York and District Table Tennis Association

 

Child Protection

 

YDTTA acknowledges its duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice requirements.

 

The policy aims to ensure that all children and young people:

 

  • have a positive and enjoyable experience of table tennis with YDTTA in a safe and child-centred environment.

  • are protected from abuse whilst participating in table tennis or outside of the activity.

 

As part of our safeguarding policy YDTTA will:

 

  • promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

  • ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding children and young people.

  • ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern.

  • prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals.

 

The policy will be widely promoted and apply to everyone involved in YDTTA. Failure to comply with the policy will be addressed and may ultimately result in exclusion from the organisation.

 

 The policy will be reviewed every three years, or in the following circumstances:

 

  • changes in legislation and/or government guidance.

  • as required by the City of York Safeguarding Children Board, UK Sport or ETTA.

  • as a result of any other significant change or event.

 

York and District Table Tennis Association Child Protection Policy

 

1          Introduction

 

Everyone who participates in York and District Table Tennis Association organised events is entitled to do so in an enjoyable and safe environment.  The YDTTA has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that, when given responsibility for young people, coaches and volunteers provide them with the highest possible standard of care.

 

The YDTTA is committed to devising and implementing a policy so that all members of all clubs that are members of our association accept their responsibilities to safeguard children from harm and abuse. This means to follow procedures to protect children and report any concerns about their welfare to the appropriate authorities.

 

The aim of the policy is to promote good practice, providing children and young people with appropriate safety/protection whilst in the care of YDTTA and to allow officers, coaches and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues. A child/young person is defined as a person under the age of 18.

 

The policy will be reviewed every 3 years at a General Meeting or whenever there is a major change in the organisation or in relevant legislation.

 

2          Policy Statement

 

The YDTTA is committed to the following:

 

  • the welfare of the child is paramount.

  • all children, whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity should be able to participate in table tennis in a fun and safe environment.

  • taking all reasonable steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and to respect their rights, wishes and feelings.

  • taking all suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse seriously and responding to them swiftly and appropriately.

  • recruiting any YDTTA employees and volunteers who work with children with regard to their suitability, and providing them  with guidance and/or training in good practice and child protection procedures.

  • supporting officers, coaches and volunteers to provide a safe environment for young people to participate in table tennis by providing appropriate training, advice and guidance.

  • working in partnership with parents and children is essential for the protection of children.

3          Checks and References

YDTTA will decide which of its officers, volunteers and coaches with significant access to children and young people will need to undergo Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. Any officer, volunteer or coach who does not hold a valid DBS clearance may be required to desist from the association’s activities with children and young people.

 

4          Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment at Sporting Events

 

YDTTA is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for young people to play and compete in table tennis. Part of this is recognising that both YDTTA and the players’ relatives will want to celebrate their success and promote table tennis whilst at all times protecting our young players.

 

YDTTA asks that everyone abides by the following:

 

  • consents must be granted by parents/carers for the taking and publication of photographic images of young people.

  • young people should be appropriately dressed for table tennis.

  • photography should focus on the activity rather than the person and any personal details e.g. address should never be published.

  • any concerns should be passed on the YDTTA’s Committee.

  • anyone wishing to use photographic and/or videoing equipment at any YDTTA organised event must first register their intent with YDTTA.

  • anyone taking photos must have a valid reason for doing so and be able to prove that they are related to a player being photographed or have an official Press Card.

  • permission to use photographic equipment is solely at the discretion of the event organiser.

  • any person using cameras or videos during the course of a competition or event may be challenged by the tournament organiser or referee.

  • anyone using a camera/video who does not comply with these guidelines will be stopped immediately from filming or taking photographs.

  • anyone continuing to use photographic equipment after being warned will be asked to leave the event and may be reported to the police.

 

All parents and performers should be made aware when coaches use video equipment as a coaching aid.

 

5          Good Practice

 

To provide children with the best possible experience and opportunities in table tennis, everyone must operate within an accepted ethical framework.

 

It is not always easy to distinguish poor practice from abuse. It is not the responsibility of officers, coaches, volunteers or participants in table tennis to make judgements about whether or not abuse is taking place. It is however their responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and act if they have concerns about the welfare of the child, as explained in section 8. 

 

The following section will help people identify what is meant by good practice and poor practice.

 

All officers, coaches and volunteers should adhere to the following principles and actions:

 

  • always work in an open environment with young people (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).

  • make the experience of table tennis fun and enjoyable for young people: promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying.

  • treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity.

  • always put the welfare of the young person first, before winning.

  • maintain a safe and appropriate distance with players (e.g. it is not appropriate for officers, coaches 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 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. where young people need to be supervised in changing rooms, encourage parents to take responsibility for their own child. If groups have to be supervised in changing rooms always ensure parents, coaches, etc. work in pairs

  • request written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.

  • gain written parental consent for any significant travel arrangements e.g. overnight stays.

  • ensure that if mixed teams of young people are taken away to events, they should always be accompanied by a male and female helpers.

  • ensure that at away events adults should not enter a young person’s room or invite young people to their rooms.

  • be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.

  • always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism to young people.

  • recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the young person and do not risk sacrificing welfare in a desire for club or personal achievements. This means avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.

  • secure written parental consent for the club to act in loco parentis, to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical treatment if the need arises.

keep a written record of any injury that occurs to a young person, along with details of any treatment given.

6          Poor Practice

 

The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all officers, coaches and volunteers:

 

  • 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 where they will be alone with you

  • sharing a room with a young person.

  • engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay with a young person.

  • 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.

     

    When a case arises where it is impractical/impossible to avoid certain situation e.g. transporting a young person in your car, the tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of the parent/carer and the young person involved.

     

    If during your care you accidentally hurt a young person, the young person seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions and/or if the young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to another colleague and make a written note of it. Parents should also be informed of the incident.

     

7          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. Young people with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse had occurred.

 

 

Types of Abuse

 

  • Physical Abuse: e.g. hitting, shaking, or giving young people alcohol or inappropriate drugs. In a sports situation, physical abuse may occur when the nature and intensity of training disregard the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body.

     

  • Emotional Abuse: e.g. shouting, belittling name calling and bullying.

    Emotional abuse in sport may occur when the young person is constant criticised, given negative feedback, or being expected to perform at levels that are above their capability. 

     

  • Neglect: e.g. failure to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect from physical harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. Refusal to give love, affection and attention can also be a form of neglect. Neglect in sport could occur when a coach does not keep the young person safe, or exposes them to undue cold/heat or unnecessary risk of injury.

     

  • Sexual Abuse e.g sexual activity or contact, showing young people pornography or using sexually explicit language. In sport, activities which might involve physical contact with young people could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed.  Also the power of the coach over young athletes, if misused, may lead to abusive situations developing.

     

    Indicators of Abuse

     

Even for those experienced in working with child abuse, it is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place.  Most people are not experts in such recognition, but indications that a child is being abused may include one or more of the following:

 

  • 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.

  • an injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent.

  • the young person describes what appears to be an abusive act involving them.

  • another young person or adult expresses concern about the welfare of a young person.

  • unexplained changes in a young person’s behaviour e.g. becoming very upset, quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper.

  • inappropriate sexual awareness.

  • engaging in sexually explicit behaviour.

  • distrust of adults, particularly those whom a close relationship would normally be expected.

  • difficulty in making friends.

  • being prevented from socialising with others.

  • displaying variations in eating patterns including over eating or loss of appetite.

  • losing weight for no apparent reason.

  • becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt.

  • behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go training or competitions.

  • an unexplained drop off in performance.

  • physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, bingeing e.g. on food, alcohol or cigarettes.

  • a shortage of money or frequents loss of possessions.

     

    It must be recognised 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 involved in YDTTA to decide that child abuse is occurring. It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.

     

    Clubs and members should consider registering for and undertaking basic Child protection Awareness training on line through the City of York Safeguarding Children Board’s website at:

    www.yor-ok.org.uk/Safer%20Children%20York/SaferChildrenYork

     

8          Responding to Suspicions and Allegations

 

It is not the responsibility of anyone involved in YDTTA 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 through contact with the appropriate authorities so that they can then make inquiries and take necessary action to protect the young person. This applies BOTH to allegations/suspicions of abuse occurring within YDTTA and to allegations/suspicions that abuse is taking place elsewhere.

 

We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways. We may see it happening, we may suspect it happening because of signs such as those listed earlier in this document, it may be reported to us by someone else or directly by the young person affected.

 

In the unlikely event of a child or young person telling you directly that they have been abused, 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. Tell the child this is 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.

report the incident.

 

In all cases if you are not sure what to do call the NSPCC 24 hour help line on Tel No: 0800800500

 

9          Reporting the Concern

 

All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty to a colleague or friend. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.

 

The YDTTA expects its officers, coaches and volunteers to report any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child immediately with the appropriate authorities and subsequently to check that appropriate action has been taken.

 

You can contact, the duty officer at your local social services department or the police, or if in doubt seek advice from the NSPCC helpline on the following numbers:

 

Social Services (office hours)                               01904 551900

Social Services (evenings and weekends)         0845 0349417

Police                                                                         101 or 999

NSPPC                                                                      0800800500

 

As mentioned previously the officers of YDTTA are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. All suspicions and allegations must be shared with professional agencies that are responsible for child protection.

 

Social services have a legal responsibility under The Children Act 1989 to investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and making inquiries jointly with the police.

 

NB:     If there is any doubt, you must report the incident: it may be just one of a series of other incidences which together cause concern.

 

Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometime after the event. Where such allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter reported to social services. 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.

Where there is a complaint against an officer, coach or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation.

 

  • Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved.

  • Child protection in which case the social services (and possibly) the police will be involved.

Disciplinary or misconduct in which case YDTTA will be involved.

 

10        Concerns outside table tennis (e.g. if you think a child or young person is being abused at home or at school)

 

  • Report your concerns to the social services department or the police immediately.

Social Services or the police will decide how to inform the parents/carers.

 

11        Confidentiality

 

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. This includes the following people:

 

  • The designated YDTTA Child Protection Officer.

  • The parents of the child.

  • The person making the allegation.

  • Social Services/police.

The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child).

 

Social services will advise on who should approach the alleged abuser.

 

All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.

 

12        Internal Inquiries and Suspension

 

  • The  designated YDTTA Child Protection Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.

     

  • Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the YDTTA disciplinary procedure will be used to assess all individual cases to decide whether an officer, coach or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; especially where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases the YDTTA will reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on the balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.

     

Declaration

 

On behalf of York and District Table Tennis Association we, the undersigned, will oversee the implementation of the Child Protection Policy and take all necessary steps to ensure it is adhered to.

 

 

President:

 

 

Chair:

 

 

General Secretary:

 

 

Child Protection Officer:

 

 

Date:

Last Updated:
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