Guildford Rugby Football Club

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Guildford RFC Best Practice

Guildford RFC Safeguarding Best Practice Guidance

The Clubs and RFU’s aim is to create a culture where everyone feels confdent 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 RFU Safeguarding Team through the Club Safeguarding Officer or RFU Safeguarding Manager.
While remembering that it is the safety and welfare of children that is of paramount importance, there will be times when those responsible will need to exercise discretion and common sense to ensure their wellbeing. This guidance is designed to provide information on a number of di erent topics which CBs, clubs andtheir volunteers and employees may nd useful and will help them to create safe, friendly and welcoming environments for children.

Safe Environments

A safe environment is one where:

  • the possibility of abuse is openly acknowledged;
  • the volunteers and employees are appropriately recruited and trained; and
  • those who report suspicions and concerns are con dent that these will be treated seriously and con dentially.

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 and contact details), choosing the correct and appropriate method of providing information to children (email/phone to parents), listening to children’s views on matters which a effect them,as well as considering how to communicate inan 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 at all times, unless there are exceptional circumstances e.g. risk of harm.

Recruitment

Clubs should have a suitable children’s workforce and all steps should be taken to exclude anyone who may pose a threat to children. When recruiting new members of the children’s workforce, clubs should ask anyone unknown to the club to provide a written reference, which the club should then verify. Anyone volunteering for a position in the children’s workforce should be provided with a job description setting out clearly their responsibilities and remit.

Training & Monitoring

The behaviour and performance of new volunteers and employees should be monitored for a period to ensure they are following best practice.

Clubs should encourage all adults who have a coaching role to attend an appropriate rugby union coaching course and a “Play It Safe” course. This is an introductory level safeguarding course designed for any club members. It is a three hour face-to- face workshop which provides all those attending with an awareness of safeguarding, as well as the opportunity to share best practice with others.

All Club Safeguarding Officers must, within six months of being appointed, attend the RFU “In Touch” Workshop, which covers their role and responsibilities. Failure to attend means they may not be permitted to continue in the role as it is an RFU regulatory requirement. This course is a more detailed course providing information about reporting and responding to incidents. Any club official is encouraged to attend this course to ensure their club is fully aware of its responsibilities.

Supervision

To provide a safe environment, clubs should ensure that their volunteers and employees when working with children avoid working in isolation out of the sight of parents or other volunteers.
While volunteers and employees are awaiting their DBS disclosure they must be supervised by someone who does have DBS clearance.
Contingency planning should ensure that if a player’s injury requires significant attention, or coaches are absent or away with a team, levels of supervision can be maintained by suitably DBS checked adults. However, in an emergency, the first attention must be paid to an injured player and if there are insufficient suitably DBS checked adults available to supervise the remaining players, clearly, other responsible adults will need to be asked to step in.

Parents/carers should be advised that it is not acceptable to drop children off at a club without any adult supervision.

Adult: Child Ratios

There should always be at least one DBS checked adult in charge of any group of children.

The RFU recommends a 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 


On Tour

This policy applies equally on tour as at the club. When on tour if an adult is solely there supporting their own child they will not need DBS clearance, but they will if they are acting in any official capacity with other children. This would apply to those on bedtime or other supervisory duties. Guildford RFC have a full tour policy.

Inappropriate Relationships with Children

An adult in a position of trust must not enter into a sexual relationship with a child in their care.

All adults should clearly understand the need to maintain appropriate boundaries in their dealings with children and young people. Intimate or sexual relationships between those working with children at rugby clubs and a child will be regarded as a grave breach of trust and will be treated very seriously and may result in RFU disciplinary action, including barring individuals from attending rugby clubs. 


All adults should ensure that their relationships with children are appropriate to the age and gender of the children, and take care that their language or conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought, particularly when adults are dealing with adolescent boys and girls. 


From time to time adults may encounter young people who display attention-seeking behaviour, or profess to be attracted to them. All adults should aim to deal with those situations sensitively and appropriately, but ensure that their behaviour cannot be misinterpreted. In these circumstances, the adult should also ensure that the club’s safeguarding officer is aware of the situation.

Breach of Position of Trust

The sexual offences legislation in the UK already provides that any sexual activity between adultsand children under 16 is illegal and constitutes abuse. The primary motivation for legislation which addresses the abuse of positions of trust is the need to protect young people aged 16 and 17 who, despite reaching the age of consent for sexual activity, are considered to be vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in de ned circumstances. This includes sexual activity and relationships with adults who hold a position of trust, responsibility or authority in relation to them and, as a result, have a considerable amount of power and in uence in their lives. The law defines specific roles and settings where sexual activity between 16 and 17 year olds and those in positions of trust, responsibility or authority constitutes a criminal offence. Currently being a coach/offcial in a rugby club is not considered under the law as a speciffed role. While it may notbe a criminal offence in a rugby union setting itwill be treated very seriously and may result in RFU disciplinary action, including barring individuals from attending rugby clubs and removing them from their role.

On being notiffed that an adult in a position of trust is involved or suspected to be involved in a sexual relationship with a child the RFU Safeguarding Team will report the matter to the police. An adult removed from Regulated Activity for engaging in a sexual relationship with a child will also be referred by the Safeguarding Team to the DBS who will consider whether to bar that person from working with children in other environments. 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.

Safeguarding Children with Additional Needs

Children with additional needs and their families may need more information, help and support.The club’s children’s workforce may require training and advice to ensure they include and safeguard them appropriately. Please notify the Clubs Safeguarding Officer of any children with additional needs, so that they can give additional support to coaching staff etc.

Good Role Models

The children’s workforce should consistently 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 con dence or self-esteem is unacceptable, as is the use of obscene or foul language.

Alcohol

It is important that all rugby clubs’ management committees take considered, positive action to ensure that they are responsible licensees.
It is against the law:

  • to sell alcohol to someone under 18; for an adult to buy, or attempt to buy, alcohol on behalf of someone under 18;
  • for someone under 18 to buy, attempt to buy, or to be sold alcohol;
  • for someone under 18 to drink alcohol in licensed premises, with one exception – 16 and 17 year olds accompanied by an adult can drink but not buy beer, wine and cider with a table meal; or
  • for an adult to buy alcohol for a person under 18 for consumption on licensed premises, except as above. At training sessions and games for children, adults’ drinking habits may a ect both children’s attitude to alcohol and their emotional well-being. As role models, adults should avoid excessive drinking in their presence. The unexpected can always happen; there should always be adults who abstain from drinking alcohol to deal with any emergencies and to manage the safety and welfare of children in their care. Contact Rugby The wellbeing and safety of children must be placed above the development of performance. Contact skills must be taught in a safe, secure manner paying due regard to the physical development of the players involved.

Adults and children must never play contact versions of the sport together including training gamesor contact drills. They may play either tag or touch rugby together if these games are managed and organised appropriately (see englandrugby.com
for further information). A risk assessment on the conditions, players and apparent risks should be carried out by a person responsible for the overall session. There is further information available in the Age Grade Rugby Code of Conduct, which also provides a variety of alternatives.

Coaching Techniques

Any inappropriate contact between adults and children is unacceptable and a number of principles should be followed when teaching contact rugby:

  • physical handling by a coach must only be used for safety reasons or where there is no other way of coaching the technique
  • the reasons for physical contact should be explained wherever practical so that children and their parents are comfortable with this approach
  • do not proceed with the action or consider alternatives if the child appears to be apprehensive or reluctant, or if there are other concerns about the child’s likely reaction
  • the activity should always be conducted in an open environment and in the presence of another adult.
  • Physical Intervention Discipline on the eld of play is the responsibility of the players. Coaches, team managers and parents must always promote good discipline among the players, both on and o the eld. Penalising play which contravenes the laws of the game is the responsibility of the referee. Coaches, managers and spectators should not intervene or enter the eld of play. Physical intervention should only take place when it is absolutely necessary to prevent a child being hurt. In these situations it is imperative to:
  • consider your own safety
  • give verbal instructions rst
  • for an adult to buy, or attempt to buy, alcohol on behalf of someone under 18;
  • for someone under 18 to buy, attempt to buy, or to be sold alcohol;
  • for someone under 18 to drink alcohol in licensed premises, with one exception – 16 and 17 year olds accompanied by an adult can drink but not buy beer, wine and cider with a table meal; or
  • for an adult to buy alcohol for a person under 18 for consumption on licensed premises, except as above. At training sessions and games for children, adults’ drinking habits may a ect both children’s attitude to alcohol and their emotional well-being. As role models, adults should avoid excessive drinking in their presence. The unexpected can always happen; there should always be adults who abstain from drinking alcohol to deal with any emergencies and to manage the safety and welfare of children in their care. Contact Rugby The wellbeing and safety of children must be placed above the development of performance. Contact skills must be taught in a safe, secure manner paying due regard to the physical development of the players involved.
  • Adults and children must never play contact versions of the sport together including training gamesor contact drills. They may play either tag or touch rugby together if these games are managed and organised appropriately (see englandrugby.com
  • for further information). A risk assessment on the conditions, players and apparent risks should be carried out by a person responsible for the overall session. There is further information available in the Age Grade Rugby Code of Conduct, which also provides a variety of alternatives.
  • Coaching Techniques
  • Any inappropriate contact between adults and children is unacceptable and a number of principles should be followed when teaching contact rugby:
  • physical handling by a coach must only be used for safety reasons or where there is no other way of coaching the technique
  • the reasons for physical contact should be explained wherever practical so that children and their parents are comfortable with this approach
  • do not proceed with the action or consider alternatives if the child appears to be apprehensive or reluctant, or if there are other concerns about the child’s likely reaction
  • the activity should always be conducted in an open environment and in the presence of another adult. Physical Intervention Discipline on the eld of play is the responsibility of the players. Coaches, team managers and parents must always promote good discipline among the players, both on and o the eld. Penalising play which contravenes the laws of the game is the responsibility of the referee. Coaches, managers and spectators should not intervene or enter the eld of play. Physical intervention should only take place when it is absolutely necessary to prevent a child being hurt. In these situations it is imperative to:
  • consider your own safety
  • give verbal instructions rst
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  • use the minimum reasonable force to resolve the incident
  • not strike blows, act with unnecessary force or retaliate
  • avoid contact with intimate parts of the body, the head and neck
  • stay in control of your actions The CSO or CBSM should be noti ed at the earliest opportunity of an incident of physical intervention which involves any possible dispute, as a complaint might be lodged with the RFU or the police by a parent whose child has been physically restrained. The incident should be recorded on the RFU Initial Issue/Concern Reporting Form which may be found on the Safeguarding Children section of englandrugby.com/safeguarding and sent to the RFU’s Safeguarding Team. Physical intervention, often referred to in education as ‘Positive Handling’, should only be used to achieve an outcome that is in the best interests of children, such as to prevent children from hurting themselves or others. It must never be used as a form of punishment. Further guidance on managing challenging behaviour can be found within the Safeguarding Toolkit on the England Rugby website.
  • Changing Rooms and Showers Adults and children must never use the same changing or wash room facilities at a venue to shower or change at the same time. Where 17 year old children are playing in the adult game they should be o ered separate changing and shower facilities. Adults must only enter children’s changing rooms by themselves when absolutely necessary due to poor behaviour, injury or illness, or in an emergency and when waiting for another adult could result in harm to a child. If children need supervising in changing rooms,or coaches or managers need to carry out a range of tasks in that environment this must involve two individuals cleared to work in Regulated Activity of the same gender as the children. For mixed gender
  • activities separate changing and wash room facilities should be available.
  • If the same changing and wash room facilities mustbe used by adults and children on the same day a clear timetable should be established. No pressure should be placed on children who feel uncomfortable changing or showering with others; if this is the case they should be allowed to shower and change at home.
  • Where a disability requires signi cant support from a parent or carer, the child concerned and their parents/carers should decide how theyshould be assisted to change or shower. Before any assistance is o ered by another person, appropriate consent should be given by a parent/carer and the child themselves if they are of su cient maturity
  • to consent.

Transportation

Clubs should develop a transport policy publicised to parents/carers via the club welcome pack and club website giving advice on dropping-o and collecting children.
It should be made clear that in most instances it is the responsibility of parents/carers, not the club, to transport their child to and from the club or nominated meeting point. If parents/carers make arrangements between themselves this is a private arrangement and at the parents’/carers’ discretion.
If a club hires a coach from a reputable commercial coach company it is entitled to assume that the company provides properly maintained and insured vehicles and properly licensed drivers. However, children must never travel unaccompanied.
A member of the club must travel with the children and that adult’s contact details must be readily available to any parent/carer who has reason to contact them.

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If the club formally arranges transport e.g. using minibuses or people carriers (as opposed to facilitating travel arrangements between parents/ carers) then the club should ensure that:

  • drivers have a valid driving licence and recruitment procedures, including vetting criteria, have been followed and appropriate insurance and breakdown cover has been arranged
  • the vehicle is suitable for the number of passengers and has operational safety belts and appropriate child car seats
  • parents/carers give their consent and have the driver’s contact details, with the driver having easy access to parents’/carers’ contact details including mobile phone numbers
  • no child is left alone in the car with thedriver, unless it is the adult’s own child.If, in extenuating circumstances, this situation arises the child should sit in the back of the car if possible
  • the children involved are happy with the arrangement and adults are alert to any signs of disquiet. In the event of a late collection of children, coaches and volunteers should:
  • attempt to contact the parents/carers;
  • wait with the child, preferably in the company of others;
  • notify the CSO/club o cial; and
  • remind parents/carers of their responsibility to collect their child promptly.

Photographic Images

The RFU welcomes the taking of appropriate images of children in rugby clubs and has developed guidance for parents/carers and the children’s workforce, which is available in the Safeguarding Toolkit, to enable suitable photographs to be taken celebrating the core values of the sport.
There are risks associated with the use of photographic images. RFU Guidance on photographic images and professional photography is based on common sense. Clubs are advised to ensure that everyone is fully aware of, and complies with, the guidance. The key principle is that clubs should ensure they obtain parental consent for photographs to be taken while a child is either at the club or at away xtures.

Sharing of Electronic Material/Media

Clubs and CBs should be made aware of the advice contained in the Cyber-Guidance, available in the Safeguarding Toolkit. Websites can be a positive way to communicate with children. However, there are risks associated with internet usage. Rugby clubs are legally responsible for their website content and there should be nothing included which could harm a child, directly or indirectly. It is important to note that it is not acceptable to share sexually explicit or inappropriate material via any form of media with children; such behaviour may constitute a criminal o ence. The online environment is ever-changing; therefore the guidance is reviewed as necessary.

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