GRIMSBY ALEXANDRA’S & DOLPHINS’ SWIMMING CLUB: SAFEGUARDING & PROTECTING CHILDREN POLICY
Grimsby Alexandra’s & Dolphins’ Swimming Club aim to provide an environment in which children are safe from abuse and in which any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to. In addition, Club personnel are aware that physically disabled children and children with learning difficulties are particularly vulnerable to abuse and may have added difficulties in communicating what is happening to them.
In order to achieve this safe environment, the Committee will
- Ensure that the appropriate Safeguarding & Child Protection forms from the Amateur Swimming Association and the Criminal Records Bureau are completed and returned to the correct agencies to allow checks to be made for Child Protection purposes. Anyone refusing to complete a form will not be allowed to help within the Club in any capacity whatsoever.
- Take every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relationships between families, committee, teachers and helpers within the Club.
- The Club will appoint a Welfare Officer
- For the purpose of monitoring Safeguarding & Child Protection Procedures;
- To ensure that Members know that there is a familiar and trusted person who is an immediate point of contact
- To promote the ASA Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy and ASA Code of Ethics as defined in Wavepower, and to ensure that this is agreed to by all volunteers within the Club (N.B. All Club personnel are volunteers).
- To ensure that Safeguarding & Child Protection is an agenda item at all Committee meetings.
- To keep a record of Safeguarding and Child Protection courses attended by all Club personnel, and to inform them of new courses as they are announced if they have not already identified their need for this.
- To promote Swimline, ensuring that a poster and correct telephone number is always displayed on the Club notice board.
- To ensure that members are aware that in urgent cases, contact may be made directly with the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline &/or other similar organisations.
- Teachers, Helpers and Committee members will seek out training opportunities to ensure that they recognise signs and symptoms of possible neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Furthermore, they will update these on a regular basis – every 2 – 3 years, or more frequently if individuals wish.
- The first concern will be for the child. Children whose condition or behaviour has given cause for concern will be listened to, reassured and helped to understand that they themselves are valued, respected, and have not been at fault in any way.
- Changes in children’s behaviour will be investigated, but care will be taken so as not to ask explicit questions which might jeopardise any case which might arise – any questions must only be asked to identify what the child is telling you.
- Carers will normally be the first point of reference, but if they are not in a position to allay any legitimate anxieties, the matter will be referred to the Social Services Department. In exceptional circumstances, the Social Services Department may be the first point of reference.
- All such suspicions and investigations will be kept strictly confidential, shared only with those who need to know.
- Whenever worrying changes are observed in a child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance, a specific and confidential record will be set up, quite separate from the usual on-going records of the child’s progress and development. In addition to the child’s name, address and age, this record will include timed and dated observations, describing objectively the child’s behaviour/appearance, without comment or interpretation; where possible, the exact words spoken by the child; details of any witnesses; the date, name and signature of the recorder. If there is any visible marks suspected of being non-accidental, such as certain types/areas of bruising, cigarette burns, etc., quick sketches may be helpful. Such records will be kept in a separate file and kept confidential, only being shared with the relevant people.
- Where abuse at home is suspected, Grimsby Alexandra’s & Dolphins’ Swimming Club will continue to welcome the child and family whilst investigations proceed. With the proviso that the care and safety of the child (and of other members) must always be paramount, the Club will do all in its power to support and work with the child’s family.
Good Practice which can help to prevent Child Abuse
- Avoid situations where teacher/club official and child are alone. It is acknowledged that occasionally there may be no alternative, but as a rule, one-to-one contact must never be allowed to occur on a regular basis.
- Ascertain the child’s and the parents’/carers’ views about manual support for children who need this kind of help, particularly when they are in the water. Have a simple letter for signing, giving their permission.
- If it’s necessary to do things of a personal nature for children who are young or disabled, ensure that this is carried out by the parent/carer of the child – it is a rule that parents remain at the pool during their child’s session, so this should not be a problem.
- Ensure that parents/carers recognise that they are responsible for their child(ren) in the changing rooms.
- Get teachers/club officials to work in pairs if classes or groups of children have to be supervised in the changing room – N.B. this should not normally be necessary – see rules 3 & 4 above.
- If entering a competition, ensure that male and female teachers/club officials always accompany mixed teams.
- Do not allow any physically rough or sexually provocative games, or inappropriate talking or touching by anyone, in any group for which you have responsibility.
- Arrange an accreditation system for parents/relatives and friends and bona fide press photographers – issue of an identification label, plus details entered in the Club’s video and photography record book, as per ASA guidelines. Care should be taken that the label is handed back at the end of the session.
- Look out for people who don’t appear to be relatives or friends of children who are swimming, but seem to spend a lot of time videoing or photographing them. Report these incidents to the facility management immediately.