In relation to Child Protection, Armagh Swimming Club has:
- Adopted the Swim Ireland Child Protection in Swimming.
- Adopted the Swim Ireland Code of Ethnics.
- Adopted the Swim Ireland Guidelines for the use of photographic and filming equipment.
- Adopted the Swim Ireland Anti-Bullying Policy.
- Produced a Child Protection Policy.
- Nominated Children Officer in place.
In relation to Child Protection, Armagh Swimming Club will:
- Ensure all members, parents, officials etc are aware of the policy, and will produce the document of request.
- Continually review Child Protection measures in light of changes to national legislation.
- Adopt and implement any changes to the Swim Ireland’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
Armagh Swimming Club expects all members, coaches and officials, to comply with the Child Protection policy, procedures and guidelines.
GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES
All Club personnel 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 (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
- Treating young people 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 swimmers (e.g. it is not appropriate for volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
- Making swimming fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
- Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly. Care is needed, as it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is in the water. Young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in swimming.
- 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, coaches, or volunteers work in pairs.
- Ensure that if mixed teams are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female volunteer. However, remember that same sex abuse can also occur.
- Being an excellent role model and displaying high standards of behaviour and appearance.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people - 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.
- In training, competitions and galas, look out for people who don't appear to be relatives or friends of children who are swimming.
PRACTICES TO BE AVOIDED
The following should be avoided. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of the club official i.e. Chairman, Secretary, etc. or the child's parents.
- Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
- Avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event.
PRACTICES NEVER TO BE SANCTIONED
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never: -
- Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate language unchallenged.
- Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
- Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
- Allow allegations made by a child go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
- Do things of a personal nature for children, that they can do themselves.
- Invite or allow a child to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
INCIDENTS THAT MUST BE REPORTED/RECORDED
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the Club Children's Officer. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed: -
- If you accidentally hurt a swimmer.
- If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
- If a swimmer appears sexually aroused by your actions.
- If a swimmer misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Responding to Suspicions Or Allegations
THE WELFARE OF CHILDREN IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY.
It is not an individual’s responsibility to decide if a child is being abused. However, it is their responsibility to ensure that concerns are voiced through contact with the Club's Children's Officer. Make a detailed written record of what you have witnessed and pass it on immediately. The welfare of the child should always remain paramount.
SOME INDICATIONS OF ABUSE
Recognising child abuse is not always easy, even for the experts. The examples below are not a complete list and are only indications NOT confirmation of child abuse.
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, bites or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries.
- The child says that she or he is being abused, or another person says they believe (or actually know) that abuse is occurring.
- The child has an injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent or which has not been adequately treated.
- The child's behaviour changes, either over time or quite suddenly, or he or she becomes quiet and withdrawn, or alternatively becomes aggressive.
- Refusal to remove clothing for normal activities, or keeping covered up in warm weather.
- The child appears not to trust adults. E.g. a parent or coach with whom he or she would be expected to have, or once had, a close relationship. The child does not seem able to make friends.
- The child looks increasingly neglected in appearance or loses or gains weight for no apparent reason
- Pain or itching, bruising or bleeding in or near genital area.
- The child shows inappropriate sexual awareness or behaviour for his/her age and sometimes behaves in a sexually explicit way.
Young people and disabled children are particularly vulnerable to abuse and may have difficulties in communicating what is happening to them. Dependency on others for primary needs, such as feeding, clothing and intimate care, may make a young person feel powerless to report abusive treatment. A fear of retribution for "telling" can be a powerful "silencer". Difficulty in identifying an abusive situation or behaviour may allow it to continue.
Action to be taken if Child Abuse is suspected
- Any suspicion that a child has been or is being abused by either a member of Armagh Swimming Club or a volunteer working with the Club should be reported to the Club’s Children's Officer, who will take steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. In the absence of the Club’s Children's Officer any report should be made to the Club Chair or member of the Club committee unless they are the subject of suspicion/allegation.
- If the Club’s Children Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation the report should be made to the Club Chair or, in his/her absence, a member of the Club’s committee.
- The Club Children's Officer will refer any allegation to the Club's Designated Officer.
Late Collection of Children
Parents/Carers are advised that Armagh Swimming Club's ‘duty of care’ only covers the duration of they child’s training session. For away galas, Armagh Swimming Club ‘duty of care’ ends on the return of the transport/bus/coach. Parents/Carers are advised that it is not the responsibility of Armagh Swimming Club volunteers/coaches and team managers to transport children home on behalf of parents/carers who have been delayed. For galas, parents MUST provide two alternative contact names or numbers for Armagh Swimming Club volunteers to use when they are not available on their usual number.
Failure to collect children with in a reasonable period of a given time without notifying Armagh Swimming Club may be considered abandonment and the relevant authorities will be informed. Appropriate action as accordingly advised will then be followed.
In the case of late collection Armagh Swimming Club volunteers:-
- Attempt to contact the child’s parent/carer on their contact number
- Use alternative contact name/number if necessary
- Wait with the child, with other Armagh Swimming Club volunteers present
- Remind parents/carers of the policy relating to late collection
If a child is not collected within in a reasonable period of time after the specified time and Armagh Swimming Club has not had notification from the parents/carer, then this may be considered abandonment and should contact the Police and Social Services.
- Take the child home or to any other location.
- Send the child home with another person without permission from a parent/carer.
- Ask the child to wait in a vehicle with them alone
- Provide two emergency contact numbers for Armagh Swimming Club use when necessary
- Make note of the contact numbers provided by Armagh Swimming Club
- Contact Armagh Swimming Club immediately if it is known they will be late in collecting their child/children and inform them of alternative arrangements.