RSSP Safeguarding Policy 2018-19

Reviewed: September 2018


As a school sporting organisation which makes provision for children and young people, we ensure that:

  • the welfare of the student is paramount
  • all students, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse
  • all suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • all staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officers
  • Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.

Policy statement/aims

RSSP has a duty of care to safeguard all students involved in all our organised activities from harm. All students have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. RSSP will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in the RSSP through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by RSSP.

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).

The aim of the RSSP Safeguarding Policy is to promote good practice:

  • providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of RSSP
  • allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues

Promoting good practice

Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.

When a student enters the activity having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the student’s self-esteem. In such instances the activity organiser must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the student receives the required support.

Good practice guidelines

All personnel are encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to promote student’s welfare and reduce the likelihood of allegations being made.

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
  • Treating all young people/disabled adults 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 students (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a student or to share a room with them).
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
  • Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
  • Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the Association of Physical Education 2016 ‘Safe Practice in Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity’ guide.
  • Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport.
  • 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, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
  • Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
  • Being an excellent role model - this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults - avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
  • Securing parental consent 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.

Practices to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the School or the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:

  • avoid spending time alone with children away from others
  • avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity.

Practices never to be sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

  • engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
  • share a room with a child
  • allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
  • allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
  • make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
  • reduce a child to tears as a form of control
  • fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child
  • do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves
  • invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.

N.B. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the students involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a student to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the appropriate officer and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the student are informed:

  • if you accidentally hurt a student
  • if a student appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
  • if a student misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Use of photographic/filming equipment at sporting events

If an outside agency is providing photography for the day, be sure to:

  • provide a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of their behaviour and the content of the photography
  • issue them with identification which they must display at all times
  • inform students and parents that a photographer will be present at the event and ensure they consent to filming and/or photography and to its publication
  • do not allow photographers unsupervised access to students or one-to-one photo sessions during the event
  • do not approve photo sessions outside the event or at a student’s home.

Videoing as a coaching aid

Video can be a legitimate coaching aid for coaches and teachers. However, if it is used make sure that students and their parents/carers understand that it is part of the coaching programme. Make sure that the films are then stored safely.

Use of images on RSSP website:

The RSSP takes the following steps to reduce the potential for misuse:

  • Avoid using student’s names (first name or surname) in photograph captions. If the student is named, avoid using his or her photograph. If a photograph is used, avoid naming the student.
  • to request and record parental permission to use an image of their child. This ensures that parents know that an image of their child is being used to represent the sport.
  • Only use images of students in suitable dress to reduce the risk of inappropriate use.
  • It is difficult to specify exactly what content is appropriate given the wide diversity of sports. However, certain sports activities - swimming, gymnastics and athletics, for example - present a much greater risk of potential misuse. Images of these sports should focus on the overall activity, and should avoid full face and body shots where possible. This means, for example, that photographs of students in a pool would be appropriate if shot poolside from waist or shoulder up. The age of the student is another factor to consider when deciding what is appropriate.
  • Create a recognised procedure for reporting the use of inappropriate images to help reduce the risks to students.
  • Safety Gear. It is important that students are not featured wearing jewellery, body piercing or clothing that could cause safety issues. Also ensure that the photographer photographs the students in the appropriate safety equipment.

Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers

RSSP recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Pre-selection checks must include the following:

  • All RSSP staff should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant's past and a self disclosure about any criminal record.
  • All staff will have appropriate checks carried out, e.g. DBS.
  • Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through email/telephone contact.
  • Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).

Interview and induction

All employees will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive an induction, during which:

  • A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
  • Their qualifications should be substantiated.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
  • Child protection procedures are explained and training needs are identified.
  • They should read and sign that they have understood and agreed to follow the Safeguarding policy.


In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff to:

  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is not likely to result in allegations being made.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely effectively with children.

RSSP requires:

  • Relevant personnel to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person.
  • Relevant personnel to gain national first aid training (where necessary).
  • Attend update training when necessary. Information about meeting training needs can be obtained from Local Authority, Sports Coach UK, NSPCC, and National Governing Bodies of Sport.

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in RSSP, 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 by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities.

RSSP will assure all staff that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a student.

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:

  • a criminal investigation
  • a child protection investigation
  • a disciplinary or misconduct investigation.

The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision.

Reporting concerns about poor practice

If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice the designated Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.

If the allegation is about poor practice by the RSSP Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to Management of RSSP who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

Reporting concerns about suspected abuse

Any suspicion that a student has been abused by either a member of school staff or a volunteer should be reported to the RSSP Child Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.

The RSSP Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the student’s school Child Protection Officer who may contact social services.

The parents or carers of the student will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the student’s School Child Protection Officer/social services department.

If the RSSP Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate Manager or in his/her absence, the student’s School Child Protection Officer, who will refer the allegation to Social Services.


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 Child Protection Officer
  • the parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
  • the person making the allegation
  • social services/police

Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser (or parents if the alleged abuser is a child).

Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).


If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in 'Responding to suspicions or allegations' above.

Action to help the victim and prevent bullying in sport:

  • Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
  • Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns
  • If a student/staff member talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately
  • Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. Create an open environment.
  • Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
  • Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
  • Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
  • Report any concerns to the student’s School Child Protection Officer .

Action towards the bully(ies):

  • Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully (ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s) where appropriate.
  • Inform the bully’s School.
  • Impose sanctions as necessary.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
  • Inform all organisation members of action taken.
  • Keep a written record of action taken.

Reporting concerns outside the immediate sporting environment when the student’s school cannot be reached

Report your concerns to the RSSP Child Protection Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.

If the RSSP Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.

Social Services and the RSSP Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.

The RSSP Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the school. The school should ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident play a role in the school and act accordingly.

Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.

Providing information to police or social services

Information about suspected abuse must be accurate and a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern. It should include the following:

  • The student’s name, age and date of birth.
  • The student's home address and telephone number.
  • Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
  • The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
  • Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
  • A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
  • Details of witnesses to the incidents.
  • The student’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
  • Have the parents been contacted?
  • If so what has been said?
  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details.
  • If the student was not the person who reported the incident, has thst student been spoken to? If so what was said?
  • Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.

Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.