Child Protection

The Club's Child Protection Co-ordinator is:

Mr Nick Mathieson
Tel: 07472 010220

Child protection and good practice document - policy statement
Dunfermline Rugby Football Club recognizes that all those involved in the coaching or supervision of children associated with the club have a duty to safeguard the welfare of those children. This duty extends to the prevention of physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children associated with the Club and shall be applied regardless of a child's sex, race or religion.
A copy of the Child Protection and Good Practice document is available from the Club's Child Protection Co-ordinator.
The Coach - Athlete Relationship
Coaches - particularly of children - hold a powerful and unique leadership role, often carrying considerable authority and status. A closeness and mutual trust often accompany this role usually only held between parent and child. Coaches often unwittingly or wittingly assume this power and authority and occasionally this influence spills over into the child's personal life. One of the challenges coaches repeatedly face is how to manage this potential power and balance the responsible and safe boundary between coach and performer. The challenge to do this is exacerbated by the need for coaches to build high levels of trust from children - particularly those involved in elite performance - to encourage them to change their behaviour to develop the level of commitment required to achieve their potential.

Coaches of young children start by using their authority role to build a strong relationship or bond. Over time this hopefully positive influence can grow to be extremely strong and it is from this influence that trust grows.

Where trust is given, there exists the potential for the abuse and misuse of power by a coach. This may be as a result of thoughtlessness, negligence or occasionally wickedness. Even the passive abuse of power by a coach eg by questioning loyalty or commitment, may produce a dangerous level of conformity and emotional dependency in a child.

By seeking conformity and commitment to their own values and ideals, coaches may be exaggerating the need to conform at the price of the child's own personal development, self-determination and independence. All coaches should be able to recognize the negative consequences of the power they may hold and the trust placed in them by children and parents.

Coaches Charter

  • Coaches must hold full membership of Dunfermline Rugby Football Club.
  • Coaches must complete the Club's "Children's Coach Registration Form" and follow the procedures laid down by the Club.
  • Coaches will be registered on the SRU coaches' database.
  • Coaches must consistently display high standards of behaviour and appearance.
  • Coaches must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every player and treat everyone equally within the context of our sport.
  • Coaches must place the well being and safety of the performer above the development of performance by following all guidelines laid down by the Scottish Rugby Union.
  • Coaches must develop an appropriate working relationship with players based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Coaches must not exert any undue influence to gain any personal benefit or reward.
  • Coaches must encourage and guide players to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.
  • Coaches must ensure the activities they direct or advocate are appropriate for the age, maturity, experience and ability of the individual.
  • Coaches should at the outset clarify with players (and where appropriate their parents) exactly what is expected of them and what players are entitled to expect of their coach.
  • Coaches should co-operate fully with other specialists (eg other coaches,physiotherapists, club officials, etc) in the best interest of the player.
  • Coaches should always advocate the positive aspects of Rugby and never condone rule violations or the use of prohibited substances.
  • Coaches must respect a player's right to his or her own personal development, independence and self-determination.

Procedures for coaches

All coaches shall comply with the Coaches Charter.
All new coaches/organizers will be made aware of the policy on Child Protection and Good Practice.
Coaches shall follow the guidelines issued on how to deal with the disclosure or suspicion of abuse.
Coaches shall know who their Club Child Protection Co-ordinator is.
All activities shall be planned to minimize situations in which abuse may occur.

The coaches shall observe the following guides to good practice.

  • Follow an "open door" policy in changing rooms and showers.
  • Prohibit the use of camcorders and cameras in changing rooms and showers.
  • Allow parents access to changing areas when appropriate.
  • Do not participate in one to one coaching other than during a normal coaching session and always in the presence of other coaches and players.
  • Do not allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form.
  • Do not make sexually suggestive comments about or to a child, even in fun.
  • Do not refer to a child's ethnicity, religion, gender, disability or sexuality in a way that is derogatory.
  • Do not allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Do not engage in sexually provocative games or horseplay.
  • Do not do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
  • Immediately report incidents of inappropriate language, behaviour or abuse by another Coach.
  • Immediately report incidents of inappropriate language, behaviour or abuse by a child.

Parents shall be encouraged to attend matches and coaching sessions and to accept responsibility for ensuring their child's safety.
A Good Conduct Guide for spectators and parents will be distributed with fixture list at the start of the session and to new members.
A current membership list or appropriate checklist shall be available at all activities.
An appropriate first aid kit will be on hand at all activities. (NB: coaches shall not attempt to treat injuries unless qualified to do so.)
An Incident Form shall always be on hand to record incidents that may have repercussions for the club, coach or player.
Whilst at coaching/home fixtures and travelling to away fixtures etc children will be kept under the closest supervision and when appropriate, a coach will be nominated to remain at the venue until all children have left or been accounted for.
Coaches shall not meet children away from the Rugby Club situation or meeting place without a parent or other adult being present.

Procedures to be followed by coaches where abuse is disclosed or suspected
Create a safe environment by:

  • Staying calm and not rushing into actions which may be inappropriate.
  • Confirming you know how difficult it must have been to confide in you.
  • Reassuring the child and stressing he/she is not to blame.
  • Listening to and believing what the child says; show you are taking the matter seriously.
  • Be honest and do not make promises you cannot keep. Explain you may have to tell other people in order to stop what is happening.
  • Be clear about what the child says so that it can be passed on to child protection professionals. Do not lead the child, or suggest words or ideas on what may have happened.

  • What the child has said to you, in a legible and accurate format, on an Incident Form.
  • Facts and observations, not your opinion.
  • The child's name, address, date of birth.
  • The date and time of the incident.
  • Exactly what the child said and what you said.
  • Actions taken and contact with parents/agencies. Remember names, addresses and "phone numbers.

  • You date and sign the record.
  • The Club Child Protection Co-ordinator witnesses the record.
  • You maintain confidentiality; Breaches of confidentiality can be very dangerous to the child, family and any child protection investigations that take place.
  • You do not take sole responsibility. Consult with the Club Child Protection Co-ordinator or another coach as soon as possible, so that you can begin to protect the child and gain support for yourself in a difficult situation.
  • You do not contact parents if you consider the child to be a victim of sexual abuse or at increased risk.

Procedures to be followed by the club where abuse is disclosed or suspected
  • The coach/concerned person shall conform to the Procedures to be followed by coaches where abuse is disclosed or suspected.
  • The Club Child Protection Co-ordinator shall consult the appropriate agencies: ie

Police - 01383 318700
Child Protection Unit - 01383 312910
Standby Social Works (out of hours service) - Freephone via operator.
  • The Co-ordinator will obtain the names and "phone numbers of those consulted.
  • The Co-ordinator will follow the advice given by the appropriate agencies.
  • The Co-ordinator shall inform the Club's President that an incident has occurred and of the action taken.

Abuse indicators

Extracted from NSPCC Booklet "Protecting Children - a guide for sportspeople"

Types of abusePhysical indicatorBehavioural indicator
PhysicalUnexplained bruises, marks, injuriesBruises which reflect hand marksCigarette burnsBite MarksBroken bonesScaldsFear of parent being contactedAggressive or angry outburstRunning AwayFear of going homeFlinchingDepressionKeeping arms/legs coveredReluctance to change clothesWithdrawn behaviour
NeglectConstant hungerUnkempt stateWeight loss/underweightInappropriate dressMissing doctor/hospital appointmentsTruancy/late for schoolConstantly tiredFew friendsRegularly alone and unsupervised
EmotionalDevelopment delayedSudden speech disorderNeurotic behaviourUnable to play/take partFear of making mistakesSudden speech disordersSelf harm/mutilationFear of parents being contacted
SexualPain/itching in genital areaBruising/bleeding in genital areaSexually transmitted diseaseVaginal discharge/infectionStomach painsPregnancySudden changes in behaviourBecoming aggressive/withdrawnApparent fear of one personRunning awayNightmaresUnexplained sources of moneySexual drawings/languageBedwettingOvereating/anorexiaSelf mutilation/suicidalSecrets which cannot be told to anyoneSubstance/drug abuseAdvanced sexual knowledgeBehaving beyond their ageNot allowed to have friendsSexually explicit behaviourTelling about the abuse

Coaches must be aware that they are not Childcare professionals and that the procedures set down are to be followed immediately they suspect abuse to have taken place. It is the role of the professional childcare protection agencies to investigate.