This policy applies to all staff, including managers, our board members, paid staff and volunteers, students, or anyone working on behalf of We Can Kick It Inc. (WCKI).
The aim of this policy is:
- To protect children and young people who receive WCKI services from harm and abuse. It means to follow procedures to protect children and report any concerns about their welfare to appropriate authorities.
- To provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection, to promote good practice, providing children and young people with appropriate safety/protection whilst in the care of WCKI and to allow staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
- WCKI believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them.
- To provide reassurance to parents concerning the welfare of their children whilst they are in the care of WCKI.
We recognize that:
- The welfare of the child/young person is paramount
- All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or identity, should be able to participate in a fun and safe environment with the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
We seek to keep children and young people safe whilst attending WCKI events by:
- Valuing, listening to and respecting them, as respecting their rights, their wishes, and feelings
- Adopting child protection practices through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers AND sharing information about child protection, good/bad practice, signs of child abuse and the way how to respond to it.
- Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, guidance and training in good practice and child protection procedures
- All employees/staff or volunteers who work with children will be recruited regarding their suitability for that responsibility
- With the children / young people who take part in our activities we will share information about child protection, good practice, and the way how to respond to any abuse
- Installing the positions of childcare officers, sharing concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.
- Providing a named nominated Childcare Officer, (Nisha Venkataraman) who is responsible for ensuring that the objectives of this Policy are meet and maintained and that the processes and procedures are maintained and followed by other WCKI board members, employees, and volunteers.
Throughout this document we use the wording "Should" and "Shall".
Should indicates that it is something that is in the person's and/or WCKI's best interests, with regards to ensuring the protection of children whilst in their care, for these actions to be performed but there is no absolute requirement for them to be implemented as defined. Shall indicates a declaration of intent or obligation or to follow the specified process or procedure
- Always work in an open environment (e.g., avoid private or unobserved situations and encourage open communication with no secrets)
- Make the experience of all activity's fun and enjoyable: promote fairness, confront, and deal with bullying
- Treat all young people equally, with respect and dignity AND always put the welfare of the young person first - above winning.
- Maintain a safe and appropriate distance with participants (e.g., it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them)
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Where any form of manual/ physical support is required, it should be provided openly and with the consent of the young person. Physical contact (e.g., assistance or partner exercise) can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the young person's consent has been given.
- Involve parents/cares wherever possible, e.g., if young people need to be supervised in changing rooms, encourage parents to take responsibility for their children. Always ensure parents, coaches etc. work in pairs.
- Request written parental consent if officials are required to transport young people in their/private cars AND for any significant travel arrangements (e.g., overnight stays)
- As all WCKI teams are mixed ensure that they shall always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff or if not possible 2 independent responsible adults
- Ensure that at away events adults shall not enter a young person's room except in an emergency or invite young people to their rooms
- Be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs in the company of young people
- Always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
- Parents / guardians shall give written permission for camp trainers and coaches or contracted health care to start preliminary treatment and arrange transportation for them or their child to a local Emergency Room in the event that they become ill or injured.
- WCKI shall keep written records of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given.
The following are regarded as poor practice and shall be avoided by all personnel:
- unnecessarily spending (excessive amounts) of time alone with young people away from others
- taking young people alone in a car on journeys, however short
- taking young people to your home (or any other place) where they will be alone with you
- sharing a room with a young person
- engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
- allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form
- allowing young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged
- making sexually suggestive comments to a young person, even in fun
- reducing a young person to tears as a form of control
- allow allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
- do things of a personal nature that the young person can do for themselves
Defining Child Abuse:
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm, it commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a young person regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
There are four main types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Abuse in all of its forms can affect a young person at any age. The effects can be so damaging that if not treated may follow the individual into adulthood.
Bullying may come from another young person or an adult. Bullying is defined as deliberate hurtful behavior, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. There are four main types of bullying.
- physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping)
- verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive messages), ?
- emotional (e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating form the group),
- sexual (e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
In sport bullying may also arise when a parent or coach pushes the young person too hard to succeed, or a rival athlete or official uses bullying behavior.
It must be recognized that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is NOT the responsibility of those working within WCKI to decide if child abuse is occurring outside of our events - but It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.
In the case that a WCKI volunteer or employee suspects abuse it is particularly important to respond appropriately. If a young person says or indicates that they are being abused, you should:
- stay calm so as not to frighten the young person
- reassure the child that they are not to blame and that it was right to tell
- listen to the child, showing that you are taking them seriously
- keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said. The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested during questioning. Only ask questions to clarify.
- inform the child that you have to inform other people about what they have told you and tell the child that this is the way to help stop the abuse continuing.
- safety of the child is paramount. If the child needs urgent medical attention call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are made aware that this is a child protection issue
- record all information AND report the incident to the Childcare Officer.
- any suspicion that a child has been abused by an employee or a volunteer of WCKI should be reported to the Childcare Officer who shall take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk, including but not limited to the following:
- WCKI shall refer the matter to social services department and or the police
- the parent/carer of the child shall be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department
- the Board and Childcare officer of our organization shall be notified to decide on how to deal with any media inquiries and implement any immediate disciplinary proceedings
- the childcare officer should also notify the relevant sport governing body
- if the childcare officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation the report shall be made to the appropriate manager who shall refer the matter to social services
- seek social services advice on who shall approach the alleged abuser.
- records shall be kept of all allegations and communications.
- all information shall be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.
- WCKI Childcare Officer shall make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should / shall be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
- review this Policy document to see if there is any shortfall in its intent, guidelines or procedures that allowed the abuse to occur and if so remedy the document appropriately.
Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometime after the event. Where such allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and report the matter to social services within 10 days of the report being made. This is because other children in the sport or outside it may be at risk from the alleged abuser. Anyone who has a previous conviction for offences related to abuse against children is automatically excluded from working with children.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information shall be handled and disseminated on a need-to-know basis only.
Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment at Events:
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young people. WCKI is vigilant and any concerns shall be reported. All parents and performers shall be made aware when coaches use video equipment as a coaching aid. WCKI employees a professional photographer for our events. These photographs are the property of WCKI, all professionals shall be vetted prior to employment.
In participating in WCKI. activities, parents grant permission of their child to use the likeness, voice and words of themselves in television, radio, films, newspaper, magazine and other media, and in any form not heretofore described for the purpose of advertising or communicating the purposes and activities of WCKI. and in appealing for funds to support such activities
Recruiting and Selecting Personnel with Children:
WCKI shall take all reasonable steps to prevent unsuitable people from working with children. This applies equally to paid staff and volunteers, both full and part time. To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children the following steps shall be taken when recruiting.
- All staff and volunteers shall complete an application form. The application form shall include information about the applicants past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
- Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children shall be obtained. These references shall be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
- Background check shall be conducted.
- Evidence of identity (passport or driving license with photo) shall be provided.
- Child Protection Procedures shall be explained, and this document reviewed and discussed, with all staff, volunteers, and Board members.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually or whenever there is a major change in the organization or in relevant legislation
(This policy was last reviewed Jan 2022.)
On behalf of WCKI we, the undersigned, shall oversee the implementation of this Child Protection Policy and take all necessary steps to ensure it is adhered to.
Name: Nisha Venkataraman (Signed in pdf)
(NOMINATED CHILDCARE OFFICER) Dated: 02/25/22
Name: Adrian Conoboy (Signed in pdf)
(FOUNDER/ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR) Dated: 02/25/22