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The club will 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 staff (paid and unpaid) working in the club have a responsibility to report concerns to Helen Foster, the Child Protection Officer.

Our child protection policy statement

The Saturday Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in club activities 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 Saturday Club will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in club activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the Saturday Club.

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).

Policy aims

The aim of the Saturday 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 club.
  • Allow all staff/volunteers 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 club environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A 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.

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 avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
  • Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
  • Always putting the welfare of each young person first.
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with children (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
  • Making activities 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. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving, young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. 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.
  • Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers and volunteers work in pairs.
  • Ensuring that if mixed groups are taken away for the day or night, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
  • 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 details of any treatment given.
  • Requesting written parental consent if club volunteers are required to transport young people in their cars.

Practices to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (e.g. the child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents.

Otherwise, avoid:

  • Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
  • Taking or dropping off a child to a club event.

Practices never to be sanctioned

The following should neverbe 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.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

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

  • If you accidentally hurt a child.
  • If he/she 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.

Use of photographic/filming equipment at club events

There is evidence that some people take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young disabled people in vulnerable positions. All clubs should be vigilant and any concerns should be reported to the Child Protection Officer.

Recruitment and training of volunteers

The Saturday Club recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.

Pre-selection checks must include the following:

  • Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau.
  • Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
  • Evidence of identity should be provided (e.g. passport or driving licence with photo).

Training

In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:

  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely and effectively with children.

The Saturday Club requires:

  • Volunteers to attend a recognised three hour good practice and child protection awareness training workshop, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection.
  • Relevant personnel 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.
  • Relevant personnel to undergo national first aid training (where necessary).

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in the Saturday 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 Saturday Club will assure all volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

When there is a complaint against a member of staff 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

1. Concerns about poor practice:

  • If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
  • If the allegation is about poor practice by the Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the relevant officer who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

2. Concerns about suspected abuse:

  • Any suspicion that a child has been abused by a volunteer should be reported to the 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 Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department which may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out of hours.
  • The Child Protection Officer should also deal with any media enquiries.

Confidentiality

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 Child Protection Officer.
  • The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
  • The person making the allegation.
  • Social Services/Police.
  • 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 Saturday Club 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 Saturday Club Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer 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 Saturday Club Disciplinary 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

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, the club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the Social Services or the Police. 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 twelve 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.
  • 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 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(ies)’s parents.
  • Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
  • Provide support for the victim’s coach.
  • Impose sanctions as necessary.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
  • Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
  • Inform all organisation members of action taken.
  • Keep a written record of action taken.

3. Concerns outside the immediate club environment (e.g. a parent or carer):

  • Report your concerns to the 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 Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told off or discovering the abuse should contact Social Services or the Police immediately.
  • Social Services and the Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the governing body. The governing body should ascertain whether or not the person(s) involved in the incident play a role in the Saturday 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.
  • 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 else been consulted? If so, 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.

Social media policy

Safeguarding our members when using club social media sites

As we are a children’s charity there will be children and young people visiting our website, twitter and Instagram pages.

To ensure they can use our social media sites safely;

  • the content of the website will be constantly monitored by our administrators for inappropriate postings or use
  • any twitter posting using ♯ saturdayclub will be vetted and administered before it is posted on our twitter or instagram social feeds
  • photographs of our members can not be downloaded and in some instances will be password protected; at the discretion of the administrator
  • members, families and friends will be expected to observe the following guide lines when using the Club’s social media sites. The following behaviour on a site will not be tolerated
  • offensive, abusive, defamatory, intolerant or obscene
  • fraudulent, deceptive or misleading
  • unrelated or off-topic
  • trollish or intended to deliberately provoke others
  • spam: business solicitations or other advertising of personal interests, blogs or websites
  • in violation of any intellectual property right of another

We will remove any posts that fall into the categories above. If a user continues to post any of the above, we will ban the user.

Saturday Club cannot take responsibility for any content posted by, or the interactions of any third parties.