iCoach Climbing Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy
All sporting organisations which make provision for children and young people must have policy for the protection of young people, we have decided to add vulnerable adult into our scheme. This policy is an adaptation of the NSPCC example policy and is there to ensure:
- the welfare of the child is paramount.
- all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
- all suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- all staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
- Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.
Our Child and Vulnerable Adult protection policy is there not only to protect the young and vulnerable but also YOU the coach. Reporting incident promptly to your direct supervisor should help you get further support which may be needed.
In some case the abuse does not occur in the sporting setting instead the more relaxed atmosphere and trust built up between a coach and their students might lead to incidents of abuse being disclosed to you. It is important to remember that very few people have either the experience or neccessary training to deal with these situations. This policy and those of your employees will help you to understand what steps need to be taken.
Whilst only a web based facility iCoachClimbing.com hereafter referred to as iCoach Climbing has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in any iCoach Climbing activity from harm. All children and vulnerable adults have a right to protection. iCoach Climbing will endeavour to ensure the safety and protection of all children using the iCoach Climbing website through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines iCoach Climbing has adopted.
- A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
A vulnerable adult is someone aged 18 or over who is, or may be, in need of community services due to age, illness or a mental or physical disability. They may be, unable to take care of himself/herself, or unable to protect himself/herself against significant harm or exploitation.
The aim of the iCoach Climbing Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy is to promote good practice which will protect all people involved in coaching:
- providing children, young people and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety and protection whilst using iCoach Climbing.
- allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
WHY WE HAVE A PROTECTION POLICY
Any abuse, particularly sexual abuse of children, 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 environments. 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 activity 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 activity organiser must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.
GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES
All coaches using iCoach Climbing are encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults in order to reduce the likelihood of allegations being made against them or others. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means
- Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.
- 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 which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
- 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. In climbing this can be particularly difficult to maintain if spotting a young child when bouldering. Similar care from abuse is needed when children are spotting each other. Young people and their parents should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport.
- 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, 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.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child's parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
- avoid spending time alone with children away from others.
- avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity.
Practices never to be sanctioned:
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
- engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- share a room with a child.
- allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
- allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
- make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
- reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
- fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child.
- do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves.
- invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
N.B. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the players involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person's reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
INCIDENTS THAT MUST BE REPORTED AND RECORDED
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the appropriate person at your club, climbing wall or employer, as well as emailling a report of the incident to iCoach Climbing. The reporting of incidents through all channels is not an admittance of guilt or responsibility by you or anyone else, instead logging such incidents should be seen as a way to protect both youself and the child. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- if you accidentally hurt a player.
- 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.
USE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC AND FILMING EQUIPMENT WHILST COACHING OR COMPETING
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sports people in vulnerable positions. All clubs should be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the Club Child Protection Officer, British Moutnaineering Youth Officer and/or Centre Management
Video as a coaching aid
There is no intention to prevent club coaches and teachers using video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, performers and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the coaching programme and their consent obtained, and such films should be stored safely. There have been concerns about the risks posed directly and indirectly to children and young people through the use of photographs on sports websites and other publications.
Certain individuals will visit sporting events to take inappropriate photographs or video footage of young sports people. All clubs should be vigilant about this possibility. Any concerns during an event should be reported to a club official or other responsible person. If you are commissioning a professional photographer or inviting the press to an event, it is important that they understand your expectations of them in relation to child protection.
- provide a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of their behaviour and the content of the photography.
- issue them with identification which they must display at all times.
- inform athletes and parents that a photographer will be present at the event and ensure they consent to filming and/or photography and to its publication.
- do not allow photographers unsupervised access to child athletes or one-to-one photo sessions during the event.
- do not approve photo sessions outside the events or at a participant's home.
- You must obtain permission for the filming/photographs to be taken both from the subjects and their parents/carers.
CHILDREN AND SOCIAL MEDIA
iCoach Climb recognises that children can and do video and photograph each other with digital cameras and smart phones, and these images will find there way onto a whole myriad of social media sites. Whilst policing such activity is impossible at iCoach climbing we believe that a proper education about the risks involved in social media are important lifeskills to develop. As such we have added a social media education policy for young climbers. As well as the risks of online stalking or grooming, there are also issues with cyberbullying.
iCoach recommends where possible educating young clients on the proper use of privacy controls and setting up your own policy to deal with any incidents of cyberbullying within your club.
ICOACH COACHING STATUS
iCoach Climbing recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. As we are an online service we require the following information for you to get full coaching status:
- All coaches wanting to use iCoach facilities should complete registration form. In order to see this form you have already complete this step of the application.
- You have ready and understood iCoach Climbing Ethos, again to have got this far you will have already done this.
- You have ready and understood iCoach Climbing Child and Vulnerable adults protection policy, you are currently doing this.
- Provide scans of your latest eCRB form, qualifications (NGB or in-house) and a scan of you Passport or Driving Licence. These are required and will be checked manually and copies stored off line.
- One confidential references from an employer who has seen your previous or current work with children. This references will be taken up and confirmed through email confirmation.
RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OR SUSPICIONS OF ABUSE
It is not the responsibility of anyone working at iCoach Climbing or anyone using the system either in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities. iCoach Climbing will assure all coaches that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child or vulnerable adult. As a result of an allegation we will inform the centre where the act is alleged to have taken place anonomously and if neccessary provide any supporting evidence from the iCoach server database. If a centre is not involved we will contact the relevant police force or local authority child social services officer and support them in their investigation
Where there is a complaint against registered iCoach climbing coach there may be three types of investigation:
- a criminal investigation.
- a child protection investigation.
- a disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision. In order to protect the interests of this site a coaches status will be suspended awaiting the results of one or all of the above investigations.
Reporting Concerns about Poor Practice
If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, iCoach Climbing will deal with it as a misconduct issue. This will result in the suspension of coaching status from the iCoach Climbing website. This suspension will remain in place until the coach can demonstrate that they have received additional training to warrant regaining a coahcing status.
Reporting Concerns about iCoach Staff/developer
If the allegation is about poor practice or abuse by the iCoach Climbing site developer or employee, then please contact us directly with your concern. We will endeavour to answer your concerns but if you feel a matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the North Wales Police where iCoach is based and Gwynedd Council's Child Protection Officer alternatively the British Mountaineering Council or Mountain Training UK officers may also be able to offer some advice on an appropriate action.
Reporting Concerns of Child Abuse
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by a coach using the iCoach Climbing website should be reported to iCoach Climbing using this email address. iCoach Climbing 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 iCoach Climbing site owner will refer the allegation to the relevant climbing wall, centre and if neccessary the local social services department and local police. iCoach will suspend the coach's coaching status immediately pending further investigations.
The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department. The iCoach website will cooperate fully with any investigation.
Every effort will be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
- the Club or centre Child Protection Officer.
- the parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
- the person making the allegation.
- social services/police.
- the iCoach Climbing site owner
We shall seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser (or parents if the alleged abuser is a child). Information will be stored in a secure place with limited access to only designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Data requests for Child protection issues
User's of iCoach Climbing should be aware that social interactions on the site are extremely limited. Those that we do allow are all kept and stored indefinitely on a secure server. If requested by social services or the police we will make these records available without the need of a warrant. If in the future we plan to open up other channels of communication through either our own developments or using third party application interfaces (API's) like Facebook we will ammend the policy to reflect this. Facebook have shown themselves to be proactive in dealing with online child protection and have a program that flags messages for potential child abuse concerns, this has resulted in the conviction of at least one potential abuser. If the potential misconduct, grooming or abuse happens through Facebook you can visit their help pages for advice how to address it as well as using the incident reporting policy above.