Child protection policy
Harton and Westoe c.w Junior’s
Child Protection Policy
Practice and Procedures
Harton & Westoe junior football club considers the protection, safety and well-being of children in its care a major priority and is committed to following the Football Association’s child protection guidelines
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
Physical abuse may involve, hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This situation is commonly described using terms such as factitious illness by proxy or Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of pornographic material or watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Note that these categories may overlap
The Club recognises and accepts that coaches, and other adults associated with the club because of their position, are well placed to observe children and note any emotional, behavioural or physical signs which may be suggestive of child abuse, or have concerns about their care. We recognise that the relationship between coaches, players and parents that foster respect, confidence and trust can lead to the disclosure of abuse.
Recognising the necessity and nature of good relationship with parents of children in its care and attending to preserve these wherever possible, the club, however, acknowledges that the Child’s protection is paramount.
In order to prepare all coaches for their responsibility in relation to the protection of children, they have received basic child protection awareness training. New coaches are made aware of child protection issues on induction.
The Club will always follow the child protection procedures outlined in the Football Association’s child protection workshops and in their good practice handbook
All new coaches will be made aware of this policy and be familiarised with the football association’s policies.
The senior member of the executive with designated responsibility for child protection is known as the “Club Welfare Officer”, appointed by the Club Committee.
Club Procedures for Coaches
Any coach who:-
Has suspicion that a child is injured, marked or bruised in a way which is not readily attributable to the normal knocks or scrapes received in play or, when the explanation given appears inconsistent with the injury.
Notes behaviours or actions which give rise to suspicions that a child may have suffered abuse (may include worrying drawings or play).
Is concerned that a child may be suffering from lack of care, ill treatment, or emotional maltreatment.
Has a concern that a child is presenting any signs or symptoms consistent with suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
Notes significant changes in a child’s presentation otherwise unexplained.
Receives hints or a disclosure of abuse from the child, another player parent or member of the public.
Becomes aware there that a schedule 1 offender has moved into a household with children present or otherwise in a situation where that person may be posing a risk to children.
MUST IMMEDIATELY REPORT THIS TO THE CLUB WELFARE OFFICER.
It is not the responsibility of coaches to investigate abuse or decide if abuse has taken place. We do however have a duty to act on concern and refer to the investigation agencies (Local Authority Social Services Department and the Police).
Always listen to and take seriously any disclosure of abuse. Keep questions to a minimum, only asking these to clarify information or to assist the child who is finding it difficult to talk.
Any questions should be “open” i.e. not have the answer embedded in the question e.g. ‘can you tell me what happened’ rather that ‘did x hit you’? Do not interrogate the child. Do not make the child repeat it all to another person. The information needed from the child is only that which is sufficient to make a referral for further investigation, not for coaches to decide the validity of the disclosure.
Try not to show signs of shock, horror, revulsion or surprise.
Do not express your feelings or any judgements regarding the alleged abuser.
If a child confides in you and requests that the information is kept secret, it is important that you tell the child sensitively that you have a responsibility to refer the information the designated person in order to protect the child from further abuse. ON NO ACCOUNT WILL THE CHILD BE PROMISED ABSOLUTE CONFIDENTIALITY. Reassure and support the child as far as possible, that only those who ‘need to know’ in order to protect the child will be told, explain what will happen next and try to ensure that the child is involved as far as possible and appropriate.
Do not approach parents at this stage, the designated officer will decide based on the information if and when parents will be spoken to?
Child protection information is CONFIDENTIAL and will be shared only on a ‘need to know’ basis as determined by the Welfare Officer.
Action by Welfare Officer
Coaches will immediately inform the Welfare Officer of their concerns. In the absence of the Welfare Officer, coaches will inform the secretary or another senior member of the club.
The Welfare Officer will decide what needs to happen next. The first consideration shall be the need to address any urgent medical needs of the child.
The Welfare Officer can consult with the Local Authority’s Social Services Department or the Football Association with regard to how to proceed.
In cases where the child is at immediate risk, there is clear physical evidence or the child has made clear disclosure, referral to the Local Authority’s Social Services Department should be made immediately. If the above consultation process is not possible or cannot be completed within a very short timescale (e.g. the designated officer is not available) then it is the responsibility of the coach who gleaned the information to ensure that a speedy referral is made to the Local Authority’s Social Services Department. Any senior member of the club is entitled to liaise/consult and make a referral. Absence of key personnel should never prevent referral when there is an immediate risk, evidence, or direct disclosure.
The Welfare Officer has received Basic Child Protection Training provided by the Football Association and will, where possible, attend specific appropriate Football Association child protection workshops. He will ensure that all club members are aware of child protection issues and procedures.
Safeguards for Children
The club will follow FA guidance regarding the safe recruitment, selection and employment of volunteers in order to ensure that every effort is made to deter and prevent any person who may pose a risk to children working with them. The will include ensuring that all relevant personnel are CRB checked. Volunteers who have not been checked in this manner will not be allowed substantial unsupervised access to children.
Coaches will always act professionally and conduct any relationships with children in a professional manner.
Coaches will not be put in a position that renders them particularly vulnerable to false allegation of abuse. Any concerns that, for whatever reason, as coach may be vulnerable will be shared with the designated officer who will make appropriate arrangements to reduce/eradicate this risk.
Any coach/volunteer, who has concerns that the behaviour of another member of the club is, or may be abusive to children, will immediately inform the Welfare Officer. If these concerns relate to the Welfare Officer, the Chairman and or Secretary will be informed.
Allegations of abuse made against a member of staff
All children will be listened to and taken seriously whenever making an allegation of a CP nature, irrespective of the person they are making the allegation about. We acknowledge that this is a particularly difficult when the subject of the allegation is a colleague and/or friend. On no account however should the person listening to the allegation offer an alternative explanation or blame the child. It is acknowledged that such allegations may be malicious, misplaced or false. We also acknowledge that coaches/volunteers may on occasion, be abusive to children. It is essential for both the child and the coaches/volunteers, that allegations are investigated properly in order that children are protected and that any member of the club who has been falsely accused can be proven innocent.