Ards Cycling Club Safeguarding Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy
Ards Cycling Club (Ards CC) has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in club activities from harm.
All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
Ards CC will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in our activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by Cycling Ireland / Cycling Ulster.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Ards CC Safeguarding Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy is to promote good practice:
- Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the club.
- Allow all members to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
- Providing assurance to Parents and Guardians that their child or vulnerable adult is safe.
Promoting good practice
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When a child enters the club having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the club must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.
Good practice guidelines
All members should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means:
- Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first.
- Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (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).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
- Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
- Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the Coach Education Programme. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving, young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
- Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
- Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away for the day or night, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
- Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
- Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
- Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
- Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
- Requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the Child Protection Officer who will record the incident and take the necessary steps as outlined in the Cycling Ulster Code of Ethics. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- Any injury and details of treatment given.
- If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
- If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
- If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.
In all instances the Club will be guided by information and guidelines put in place by Sport NI, Cycling Ireland & Cycling Ulster.
Ards CC wishes to provide the best possible environment for all young people involved in the sport. Young people deserve to be given enjoyable, safe sporting opportunities, free from abuse of any kind. These participants have rights, which must be respected.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone involved in Ards CC, to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.
Ards CC will assure all members that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
1. Concerns about poor practice:
- If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Club Committee will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
2. Reporting suspected or disclosed child abuse:
- Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Club’s Child Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.
- The Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department which may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
- If the Child Protection Officer is unsure whether reasonable grounds for concern exist s/he can informally consult with the local health board/social services.
- The Child Protection Officer reporting suspected or actual child abuse to the Statutory Authorities will first inform the family of their intention to make such a report, unless doing so would endanger the child or undermine an investigation.
Rights & Responsibilities
Young cyclists are entitled to:
- Be happy, have fun and enjoy cycling
- Be safe and to feel safe
- Be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect
- Participate on an equal basis
- Experience competition at a level at which they feel comfortable
- Make complaints and have them dealt with
- Get help against bullies
- Say No
They also have responsibilities that they must accept.
Young cyclists should always:
- Listen to and follow instructions from bike leaders, coaches, officials and managers and treat them with respect
- Play fairly and be trustworthy and accept decisions
- Respect other youth members and leaders
- Respect opponents
- Behave in a manner that avoids bringing the sport of cycling into disrepute
- Talk to Ards CC’s Child Protection Officer if they have any problems or alternatively the designated Cycling Ulster Lead Safeguarding Officer
Young cyclists should never:
- Shout at or argue with officials, team mates or other competitors
- Use violence or physical contact that is not allowed in the rules
- Bully or use bullying tactics
- Take banned substances
- Keep secrets about any persons who may have caused them harm
- Tell lies or spread rumours
Parents/Carers Code of Conduct
Ards Cycling Club believes that parents should ……
- Be a role model for children and maintain the highest standards of conduct when interacting with children, other parents, officials and organisers.
- Always behave responsibly and do not seek to unfairly affect the race or cycling session.
- Never intentionally expose any young participant to embarrassment or disparagement by the use of flippant or sarcastic remarks.
- Always recognise the value and importance of the volunteers who provide sporting/recreational opportunities for their child.
- Not publicly question the judgement or honesty of referees, coaches or organisers.
- Respect referees, coaches, organisers and other cyclists.
- Encourage children to play by the rules and teach them that honest endeavour is as important as winning.
- Encourage and applaud good sportsmanship.
- Set a good example by praising good performances.
- Encourage mutual respect for team mates and fellow competitors.
- Support all efforts to remove abusive/bullying behaviour in all its forms.
Ards Cycling Club Child Protection Officer
Cycling Ulster Safeguarding Officer