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Child Protection

Creating a Safe Environment for Children in Rugby


Scottish Rugby recognises that all adults involved in the coaching or supervision of children
have a duty to safeguard the welfare of those children. This duty extends to the prevention of
physical, sexual or emotional abuse of any child and shall be applied regardless of a child’s
gender, race, religion, sexuality or disability.
All children have a right to be safe when they participate in sport and that those who
organise/deliver sport to children have a duty to make sure children are safe and protected
from harm - in and through sport.
Child protection in sport is not just about protecting children from others who may seek to
harm them through sport. A trusted coach or leader may be the person a child chooses to tell
about something that is happening at home or outwith sport. In either case, we all have a
responsibility to act on concerns.
Participation in sport also makes an important contribution to a child’s development. A child’s
natural sense of fun and spontaneity can blossom in a positive environment created by sports
organisations. Sport provides an excellent opportunity for them to maintain good health, learn
new skills, become more confident, build resilience, self-esteem and maximise their own
unique potential. This is particularly important for children who are affected by adversity who
may be particularly vulnerable.
Scottish Rugby is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children in its care.
It recognises the responsibility to promote safe practice and to protect children from
harm, abuse and exploitation.
Staff and volunteers will work together to embrace difference and diversity and respect
the rights of children and young people.
This document outlines Scottish Rugby’s commitment to protecting children.
These guidelines are based on the following principles:
• The welfare of children is the primary concern.
• All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin,
socio-economic status, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to
protection from all forms of harm and abuse.
• Child protection is everyone's responsibility.
• Children have the right to express views on all matters which affect them, should they
wish to do so.
• Organisations shall work in partnership together with children and parents to promote
the welfare, health and development of children.
Scottish Rugby will:
• Promote the health and welfare of children by providing opportunities for them to take
part in rugby safely.
• Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of children.
• Promote and implement appropriate procedures to safeguard the well being of
children and protect them from abuse.
• Recruit, train, support and supervise its staff, members and volunteers to adopt best
practice to safeguard and protect children from abuse and to reduce risk to
• Require staff, members and volunteers to adopt and abide by this Child Protection
Policy and these procedures.
• Respond to any allegations of misconduct or abuse of children in line with this Policy
and these procedures as well as implementing, where appropriate, the relevant
disciplinary and appeals procedures.
• Observe guidelines issued by local Child Protection Committees for the protection of
• Regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Policy and these
This Policy and these Procedures will be regularly reviewed:
• In accordance with changes in legislation and guidance on the protection of children
or following any changes within Scottish Rugby.
• Following any issues or concerns raised about the protection of children within
Scottish Rugby.
• In all other circumstances, at least every three years.
Why this is important
A Code of Conduct has a number of important functions. It:
• sets out what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable
• defines standards of practice expected from those to whom it applies
• forms the basis for challenging and improving practice
• helps to safeguard staff by encouraging them to adhere to agreed standards of
• sets out for children and parents the standards of practice which they and the
organisation should expect from those who work/volunteer with children
Scottish Rugby supports and requires all members to observe the following standards of
practice, including verbal and non-verbal actions when involved in activities with children.
All concerns about breach of this Code of Conduct will be taken seriously and responded to in
line with Scottish Rugby’s Complaints Policy, Performance Management, Disciplinary
Procedure and / or Procedure for Responding to Concerns about Child Abuse.
• Make sport fun, enjoyable and promote fair play.
• Treat all children equally, with respect, dignity and fairness.
• Involve parents wherever possible.
• Build balanced relationships based on mutual trust that empower and include children in
the decision-making process.
• Always work in an open environment. Avoid private or unobserved situations.
• Put the welfare of each child first before winning or achieving performance goals.
• Be an excellent role model including not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of
• Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
• Recognise the developmental needs and capacity of children and avoid excessive
training and competition, pushing them against their will and putting undue pressure on
In the context of your role within Scottish Rugby, the following practice should be avoided:
• Having ‘favourites’ – this could lead to resentment and jealousy by other children and
could be misinterpreted by others.
• Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
• Entering children’s bedrooms on trips away from home, unless in an emergency situation
or in the interest of health and safety. If it is necessary to enter rooms, alert the
occupants by knocking and announcing your intention to enter. The door should remain
open, if appropriate.
• Where possible, doing things of a personal nature for children that they can do for
In the context of your role within Scottish Rugby, the following practices will never be
• Engaging in sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
• Engaging in rough or physical contact except as permitted within the rules of the
game or competition.
• Forming intimate emotional, physical or sexual relationships with children.
• Allowing or engaging in touching a child in a sexually suggestive manner.
• Allowing children to swear or use sexualised language unchallenged.
• Making sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
• Reducing a child to tears as a form of control.
• Allowing allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted
• Inviting or allowing children to stay with you at your home.
• Coaches and other leaders sharing a room alone with a child for sleeping
Some residential facilities offer dormitory sleeping arrangements where leaders may be
required to share with children. In such circumstances organisers must ensure that at least
two adults who have been recruited and selected using the recommended procedure are
present, preferably one male and one female, and that such arrangements have been
discussed and agreed with children and parents in advance.
In some circumstances older children may be required to share rooms with senior team
mates (i.e. over 18s). If this is necessary, it should be discussed and agreed in advance
with the young person and the parents (where appropriate and practicable). The young
people involved should also be aware of whom they should speak to if they have any
worries or concerns during this time.
Why this is important
These guidelines have been introduced to provide practical guidance for those working and/
or volunteering directly with children on practices to keep the child safe and to promote a safe
operating environment for the member of staff / volunteer. These guidelines compliment and
should be read in conjunction with the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children in Sport.
Breach of these guidelines may be dealt with under Scottish Rugby’s Complaints Policy,
Performance Management, Disciplinary Procedure and / or Procedure for Responding to
Concerns About a Child (page 22).
Sports organisations have a duty of care towards all children involved in activities. Children
under the age of 16 years should not be placed in positions of responsibility in relation to
other children. These guidelines apply to all children and young people under the age of 18
years. Common sense should be applied when considering the circumstances of older
children and all children should have the opportunity to express their views on matters which
affect them, should they wish to do so.
As sport takes place in many different structures, locations, environments and formats, it is
impossible to provide specific guidance on many of the issues covered. The following
guidelines are therefore based on generally recognised good practice and common sense.
Ultimately, most practical situations will require a judgment to be made about what is
practicable and reasonable in the circumstances.
As a guide, the following ratios are recommended in the National Care Standards Early
Education and Childcare up to the age of 16 (Scottish Executive, 2005):
Age: 3 and over 1:8
If all children are over 8 1:10
All activities should be planned to involve at least two adults, preferably one male and one
female. As a general guide, the following factors will also be taken in to consideration in
deciding how many adults are required to safely supervise children:
• The number of children involved in the activity.
• The age, maturity and experience of the children.
• Whether any of the group leaders or children has a learning or physical disability or
special requirements.
• Whether any of the children have challenging behaviour.
• The particular hazards associated with the activity.
• The particular hazards associated with the environment.
• The level of qualification and experience of the leaders.
• The programme of activities.
There may be other considerations which are specific to the sport or environment in which the
sport takes place.
All forms of physical contact should respect and be sensitive to the needs and wishes of the
child and should take place in a culture of dignity and respect for all children. Children should
be encouraged to express their views on physical contact.
In the first instance, coaching techniques should be delivered by demonstration (either by the
coach or an athlete who can display the technique being taught).
Educational instruction should be clearly explained with a description of how it is proposed to
handle or have contact with the child before doing so. This should be accompanied by
checking if the child is comfortable. Manual support should be provided openly and must
always be proportionate to the circumstances.
If it is necessary to help a child with personal tasks e.g. toileting or changing, the child and
parents should be encouraged to express a preference regarding the support and should be
encouraged to speak out about methods of support with which they are uncomfortable. Staff/
volunteers should work with parents and children to develop practiced routines for personal
care so that parents and children know what to expect.
Do not take on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained e.g.
manual assistance for a child with a physical disability.
All staff/ volunteers must ensure:
• Where practicable all parents of children under 16 have completed a Partnership with
Parents form before their child participates in rugby ( see page 67 - Safe in Care-
Scottish Rugby Partnership with Parents).
• There is an accessible and well-resourced first aid kit at the venue.
• They are aware of any pre-existing medical conditions, medicines being taken by
participants or existing injuries and treatment required.
• Only those with a current, recognised First Aid qualification treat injuries. In more serious
cases assistance should be obtained from a medically qualified professional as soon as
• A Significant Incident Form is completed if a child sustains a significant injury along with
the details of any treatment given. Common sense should be applied when determining
which injuries are significant.
• Where possible, access to medical advice and / or assistance is available.
• A child’s parents are informed of any injury and action taken as soon as possible.
• The circumstances in which any accidents occur are reviewed to avoid future repetitions.
Staff / volunteers who deliver activities to children may, from time to time, require to deal with
a child’s challenging behaviour.
These guidelines aim to promote good practice and to encourage a proactive response to
supporting children to manage their own behaviour. They suggest some strategies and
sanctions which can be used and also identify unacceptable sanctions or interventions which
must never be used by staff or volunteers.
These guidelines are based on the following principles:
• The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.
• A risk assessment should be completed for all activities which take in to consideration
the needs of the all children involved in the activity.
• Children must never be subject to any form of treatment that is harmful, abusive,
humiliating or degrading and should always be able to maintain their respect and
• No member of staff should attempt to respond to challenging behaviour by using
techniques for which they have not been trained.
1 Adapted from CHILDREN 1ST’s Safe Care and Child Protection Standards, Policy and
Planning Activities
Good coaching practice requires planning sessions around the group as a whole but also
involves taking into consideration the needs of each individual athlete within that group. As
part of a risk assessment, coaches should consider whether any members of the group have
presented in the past or are likely to present any difficulties in relation to either, the tasks
involved, the other participants or the environment.
Where staff / volunteers identify any potential risks, strategies to manage those risks should
be agreed in advance of the session, event or activity. The risk assessment should also
identify the appropriate number of adults required to safely manage and support the session
including being able to adequately respond to any challenging behaviour and to safeguard
other members of the group and the staff / volunteers involved.
All those delivering activities to children should receive training on these guidelines and
should be supported to address issues of challenging behaviour through regular supervision.
Agreeing Acceptable and Unacceptable Behaviours
Staff, volunteers, children and parents should be involved in developing an agreed statement
of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and the range of sanctions which
may be applied in response to unacceptable behaviour. This can be done at the start of the
season, in advance of a trip away from home or as part of a welcome session at a residential
Issues of behaviour and control should regularly be discussed with staff, volunteers, parents
and children in the context of rights and responsibilities. When children are specifically asked,
as a group, to draw up a ‘List of Acceptable and Unacceptable Behaviours and Sanctions for
Unacceptable Behaviour’ that will govern their participation in the group/team, they tend to
arrive at a very sensible and working set of ‘rules’. If and when such a list is compiled, every
member of the group can be asked to sign it, as can new members as they join.
Managing Challenging Behaviour
In dealing with children who display risk-taking or challenging behaviours, staff and volunteers
might consider the following options:
• Time out- from the activity, group or individual work.
• Reparation- the act or process of making amends.
• Restitution- the act of giving something back.
• Behavioural reinforcement- rewards for good behaviour, consequences for negative
• De-escalation of the situation- talking through with the child.
• Increased supervision by staff / volunteers.
• Use of individual ‘contracts’ or agreements for their future or continued participation.
• Sanctions or consequences e.g. missing an outing.
Adults and children shall never be permitted to use the any of the following as a means of
managing a child’s behaviour:
• Physical punishment or the threat of such.
• The withdrawal of communication with the child.
• Being deprived of food, water or access to changing facilities or toilets.
• Verbal intimidation, ridicule or humiliation.
Staff and volunteers should review the needs of any child for whom sanctions are frequently
necessary. This review should involve the child and parents to ensure an informed decision is
made about the child’s future or continued participation in the group or activity. Whilst it
would always be against the wishes of everyone involved in rugby, ultimately, if a child
continues to present a high level of risk or danger to him or herself, or others, he or she may
have to be debarred from activity in the sport.
Physical Interventions
The use of physical interventions should always be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary
in order to prevent a child injuring themselves, injuring others or causing serious damage to
property. All forms of physical intervention shall form part of a broader approach to the
management of challenging behaviour.
Physical contact to prevent something happening should always be the result of conscious
decision-making and not a reaction. Before physically intervening, the member of staff or
volunteer should ask themselves, ‘Is this the only option in order to manage the situation and
ensure safety?’
The following must always be considered:
• Contact should be avoided with buttocks, genitals and breasts. Staff / volunteers
should never behave in a way which could be interpreted as sexual.
• Any form of physical intervention should achieve an outcome that is in the best
interests of the child whose behaviour is of immediate concern.
• Staff / volunteers should consider the circumstances, the risks associated with
employing physical intervention compared with the risks of not employing physical
• The scale and nature of physical intervention must always be proportionate to the
behaviour of the young person and the nature of harm / damage they might cause.
• All forms of physical intervention should employ only a reasonable amount of forcethe
minimum force needed to avert injury to a person or serious damage to property –
applied for the shortest period of time.
• Staff / volunteers should never employ physical interventions which are deemed to
present an unreasonable risk to children or staff / volunteers.
• Staff / volunteers shall never use physical intervention as a form of punishment.
Any physical intervention used should be recorded as soon as possible after the incident by
the staff / volunteers involved using the Significant Incident Form ( see pages 71-72) and
passed to the Child Protection Officer as soon as possible.
A timely debrief for staff / volunteers, the child and parents should always take place following
an incident where physical intervention has been used. This should include ensuring that the
physical and emotional well-being of those involved has been addressed and ongoing support
offered where necessary. Staff / volunteers, children and parents should be given an
opportunity to talk about what happened in a calm and safe environment.
There should also be a discussion with the child and parents about the child’s needs
and continued safe participation in the group or activity.
Where it is necessary to transport children, the following good practice is required:
• Where parents make arrangements for the transportation of children to and from the
activity, out with the knowledge of Scottish Rugby it will be the responsibility of the
parents to satisfy themselves about the appropriateness and safety of the
• Where Scottish Rugby makes arrangements for the transportation of children the
members of staff / volunteers involved will undertake a risk assessment of the
transportation required. This will include an assessment of the following areas:
• Ensuring that all vehicles are correctly insured for the purpose.
• Ensuring the driver has a valid and appropriate license for the vehicle being used.
• All reasonable safety measures are available i.e. fitted, working seatbelts.
• An appropriate ratio of adults per child.
• Ensuring drivers have adequate breaks.
• When transporting children, wherever possible they should be in the back seat of the
car for health and safety reasons.
• Where practicable and planned, written parental consent will be requested if staff/
volunteers are required to transport children.
To safeguard the member of staff / volunteer the following good practice is required:
• Agree a collection policy with parents which will include a clear and shared
understanding of arrangements for collection at the end of a session.
• Always tell another member that you are transporting a child, give details of the route
and the anticipated length of the journey.
• Take all reasonable safety measures e.g. children in the back seat, seatbelts worn.
• Where possible, have another adult accompany you on the journey.
• Call ahead to inform the child’s parents that you are giving them a lift and inform
them when you expect to arrive.
1. Designate a Child Protection Officer for the Trip
Those in charge of the group will be responsible for the safety and well being of children in
their care. It is recommended that one of the group leaders co-ordinates the arrangements to
safeguard the safety and welfare of children during the trip. The Child Protection Officer
should ensure all practical arrangements have been addressed and act as the main contact
for dealing with any concerns about the safety and welfare of children whilst away from home.
A detailed itinerary will be prepared and copies provided to the designated contact for
Scottish Rugby and parents.
2. Risk Assessment
Potential area of risk should be identified at the planning stage through a risk assessment,
which is legally required, and which should be recorded in writing. Safeguards should be put
in place to manage the risks, where appropriate. Risk assessment should be an on-going
process throughout the trip as groups can often find themselves in unexpected situations
despite the best laid plans!
3. Travel Arrangements
See page 10 - Guidelines on Transporting Children. Organisers must ensure there is
adequate and relevant insurance cover (including travel and medical insurance). If the trip
involves travel abroad, organisers shall ensure they are aware of local procedures for dealing
with concerns about the welfare of children and are familiar with the details of the emergency
services in the location of the visit.
Children should be informed of local custom regulations
4. Adult to Child Ratios
All trips away should be planned to involve at least two adults, preferably one male and one
female where possible. The guidelines on adult to child ratios (see page 7) will inform an
assessment of the numbers of adults required to safely supervise the group.
Those involved should be recruited and selected in accordance with the procedure for
recruiting child care positions.
Group leaders should be familiar with and agree to abide by Scottish Rugby’s Child Protection
Policy, procedures and Code of Conduct.
5. Accommodation
Organisers should find out as much as possible about the accommodation and the
surroundings at the planning stage. Where possible, an initial visit to the venue/
accommodation should take place to help those organising the trip identify all practical issues
and allow time to address them in advance, in consultation with children and parents where
The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the practical things which should be
considered in advance about the arrangements for accommodation:
• Location: central and remote locations both present different challenges.
• Sleeping arrangements. These will enable suitable sharing in terms of age and
gender and appropriately located staff / volunteer bedrooms for both supervision and
ease of access in case of emergency. Parents and children should be consulted in
advance about arrangements for sharing where possible and appropriate.
• Appropriate safeguards where others have access to the sleeping quarters.
• Special access or adaptive aids required by group leaders or children.
• Environmental factors.
• Personal safety issues.
Exchange Visits / Hosting
Before departure, organisers should ensure there is a shared understanding of the standards
expected during home stays between them, host organisation / families, parents and children
themselves. These standards should include arrangements for the supervision of children
during the visit.
Host families should be appropriately Disclosure Scotland Checked where possible or
equivalent police checks undertaken and references thoroughly checked. Organisers, parents
and children should all be provided with a copy of emergency contact numbers.
Children should be aware of who they should talk to if problems arise during the visit. Daily
contact should be made with all children to ensure they are safe and well.
Residential at a Facility / Centre
Organisers should ensure the facility is appropriately licensed and has adequate and relevant
insurance cover in place. The facility should have a policy on the protection of children and
Health and Safety. Adequate security arrangements should be in place and facility staff
should have been Disclosure Scotland checked where appropriate. Facility staff involved in
the training or instruction of children must be appropriately qualified and trained.
Organisers should ensure there is adequate supervision of the group for the duration of the
stay, particularly when the facility is being shared with other groups.
6. Involving Parents
Where possible, a meeting should be held with parents before departure to share information
about the trip, answer their questions and make joint decisions about arrangements where
appropriate. A Code of Conduct shall be agreed with children and parents in advance of the
trip along with sanctions for unacceptable behaviour.
Parents must complete a Safe in Care - Scottish Rugby Partnership with Parents Form (
see page 67-68) and provide emergency contact details.
In the event of an emergency at home during the trip, parents should be encouraged to make
contact with the group leaders in the first instance so that arrangements can be put in to place
to support the child on hearing any distressing news.
6. During the Trip
Organisers must ensure arrangements are in place for the supervision and risk assessment of
activities during free time. Children shall not be allowed to wander alone in unfamiliar places.
Group leaders should have clear roles and responsibilities for the duration of the trip. They
must not be over familiar with or fraternise with children during the trip and remember that
they are in a position of trust at all times. The use of alcohol and / or drugs or engaging in
sexual relationships (between two young people) should not be condoned during the trip,
even if the legislation relating to any of these behaviours is more lenient than in Scotland.
Group leaders should maintain an overview of the well being of all children during the trip.
This can help to identify issues at an early stage and resolve them as quickly as possible.
Children can participate in this process by, for example, taking turns to complete a daily diary
about the trip. This can be an overt or discreet way for them to communicate things (both
positive and negative) that they want you to know.
7. After the Trip
Where appropriate, a debrief will take place with all those involved in the trip, including
children. This will provide an opportunity to reflect on what went well, not so well and what
could have been done differently. Feedback will be used to inform future trips.
The aim of these guidelines is to not to prevent bona fide persons from recording footage for
performance development reasons or the recording of achievements. They aim to ensure that
children are protected from the misuse of opportunities to take or manipulate film and video
footage in a way that harms children or places them at risk of harm.
Some sports take place in areas where organisers have little or no control over the
environment such an open river or areas to which the public have general rights of access
e.g. the open countryside. In these circumstances, organisers should take all reasonable
steps to promote the safe use of photographing and filming and to respond to any concerns
• Scottish Rugby will take all reasonable steps to promote the safe use of
photographing and filming at all events and activities with which it is associated.
However, Scottish Rugby has no power to prevent individuals photographing or
filming in public places.
• Scottish Rugby reserves the right at all times to prohibit the use of photography, film
or video at any event or activity with which it is associated.
• Parents and children will be informed they may, from time to time, be photographed
or filmed whilst participating in [name of sport]. This could be for one of the following
(i) Video footage for performance development.
(ii) Media coverage of an event or achievement.
(iii) Promotional purposes e.g. website or publication.
• Materials promoting events will state, where possible, photography and filming will
take place.
• Those who have sought and obtained permission to photograph or film will be
formally identifiable e.g. a badge or sticker will be issued, after production of the letter
of approval and identification ( see pages 69-70 - Request for Permission to Use
Camera and Video Equipment and Notification to Applicant)
• Information about what to do if concerned about photographing and filming will be
available at all events.
• Registration of intention to photograph will be required on the day. This enables
tracking of the equipment and operator should concerns arise in the future.
• Parents will be offered the opportunity to withhold their permission to photographing
and filming. In the absence of any expressed objection, parental agreement will be
• Where appropriate, children will be asked their views. Where a child is able to provide
an informed view, this will be taken into consideration by Scottish Rugby.
• Scottish Rugby will do everything reasonable in the individual circumstances to give
effect to the wishes of parents and children. All actions by Scottish Rugby will be
based on the best interests of the child.
Use of Images and Information
• No unsupervised access or one-to-one sessions will be allowed unless this has been
explicitly agreed with the child and parent.
• No photographing or filming will be permitted in changing areas.
• All images and accompanying information will comply with Scottish Rugby’s Safe in
Care Guidelines, where this is within the control of Scottish Rugby.
• Scottish Rugby will ensure that all negatives, copies of videos and digital photograph
files are stored in a secure place. These will not be kept for any longer than is
necessary having regard to the purposes for which they were taken.
• Images will not be shared with external agencies unless express permission is
obtained from the child and parent.
• Anyone behaving in a way which could reasonably be construed as inappropriate in
relation to filming or photographing should be reported to the person in charge on the
day. They should be approached for an explanation. If a satisfactory explanation is
not provided, the circumstances should be reported to the person in charge on the
day or Scottish Rugby’s Child Protection Officer.
• Where appropriate concerns should also be reported to the police.
• Written consent must be obtained from the child’s parent before publishing any
information about a child. If the material is changed from the time of consent, the
parents must be informed and consent provided for the changes.
• Special care must be taken in relation to vulnerable children e.g. child fleeing
domestic violence or a child with a disability, and consideration given to whether
publication would place the child at risk.
• Young athletes who have a public profile as a result of their achievements are entitled
to the same protection as all other children. In these cases, common sense is
required when implementing these guidelines. All decisions should reflect the best
interests of the child.
Use of Images and Information
• Information published on the websites must never include personal information that
could identify a child e.g. home address, e-mail address, telephone number of a child.
All contact must be directed to Scottish Rugby. Credit for achievements by a child
should be restricted to first names e.g. Tracey was Player of the Year 2002.
• Children must never be portrayed in a demeaning, tasteless or a provocative manner.
Children should never be portrayed in a state of partial undress, other than when
depicting an action shot within the context of the sport. Attire such as tracksuits or
t-shirts may be more appropriate.
• Information about specific events or meetings e.g. coaching sessions must not be
distributed to any individuals other than to those directly concerned.
• Any concerns or enquiries about publications or the internet should be reported to
Scottish Rugby Child Protection Officer.
Short Message Service (SMS) messaging is a quick and easy way to communicate with
others and is a popular and often preferred means of communication with children. Staff and
volunteers must be aware that intimidating, bullying or even abusive messages can be
discreetly sent by text. Information sent in this way, even where well-meaning, could be
Further, the risks presented by developments in modern technology are becoming
increasingly recognised. Adults who seek to harm children have been known to use text
messaging and internet chat rooms to “groom” children. This area is now specifically
addressed by the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act
Staff / volunteers must consider whether it is necessary and appropriate to hold the mobile
phone numbers of children. The general principle is that all communications with children
should be open, transparent and appropriate to the nature of the relationship.
In the first instance contact should always be made at the phone number the parent has
provided on the child’s behalf. Good practice would include agreeing with children and
parents what kind of information will be communicated directly to children by text message.
This information should only be “need to know” information such as the last minute
cancellation of a training session.
The following good practice is also required:
• the mobile phone numbers of children will be carefully stored (in accordance with data
protection principles) and access will only be provided to those who need access for a
legitimate reason.
• staff/volunteers must never engage in personal or sensitive communications with children
via text message.
• all concerns about the inappropriate use of text messaging will be dealt with in line with
Scottish Rugby’s Complaints Policy, Performance Management, Disciplinary Procedure
and/or Procedure for Responding to Concerns about Child Abuse.
There have already been a number of cases where children have been placed at risk as a
result of the ability to discreetly record and transit images through mobile phones. The use of
mobile phones in this way can be very difficult to monitor.
The Procedure for the use of Photographs, Film and Video should be observed in relation to
the use of mobile phones as cameras / videos. Particular care is required in areas where
personal privacy is important e.g. changing rooms, bathrooms and sleeping quarters. No
photographs or video footage should ever be permitted in such areas of personal privacy.
All concerns about the inappropriate use of mobile phones to record photographs or video
footage will be dealt with in line with Scottish Rugby’s Complaints Policy, Performance
Management, Disciplinary Procedure and/or Procedure for Responding to Concerns about
Child Abuse. This may include the concerns being reported to the police.
Scottish Rugby will take all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure unsuitable people are
prevented from working, or volunteering, with children. Further, we have a legal duty to
ensure that individuals who are fully listed on the Disqualified from Working with Children List
(DWCL) are not engaged (either paid or unpaid) in child care positions within Scottish Rugby.
This recruitment and selection procedure has two functions. It:
1. Provides Scottish Rugby with an opportunity to assess the suitability of the individual
to work/volunteer with children.
2. Provides the prospective employee or volunteer with an opportunity to assess the
organisation and the opportunities available.
The following recommended procedure will be completed for all positions deemed to be child
care positions in the organisation (in terms of Schedule 2 of the Protection of Children
(Scotland) Act 2003).
1. Advertising
All forms of advertising used to recruit and select staff / volunteers for childcare positions will
include the following:
• The aims of Scottish Rugby and, where appropriate, details of the particular
programme involved.
• The responsibilities of the role.
• The level of experience or qualifications required (e.g. experience of working with
children is an advantage).
• Details of Scottish Rugby’s open and positive stance on child protection.
• A statement that the position applied for is a child care position (exempted post) and
requires a Disclosure Certificate check which will be requested before the
appointment is confirmed and after the applicant has been offered the position.
2. Pre-application Information
Pre-application information for childcare positions will be provided to applicants and will
• A description of the position including roles and responsibilities.
• A candidate specification (e.g. stating qualifications or experience of working with
children required).
• Application and self-declaration forms and guidance notes ( Pg 52).
• Information on Scottish Rugby and related topics.
Evidence of qualifications will always be verified.
3. Application and Self-Declaration Form
All applicants will be requested to complete an application form and where deemed necessary
a self-declaration form. The purpose of this is to obtain from the applicant relevant details for
the position, including information on past criminal behaviour, records or investigations. The
self-declaration form shall be requested in a separate sealed envelope and will not be opened
until the applicant is considered for interview. If the applicant is not selected the form will be
4. References
References will always be requested and thoroughly checked. Where possible at least one of
these references will be from an employer or a voluntary organisation where the position
required working with children in any of the following capacities: employee; volunteer; or work
experience. References from relatives will not be accepted. If the applicant has no experience
of working with children, specific training requirements will be agreed before their appointment
5. Interview
Interviews will be carried out for all childcare positions. Where appropriate e.g. the recruitment
of a volunteer, a discussion will take place with the prospective volunteer.
( Ideas for questions can be found on pages 65 and 66).
6. Offer of Position
Once a decision has been made to appoint, an offer letter will be sent to the applicant
including the details of the position, any special requirements and the obligations e.g.
agreement to the policies and procedures of Scottish Rugby, the probationary period and
responsibilities of the role. The offer must be formally accepted and agreed to in writing e.g.
by the individual signing and dating their agreement on the offer letter and returning it to
Scottish Rugby. A volunteer agreement will be completed for voluntary positions.
7. Disclosure Scotland Certificates
Scottish Rugby is registered with Central Registered Body in Scotland. Prior to
appointment an Enhanced Disclosure check and/or equivalent international check (if
applicable) will be completed for all individuals appointed to child care positions. This will
require the applicant to complete and submit a Disclosure application form, which will be
returned to Scottish Rugby’s Lead Signatory. ( page 61 and 62: Guidance Notes on
Disclosure Scotland Certificates).
The applicant’s appointment will only be confirmed when a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure
check has been returned to the Lead Signatory for Scottish Rugby and satisfactory references
have been received and checked.
Overseas Applicants
Applicants from overseas being appointed to childcare positions are required to complete an
Enhanced Disclosure check.
Applicants from overseas will also be requested to provide a police check from their relevant
country where possible. Where this is not possible, or in addition to the police check, the
following information, where relevant to the position, will be requested:
• A statement from the governing body in the country of origin of the applicant and/or
the country from which they are transferring in regard to their participation and
suitability for the position.
• A statement from the international federation of the sport in regard to their
participation and suitability for the position.
8. Induction
The induction process will include the following:
• An assessment of training, individual aims, needs and aspirations.
• Clarification, agreement and signing up to the Child Protection Policy and procedures,
including the Code of Conduct.
• Clarification of the expectations, roles and responsibilities of the position.
9. Training
Newly appointed staff / volunteers will complete the following training over an agreed period:
• Protecting children.
• Working effectively with children (including presentation skills, developing child
friendly resources and activities).
• Any other identified training needs.
10. Probation
Newly appointed staff / volunteers will complete an agreed period of probation on
commencement of their role.
11. Monitoring and Performance Appraisal
All staff in childcare positions will be monitored and their performance appraised. This will
provide an opportunity to evaluate progress, set new goals, identify training needs and
address any concerns of poor practice.
All volunteers in childcare positions will be supervised.
12. Retention of Staff and Volunteers
Scottish Rugby recognises the contribution of all staff and volunteers to achieving the aims of
Scottish Rugby and will ensure that measures are in place to support the retention of staff and
Details of the post are circulated as
widely as possible.
The organisation makes sure that any recruitment information
promotes equality of opportunity.
Applicants asked to complete an application form and self-declaration form. The
self-declaration form is returned in a sealed envelope to a nominated person.
Task/job description is sent/given to applicants.
Organisation reviews applications.
Applicant is considered for
Applicant is not considered for
Self-declaration form is
destroyed unopened.
Self-declaration form
is opened.
Suitable for
YES NO Self-declaration
form is destroyed.
Application is taken
Applicant is no further.
References from
appropriate referees
are obtained.
Disclosure Certificate
requested from CRBS where
organisation wishes to
appoint the applicant.
Appointment is
confirmed on receipt
of a satisfactory
Disclosure Certificate.
Why it is important to respond to concerns
It takes considerable courage for a child or adult to disclose abuse. Disclosures need to be
handled very carefully and sensitively to avoid causing further distress to the child.
All concerns must be responded to in a way that ensures that a child receives appropriate
help and support and to ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who pose a risk
to children and to protect not only the child involved but all other children.
Robust procedures for responding to concerns will:
• help to avoid those receiving information from engaging in judgements.
• reassure those who report concerns that an appropriate course of action will ensue.
• support those charged with managing concerns by providing them with a step-by-step
process to follow.
• safeguard the rights of those against whom complaints or allegations have been made.
It is not the job of anyone in Scottish Rugby to decide whether or not a child has been
abused. It is however, everyone’s responsibility to report concerns
The following is taken from Sharing Information About Children at Risk: A Guide to Good
Practice (Scottish Executive, 2003).
Information provided to organisations should remain confidential unless permission has been
given to share the information by the individual concerned or the safety of that person or
another person may be at risk.
If there is a reasonable concern that a child may be at risk of significant harm, this will always
override a professional or organisational requirement to keep information confidential. It is
good practice to inform parents and children about the kind of situations which may lead to
them having to share information with other agencies.
Concerned adults are sometimes reluctant to report concerns about abuse for fear that the
person suspected will sue them for defamation if the allegation turns out to be unfounded.
To be defamatory a statement must first of all be untrue. Even if subsequently shown to be
untrue, the statement will be protected by ‘qualified privilege’ if it is made to the appropriate
authority “in response to a duty, whether legal, moral or social or in the protection of an
interest” (Norrie K, Defamation and Related Actions in Scots Law, 1995). Unjustified repetition
of the allegations to other persons will not be protected by privilege.
The qualification on privilege refers to statements made by malice. If a statement, even to the
appropriate authority, can be shown to be motivated by malice, then an action of defamation
could be successful.
(Taken from Guidelines for Child Protection Prepared for the Independent Schools in
Scotland, Kathleen Marshall, Second Edition, January 1997)
These procedures apply to all staff and volunteers involved in Scottish Rugby.
1. Concerns about the General Welfare of a Child
(NOT involving concerns about child abuse)
Scottish Rugby is committed to working in partnership with parents whenever there are
concerns about a child. Parents have the primary responsibility for the safety and well being
of their children.
In most situations, not involving the possibility of the abuse of a child, concerns should be
discussed with parents. For example, if a child seems withdrawn, he/she may have
experienced an upset in the family, such as a parental separation, divorce or bereavement.
Common sense is advised is these situations.
Any significant, untoward or unusual incidents which cause concern about the welfare of a
child should be recorded on the Significant Incident Form ( see pages 71 - 72) and
reported to Scottish Rugby Child Protection Officer as soon as possible. Parents should also
be informed of the circumstances as soon as possible.
Advice should be sought from Scottish Rugby Child Protection Officer if there is any
uncertainty about the appropriate course of action where there are concerns about the
general welfare of a child.
2. What to Do if a Child Tells You about Abuse
No staff member or volunteer of Scottish Rugby shall investigate allegations of abuse
or decide whether or not a child has been abused.
Allegations of abuse must always be taken seriously. False allegations are very rare. If a
child says or indicates they are being abused or information is obtained which gives concern
that a child is being abused, the information must be responded to on the same day in line
with the following procedure.
2a Respond
• React calmly so as not to frighten the child.
• Listen to the child and take what they say seriously. Do not show disbelief.
• Reassure the child they are not to blame and were right to tell someone.
• Be aware of interpreting what a child says, especially if they have learning or physical
disabilities which affect their ability to communicate or English is not their first language.
• Do not assume that the experience was bad or painful - it may have been neutral or even
• Avoid projecting your own reactions onto the child.
• Avoid asking any questions. If necessary only ask enough questions to gain basic
information to establish the possibility that abuse may have occurred. Only use openended,
non-leading questions e.g. Who? Where? When?
• Do not introduce personal information from either your own experiences or those of other
• Panicking.
• Showing shock or distaste.
• Probing for more information than is offered.
• Speculating or making assumptions.
• Making negative comments about the person against whom the allegation has been
• Approaching the individual against whom the allegation has been made.
• Making promises or agreeing to keep secrets and giving a guarantee of confidentiality.
Where there is uncertainty about what to do with the information, Scottish Rugby’s Child
Protection Officer must firstly be consulted for advice on the appropriate course of action.
If Scottish Rugby’s Child Protection Officer is unavailable or an immediate response is
required the police and social work services must be consulted for advice. They have a
statutory responsibility for the protection of children and they may already hold other
concerning information about the child. Record any advice given.
If you are concerned about the immediate safety of the child:
Take whatever action is required to ensure the child’s immediate safety.
Pass the information immediately to the police and seek their advice.
2b Record
Make a written record of the information as soon as possible using the Significant Incident
Form and/or Child Protection Referral Form- ( see pages 71 - 72), completing as much of
the form as possible. The following information will help the police and social workers decide
what action to take next:
• Child’s name, age and date of birth.
• Child’s home address and telephone number.
• Any times, dates or other relevant information.
• Whether the person making the report is expressing their own concern or the
concerns of another person.
• The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any injuries
occurred using the child’s own words.
• The nature of the concern (include all of the information obtained during the initial
account e.g. time, date, location).
• A description of any visible (when normally dressed) injuries or bruising, behavioural
signs, indirect signs (do not physically examine the child).
• Details of any witnesses.
• Whether the child’s parents have been informed.
• Details of anyone else who has been consulted and the information obtained from
• If it is not the child making the report, whether the child has been spoken to, if so
what was said using the child’s own words.
• The child’s views on the situation.
If completing the form electronically, do not save copies to the hard drive or floppy disk. Print
a copy, sign and date and then delete immediately. Pass the record to social work services or
the police and to the Scottish Rugby Child Protection Officer that day.
2c Sharing Concerns with Parents
Where there are concerns that the parent(s) may be responsible for or have knowledge of the
abuse, sharing concerns with the parent(s) may place the child at further risk. In such cases
advice must always firstly be sought from the police or social work services as to who
informs the parents.
Disclosure by child
to staff member
Information from
another individual
Concern about child abuse
Report to Scottish Rugby CPO
(if not available go to next box)
Take steps to ensure
child’s immediate
safety, if required
Refer to police and/ or
social work
Record advice given
and action taken
Follow advice from
police/ social work as
to who informs parents
Decide how to
support child
Concerns about the Conduct of a Member of Staff
This section of the procedures should be read in conjunction with Scottish Rugby’s
Complaints, Performance Management and Disciplinary Procedures. Section 2 (above) ‘What
to do if a Child tells you about Abuse’, applies whether the information is about a member of
staff or someone not connected in any way with the sport. The following section details the
procedure to be followed where the concern is about a member of staff.
These procedures aim to ensure that all concerns about the conduct of a member of staff are
dealt with in a timely, appropriate and proportionate manner. No member of Scottish Rugby
staff in receipt of information that causes concern about the conduct of a member of staff
towards children shall keep that information to himself or herself, or attempt to deal with the
matter on their own.
In the event of an investigation in to the conduct of a member of staff all actions will be
informed by the principles of natural justice:
• Employees will be made aware of the nature of concern or complaint.
• Where the concern is about possible child abuse, advice will firstly be taken from the
police as to what can be said to the employee.
• An employee will be given an opportunity to put forward their case.
• Scottish Rugby will act in good faith, ensure the matter is dealt with impartially and as
quickly as possible in the circumstances.
In all cases where there are concerns about the conduct of a member of staff towards
children, the welfare of the child will be the paramount consideration.
At any point in the management of concerns about the conduct of a member of staff,
advice may be sought from the police or social work services.
1. Initial Reporting of Concerns
Any concerns for the welfare of a child arising from the conduct of a member of staff must be
reported to the line manager/ Scottish Rugby Child Protection Officer on the day the concern
arises, as soon as practically possible.
Where the concern is about the line manager or the Child Protection Officer it must be
reported to the Chief Executive or Head of Human Resources.
2. Recording
Concerns must be recorded using the Significant Incident Form ( see pages 71-72) as
soon as possible. Reporting the concerns to the line manager/Scottish Rugby Child Protection
Officer should not be delayed by gathering information to complete the form or until a written
record has been made.
All subsequent actions taken and reasons for decisions shall be contemporaneously recorded
on the Significant Incident Form, signed and dated by the line manager/ Scottish Rugby Child
Protection Officer or the person appointed to manage the response to the concerns. Where
Performance Management Procedures/ Disciplinary Procedures are invoked, a written record
will be made of all actions and reasons for decision. Guidance on the storage, sharing and
retention of such records is contained in the relevant procedure.
3. Establishing the Basic Facts
Once the concerns have been reported, the line manager/ Scottish Rugby Child Protection
Officer will:
• Establish the basic facts
• Conduct an initial assessment of the facts in order to determine the appropriate course of
• Consult external agencies such as the police and social work services for advice at any
time. This is important because they may hold other important information which, when
considered alongside the current concerns builds a significant picture of concern.
4. Conducting the Initial Assessment
The line manager/ Scottish Rugby Child Protection Officer will conduct the initial assessment.
The purpose of the initial assessment is to clarify the nature and context of the concerns. It
should determine whether there is reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has
been abused/ harmed or is at risk of abuse or harm. Every situation is unique so guidance
cannot be prescriptive.
• Where the established facts support a concern about possible abuse, the initial
assessment will not form part of the disciplinary investigation.
• Subject to the nature and seriousness of the situation, if it is not clear at this stage
whether a criminal offence may have been committed the member of staff may be
approached as part of the information gathering process.
Where the nature and seriousness of the information suggests that a criminal offence
may have been committed, or that to assess the facts may jeopardise evidence, advice
will be sought from the police before the member of staff is approached.
• An initial assessment of the basic facts may require the need to ask a child(ren) some
basic, open-ended, non- leading questions solely with a view to clarifying the basic facts.
It may also be necessary to ask similar basic questions of other children, or other
appropriate individuals.
• Interviewing children about possible abuse and criminal offences is the sole remit of
specially trained police officers and social workers. Questioning of children by those
conducting an initial assessment should alway

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