursing homes or hospitals when people are mistreated because of poor or inadequate care, neglect and poor practice that affects the whole of that service.
Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate or be the result of ignorance, or lack of training, knowledge or understanding. Often if a person is being abused in one way they are also being abused in other ways.
Who may be an abuser?
The person who is responsible for the abuse is often well known to the person abused and could be -
- Relatives and family members
- Professional staff
- Paid care workers
- Other service users
- Friends and associates, and
What are the signs?
Some of the signs to look for are:
- multiple bruising or fingermarks
- injuries the person cannot give a good reason for
- deterioration of health for no apparent reason
- loss of weight
- inappropriate or inadequate clothing
- withdrawal or mood changes
- a carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person
- an individual who is unwilling to be alone with a particular carer
- unexplained shortage of money
Who should you contact if you are worried?
If you are being abused or you suspect that someone you know may be the victim of abuse you should call your Club Welfare Officer or MedwayTri Club's Lead Officer.
Additional vulnerability for children with disabilities
Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable and at greater risk of all forms of abuse. The presence of multiple disabilities increases the risk of both abuse and neglect.
Some of the common factors that can lead to increased vulnerability include social isolation, communication and learning difficulties, lack of understanding of boundaries, need for assistance with personal care and more likely target for bullying and abuse.
Children with disabilities have the same rights to protection as any other child and clubs working with these children need to be especially alert to the signs and symptoms of abuse and have strategies in place to ensure all children are able to raise concerns
To provide young people with the best possible experience and opportunities in Triathlon, it is imperative that everyone operates within an accepted ethical framework and demonstrates exemplary behaviour. This not only ensures that
Triathlon makes a positive contribution to the development of young people and safeguards their welfare, but also protects all personnel from allegations of abuse or poor practice. It is not always easy to differentiate poor practice from abuse. It is not, therefore, the responsibility of employees or volunteers in Triathlon to determine whether or not abuse is taking place. It is, however, their responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and to act if they have concerns about the welfare of a child.
This section will help you identify what is meant by good and poor practice and some of the indications of possible abuse. Guidance on what to do if you are concerned about poor practice or possible abuse is provided in section 4.
2.1 Good Practice
The following principles should be adhered to by all personnel:
- Ensure experience of Triathlon is fun and enjoyable; promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying and never condone rule violations or the use of prohibited substances.
- Be an excellent role model, do not drink alcohol or smoke when working with young people.
- Treat all young people and vulnerable adults equally; this means giving both the more and less talented in a group similar attention, time, respect and dignity.
- Respect the developmental stage of each young person and place their welfare before winning, club or personal achievements. This means ensuring that the training intensity is appropriate to the physical, social and emotional developmental stage of the triathlete and that all MedwayTri Club guidelines for training intensity and competition distances are followed.
- Ensure training and competition schedules are based on the needs and interests of the child, not those of the parents, coaches or club, it is imperative that these coaches monitor the overall training intensity and recovery times.
- It is strongly recommended that where single discipline coaches are responsible for devising training schedules for a triathlete, a lead coach is nominated to take with responsibility for monitoring the overall training intensity and liaising with the other coaches.
- Conduct all coaching and meetings in an open environment; avoid one-to-one coaching in unobserved situations.
- Maintain a safe and appropriate relationship with athletes; it is inappropriate to have an intimate relationship with a young person. British Triathlon supports the Home Office guidelines that recommend that people in positions of authority should not have sexual relationships with 16-17 year olds in their care. Adults should never share a room with young people. It is unacceptable that a number of young people and adults share a common sleeping area. In exceptional circumstances where there is no alternative permission needs to be gained from MedwayTri Club in writing beforehand and athletes are given an opportunity in advance to discuss this, air any concerns and agree the logistics of the sleeping arrangements.
- Build relationships based on mutual trust and respect in which young people are encouraged to take responsibility for their own development and decision-making. Avoid situations in which the coach or team manager uses their position and power to dictate what the triathlete should and should not do.
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people; contact can only be made for safety reasons and where there is no other way of coaching the technique. If contact is required, follow the specific guidelines laid down by
- MedwayTri Club. Contact should be neither intrusive nor disturbing and the athlete's permission must be sought. Contact should be lead by the child not the adult, for example when a child is distressed or celebrating a success.
- Ensure separate changing facilities are available for junior and senior triathletes. Where supervision is required, involve parents wherever possible and ensure that adults work in pairs.
- Communicate regularly with parents, ensure they have a copy of the British Triathlon 'Guidance for Parents' leaflet, involve them in decision-making and gain written consent for travel arrangements. Secure their consent in writing to act in loco parents, if the need arises to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
- Be aware of any medical conditions, existing injuries and medicines being taken. Keep a written record of any injury or accident that occurs, together with details of any treatment given. Ensure you are qualified and up-to-date in first aid or that there is someone with a first aid qualification in attendance.
- Keep up to date with the technical skills, qualifications and insurance issues in Triathlon. Maintain your registration status with MedwayTri Club, for this ensures adequate and continuous insurance cover.
- When triathletes travel away from home, ensure the guidance contained in the MedwayTri Club 'Safe Away' leaflet is followed. In particular, if mixed teams are taken away, ensure they are accompanied by a male and female member of staff and safeguard them from the potential of same gender abuse. Adults should not enter children's rooms or invite children on their own into their own rooms.
2.2 Poor Practice
The following is deemed to constitute poor practice and should be adhered to by all personnel:
- Never spend excessive amounts of time alone with one child away from the others.
- Never take children to your home where they will be alone with you.
- Never engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- Never share a room with a child.
- Never allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
- Never allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
- Never make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
- Never reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
- Never allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
- Never do things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable adults that they can do for themselves.
- Never invite or allow children to stay with you at your home.
If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable, they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of the person in charge, MedwayTri Club or the child's parents. If any of the following incidents should occur, you should report them immediately to another colleague, make a written note of the event and inform parents of the incident:
- If you accidentally hurt a triathlete.
- If a child seems distressed in any manner.
- If a child appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
- If a child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
2.3 Codes of Conduct
The MedwayTri Club codes of conduct are based on adherence to the principles of good practice embodied in the preceding sections and in accordance with Government guidance, requiring all organisations involved with caring for young people or vulnerable adults to protect them against sexual activity within relationships of trust. As part of their MedwayTri Club registration and incorporated insurance cover, coaches and managers are required to sign up to the Sports coach UK code of conduct. A code of conduct for parents, club officials and volunteers can be found in Appendix A.
2.4 Photography and Images
MedwayTri Club recognises that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sports people in vulnerable positions. MedwayTri Club accepts its responsibility and therefore, requires that all personnel and event organisers adhere to the guidelines detailed in Appendix B.
2.5 Indicators of Abuse and Bullying
Definitions of what constitutes abuse and bullying and how to respond are described in Appendix C. Indication's that a child may be being abused include the following
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries.
- An injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent.
- The child describes what appears to be an abusive act involving him/her.
- Someone else (a child or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another child.
- Unexplained changes in behaviour (e.g. becoming very quiet, withdrawn or
- displaying sudden outbursts of temper).
- Inappropriate sexual awareness.
- Engaging in sexually explicit behaviour.
- Distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
- Difficulty in making friends.
- Is prevented from socialising with other children.
- Displays variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite.
- Loses weight for no apparent reason.
- Becomes increasingly dirty or unkempt.
It should be recognised that this list is not exhaustive and the presence of one or more of the indicators is not proof that abuse is actually taking place.
Although anyone can be the target of bullying, victims are typically shy, sensitive and perhaps anxious or insecure. Sometimes they are singled out for physical reasons (e.g. being overweight, physically small, having a disability or belonging to a different race, faith or culture). Although bullying often takes place in schools, it can and does occur anywhere where there is inadequate supervision (e.g. on the way to and from training, in the changing rooms). The competitive nature of Triathlon provides a potentially ideal environment for a bully to gain power over others. The bully might be:
- A parent who pushes too hard.
- A coach who adopts a win-at-all costs philosophy.
- A triathlete who intimidates inappropriately.
- An official who places unfair pressure on a person.
- Signs of bullying (dealing with bullying is dealt with in Appendix C) include:
To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with young people, the following steps should be taken when recruiting paid staff or volunteers in a full or part-time capacity:
Draw up a job description identifying roles and responsibilities and a person specification clarifying the required and recommended skills and qualities of an applicant. Where the job involves working with young people, specify
MedwayTri Club's policy with regard to child protection and working with children.
All applicants must complete an application form (see example in Appendix D) that includes:
- Name, address and National Insurance Number (to confirm identity and right to work)
- Relevant experience, qualifications and training undertaken
- Listing of past career or involvement in sport (to confirm experience and identify any gaps)
- Any criminal record
- Whether the applicants are known to any social services department as being an actual or potential risk to children or young people, a self disclosure question to establish whether they have ever had action taken
- against them in relation to child abuse, sexual offenses or violence
- The names of at least two people (not relatives) willing to provide written references that comment on the applicant's previous experience of, and suitability for, working with children and young people (previous employer)
- Any former involvement with the sport
- The applicant's consent to criminal record checks being undertaken if necessary
- The applicant's consent to abide by the MedwayTri Club Code of Ethics for the position sought (e.g. coach, team manager)
- A statement explaining that failure to disclose information or subsequent failure to conform to the Code of Ethics will result in disciplinary action and possible suspension from MedwayTri Club.
3.3 Checks and References
A minimum of two written references should be taken up and at least one should be associated with former work with children/young people. If an applicant has no experience of working with children, training is strongly recommended. Written references should always be followed up and confirmed by telephone. If there are any concerns over the information supplied on the application form or from the referees, advice should be sought from the MedwayTri Club CPO and one or more of the following checks should be undertaken:
- Checks carried out with the following organisations that maintain information about individuals who are deemed to be unsuitable to work with children: Disclosure and Barring Service
- Criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in line with the Protection of Children Act (1999). These have been available since 2001 free of charge to voluntary organisations.
3.4 Interview and Induction
All employees (and where possible volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations2. All employees and volunteers should receive a formal or informal induction, during which:
- A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures)
- Their qualifications should be substantiated
- The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified
- They should sign up to the appropriate MedwayTri Club code of conduct and good practice and child protection procedures
- Their child protection training needs should be confirmed (see section on training).
While checks are a part of the process to safeguard children, training is required to help people to:
- Analyse their own practice against what is deemed good practice in
- Triathlon and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from allegations
- Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse
- Deal with disclosure
- Work safely and effectively with children
MedwayTri Club requires:
- All employees working regularly or are in direct contact with children to undergo a DBS disclosure and from the 26th July 2010 an ISA check. This is to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection in Triathlon
- All affiliated clubs to appoint a Club Welfare Officer responsible for good practice and child protection, a person and job specification is provided in Appendix E; this officer must undergo a DBS/ISA check and attend Triathlon Specific Time to Listen training.
- All coaches receive training at there Level one, two and three coaching course. These courses are affiliated to UKCC.
- All personnel (coaches, team managers, medics, event organisers, parents, club officials, senior club members, junior members) to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person
3.6 Monitoring and Appraisal
All employees will annually receive formal feedback through an appraisal at which any issues over poor practice can be identified and addressed, training needs related to children can be identified and new goals set.
Following every junior training camp or team event, all team managers and head coaches will be required to provide feedback on the event, the provision made to safeguard children and the practice of all those involved (Appendix F).
In addition, all junior participants will be required to complete anonymously a questionnaire that will ascertain their perceptions about the event (Appendix F). This will be collected by a nominated attendee (nominated by the CWO for club events and MedwayTri Club for national events), sealed in front of the group and returned to the CWO for club events and MedwayTri Club personnel for national events. The same monitoring process is recommended for all senior events.
3.7 Complaints, Appeals and Disciplinary Procedures
The MedwayTri Club complaints and appeals procedures will be used to deal with any formal complaints and/or appeals (see Section 4.5/6 and Appendix G). Guidance on these procedures will be available to all team managers, coaches, affiliated clubs, registered members and parents.
While it is not the responsibility of MedwayTri Club personnel to be experts in investigating abuse and determining whether or not abuse has taken place it is their responsibility to report any concerns about the welfare of a child. These concerns may arise because:
- A young person discloses she/he is being abused
- Of the behaviour of an adult towards a child
- Of a cluster of indicators observed in a child over a period of time.
All suspicions and disclosures must be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases of possible sexual abuse or where there is a misplaced loyalty to a colleague. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgment about any action to take. Because of the multi-discipline nature of Triathlon, the reporting procedures adopted by MedwayTri Club have been linked as closely as possible to the procedures advocated by the British Cycling Federation, the Amateur Swimming Association and UK Athletics.
4.1 Child Protection and Club Welfare Officers
To ensure appropriate action is taken if there are disclosures or suspicions,
- Has appointed and trained two employees to act as the designated national child protection officers (CPOs).
- Requires all affiliated clubs3 (whether or not they have junior sections or members) to recruit, appoint and train a designated club member to become the club welfare officer (CWO).
- The roles and responsibilities of a CWO are outlined in Appendix E.
4.2 Reporting Procedures
Most children are abused by adults they know and trust; most sexual offences take place in the home of either the offender or victim. The child might disclose this to a trusted adult (advice on dealing with this is provided in
Appendix H) or you may notice signs that cause you concern.
Children may also be abused by other children and young people. However, abuse also takes place outside the family setting and some individuals who want to harm and abuse children will use sport as a way to gain access to them. In addition to sound recruitment, selection and training procedures, it is crucial that everyone involved in Triathlon is aware of this possibility, that all allegations are taken seriously, and clear and appropriate reporting procedures are promoted and followed if allegations are made or if they have any suspicions.
Any person with information of a disclosure, allegation or suspicion about the welfare of a child (poor practice or possible abuse) must immediately report this in one of the following ways.
- If you are a part of an affiliated club, you should immediately inform the club's designated Club Welfare Officer who will refer the matter to the MedwayTri Club Child Protection Officer.
- If you are working in schools as part of the school curriculum or an extracurricular basis, you should inform the head teacher who will follow normal Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB) procedures.
- If you are working in a local authority facility, you should inform the LA Sports Development Officer or the manager of the facility, who will follow LSCB procedures.
- If the concern involves personnel from other sports (e.g. the associated disciplines of cycling, swimming or athletics), you should inform the British Triathlon CPO who will pass on the concern to their counterparts in the other organisation.
- In any other situation; if the designated person is not available, if concern is about that person, or if no action is taken, you should make direct contact with the MedwayTri Club CPO.
- If the MedwayTri Club CPO is unavailable, you should take responsibility and seek advice from the NSPCC help line, the duty officer at the children's social care services or the police. Telephone numbers are in the local telephone directory (national numbers can be found in appendix I). The LSCB, together with the designated person in charge where appropriate, will decide how and when parents will be informed. As soon as possible, please also inform the MedwayTri Club CPO and explain the action taken to date.
A summary of reporting procedures and details of external roles and responsibilities are provided in Appendix J.
Where there is a complaint of abuse against an employee or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation:
- Criminal - in which case the police are immediately involved.
- Child protection - in which case the social services (and possibly the police) will be involved.
- Disciplinary or misconduct - in which case MedwayTri Club will be involved.
4.3 Dealing with Alleged Abuse
While the MedwayTri Club CPO and club CWOs will have received training, they are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. If there is any doubt about whether or not the alleged behaviour constitutes abuse, the concern must be shared with professional agencies that will be responsible for subsequent action:
- The children's social care has a statutory duty under The 2004 Children's Act, to ensure the welfare of children and work with the local LSCB to comply with their procedures. They have a legal responsibility to make inquiries where a child is or may be at risk of significant harm and investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and making enquiries often jointly with the police where a crime may have been committed. You can obtain advice by telephoning the local social services department and speaking to the duty worker.
- The police also have specially trained child protection personnel to give guidance, advice and deal with concerns sensitively and effectively. If there is any possibility of a criminal offense having taken place, they will automatically become involved.
- The child protection agencies will also provide advice and they can be contacted via the NSPCC 24-hour free phone Help line on 0808 800 5000.
- NB: If there is any doubt, the allegation or incident must be reported; it may be just one of a series of other instances which together cause concern.
- Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a MedwayTri Club employee or a volunteer should be reported to the MedwayTri Club CPO, who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. This will include the following:
- The MedwayTri Club CPO will refer the allegation to the children's social care department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
- The parents of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
- The MedwayTri Club CPO should also notify the Chief Executive who will decide who should deal with any media enquiries and implement any immediate disciplinary proceedings. Under Item 4.6 in the Articles of Association of MedwayTri Club, the Children and Young Persons Act (1933) and the Home office Guide to the Sexual offences act 2003, specific powers of suspension are vested in the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive can:
- Impose an interim suspension based on the risk to the child, the serious nature of the allegation and the need to ensure a full investigation can be instituted
- Withdraw with immediate effect any MedwayTri Club qualification
- Impose suspension from MedwayTri Club events.
There is a right of appeal for complaints but not for suspension to the Executive Board against the decision of the Chief Executive. The British Triathlon CPO will make a full report to the MedwayTri Club Disciplinary Committee. Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police, British
Triathlon will assess all individual cases and determine if the person can be reinstated and how this can be handled sensitively. This decision must be made on 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 is paramount.
If the MedwayTri Club CPO is the subject if the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made directly to the Chief Executive who will then be responsible for taking further action.
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 of staff who is still currently working with children). Where such an allegation is made, MedwayTri Club will follow the same procedures and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside triathlon, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offenses relating to abuse is not automatically excluded from working with children however MedwayTri Club does follow the guidelines detailed in the Protection of Children Act (1999) and the guidance that followed this act.
NB: It is the duty of all MedwayTri Club members to report any charge or conviction involving children.
4.4 Poor Practice
If the allegations are against MedwayTri Club employees or volunteers and after consideration by the CWO and the MedwayTri Club CPO, are clearly about poor practice, the allegation will be dealt with internally as a misconduct issue. The MedwayTri Club CPO will determine whether the misconduct allegation:
- Should result in a written warning to the accused with a copy to the club
- CWO and a copy filed in a secure cabinet at the MedwayTri Club Offices.
- Is deemed to be very serious or a continuation of previously reported poor practice; in which case it will be reported to the MedwayTri Club Chief Executive and referred to the MedwayTri Club Disciplinary Panel who will determine further action.
Consideration needs to be given to what (if any) training and mentoring should be carried out by the accused. Assistance should be given by the British Triathlon to ensure that training is available and followed through.
4.5 Dealing with Bullying
The same procedures should be adopted when dealing with allegations of bullying. For specific guidance on actions to prevent and deal with bullying, refer to Appendix C.
4.6 Disciplinary and Appeal Procedures
The MedwayTri Club Executive Board shall appoint a Disciplinary Panel to consider all written reported breaches of the MedwayTri Club Code of Good Practice and written reports of malpractice. On receipt of an allegation or complaint, the MedwayTri Club member will receive notification in writing of the specific alleged offence and will have the:
- Opportunity to defend himself / herself, and be allowed a reasonable period to prepare their defence.
- Right to seek legal advice or another form of assistance or representation.
- Right of hearing before the panel at a time that will allow a full opportunity to present his/her defence and be represented.
- Right of appeal to an Independent Appeals Panel appointed by an independent body such as the Sports Disputes Resolution Panel. Further details of the disciplinary and appeals procedures can be found in Appendix G.
4.7 Informing Parents
Wherever possible, personnel concerned about the welfare of a child should work in partnership with parents. Therefore, in most situations, it would be important to talk to parents to help clarify any initial concerns (e.g. if a child's behaviour has changed, it is important to check if there is a reasonable explanation such as family upset or bereavement). However, there are circumstances in which a young person might be placed at even greater risk if concerns are shared (e.g. where a parent may be responsible for the abuse or not able to respond to the situation appropriately). In these situations or where concerns still exist, any suspicion, allegation or incident of abuse must be reported to the designated person as soon as possible. Advice and guidance should be sought from the local children social care officer with respect to consulting with parents.
4.8 Records and Confidentiality
Information passed to the children social care or the police must be as helpful as possible, hence the necessity for making a detailed record at the time of the disclosure/concern. Information should be written in factual format, avoiding any opinion or hearsay and should include the following:
- The facts about the allegation or observation.
- A description of any visible bruising, other injuries or signs.
- The child's account, if this has been disclosed, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
- Any witnesses to the incident(s).
- Any times, dates or other relevant information.
- A clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
Reporting the matter to the police or children social care department should not be delayed by attempts to obtain more information. Wherever possible, referrals telephoned to the children social care department should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours. A record should also be made of the name and designation of the children's social care member of staff or police officer to whom the concerns were passed, together with the time and date of the call, in case any follow up is needed. A copy of this information should be sent to the MedwayTri Club CPO.
Confidentiality should be maintained at all times. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
- The CWO, MedwayTri Club Chief Executive and CPO.
- The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused (see Section 4.5).
- The person making the allegation.
- Children's social care services/police.
- The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child). Seek children's social care services advice on who should approach alleged abuser.
- Information will be stored in a secure cabinet at MedwayTri Club Offices in line with data protection laws and the Protocol for Information Sharing with access available only to the following MedwayTri Club officers:
- Chief Executive
MedwayTri Club is also committed to working in partnership with other NGB's via the protocol for information sharing to provide a framework within which sports bodies, statutory bodies and relevant others can share information appropriately in the interests of protecting children from harm
4.9 Support for Victim, Accused and Reporter
Acknowledges the difficulty in reporting concerns and will fully support and protect anyone who, in good faith (without malicious intent), reports his or her concern about a colleague's practice or concerns about the welfare of a child.
Will take appropriate steps to ensure that the victim (and parents) is provided with appropriate professional support (e.g. Help lines, support groups and The British Association of Counselling Directory5)
Will ensure through the appropriate allegation, disciplinary and appeals procedures that the accused is offered appropriate support.
If MedwayTri Club's good practice and child protection policy and procedures are to be effective, they need to be integrated into current practice and implemented in a planned and staged way. This will involve the:
- design and dissemination of information
- piloting of procedures
- execution of recruitment strategies for volunteers as well as employees.
- identification of club welfare personnel.
- further development of good practice codes.
- provision of training and review of existing training.
- committees and procedures
- selling to key personnel and committees.
During and following the implementation, it will be important to evaluate levels of awareness, knowledge, perceptions and attitudes and monitor the impact and effectiveness of the procedures. Pilot schemes and focus will be in place and in addition, it will be necessary to stay abreast of legislation, good practice in child protection issues and make any amendments annually (or as and when required).
5.2 Monitoring Strategy
It will be the responsibility of the child protection policy group (GPCPP) to establish and implement the strategy. This might include monitoring:
- the number of leaflets distributed.
- the number of allegations made and breakdown of no case, poor practice and abuse incidence.
- the number of recommendations made for training programmes.
- the number of welfare officers in place.
- feedback from clubs on the implementation of the policy.
- reports from the disciplinary and appeals panel.
- the number of personnel trained in child protection awareness.
- feedback reports from tours and camps.
- the number of members registered to work with young people.
- reports from GPCPP group.
- recommendations for changes to policy, procedures and resources the number of checks made.
Code of Conduct
- Must agree not to bring the Club into disrepute.
- Must compete within the rules and respect officials and their decisions.
- Must respect the rights, dignity and worth of all participants regardless of gender, ability, cultural background or religion.
- Must support and encourage good practice and correct actions at all times
- Must pay any fees for training or events promptly.
- Must abide by the rules of the British Triathlon Federation.
- Must inform the coach if you have any medical condition which could affect you or others during a training session.
- Must obey all rules relating to an event and compete in a sportsman-like manner.
- Should arrive before the start of session and follow venue rules.
- Should bring relevant equipment, adequate drinks and food where appropriate.
- Should bring suitable clothing for before, during and after the session.
- Must wear a bright swim cap in open water.
- Must not swim in prohibited or closed areas.
- Should follow the venue safety rules.
- Should only get in the pool or open water if it is supervised (i.e. a coach or lifeguard present).
- Should be courteous to other swimmers, and ensure you are in a lane for your ability and speed.
- Should inform the coach if you are nervous, or have safety concerns prior to entering the water.
- Must always follow the rules of the road and be courteous to other road users.
- Must not drop litter.
- Must wear a cycle helmet at all times whilst riding.
- Should make sure that your bike is in a roadworthy condition.
- Should wear (or carry) appropriate clothing for the potential weather conditions and length of ride.
- Should have due regard for pedestrians and other users.
- Should wear appropriate clothing for the potential weather conditions and length of run.
- Bring something warm to wear after the run.
Coaches In Addition
- Must agree to abide by the Health and Safety Guidelines for Coaching in Triathlon, and the Coaches Code of Ethics. These documents are set by the British Triathlon Federation and may be amended periodically.
- Should the start of each session the coach will give a briefing and indicate any safety points to be aware of.
MedwayTri Club Guidelines for the Use of Photographic & Video Images of Children/Young People under the age of 18
The use of photographic and video equipment has helped capture both individuals and teams greatest successes and has helped sports promote itself. However this needs to take place in a safe environment.
MedwayTri Club recognises that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sports people in vulnerable positions. MedwayTri Club accepts its responsibility MedwayTri Club is committed to providing a safe environment for children/young people under the age of 18. Essential to this commitment, is to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect children/young people from the inappropriate use of their images in resource and media publications, on the internet, and elsewhere.
Photographs can be used as a means of identifying children and young people when they are accompanied with personal information, for example, - this is X who a member is of hometown Triathlon Club who likes Westlife and supports Manchester United. This information can make a child vulnerable to an individual who may wish to start to "groom" that child for abuse.
Secondly, the content of the photo can be used or adapted for inappropriate use. While this is rare in Triathlon, there is evidence of adapted material finding its way onto child pornography sites. MedwayTri Club, Triathlon Clubs and its Associations therefore need to develop a policy in relation to the use of images of children/young people on their web sites and in other publications.
When assessing the potential risks in the use of images of players, the most important factor is the potential of inappropriate use of images of children.
If your Club or Association are aware of the potential risks, and take appropriate steps, the potential for misuse of images can be reduced.
There have been concerns about the risks posed directly and indirectly to children and young people through the use of photographs on Triathlon websites and other publications.
By adopting the points highlighted in these guidelines, you will be putting into place the best possible practice to protect children/young people wherever and whenever photographs and recorded images are taken and stored.
These guidelines focus on the following key areas:
- The publishing of photographic and/or recorded images of children/young people.
- The use of photographic filming equipment at Triathlon events.
- The use of video equipment as a coaching aid
- And adopt the following key principles:
- The interests and welfare of children taking part in Triathlon is paramount
- Parents/carers and children have a right to decide whether children's images are to be taken, and how those images may be used
- Parents/carers and children must provide written consent for children's images to be taken and used
- Images should convey the best principles and aspects of Triathlon, such as fairness and fun
- Care should be taken to ensure that images are not sexual or exploitative in nature, nor open to obvious misinterpretation and misuse
- Images should only be taken by authorised persons, as agreed in the protocol for a particular event
- All images of children should be securely stored.
- In the case of images used on web-sites, particular care must be taken to ensure that no identifying details facilitate contact with a child by a potential abuser.
Publishing Images - Easy Rules to Remember:
- Ask for written permission from the player and carer/s to take and use their image.
- This ensures that they are aware of the way the image is intended to be used to represent the sport. The Consent Form is one way of achieving this.
- If the athlete is named, avoid using their photograph
- If a photograph is used, avoid naming the athlete And NEVER publish personal details (email addresses, telephone numbers, addresses etc) of a child/young person
- Only use images of athletes in suitable dress to reduce the risk of inappropriate use.
- Try to focus on the activity rather than a particular child and where possible use
- Photographs that represent the broad range of children/young people taking part in Triathlon.
This might include:
- Boys and girls
- Ethnic minority communities
- Children/young people with disabilities
- Children/young people are wearing goggles and swimhats
- Ensure that images reflect positive aspects of children's involvement in Triathlon (Enjoyment/competition etc)
Use of Photographic Filming Equipment at Triathlon Events
MedwayTri Club does not want to prevent parents, carers or other spectators being able to take legitimate photographs or video footage of competitors.
However, there is evidence that certain individuals will visit sporting events to take inappropriate photographs or video footage of children/young people. All Clubs and race organisers should be vigilant about this possibility. Any concerns during an event should be reported to the Club Child Welfare Officer MedwayTri Club strongly recommends the introduction of registration for those wishing to take photographs or video footage of children/young people:
An application should be made to the organising body who will issue an identification pass giving an individual the authority to take photographs or video footage of children/young people at a particular nominated event.
- Inform athletes and carers that a photographer will be in attend at an event and ensure they consent to both the taking and publication of films or photographs
- Ensure that a system is introduced to ensure that press photographers are made aware of those children/young people without consent for images to taken.
- Provide a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of content and behaviour
- Issue the photographer with identification which must be worn at all times
- Do not allow unsupervised access to athletes or one to one photo sessions at events
- Do not approve/allow photo sessions outside the events or at a athletes home if carers or other spectators are intending to photograph or video at an event they should also be made aware of your expectations:
- Carers and spectators should be asked to register at an event if they wish to use photographic equipment including mobile phones with photographic technology.
- Players and spectators should be informed that if they have concerns they can report these to the organiser.
Concerns regarding inappropriate or intrusive photography should be reported to the event organiser or official, and recorded in the same manner as any other child protection concern
Videoing as a Coaching Aid
Video can be a legitimate coaching aid for club or regional coaches. However if it is to be used make sure that children and their parents/carers have given written consent, and understand that it is part of the coaching programme.
Make sure that the films are then stored safely.
Use of Photographic & Video Images of Children/Young People under the age of 18 Policy Statement
MedwayTri is committed to providing a safe environment for children/young people under the age of 18 to participate in Triathlon. Essential to this commitment, is to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect children/young people from the inappropriate use of photographic images.
MedwayTri have adopted the following good practice guidelines issued by MedwayTri Club:
Through the use of a Consent Form, we will ask for the permission of young athletes and their carers to take and use their image. If an athlete is named, we will avoid using their photograph.
If a photograph is used, we will avoid naming the athlete.
We will NEVER publish personal details (email addresses, telephone numbers, addresses etc) of a child/young person.
We will only authorise the use of images of athletes in suitable dress.
Use of Photographic Filming Equipment at Triathlon Events
- Inform athletes and parents that a photographer will be in attendance at an event and ensure they consent to both the taking and publication of films or photographs
- Require parents, spectators and authorised photographers (e.g. press) to register at an event if they wish to use any photographic equipment including mobile phones with photographic technology.
- Issue identification passes which must be worn and clearly visible at all times during the event.
- Not allow unsupervised access to athletes or one to one photo sessions at events
- Not approve/allow photo sessions outside the events or at an athlete's home.
- Act on the concerns of any athletes and parents regarding the inappropriate use of photographic equipment Inform children/young people and their parents/carers if video equipment is to be used as a coaching aid.
Ensure that any photographic images taken and used will be stored safely.
Anti Bullying Policy
MedwayTri Club is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and tolerant environment for children and young people that is free from bullying.
Bullying of any form is unacceptable in our sport, whether the behaviour is displayed by a child, young person or an adult. We make sure everyone involved in the sport – staff, children, young people and parent/carers – knows of and understands our stance towards bullying.
Definition and examples
MedwayTri Club defines bullying as the repeated harassment of others through emotional, physical, verbal or psychological abuse. We emphasise that the victim is never responsible for being the target of bullying.
Examples of bullying are:
- Emotional - Being deliberately unkind, shunning or excluding another person from a group or tormenting them. For example, forcing another person to be 'left out' of a game or activity, passing notes about others or making fun of another person.
- Physical - Pushing, scratching, spitting, kicking, hitting, biting, taking or damaging belongings, tripping up, punching or using any other sort of violence against another person.
- Verbal - Name-calling, put-downs, ridiculing or using words to attack, threaten or insult. For example, spreading rumours or making fun of another person's appearance.
- Psychological - Behaviour likely to instil a sense of fear or anxiety in another person.
Responses to bullying behaviour despite all efforts to prevent it, bullying behaviour is likely to occur on occasion and MedwayTri Club recognises this fact.
In the event of such incidents, the following principles govern the MedwayTri Club response:
- All incidents of bullying will be addressed thoroughly and sensitively.
- Children and young people will be encouraged to immediately report any incident of bullying that they witness. They will be reassured that what they say will be taken seriously and handled carefully.
Child Protection Statement
We are committed to protect children from harm. MedwayTri Club accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.
We will endeavour to safeguard children by:
- adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for club;
- making coaches, and members aware that we take child protection seriously and respond to concerns about the welfare of children;
- sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately;
- following carefully the procedures for staff and coach selection;
- providing effective management for staff by ensuring access to supervision, support and training.
We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice at regular intervals.
Appointed Lead: Welfare Officer - Richard Ebanks
KENT ME14 1RF
Any suspicious behaviour concerning staff or patients or suspected signs of abuse or neglect will be brought to the appointed lead's (Richard Ebanks) attention. The local Children's Services will be contacted if deemed appropriate.
Policy adopted: 1st July 2013.
Last reviewed: 1st July 2013.