Club Child Welfare Policy

Southport RFC Child Welfare Policy & Procedures

Southport RFC as a member of the RFU/RFUW undertakes to implement and apply the following child welfare policy of the RFU/RFUW.

NB This policy is to be applied to all young players who are under 18. Within the RFU regulations a male player is permitted to play in the adult game when he reaches his 17th birthday. In these circumstances, sections 13.2.5 & 13.3.3 of this policy cannot practically be applied. However those responsible for the management of adult teams which include 17 year old players must be at all times, be mindful of their safety & well being.


1. It is the responsibility of every adult working in rugby union, either as a professional or as a volunteer, to ensure that all young people can enjoy the sport in a safe enjoyable environment.

2. Southport RFC recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all young people involved in the game by protecting them from physical, emotional or sexual harm and from neglect or bullying or any kind.

3. Southport RFC is resolute in ensuring that the policy and procedures apply to all those who are subject to its jurisdiction whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.

4. The members of Southport RFC recognise that they have a responsibility;

1. To safeguard & promote the interests and well-being of young people with whom they are working.

2. To ensure that all adults who work with young people are aware of their role & responsibilities and that training opportunities are made available to them.

3. To take all reasonable practical steps to protect young people from harm, discrimination or degrading treatment.

4. To respect young peoples’ rights, reasonable wishes & feelings.

5. To take all reasonable steps to ensure that the individuals involved in the game are aware of situations which may compromise their responsibility or position.

6. Procedures laid down in this policy will;

1. Offer safeguards to the young people with whom we work, and our professional members of staff, volunteer coaches and club members.

2. Help to maintain the professionalism & the safeguards of good practice which are associated with the RFU/RFUW.

It is recognised that any procedure is only as effective as the ability & skill of those who operate it. Southport RFC is therefore committed to the appropriate training for all coaches, volunteers & club members. This will enable them to work with parents/carers and other organisations to ensure that the needs & welfare of young people remain paramount.


2.1 Anyone under the age of 18 should be considered as a young person for the purposes of this document.

2.2 The welfare of all young people is paramount.

2.3 All young people, whatever their age, gender, culture, ability, language, religious beliefs, racial origin, and/or sexual identity should be able to enjoy the game in a fun environment, safe from abuse of any kind.

2.4 It is the responsibility of child protection experts to determine whether abuse has taken place, but it is everyone’s responsibility within rugby union to report concerns.

2.5 All suspicions & allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly & appropriately.

2.6 Individuals working with young people will be made aware of good practice in order to ensure that they are not placed in situations where allegations could be made
2.7 working in partnership with parents/carers is essential for the protection of young people.

2.8 Southport RFC recognises the statutory responsibilities of Social Services Departments & the police to ensure the welfare of young people and is committed to complying with Local Area Child Protection Committee policies.


The practices & procedures within this policy are based on the principles contained within UK & international legislation and government guidance and have been designed to complement Local Area Child Protection Committee procedures and take the following into consideration:

1. The Children Act 1989
2. The Protection of Children Act 1999
3. Working Together to Safeguard Children & Young People 1999
4. "Caring for the Young & Vulnerable" – Home Office Guidance for Preventing the Abuse of Trust 1999.
5. The Criminal Justice & Court Services Act 2000.
6. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
7. The Human Rights Act 1998
8. "What to do if you are worried a child may be being abused" – DOH 2003


Abuse is a powerful and emotive term. It is a term used to describe ways in which children are harmed, usually by individuals and often by those they know & trust. Coaches & others working with young people hold this trust and may be at risk of misusing their power over the young players.

In order to provide young people with the best possible experiences and opportunities in rugby union, it is imperative that everyone operates within an accepted ethical framework and demonstrates exemplary behaviour. This not only ensures that rugby union makes a positive contribution to the development of young people and safeguards their welfare, but also protects all personnel from false allegations of abuse or poor practice.

It is not always easy to differentiate poor practice from abuse, albeit intentional or unintentional. It is not, therefore, the responsibility of employees or volunteers in rugby union to determine whether or not abuse is taking place. It is, however, their responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and to act if they have a concern about the welfare of a young person.

(See Section 13 to reference "Good Practice in the Rugby Setting").

The four main types of abuse are:


This occurs when individuals persistently fail to show young people due care,
love or affection, where a young person may be constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted, or be subjected to sarcasm and unrealistic pressures. There may also be over protection, preventing young people from socialising, or bullying to perform to high expectations. The young person may lose self-confidence.

In a rugby situation, emotional abuse may occur when coaches:

4.1.1 Provide repeated negative feedback

4.1.2 Repeatedly ignore a young player’s efforts to progress.

4.1.3 Repeatedly demand performance levels above those of which the young player is capable.

4.1.4 Over-emphasise the winning ethic.


This occurs when a young person’s essential needs for food, warmth and care fail to be met. Failing to or refusing to provide love and affection could also be deemed as neglect.

In a rugby situation, neglect may occur when:

4.2.1 Young players are left alone without proper supervision.
4.2.2 A young player is exposed to unnecessary heat or cold without fluids or protection.

4.2.3 A young player is exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury.


This occurs when individuals, including some young people, deliberately inflict injuries on a child or knowingly, do not prevent such injuries. It includes injuries caused by hitting, shaking, squeezing, biting or using excessive force. It also occurs when individuals give young people alcohol, or inappropriate drugs, or fails to supervise their access to these substances.

In a rugby situation, physical abuse may occur when:

4.3.1 Coaches, managers or helpers expose young players to exercise/training which disregards the capacity of the player’s immature & growing body.

4.3.2 Coaches, managers or helpers expose young players to overplaying, over training or fatigue.

4.3.3 Coaches, managers or helpers expose young players to alcohol, or give them the opportunity to drink alcohol below the legal age.

4.3.4 Coaches, managers or helpers expose young players to performance enhancing drugs and recommend that they take them.


Girls & boys are abused by adults, both male and female, who use young people to meet their own sexual needs. Examples include forcing a child to take part in sexual activity such as sexual intercourse, masturbation or oral sex. Showing children pornographic material or making suggestions that sexual favours can help (or refusal hinder) a sporting career.

In a rugby situation, sexual abuse may occur when:

4.4.1 The close proximity of coaches and others to young people provides opportunities for potential abusers to exploit their position of trust to sexually abuse.


Poor practice includes any behaviour which contravenes any of the following:

5.1.1 RFU Fair Play Codes

2. Southport RFC Coaches Code of Conduct
3. Southport RFC Equity Policy
4. RFUW "Good Practice in the Rugby Setting" (see Section 13)
5. Southport RFC Welfare Policy for Young People
6. Accepted responsibilities of all individuals delivering the game to young people.

Section 6 – BULLYING

Bullying is not always easy to define and will not always be an adult abusing a young person. It is often the case that the bully is a young person. There are 3 main types of bullying:

6.1 Physical e.g. hitting, kicking, theft

6.2 Verbal e.g. racist or homophobic remarks.

6.3 Emotional e.g. persistent negative feedback.

All of these will include:

6.4 Deliberate hostility and aggression towards a victim

6.5 A victim who is weaker & less powerful than the bully/bullies

6.6 An outcome, which is always painful & distressing for the individuals.

Bullying behaviour may also include:

6.7 Other forms of violence

6.8 Sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing

6.9 Tormenting, ridiculing, humiliation

6.10 Unwanted physical contact or abusive, offensive comments of a sexual nature.

6.11 Racial taunts, graffiti, gestures

The competitive nature of rugby union makes it a potential environment for the bully. This may manifest itself in some of the following ways:

6.12 A parent who pushes too hard.

6.13 A coach who adopts a "win at all costs" philosophy

6.14 A player who intimidates others

6.15 An official who is over officious.


The indicators are not exhaustive & the presence of one or more of them is not proof that the young person is being abused.

7.1 Physical Abuse

7.1.1 Current unexplained injuries

7.1.2 Inappropriate excuses explaining injury

7.1.3 Untreated injuries

7.1.4 Fear of returning home

7.1.5 Aggression towards others

7.2 Neglect

7.2.1 Constant hunger & tiredness

7.2.2 Poor personal hygiene

7.2.3 Poor state or inappropriately dressed

7.2.4 Frequent lateness or absence from the coaching session

7.2.5 Low self-esteem

7.2.6 Poor peer relationships

7.3 Emotional Abuse

1. Low self-esteem
2. Decline in concentration levels
3. Continual self-depreciation
4. Emotional immaturity
5. Extremes of behaviour

7.4 Sexual Abuse

1. Unexplained changes in behaviour
2. Inappropriate sexual awareness
3. Engaging in sexually explicit behaviour
4. Distrust of adults
5. Inappropriate language

Sometimes changes in behaviour can relate to other significant events in a young person’s life, such as bereavement, internal family difficulties or bullying.
Working in partnership with parents/carers and ensuring positive communication can help to ensure that reasons for changes in behaviour can be identified and action taken to support the young person.


It is understandable that people who are well-motivated, loving and caring individuals with a deep commitment to their sport, are reluctant to believe that children may be suffering harm in the rugby environment or at home.

It may be difficult to accept that children could be at risk because of the way the organisation is being run and the attitudes of those involved.

Levels of awareness need to be raised without creating an atmosphere of anxiety or suspicion.

However, a basic principle should be that:

If you become aware of anything, which causes you to feel uncomfortable, you should talk to the club Child Welfare Officer about it.
This means being aware of the attitudes of coaches and volunteers and of the interactions between them & the children, and with each other. Certain modes of behaviour by an individual or individuals may be excused by the comments:

"He/she has always behaved like this"


"We’ve come to expect that sort of behaviour & attitude from X Club, they are the same every year”.

If the behaviour is contrary to Southport RFC Welfare Policy, meaning that young people are potentially at risk, then action MUST be taken.

Adults must also be alert to any unusual incidents or activities which take place where coaches & volunteers are putting themselves in a vulnerable situation.


Southport RFC undertakes to:

9.1 Appoint a Welfare Officer who will act as the point of contact for concerns about the welfare of young people (see Appendix 2 for "Terms of Reference").

9.2 Accept that all committee members have a responsibility in this area & be prepared to respond to any indication or poor practice or abuse in line with Southport RFC policy and to put into place structures & systems to ensure that this is followed in practice

9.3 Adopt & implement a policy of Best Practice for all adults working with young people (see Section 13, Appendix 3 & RFU Fair Play Codes).

9.4 Ensure that all relevant members who have regular supervisory contact with children undertake a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure.

9.5 Identify a disciplinary panel which, when necessary, will be convened to hear case (see Appendix 1).


10.1 In all cases of reported poor practice/abuse, the following principles must be adopted.

Listen & Reassure

Stay calm – do not rush into inappropriate action. React calmly in order not to alarm the young person.

Reassure the child – that they are not to blame & confirm that you know how difficult it must be to confide.

Listen sympathetically – to what the child says & show that you take it seriously.

Keep questions to a minimum – the law is very strict & child abuse cases have been dismissed where the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested. Only ask questions to clarify.

Consult with the club’s Child Welfare Officer – ensuring that you communicate all information accurately.

Maintain confidentiality - complete the incident report (see Appendix 6). All incidents will be treated with an "open mind" and be handled in a fair & equitable manner. Confidentiality must be maintained until a case is proven.

Ensure the safety of the young person – if urgent medical attention is required, then call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concerns & ensure that they are aware that this is a child protection issue.

Panic – or allow your feelings to be evident

Make promises you cannot keep – explain you will need to tell other people

Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily


Speculate or make assumptions

Approach the alleged abuse

Take sole responsibility

In all cases, if you are not sure what to do, you can gain help from the NSPCC 24-hour
freephone helpline (0800 800 500) or the RFU Child Protection Line (0208 831 6655).

10.2 Record (see Appendix 6)

Information passed to external agencies must be as helpful as possible. It will be necessary to make a detailed report at the time of disclosure. The report should contain the following detail:

10.2.1 The young person’s name, address, date of birth, race, ethnic origin and any disability.

10.2.2 Name of the allegation

10.2.3 A description of any injuries/bruising

4. Any observations about the behaviour/emotional state of the young person.
5. Times, locations, dates
6. The young person’s account in their own words of what has happened.
7. Actions that have been taken as a result of your concerns
8. Whether the person writing the account is expressing their own concerns or those of a third party.
9. Sign & date
10. Keep a copy
11. Keep a record of the name & designation of a Social Service member or police officer to whom concerns were passed.



11.0 Concerns about poor practice and possible abuse within the rugby setting.

This would relate to anyone working with young people in a paid or voluntary capacity e.g. volunteer coaches in clubs, club helpers, and tutors in training camps.

Child abuse can & does occur outside the family setting. Although it is a sensitive and difficult issue, child abuse has occurred within institutions and within other settings e.g. sport or other social activities. Recent research indicates that abuse that takes place within an organisation is rarely a one-off event. It is crucial that those involved in rugby union are aware of this possibility and that all allegations are taken seriously and appropriate action pursued.

Allegations will often relate to poor practice where an adult’s behaviour is inappropriate and maybe causing concern to a young person’s colleagues or parents.

Poor practice constitutes any behaviour that contravenes RFU Codes of Conduct (Appendix 3) & codes of Good Practice in the Rugby Setting (Section 13) & in particular:

Infringes an individual’s rights

Is a failure to fulfil highest standards of care


11.1 Action to take if a young person informs you that he/she is concerned about someone’s behaviour towards them in the rugby setting.

Follow principles laid down in section 10.1 & 10.2

Follow the RFU procedures as laid down below:

11.1.1 Make a full record of what has been said, heard and seen as soon as possible;

11.1.2 Club Welfare Officer to be informed immediately;

11.1.3 Club Welfare Officer should report the matter to the RFU Ethics & Equity Manager with copy to the Lancashire Welfare Manager.

Following guidance that the issue is poor practice, then the Club Welfare Officer should;

Follow club disciplinary procedures for a first report of poor practice (see Appendix 1):

11.1.4 Forward a written report on action taken to the Lancashire Welfare Manager
& RFU Ethics & Equity Manager;

11.1.5 If an individual is identified by the club as being guilty of poor practice on subsequent occasions, then the Lancashire Welfare Manager, in consultation with the RFU ethics & Equity Manager, may conclude that the issue constitutes abuse and should be referred to the RFU Disciplinary Officer.

Following guidance that the issue is abuse, then the Club Welfare Officer should:

11.1.6 If the young person requires immediate attention:

An ambulance should be called

The doctor should be informed that the concern relates to child protection:

11.1.7 Refer the allegation to police or Social Services. They will give advice relating to contacting the child’s parent/guardians.

11.1.8 Inform the Lancashire Welfare Officer & the RFU Ethics & equity Manager & forward a written report utilising the Incident Report Form (see Appendix 6).

Non-action is not an option. The welfare of the young person is paramount.

11.2 Action to take if you become aware through your own observations or through a third party of possible abuse occurring at a young person’s home or in some other setting (outside rugby)

If this happens, you should:
Ensure the safety of the young person – if he/she requires urgent treatment, call an ambulance, inform the doctors of your concern and ensure that they are aware that this is a child protection issue.

RFU procedures should then be followed:

11.2.1 Please refer to Sections 10.1 & 10.2 of this policy

11.2.2 Report your concerns to the Club Welfare Officer

11.2.3 The Club welfare Officer may seek advice from the RFU Ethics & Equity Manager, the Lancashire Welfare Manager, the RFU Child Protection Helpline or the NSPCC. If there is any delay in receiving advice, contact must be made with Social Services.

11.2.4 If a formal referral is made, make it clear to Social Services or the Police that this is a child protection referral.

11.2.5 All police forces have dedicated Child Protection Teams (CPTs) who deal with allegations of abuse within the family setting and by people in a position of trust. In an emergency, dial 999.

11.2.6 Parents/carers should only be contacted following advice from Social Services.

Non-action is not an option. The welfare of the young person is paramount. Delay in acting can increase the risk to the child.

11.3 In all cases, please remember the following:

It is often more difficult for some young people to disclose abuse than others. Young people from ethnic minorities may have regularly experienced racism, which may lead them to believe that certain groups, including those in authority roles, do not really care about their well-being. They may feel they have good reason to question whether the response may be different.

Disabled young people may have to overcome additional barriers before feeling that they can disclose abuse. They may rely on the abuser for their daily care and not know of alternative sources of care. The abuser may be the only attention/affection they have experienced. There may be communication differences and they will almost certainly have to overcome prejudices which block our willingness to believe they may be abused or to use their medical condition to explain away indicators which in a non-disabled young person
would concern us.

These groups of people need us to be extra vigilant and to give thought as to how we will respond.

11.4 In all cases, every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.

Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis. This will include the following people:

Club/Lancashire Welfare Officer

Designated officers within the RFU

The person making the allegation

Social Services & police

The parents of the young person alleged to have been abused.

SECTION 12 – Recruitment of Coaches & Volunteers

Anyone may have the potential to abuse young people in some way and it is important that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. It is essential that the same procedure is used consistently throughout the game. Under the Protection of Children Act 1999, all individuals working on behalf of RFU/RFUW are treated as employees whether paid or volunteers.

The following recruitment checks must be carried out:

12.1 Advertising

If any form of advertising is used to recruit staff, it should reflect:

12.1.1 The responsibilities of the role

12.1.2 The level of experience or qualification required

12.1.3 RFU stance on child protection

2. Checks

All adults who have "regular supervisory contact with young people" will undertake CRB disclosure. These adults will include:
Coaches/assistant coaches

Team managers

All referees

Welfare Officers


3. Training

Appropriate training will enable individuals to recognise their responsibilities with regard to their own good practice and the reporting of poor practice or concerns of possible abuse. Southport RFC strongly encourage:

1. All adults who have regular contact with young people complete the "RFU Guide to Best Practice & Child Protection."
2. All adults who have a coaching responsibility for young people attend an appropriate RFU coaching course.

It is vital that all staff working with young people in rugby union are conversant with:

Player-centred coaching techniques

How to work with young people safely & effectively.

SECTION 13 – Good Practice in The Rugby Setting

It is the aim of Southport RFC that all young people enjoy the game the game in a safe and enjoyable setting.

13.1 Good Practice Procedures

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

13.1.1 A club welfare policy

13.1.2 A designated Club Welfare Officer with representation on appropriate committees

13.1.3 Publicised Child Protection Policy

13.1.4 Procedures are in place to deal with complaints or concerns

13.1.5 Provide training opportunities for adults who work with young people

13.1.6 Ensure there are Codes of Conduct & Codes of Practice in place
7. Parents/carers should be aware of what the organisation and coaches are doing and also of the correct procedures to express any concerns they may have.
8. Ensure that there is an Equity Policy and that all discrimination is challenged and prohibited.
9. All adults who regularly supervise young people undertake a CRB disclosure (see Section 12.2)
10. Ensure guidelines are in place to control and monitor the use of photographic images of children (see Appendix 7)
11. Develop & promote a policy on bullying (see Appendix 5)
12. Monitor coaches & provide feedback with particular reference to poor practice.

13.2. Codes of Good Practice for Coaches & Officials

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

13.2.1 Always be publicly open when working with young people. Avoid situations where you and an individual child are completely unobserved.

13.2.2 Rugby is a physical game. Situations will occur when, in order to teach or coach certain techniques, it is necessary to make contact with the player. However, the following must apply:

Parents & young players are made aware of situations in which this may happen when they join the club;

Physical handling should only be used for safety reasons or where there is no other way of coaching the technique.

13.2.3Contact or handling which is inappropriate (not directly related to the coaching context) or aggressive, will not be tolerated.

13.2.4 If groups are to be supervised in changing rooms, always ensure that individuals work in pairs, and that the gender is appropriate. Ideally young people should not have to change at the same time & place as adults.

13.2.5 Where mixed teams compete away from home, they should always be accompanied by at least one male and one female adult.

13.2.6 Volunteers & professionals must respect the rights, dignity & worth of all, and treat everyone with equality

7. Coaches must place the well being and safety of the player above the development of performance. Coaches should:

Avoid overplaying of players (particularly talented players). All players need & deserve equal opportunities to play

Remember that young people play for fun and enjoyment and that winning is only a part of it
Motivate youngsters through positive feedback and constructive criticism.

Never allow young players to train/play when injured

Ensure equipment and facilities are safe & appropriate to the age & ability of the players

8. Coaches should hold current RFU coaching awards or another recognised award.

9. Coaches should keep up to date with knowledge and technical skills & should be aware of their own limitations. Coaches should only work within the limitations of their knowledge & qualifications

10. Coaches must ensure that the activities which they direct or advocate are appropriate to the age, maturity & ability of the players.

11. Coaches should never overtly criticise players or use language or actions which may cause the player to lose self-confidence

12. Coaches must consistently display high standards of personal behaviour & appearance

13. Coaches should always promote the positive aspects of the sport (e.g. fair play) and never condone law violations or the use of prohibited substances

14. Young people should not be encouraged to drink alcohol if they are under the legal age to do so.

Practice to be avoided

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

Spend time alone with children away from others

Take children alone on car journeys, however short.

If it should arise that such situations are unavoidable, they should only take place with the full consent of a person in charge in the club &/or a person with parental responsibility for the player.
If you should accidentally hurt a player, or cause distress in any manner, or the player appears to respond in a sexual manner to your actions, or misunderstands, or misinterprets something you have done, report the incident to a colleague supported by a witness report of the incident as soon as possible.
Parents/carers should be informed of the occurrence.

Practice that is prohibited by the RFU/RFUW
Individuals should never:

13.3.1 Take young people to their home or other secluded places where they will be alone

13.3.2 Engage in rough, physical games, sexually provocative games or horseplay with young people

13.3.3 Take part in any dynamic games with young people. If there is a need for an adult to facilitate learning within a coaching session through the use of coaching aids, such as contact pads, this should be done with the utmost care and with due regard to the safety & well being of the young players.

13.3.4 Share a room with a young person unless the individual is the parent/guardian of that young person

13.3.5 Allow any form of inappropriate touching (not specifically related to the coaching of the game).

13.3.6 Make sexually suggestive remarks to a young person, even in fun.

7. Use inappropriate language or allow young players to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
8. Allow allegations by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
9. Do things of a personal nature for a young person that they can do for themselves, unless you have been requested to do so by the parent/carer.
(Please note that it is recognised that some young people will always need help with things such as lace tying, adjustment of tag belts, fitting head guards etc.)
10. Depart the rugby club until the safe dispersal of all young people is complete.
11. Cause an individual to lose self-esteem by embarrassing, humiliating or undermining him/her.
12. Treat some young people more favourably than others.
13. Agree to meet a young person on your own on a one-to-one basis.

3. Positions of Trust

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

13.4.1 Any behaviour, which encourages a physical or emotionally dependant relationship to develop between the person in a position of trust and the young person in their care, must be avoided.

13.4.2 All those within Southport Rugby club have a duty to raise concerns about the behaviour by coaches, referees and volunteers which may be harmful to the young people in their care, without prejudice to their own position.

13.4.3 Allegations relating to a breach of the Code of Conduct will be investigated according to RFU disciplinary procedures
5. Whistle Blowing

Any adult or young person who has concerns can contact the RFU/RFUW in complete confidence on 0208 831 6655 or via


RFU Ethics & Equity Manager NSPCC Helpline
Steve Farr. Telephone: 0208- 831-7479. Email:
NSPCC Telephone 0808 800 5000 Asian helpline 0800 096 7719
Deaf Users 0800 056 0686

RFUW Child Protection Officer
This is a 24 hour free and confidential telephone help line for counselling,
advice & information to anyone.
Helen Ames Telephone: 0208 831 7996

Southport RFC Welfare Officer
Neil Bayliff
Tel: 07725364502

The RFU Helpline Web:
Telephone: 0208 831 6655

Lancashire Welfare Officer
Carol Ann Baker


Club Procedures to Manage Cases of Poor Practice.

Poor practice is defined as any behaviour which contravenes RFU Codes of Conduct (Fair Play Codes) or RFU Guidance for Good Practice.

1. Once an incident is reported to the Club Welfare Officer, she should consult the RFU Ethics & Equity Manager in order to ascertain whether the allegation is poor practice, bullying or abuse.
1. Once the incident has been identified as poor practice and, in conjunction with senior club officials (Club Chairman/Youth Chairman), a decision will be made whether or not to suspend, temporarily, the person accused. Each case will be considered on its merits.
3. A disciplinary hearing may be called. The panel should be made up of three club members with regard to the following criteria:
No person who has been involved in bringing the case to the disciplinary hearing should sit on the panel.

Senior management of the club must be represented.

If the case relates to poor coaching practice, experience in this field must be represented.

5. The accused will be advised of receipt of the report and provided with copies.
6. The accused will be invited to attend the hearing, which must be held at a convenient time for him/her.
7. The accused must be given sufficient advanced notice.
8. The accused must be given the opportunity to offer his/her side of the story and call witnesses.
9. Once the disciplinary panel reaches a decision it should be communicated to the accused and confirmed in writing.
10. A copy of the finding should be sent to the Lancs Welfare Officer & RFU Ethics & Equity Manager.

Power of the Club Disciplinary Panel

1. Temporary suspension.
2. Person may only coach whilst supervised.
3. Coach must undertake RFU Best Practice & Child Protection course.
4. Coach must attend ScUK "Good Practice & Child Protection" course.
5. Coach must attend appropriate RFU coaching course.


Terms of Reference for Club Welfare Officer
1. Ensure the club has a Club Protection Policy & Implementation Plan
2. Ensure Codes of Conduct are well publicised and adhered to
3. In consultation with the Lancs Welfare Officer, ensure all reported incidents are managed at the appropriate level in line with RFU procedures
4. Ensure all relevant club members are aware of training opportunities
5. Ensure all parents are aware of the club policy on child protection & the correct protocols for voicing concerns
6. Be aware of local Social Services & Area Child Protection Committee contacts
7. Sit on relevant club committees.


Coaches Code of Conduct

1. All rugby coaches must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every young person with whom they work and treat them equally within the context of rugby union.
2. All rugby coaches must place the physical and emotional well being of all young players above all other considerations, including the development of performance.
3. The relationship that a rugby coach develops with the players with whom he/she works must be based on mutual trust and respect.
4. All rugby coaches must ensure that all activities undertaken are appropriate to the age, maturity, experience & ability of the young players.
5. All rugby coaches must encourage young players to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.
6. All rugby coaches should clarify with the young players (and their parents/carers) what is expected of them both on & off the rugby pitch and also what they are entitled to expect from the coach.
7. All rugby coaches should work in partnership with others within the game (officials, doctors, physios and sports scientists) to ensure the well being, safety and enjoyment of all young players.
8. All rugby coaches must promote the positive aspects of the sport, e.g. fair play. Violations of the Laws of the Game, behaviour contrary to the spirit of the Laws of the Game or relevant regulations or the use of prohibited techniques or substances must never be condoned.


Good Practice Guidance for Match Officials

When refereeing young players, match officials should:

Recognise the importance of fun & enjoyment when officiating young players

Provide verbal feedback in a positive way during games

Appreciate the needs of the players

Be a positive role model

Recognise that safety is paramount

Explain decisions – most young players are still learning

Never tolerate verbal abuse

Officials should not:

Change in the same area as young players

Shower with young players – agree a timetable with the coaches

Be alone with young players at any time

Check studs without the coach being present

Administer first aid

Allow a young player to continue playing if there are doubts about his/her fitness.

Tolerate bad language from young players

Engage in any inappropriate contact with young players

Give a lift to a player unless there are other young people or adults in the car and the parents are aware

Take a young player to your home

Overtly criticise young players or use language which may cause the player to lose confidence or self-esteem

Make sexually explicit remarks to young players, even in fun.

Officials must always:

Report, in writing, to the Club or Lancashire Welfare Officer and/or Society Secretary, behaviour by adults which you feel contravenes RFU Child Protection Policy

Verbal bullying by coaches/parents/spectators

Physical abuse by coaches/parents/spectators

Inappropriate or aggressive contact by an adult to a young person

Verbal abuse directed at the official by young people or adults.

REMEMBER: The welfare of all young people is paramount.


Anti-bullying Policy

Bullying is not easy to define, can take many forms and is usually repeated over a length over a period of time. The three main types of bullying are: physical (e.g. hitting, kicking), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities). They will all include:

Deliberate hostility and aggression towards the victim

A victim who is weaker than the bully or bullies

An outcome which is always painful & distressing for the victim

Bullying behaviour may also include:

Other forms of violence

Sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing or theft

Tormenting, ridiculing, humiliation

Racial taunts, graffiti, gestures

Unwanted physical contact or abusive or offensive comments of a sexual nature
Emotional and verbal bullying is more likely to be found in rugby than physical violence. It is also difficult to cope with or prove. Southport RFC undertakes to:

Take the problem seriously

Investigate any incidents

Talk to the bullies and victims separately

In the event of bullying being found, Southport RFC will use appropriate courses of action, such as:

Obtain apology from the bully(ies) to the victim

Inform parents of the bully(ies)

Insist on the return of items "borrowed" or stolen

Insist bullies compensate the victim

Hold club or age group discussions about bullying

Provide support for the coach of the victim.


(copies kept by club welfare officer)


Photographic Images – RFU guidelines

Whilst the RFU/RFUW recognises that publicity & pictures of young people enjoying rugby are essential to promote the sport & a healthy lifestyle, the following rules should be observed

1. Ensure parents/guardians/young people have granted their consent for the taking & publication of photographic images.
2. All young people must be appropriately dressed for the activity taking place. (Minimum of vest/shirt & shorts)
3. Photography or recording should focus on the activity rather than a particular individual and personal details which might make a young person vulnerable, such as their address, should never be revealed.
4. Anyone taking photographs or recording at any rugby event must have a valid reason for doing so and seek the permission of the organisers/persons in charge.
5. All concerns regarding inappropriate or intrusive photography should be reported in confidence to the RFU Equity & Ethics Manager via the club or Lancs Child Welfare Manager.
6. Club coaches should still be allowed to use video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid & means of recording special occasions> However, care should be taken in the dissemination & storage of the material.

Key Concerns

The key concerns contained within this policy regarding the use of images of young people relate to:

The taking of inappropriate photographs or recorded images of young people

The possible identification of young people when a photograph is accompanied by inappropriate information

The inappropriate use, adaptation or copying of images for use on child pornographic websites.

Publicising Images of Young People

If a photograph/recording is used, personal details such as address, phone number, should never be revealed.
Ask for parental/guardian permission to use an image of a young person. A Parent/Guardian & Child Permission Form is a good way to achieve this.
Ask for the young person’s consent to use the image. This ensures that they are aware of the way the image is used to represent the sport.
Simultaneous streaming of images onto a website should be avoided to ensure that there is no possibility of a young person under a court order appearing on a website.
Try to take photographs that represent the diverse range of youngsters participating safely in rugby.

Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment by the Media at Rugby Events

There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young people. While this might be rare in rugby, Southport RFC recognises that it has a duty of care to young people to ensure that this risk is as small as possible.

If professional photographers are commissioned or the press is invited to a rugby event, it is important to ensure that they are clear about expectations of them in relation to the welfare of young people;

The photographer must have bona fide identification & be able to produce it on request. They must also sign the Event Registration Form (available from the Club Welfare Officer)

Participants & parents must be informed that a photographer will be in attendance.

There will be no unsupervised or one-to-one access with young people.

Photo sessions will take place at the event only.

(Parents or other spectators intending to photograph or record an event must be prepared to identify themselves if requested & state their purpose for photography/filming).


Southport Rugby Club Child Welfare Policy