For the purposes of this policy anyone under the age of 18 should be considered as a child. All members of the Club should be aware of the policy.
The Orwell Yacht Club (OYC) is committed to safeguarding, from physical, sexual or emotional harm, neglect or bullying, children taking part in its activities. We recognise that the safety, welfare and needs of the child are paramount and that all children, irrespective of age, disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual or gender identity or social status, have a right to protection from discrimination and abuse.
The OYC actively seeks to:
- Create a safe and welcoming environment, both on and off the water, where children can have fun and develop their skills and confidence.
- Run training and events to the highest safety standards.
- Recognise that safeguarding children is the responsibility of everyone, not just those who work with children.
- Treat all children with respect and celebrate their achievements.
- Carefully recruit volunteers whose role brings them into regular contact with young people. When appropriate, they will be asked to provide a reference and an Enhanced Criminal Records Disclosure with Barred List check, will be applied for.
- Ensure all Club members are aware of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Statement and Procedures, follow the Good Practice Guide and agree to abide by the Club’s Code of Conduct, Changing Room, Anti-Bullying and Photography, Images and Video Policies. Those volunteering with young people should also be aware of the Reporting Procedures Guide and Appendices -What is abuse? and What is bullying? (All these documents are available to view on the Club’s website).
- Respond swiftly and appropriately to all complaints and concerns about a young member’s welfare, either outside or inside the Club.
- Regularly review Safeguarding procedures and practices in light of experience or to take account of legislative, social and technological changes.
Anyone who is concerned about a young member’s or participant’s welfare, either outside or within the Club, should inform the Club Welfare Officers immediately, in strict confidence. The Club Welfare Officers will follow the OYC Reporting Procedures. In an emergency please contact one of the numbers below.
The OYC’s Club Welfare Officers:
Teresa Thorogood, Mobile: 07807 346752 / John Burnell, Mobile: 07770 402717
RYA Safeguarding and Equality Manager:
Jackie Reid, Tel: 023 8060 4104
Suffolk County Council Child Protection:
Is it an emergency?
- 0808 800 4005 if you’re worried that a child or young person is at risk of neglect or harm, abuse
- the police on 999
- the NSPCC child protection helpline on 0808 800 5000
Revised January 2018
For guidance in recognising bullying, see Appendix – What is bullying?
If anyone, either sailor or adult, suspects that bullying is taking place it is expected of them that they inform an appropriate person. This can be a parent, OYC volunteer/Instructor or the Club Welfare Officers. This person will then follow the procedure below:
- Interviews will be conducted with all children being accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
- The child who is alleged to be bullying will be asked to explain his or her behaviour and consider the consequences of it both to themselves and others. They may be asked to genuinely apologise. If possible the children will be reconciled.
- All incidents will be reported to the Welfare Officers and kept on record to monitor any future reports.
Revised January 2018
- It does not just happen once; it is ongoing over time.
- It is deliberate and intentional – it is not accidentally hurting someone.
- It is unfair/there is an unequal power balance (imbalance of power). The person/people doing the bullying is/are stronger, or there are more of them or they have ‘influence’ (higher status or power).
Bullying can take many forms:
- Emotional: being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (eg, hiding kit or threatening gestures).
- Physical: pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
- Racist: racial taunts, graffiti and /or gestures.
- Sexual: unwanted physical contact or abusive comments.
- Homophobic because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality.
- Verbal: name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours and teasing.
- Cyber: bullying behaviour online or via electronic communications (email and text, social media, etc). Misuse of associated technology, such as camera and video facilities.
Why is it important to respond to bullying?
Bullying hurts and no one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Bullying is often a call for help by the person showing bullying behaviours. They need help both to learn different ways of behaving and to understand the reason that it is unacceptable. It is often symptomatic of other issues which they may need help with. Therefore promptly informing an appropriate person about these behaviours helps everyone.
Signs and symptoms of bullying:
A child’s behaviour may offer indications or signs that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
- Is frightened of being left alone with other children.
- Changes their usual routine.
- Suddenly doesn’t wish to attend training or events.
- Becomes withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence.
- Has a cut or bruises that cannot adequately be explained.
- Attempts or threatens to run away.
- Cries themselves to sleep or has nightmares.
- Feels ill in the mornings.
- Begins to perform poorly without good reason.
- Comes home with clothes torn or belongings damaged.
- Has possessions suddenly start go missing.
- Asks for money or starts stealing money (e.g. to give to the bully).
- Continually ‘loses’ money.
- Become aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable.
- Is bullying other children or siblings.
- Stops eating.
- Is frightened to say what is wrong.
Revised January 2018
Club members are politely requested not to enter the changing rooms at times when children are changing and especially before or after Junior Evening on a Thursday.
If this is unavoidable because adults are sailing at the same time, it is better if one adult is not alone and every effort must be made to ensure there is reasonable privacy between children and adults changing.
Bullying can be an issue in changing rooms and showers. If it is essential, in an emergency situation, for a male to enter a female changing area or vice versa, it is advised that they are accompanied by another adult of the opposite sex.
Revised January 2018
Publishing photographs and videos on the Club’s website, or imaging systems within the premises, is an excellent way of recognising young people’s achievements and of promoting our Club’s activities. However, digital technology makes it easy to take, store, send, manipulate and publish images.
The objective of this Policy is to minimise the risk of anyone using images of children in an inappropriate way.
The Club will:
- Obtain, on a yearly basis, written consent from the child and their parents/carers before taking photos or video during any events or training sessions held throughout the sailing season or publishing such images.
- When publishing images, no identifying information other than names will be included.
- Ensure that the young people pictured are suitably dressed.
- Not permit the use of cameras or smart phones/tablets in changing areas in any circumstances. Such use by young people should be regarded as a form of bullying.
- Request parents and spectators to identify themselves if requested and state their purpose for photography/filming.
The Club recognises that it is not possible to control all photography, but any concerns about inappropriate or intrusive photography, or about the inappropriate use of images, should be reported to the appropriate person. This can be a parent, OYC volunteer/Instructor or the Club Welfare Officers.
This person will then take action to remedy the situation and if necessary follow the procedure laid down in the Club’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Statement and Procedures.
All incidents will be reported to the Welfare Officers and kept on record to monitor any future reports.
Revised January 2018
Anyone at the club who is working with children should be aware of the Club’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures. As a minimum, the RYA’s procedures include the following Good Practice Guide for instructors and volunteers.
As well as protecting the child it is important to protect staff from false allegations, this is done by promoting good practice. Below are some common sense guidelines that all instructors/volunteers are required to follow:
- Avoid spending any significant time working with children in isolation.
- Do not take children alone in a car, however short the journey.
- Where any of these are unavoidable, ensure that they only occur with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge of the organisation or the child’s parents.
- Design training programmes that are within the ability of the individual child.
- If a child is having difficulty with a wetsuit or buoyancy aid, ask them to ask a friend to help if at all possible.
- If you do have to help a child, make sure you are in full view of others, preferably another adult.
- Restrict communications with young people via mobile phone, e-mail or social media to group communications about organisational matters. If it’s essential to send an individual message, copy it to the child’s parent or carer.
You should never:
- engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games.
- allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form.
- allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged, or use such language yourself when with children.
- make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
- fail to respond to an allegation made by a child; always act.
- do things of a personal nature that children can do for themselves.
Revised January 2018
A complaint, concern or allegation may come from a number of sources: the child, their parents, someone else within our Club. It may involve the behaviour of one of our members or volunteer members, or something that has happened to the child outside the sport, perhaps at home or at school. Children may confide in adults they trust, in a place where they feel at ease.
An allegation may range from mild verbal bullying to physical or sexual abuse. If you are concerned that a child may be being abused, it is NOT your responsibility to investigate further BUT it is your responsibility to act on your concerns and report them. For guidance on recognising abuse, see Appendix – What is child abuse?
- stay calm – ensure that the child is safe and feels safe.
- show and tell the child that you are taking what he/she says seriously.
- reassure the child and stress that he/she is not to blame.
- be careful about physical contact, it may not be what the child wants.
- be honest, explain that you will have to tell someone else to help stop the alleged abuse.
- make a record of what the child has said as soon as possible after the event, using the child’s own words.
- if the child requires immediate medical attention call an ambulance.
- in the first instance notify the OYC’s Welfare Officers as soon as possible, or in their absence the Commodore – they will assess – complete a referral form and, if necessary, report to the RYA Safeguarding Manager (see contact numbers below).
- if the Club’s Welfare Officers, Commodore or RYA Safeguarding Manager are not available, immediately contact Children’s Social Care/Police (see contact numbers below).
- rush into actions that may be inappropriate.
- make promises you cannot keep (eg. you won’t tell anyone).
- ask leading questions (see ‘Recording and handling information’ below).
- take sole responsibility – consult someone else (ideally one of the designated Welfare Officers or the Commodore) so that you can begin to protect the child and gain support for yourself.
Recording and handling information
Do not start asking leading questions which may jeopardise any formal investigation.
A leading question is where you suggest an answer or provide options that only need a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, instead of allowing the child to explain things in their own words. An example would be asking ‘did X hit you?’ instead of ‘how did you get that bruise?’. Use open questions such as ‘what happened next?’. Only ask questions to confirm that you need to refer the matter to someone else. Listen to and keep a record of anything the child tells you or that you have observed and pass the information on to the statutory authorities.
All information must be treated as confidential and only shared with those who need to know. If the allegation or suspicion concerns someone within the Club, only the child’s parents/carers, the Club Welfare Officers, the Commodore (unless they are the subject of the allegation), the relevant authorities and the RYA Safeguarding and Equality Manager should be informed. If the alleged abuse took place outside the sport, the Police or Children’s Social Care will decide who else needs to be informed, including the child’s parents/carers. It should not be discussed by anyone within the Club other than the person who received or initiated the allegation and the Welfare Officers or Commodore.
OYC Welfare Officers: Teresa Thorogood, M: 07807 346752 / John Burnell, M: 07770 402717
OYC Commodore: 07719 052137
RYA Safeguarding and Equality Manager: Tel: 023 8060 4104/4226
Suffolk County Council Child Protection:
Is it an emergency?
• 0808 800 4005 if you’re worried that a child or young person is at risk of neglect or harm, abuse
• the police on 999
• the NSPCC child protection helpline on 0808 800 5000
Revised March 2021
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (including via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
Physical abuse may involve adults or other children inflicting physical harm:
- hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating
- giving children alcohol or inappropriate drugs
- a parent or carer fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately inducing, illness in a child
- in sport situations, physical abuse might also occur when the nature and intensity of training exceeds the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve:
- conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved or inadequate
- not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate
- imposing expectations which are beyond the child’s age or developmental capability
- overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction
- allowing a child to see or hear the ill-treatment of another person
- serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger
- the exploitation or corruption of children
- emotional abuse in sport might also include situations where parents or coaches subject children to constant criticism, bullying or pressure to perform at a level that the child cannot realistically be expected to achieve.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child.
Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse involves an individual (male or female, or another child) forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening, to gratify their own sexual needs. The activities may involve:
- physical contact (eg. kissing, touching, masturbation, rape or oral sex)
- involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images
- encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or watch sexual activities
- grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet)
- sport situations which involve physical contact (eg. supporting or guiding children) could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed. Abusive situations may also occur if adults misuse their power over young people.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
- ensure adequate supervision
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
- respond to a child’s basic emotional needs
- neglect in a sport situation might occur if an instructor or coach fails to ensure that children are safe, or exposes them to undue cold or risk of injury.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs and wants (eg. attention, money or material possessions, alcohol or drugs), and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation can also occur online without involving physical contact.
Extremism goes beyond terrorism and includes people who target the vulnerable – including the young – by seeking to: sow division between communities on the basis of race, faith or denomination; justify discrimination eg. towards women and girls; persuade others that minorities are inferior; or argue against the primacy of democracy and the rule of law in our society.
Bullying (not included in ‘Working Together’ but probably more common in a sport situation than some of the other forms of abuse described above)
Bullying (including online bullying, for example via text or social media) may be seen as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated or sustained over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. The bully is often another young person. Although anyone can be the target of bullying, victims are typically shy, sensitive and perhaps anxious or insecure. Sometimes they are singled out for physical reasons – being overweight or physically small, being gay or lesbian, having a disability or belonging to a different race, faith or culture.
Bullying can include:
- physical pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching etc
- name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing and emotional torment through ridicule, humiliation or the continual ignoring of individuals
- posting of derogatory or abusive comments, videos or images on social network sites
- racial taunts, graffiti, gestures, sectarianism
- sexual comments, suggestions or behaviour
- unwanted physical contact.
The acronym STOP – Several Times On Purpose – can help you to identify bullying behaviour.
It is not always easy, even for the most experienced carers, to spot when a child has been abused. However, some of the more typical symptoms which should trigger your suspicions would include:
- unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries
- sexually explicit language or actions
- a sudden change in behaviour (eg. becoming very quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper)
- the child describes what appears to be an abusive act involving him/her
- a change observed over a long period of time (eg. the child losing weight or becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt)
- a general distrust and avoidance of adults, especially those with whom a close relationship would be expected
- an unexpected reaction to normal physical contact
- difficulty in making friends or abnormal restrictions on socialising with others.
It is important to note that a child could be displaying some or all of these signs, or behaving in a way which is worrying, without this necessarily meaning that the child is being abused. Similarly, there may not be any signs, but you may just feel that something is wrong. If you have noticed a change in the child’s behaviour, first talk to the parents or carers. It may be that something has happened, such as a bereavement, which has caused the child to be unhappy.
If you are concerned
IIf there are concerns about sexual abuse or violence in the home, talking to the parents or carers might put the child at greater risk. If you cannot talk to the parents/carers, consult your organisation’s designated Welfare/Safeguarding Officer or the person in charge. It is this person’s responsibility to make the decision to contact Children’s Social Care Services or the Police. It is NOT their responsibility to decide if abuse is taking place, BUT it is their responsibility to act on your concerns.
Revised January 2019