Child Protection Policy

The Rugby Football Union (“RFU”) takes its responsibility for the welfare of children very seriously and has issued a document, the Policy and Procedures for the Welfare of Young people in Rugby Union.

This Policy identifies the responsibilities to be followed by the RFU, the Constituent Body and the Rugby Club. The Walsall Rugby Football Club Child Protection Policy is in line with the recommendations made by the RFU.

Role of the Club

• A Welfare Officer is appointed. He will act as the first point of contact for concerns about the welfare of young people.

• To accept that all officers and committee members have a responsibility in this area and be prepared to respond to any indication of poor practice or abuse in line with RFU Policy and to put in place structures and systems to ensure that this is followed in practice.

• To adopt and implement a policy of Best Practice for all adults working with young people.

• To ensure that all relevant members who have regular supervisory contact with children or a management responsibility for those working with young people undertake a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure.

• To identify a disciplinary panel, which when necessary, will be convened to hear the case.

Policy of Best Practice

It is the aim of the RFU and the Club that all young people enjoy the game in a safe enjoyable setting. The RFU and the Club is equally aware of the need to ensure that all individuals who provide young people with the opportunity to play, are aware of their responsibilities.

Good Practice Procedures

In order to ensure that the game is enjoyed by everyone, that all young people are safe and all adults are aware of their responsibilities when working with young people, clubs should adopt the following good practice guidance:

• There is a club welfare policy with an implementation and monitoring programme.

• A designated officer (Child Safeguarding Officer) is appointed with representation on relevant club committees.

• Child Protection Policy is publicised to show the organisation’s commitment to providing a safe environment

• Procedures are in place to deal with complaints or concerns

• Provide training opportunities for adults who work with young people

• Ensure that there are Codes of Conduct and Codes of Practice in place that all coaches sign up to the relevant codes

• Parents/carers should be aware of what the organisation and coaches are doing and also of the correct procedures to express any concerns the may have

• Ensure that there is an Equity Policy and that all discrimination is challenged and prohibited

• All adults who regularly supervise young people undertake a DBS disclosure

• Ensure guidelines are in place to control and monitor the use of photographic images of children

• Develop and promote a policy on bullying

• Monitor coaches and provide them with feedback with particular reference to poor practice

Codes of Good Practice for Coaches and Officials

Codes of Conduct will ensure that all youngsters and all the individuals who work with them will enjoy the game in a safe environment. When working with young people, coaches and officials must adopt the following guidance:

• Always be publicly open when working with young people. Avoid situations where you and an individual child are completely unobserved.
• Rugby is a physical game. Situations will occur when, in order to teach or coach certain techniques, it is necessary to make contact with the player. However the following must apply:

o Parents and young players must be made aware of situations in which this may happen when they join the club:
o Physical handling should only be used for safety reasons or where there is no other way of coaching the technique.

• Contact or touching which is inappropriate (not directly related to the coaching context) or aggressive, will not be tolerated.
• If groups are to be supervised in changing rooms, always ensure that individuals work in pairs, and that gender is appropriate. Ideally, young people should not have to change at the same time or same place as adults.
• Where mixed teams compete away from home, they should always be accompanied by at least one male and one female adult.
• Volunteers and professionals must respect the rights and dignity and worth of all, and treat everyone with equality
• Coaches must place the well being and safety of the players above the development of performance. Coaches should:
o Avoid overplaying of players (particularly talented players). All players need and deserve equal opportunity to play:
o Remember that young people play for fun and enjoyment and that winning is only a part of it:
o Motivate youngsters through positive feedback and constructive criticism:
o Ensure that contact skills are taught in a safe, secure manner, paying due regard to the physical development of young players:
o Never allow young players to train/play when injured:
o Ensure equipment and facilities are safe and appropriate to the age and ability of the players.

• Coaches should hold current RFU coaching awards or a recognised award

• Coaches should keep up to date with knowledge and technical skills and should be aware of their own limitations. Coaches should only work within the limitations of their knowledge and qualifications.
• Coaches must ensure that the activities which they direct or advocate are appropriate to the age, maturity and ability of the players.
• Coaches should always promote the positive aspects of their sport (e.g. fair play) and never condone law violations or use of prohibited substances.
• Coaches must consistently display high standards of personal behaviour and appearance
• Coaches should never overtly criticise players or use language or actions which may cause the player to lose self esteem or confidence.
• Young people should not be allowed to drink alcohol or encouraged to drink alcohol if they are under the legal age to do so.

Practice to be avoided

Everyone should also be aware that, as a general rule, it does not make sense for a coach to:

• Spend amounts of time alone with children away from others;
• Take children alone on car journeys, however short.

If it should arise that such situations are unavoidable, they should only take place with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club and/or a person with parental responsibility for the player.

If you accidentally hurt a player, or cause distress in any manner, or the player appears to respond in a sexual manner to your actions, or misunderstands something you have done, report the incident to a colleague supported by a written report of the incident as soon as possible. Parents/carers should also be informed of the occurrence.

Practice that is prohibited by the RFU and the Club

Individuals should never:

• Take young people to their home or other secluded places where they will be alone
• Engage in rough, physical games, sexually provocative games or horseplay with young people.
• Take part in any dynamic games or training sessions with young people. If there is a need for an adult to facilitate learning within a coaching session through the use of coaching aids (e.g. contact pads) this should be done with the utmost care and with due regard to the safety and well being of the young players.
• Share a room with a young person unless the individual is the parent/guardian of that young person.
• Allow any form of inappropriate touching (not specifically related to the coaching of the game)
• Make sexually suggestive remarks to a young person even in fun.
• Use inappropriate language or allow young players to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
• Allow allegations by a young person to go unchallenged, and unrecorded, or not acted upon
• Do things of a personal nature for a young person that they can do for themselves unless you have been requested to do so by the parent/carer. (Note that it is recognised that some young people will always need help with things such as lace tying, adjustment of tag belts, fitting head guards etc.)
• Depart the rugby club until the safe dispersal of all young people is complete.
• Cause an individual to lose self-esteem by embarrassing, humiliating or undermining him/her.
• Treat some young people more favourably than others
• Agree to meet a young person on your own on a one to one basis.

Positions of Trust

All adults who work with young people are in a position of trust which has been invested in them by the parents, the sport and the young person. This relationship can be described as one to which the adult is in a position of power and influence by virtue of their role. In rugby union, mist adults in a position of trust recognise that there are certain boundaries the coach/player relationship which must not be crossed. The relationship is no different to that between a school teacher and the pupils in their care.

Code of Conduct on the Abuse of Trust

Any behaviour which encourages a physical or emotionally dependent relationship to develop between the person in a position of trust and the young person in their care must be avoided.
All those within the organisation have a duty to raise concerns about the behaviour by coaches, officials, volunteers and administrators which may be harmful to the young people in their care, without prejudice to their own position
Allegations relating to a breach to the Code of Conduct will be investigated according to the Disciplinary Procedures

Whistle Blowing

Any adult or young person who has concerns can contact the RFU in complete confidence on 020 8831 6655 or via childprotection@therfu.com