Saffron Walden Rugby Club recognises and approves the RFU Policy on Welfare of Young People in Rugby Union and manages the club in accordance with its principles and regulations.
Our priority as volunteers, coaches, managers and committee members is to our duty of care to all of our players from the youngest to the most senior. Whether those players be on site at our grounds, visiting other Clubs in the Home Nations or touring abroad.
If you have any questions or queries about any aspect of the policy, contact the Club Safeguarding Officer:
Michelle Wisbey by clicking here or call 07811 441615
Statement of Intent
In conjunction with the aims of The Rugby Football Union (RFU), Saffron Walden Rugby Club is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children and vulnerable adults in the sport. All children and vulnerable adults are entitled to protection from harm and have the right to take part in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment. Saffron Walden Rugby Club confirms that it adheres to the Rugby Football Union’s Safeguarding Policy and the procedures, practices and guidelines and endorses and adopts the Policy Statement contained in that document.
The key commitments of the Saffron Walden Rugby Club policy for safeguarding children are:-
• The welfare of the child or vulnerable adult is paramount
• All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race, faith, size, language or sexual identity, have the right to protection from harm
• All allegations and suspicions of harm will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately
• Everyone will work in partnership to promote the welfare, health and development of children and vulnerable adults
• The interests of those who work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults will be protected
• SWRFC will implement and comply with the RFU Code of Rugby as appropriate.
• SWRFC will ensure its spectators, parents, members and officials are all aware of and have accepted the Club Photographic Policy
• SWRFC will endeavour to comply with the Guidance for Websites as set out on the RFU website
Children are defined in the Children Act 2004 as people under the age of 18 years. For the purposes of this Policy the legal definition applies. A child is anyone under the age of 18 engaged in any rugby union activity. However, where a 17 year old male player is playing in the adult game it is essential that every reasonable precaution is taken to ensure his safety and wellbeing are protected.
Male 17 Year Olds Playing in the Adult Game
This Policy covers all players under 18. However, in accordance with RFU Regulation 15, a male player can, with the necessary written consent, play in the adult game when he reaches his 17th birthday, although not play in a front row position until his 18th birthday. The only exception is players within the Elite England Rugby performance pathway, whose playing development is managed through the England National Academy. A club’s management team must have assessed and continue to assess, that any 17 year old player playing in adult games or training is both physically, emotionally and intellectually capable of taking part.
Those responsible for the management of adult teams which include 17 year olds, must at all times be mindful of their safety and wellbeing and ensure that a suitable adult from within the team and management acts as a mentor or buddy.
If a 17 year old is playing rugby under Regulation 18.104.22.168, while playing or training with the adults he is treated as an adult and the detail of this policy does not apply.
However, as soon as he is out of that environment the player is once again a child and thus the policies and legislation regarding children apply.
This section does not apply to the women’s game where female players may only play in the adult game from their 18th birthday.
Defining Vulnerable Adults
Vulnerable adults are defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as someone 18 years or older who has:
• A dependency upon others, or a requirement for assistance from others, in the performance of basic physical functions
• Severe impairment in their ability to communicate with others
• An impairment in their ability to protect themselves from assault, abuse or neglect
• has been detained in lawful custody or is being supervised as a result of a court order
When recruiting employees or volunteers all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure only suitable people are selected.
• Any vacancy advertised, locally or on-line, will indicate that a DBS disclosure will be required if appropriate.
• If a role does not meet the strict DBS eligibility criteria a request for references will be considered and followed up for example a bar manager, groundsman or committee member. If any aspect of a reference raises concerns the RFU Safeguarding team will be informed so a full and objective risk assessment can be undertaken.
• A written or verbal reference will be required for volunteers unknown to anyone at the club
• Adults working with children and vulnerable adults in a voluntary or paid capacity in rugby union must have an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure (DBS check) processed before working unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults, DBS clearance is essential and vetting through DBS application must be undertaken in accordance with RFU Regulations.
• Applications must be submitted within four weeks of taking up a role and must be renewed with the RFU every three years.
• The RFU does not accept DBS clearance obtained through any other organisation
Roles and Responsibilities
In order to operate within the legal and regulatory framework, the RFU, its Constituent Bodies and member clubs will work together, each with a clear role, in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.
• The RFU works in partnership with CBOs, clubs, police, local Children’s Services departments and the NSPCC and manages DBS clearance and notifies the Independent Safeguarding Authority of anyone dismissed because of harming a child or vulnerable adult;
• The RFU co-ordinates a safeguarding programme through a network of volunteer CB Safeguarding Managers (CBSM) and Club Safeguarding Officers (CSO) and provides appropriate training and support to them;
• The RFU provides training and support for the wider paid and volunteer workforce;
• Manages incident referrals in accordance with RFU regulations and protocols and takes disciplinary action against those who breach RFU Regulations.
Roles and Responsibilities of SWRFC and the CSO:
• SWRFC committee will appoint a Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO), and where appropriate a deputy, as the first point of contact for safeguarding and welfare concerns
• The CSO is a member of, or attends the appropriate club committees making safeguarding issues a priority at the proper level; and works in accordance with the CSO Toolkit
• The CSO should attend In Touch and Play it Safe courses within six months of taking up the post as required by Regulation 21
• Each mini and youth age group has at least one person who has attended the RFU Safeguarding and Protecting Young People in Rugby Union course
• SWRFC committee informs all members, parents and children when a new CSO is appointed
• All new volunteers and new members of staff should be made aware of the identity of club officials.
• SWRFC should ensure that the club’s policies and procedures are brought to the attention of volunteers and employees
• The CSO ensures that:
- the club’s safeguarding policy is accessible to all members
- all club officers and committee members are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities
- at any youth disciplinary panel the CSO supports the child and ensures the panel considers the child’s emotional wellbeing throughout
- the club’s volunteer and paid workforce is appropriately vetted and follows the Best Practice Guidance
- Identifies any signs of harm and reports them to the CBSM and/or the RFU Safeguarding team
- must regularly risk assess the volunteer/ workforce to identify those who are eligible for a DBS disclosure due to the regular turnover of volunteers and staff
- Familiarise themselves with the club membership list of the individual,(including ‘pending’ members) and the reporting tool which will allow them to support and manage their staff and volunteer DBS clearance.
Volunteer and Employee Responsibilities:
• Works towards creating a safe, friendly and welcoming environment and treats children and vulnerable adults with respect in accordance with the Core Values
• Has an enhanced DBS disclosure processed and cleared by the RFU and renewed every 3 years, in accordance with RFU Regulation 21
• Understands and complies with their club’s Safeguarding Policy
• Aims to follow all guidance in this document when working closely with children and/or vulnerable adults
• Completes any training considered appropriate for their role- it is strongly recommended that all adults who have a coaching role for children and/or vulnerable adults attend an appropriate Rugby Union Coaching Award course and an RFU Play It Safe training course.
• Follows the guidance set out in the Best Practice Policy. In summary, the following are NOT acceptable and will be treated seriously by the club and may result in disciplinary action being taken by the club, the CB or the RFU:
- Working alone with a child, children, vulnerable adult, or adults.
- Consuming alcohol whilst responsible for children or vulnerable adults.
- Providing alcohol to children or allowing its supply.
- Smoking in the presence of children.
- Humiliating children or vulnerable adults.
-Inappropriate or unnecessary physical contact with a child or vulnerable adult.
- Participating in, or allowing, contact or physical games with children or vulnerable adults.
- Having an intimate or sexual relationship with any child or vulnerable adult developed as a result of being in a ‘position of trust.’
- Making sexually explicit comments or sharing sexually explicit material.
Responding to suspicions of abuse
SWRFC is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse that may occur and to work with the RFU and statutory agencies
• SWRFC acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms - physical, emotional, and sexual, as well as neglect.
• When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or may be experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure) or through changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play.
• Where such evidence is apparent, the coach or manager will speak directly to the CSO (child safeguarding officer)
• Adults involved take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to children or by asking questions of children.
Allegations against coaches, managers or volunteers
SWRFC and the CSO will ensure that:
• All parents know how to complain about coaches, managers or volunteer actions within the club, which may include an allegation of abuse.
• Follow the guidance of the RFU Safeguarding Team when responding to any complaint that a coach, manager or volunteer has abused a child.
• Respond to any disclosure by children or adults that abuse may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
• refer any such complaint immediately to the RFU Safeguarding Team or in the case of immediate harm to a child the CSO will contact the local authority's social service department
• Co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by social services in conjunction with the police.
• Once the RFU has received and approved the individual’s DBS disclosure, their Rugby First record will be updated. Until such time, they must be supervised by another DBS checked coach.
• An individual may have received their DBS disclosure but the RFU Safeguarding team may be making further enquiries about the information appearing on the disclosure; until their Rugby First record indicates a DBS by way of a green tick against their name, supervision is mandatory
• If an individual is helping with a training session it must be within sight of a qualified and suitably vetted coach. Sessions should always be conducted openly and visibly. If training equipment (e.g. scrum machine or fitness equipment) is used out of the sight of other coaches more than one coach should be involved in this training session.
• Planning should ensure that in an emergency, levels of supervision are upheld by an appropriate number of DBS cleared and qualified individuals.
• Club/Team managers should also have plans or contingencies in place in respect of coach absences so that basic supervision levels are maintained
• 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 vetted individuals. However, in an emergency, the first attention must be paid to an injured player and if there are insufficient suitably vetted people available to supervise the remaining players, clearly, responsible adults will need to be asked to step in.
Adult: Child Ratios
There should always be more than one suitably vetted adult in charge of any group of children or vulnerable adults.
The RFU recommends a minimum ratio of:
1:10 for children over 8 years old or vulnerable adults
1:8 for children under 8 years old
1:6 for children under 7 years old
• Any events held on the club premises must comply with this Policy and if appropriate a Safeguarding Plan should be discussed and circulated to those affected
Tours - see separate Touring with Children Policy
• Any tours, overseas or domestic, undertaken by SWRFC must comply with the relevant RFU Regulations and SWRFC Touring with children Policy
• The Safeguarding Policy guidelines apply 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.
• When on tour with a group of vulnerable adults, clubs are advised to conduct a thorough risk assessment and apply a suitable ratio based on the individuals and their companions/carers within the tour party
• It is the responsibility of parents, not the club, to transport their child or vulnerable adult to and from the club or nominated meeting point.
• If parents make arrangements between themselves this is a private arrangement and at the parents’ discretion.
• If the club formally arranges transport e.g. using minibuses or people carriers (as opposed to facilitating travel arrangements between parents) 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 give their consent and have the driver’s contact details, with the driver having easy access to parents’ contact details including mobile phone numbers
- No child or vulnerable adult is left alone in the car with the driver, unless it is the adult’s own child or vulnerable adult. If, in extenuating circumstances, this situation arises the child or vulnerable adult 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
• 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 who has reason to contact them.
• In the event of a late collection of children or vulnerable adults, coaches and volunteers should:
- attempt to contact the parents,
- wait with the child or vulnerable adult, preferably in the company of others,
- notify the CSO/club official
- remind parents of their responsibility to collect their child promptly
The RFU positively encourages parents and spectators to take photographs of participants involved in rugby union to celebrate the ethos and spirit of the sport. However, once a photograph has been taken it is important to maintain control of it to avoid it being misused. Any photograph (digital or printed) which is produced and released into the public domain may be misused by anyone as once this has been done, control has been lost. In this day and age when it is so easy to upload or email a photograph within seconds of it being taken, it is worth taking a moment to consider the issue of control.
Photos and Video
Photos and video clips can make any child featured vulnerable to grooming if information about the child (name, address, activities or interests) is also disclosed.
Furthermore, posting an image on the website carries a risk that the image could be taken and adapted for an inappropriate use.
In line with the RFU recommendations SWRFC will follow the guidance set out below:
• Personal information which can lead to a child or vulnerable adult being identified should never be used
• If it is necessary to name a child ensure you have written parental consent and have informed the parents as to how the image will be used. This is particularly important when issuing press releases and match reports
• Photographs should be of the activity or team, not on one individual
• Clubs should ensure they obtain parental consent for photographs to be taken whilst a child or vulnerable adult is either at the club or away fixtures. This can be done easily at the beginning of the season when obtaining contact information and membership details
• Children and vulnerable adults must be appropriately dressed when being photographed. It is never acceptable to capture any images in changing rooms, showers or at any time when players are dressing. Images should be neither sexual, of an exploitative nature nor open to misinterpretation or misuse
• Parents should be made aware if a film is being taken to be used as a coaching aid. Clubs and CBs should ensure that any footage will be carefully monitored and stored securely
• It is not an offence to take photographs in a public place. On privately owned or leased land it is the owner who may regulate whether or not photographs may be taken.
• When clubs meet for fixtures/festivals it is recommended that confirmation is obtained from each club that parental permission has been given for all the children or vulnerable adults participating.
• If there is a child who is the subject of a court order who should therefore not have their photograph taken, this should be addressed before the event
• Parents should be aware that they may be asked to register their intention to take photographs
Commissioning Professional Photographers & the Local Media
If the SWRFC commissions professional photographers or invites the press to cover an activity, the club will ensure that:
• the photographer has been appropriately vetted prior to the event
• provide a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of content and behaviour
• Inform them of the club’s commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults
• Establish who will hold the recorded images and what they intend to do with them
• the professional photographer has appropriate identification, which must be worn at all times
The RFU states that ‘websites are a key part of the daily operation of most clubs. They are probably the most flexible way to communicate with members, and to anyone interested in joining a club. They also have the potential to be a very safe way to communicate with children, given their wide accessibility. However, in the same way that a club has responsibility for the physical safety of a junior member when visiting the club’s premises, that club must also ensure that there is nothing on its website which could harm a child, directly or indirectly.’
SWRFC is legally and morally responsible for the content of its website.
There are two key risks to guard against:
• abusive or inappropriate content (photos, video or text), on the site itself or on linked sites (including adverts, especially from Google or other ‘sponsored links)
• Disclosing personal information about a child to people accessing the website. This could be the child’s name, address, or any information about a child’s life, interests or activities which would help a stranger target a child, or engage that child in conversation.
Other inappropriate content can be perceived as:
• Bullying- this could be material on the site which criticises or humiliates a child. It could also be information which places undue pressure on the child to participate in some aspect of a club’s activities.
Blogs are a type of content becoming commonplace on websites. The creation is straightforward and does not require technical or design expertise. It can be updated remotely. Blogs present two particular challenges: a central part of the attraction of a blog is that it is updated frequently.
However, the same risks apply to its content as apply to all other content on the site.
A club cannot distance itself from the content of a blog it chooses to include on its site.
Further, blogs often contain a lot of opinion, as opposed to purely factual information.
Many sites contain links to other sites. This could be for commercial reasons, such as the sites of sponsors or advertisers, or simply to communicate information to be found on other websites.
• Before creating a link, SWRFC will check the content of the other website, both for child protection reasons, and to ensure the content poses no other risk to the club’s reputation.
• Once a link is included on the site, SWRFC will check its content periodically, and remove any link immediately if concerns arise.
Mobile and on-line communication with children
The RFU guidance states ‘Technology is moving very fast in this area. There are now many different ways for people to communicate. On-line communication can be by email, instant messaging or social networking sites. The risks posed by such methods of communication arise from a variety of issues: the privacy provided, the wide range of content that can be transmitted, including content of a violent, sexual or hateful nature, the ease with which images can be forwarded onto others and the difficulty in knowing truly who you are communicating with.
In sport, there are additional risks: inappropriate pressure can be exerted by adults, particularly coaches, on children or inappropriate criticism of a child’s performance. An official position or role within a club, such as coach, can carry with it a level of authority, and engender a level of trust, that facilitates the control of a child.’
It is therefore recommended that:
• When communicating by phone, where possible Club Officials and coaches should speak to the parent of a child
• Club Officials and coaches should not communicate with individual children by text or on-line at any time, on any matter, unless there is an immediate risk to the welfare of that child which can be lessened by such contact
• If a club needs to communicate club-related information to children by email (such as training or match details), it should use email groups comprising email addresses given by parents.
• It is inadvisable for a coach to communicate by email on a one-to-one basis with a child; if replying to an email from a child the parent should be copied in to the response
• Coaches and Club Officials should not communicate with children through social networking sites such as
- Facebook- Coaches should not be “friends” with the children they coach and they should not comment on their status as this can open a coach up to allegations
It is impossible to address every issue or cover every scenario SWRFC might encounter when communicating with children and it is appreciated that different age groups will need to be treated differently.
However, in all cases the above guidelines should be considered when determining the most appropriate method of communication in any given circumstances.
RFU Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults in Rugby Union Policy and Guidance
RFU Regulation 21 Safeguarding Children
RFU Safeguarding Toolkit
Touring with Children and Vulnerable Adults Guidance
RFU Regulation 15
SET Child Protection procedures 2011- Appendix 1 – contact details
The Children Act 1989 - s 47
The Protection of Children Act 1999
Data Protection Act 1998
The Children Act 2004, 2006
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
The Children (NI) Order
The Children (Scotland) Order
Sexual Offences Act (2003)
Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)
Human Rights Act (1999)
Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000)
Race Relations (Amendment) Act (1976) Regulations
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
Whilst this document has endeavoured to address the majority of issues that SWRFC might face, it is impossible to cover them all but the club will put the welfare of the child first and use common sense to determine the best course of action.
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