Aim of this Policy
Gloucester Rowing Club (GRC) acknowledges that it has a duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable group members in their participation of rowing, both at the club premises and away at competition venues. The club fully endorses British Rowing’s ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy’ (2013) and the ‘Adults at Risk Policy’ (2013). Copies of these documents are displayed on the club noticeboard for members to read. All club Committee members have an obligation to read them and confirm that they have done so.
This Policy sets out how the club aims to make the welfare of vulnerable members paramount, and how to provide a safe environment for them to enjoy their sport and be protected from abuse.
Importance of safeguarding in the club
The GRC Welfare Officer (CWO) shall prepare an annual audit of the club’s Codes of Conduct and safeguarding Policies to establish compliance with the latest standards advised by British Rowing, and present this to the club Committee. From that, a Welfare Risk Assessment shall be prepared to highlight practices that fall below the advised standards and measures required to mitigate against those shortfalls. Ideally the Committee shall aim to complete those mitigation measures within three months of the Welfare Risk Assessment being prepared, and to present those to the club Committee for approval and adoption.
The club expects every member to be aware of the following definitions as follows:
- Child – anyone under the age of 18 years. The needs of the Child override those of the adult working with them.
- Adult at Risk - any person aged 18 years and over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental health issues, learning or physical disability, sensory impairment, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation.
- Significant access – being in a position to have direct and regular access with a Child or Adult at Risk
- Position of trust – this is where an individual such as a coach, club officer, or squad leader can make a decisions for or about a Child or Adult at Risk, can influence their action and may misuse their position to abuse them.
- Welfare – basic physical and emotional well-being.
- Safeguard – protect from harm or damage with appropriate measures.
- Bullying - typically comprises of a number of minor actions carried out over a period of time, that on their own would not be subject to disciplinary action, but cumulatively they can be viewed as harmful to the targeted individual to leave them feeling threatened and humiliated, resulting in loss of self-esteem, confidence and ability to perform.
- Harassment - bullying underpins acts of harassment and they are similar in some respects, except that harassment tends to occur as a more serious incident involving a physical element and is usually linked to gender, race or disability.
- Discrimination - the result of individuals being treated unfairly because of their gender, religion, or perhaps disability.
The club shall display safeguarding information on the clubhouse noticeboards to raise awareness of vulnerable groups, and to ensure that concerns of suspected abuse are reported following the correct procedures prescribed according to British Rowing Policy. Members shall sign up to the club’s Codes of Conduct as part of their membership, and these shall be written specifically to incorporate aspects of safeguarding and protecting the welfare of vulnerable members as standard practice within the club. The Codes of Conduct shall be based on model standards advised by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), British Rowing and Sport England’s Clubmark Accreditation Scheme. The club shall implement a ‘Junior and Adult Interaction Policy’ to ensure that juniors are given proper consideration when rowing or training in an adult environment.
A designated safeguarding lead
GRC shall appoint a CWO to liaise with all members of the club and to report welfare issues to the club Committee. The CWO is obliged to attend a ‘Time to Listen’ course to prepare for the role and is responsible for:
Assisting the club to fulfil its responsibilities to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.
Ensure adherence to the club’s safeguarding children training.
Promote the club’s best practice policies and codes of conduct within the club.
Ensure confidentiality is maintained.
Promote anti-discriminatory practice.
Recognising signs of abuse
GRC adopts British Rowing’s succinct list of signs that a vulnerable individual may be being abused and reasons why they may be at increased risk of abuse, as defined in their ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy’ (2013) and the ‘Adults at Risk Policy’ (2013). These shall apply equally to Children and Adults at Risk, as follows:
- find it difficult or impossible to maintain a stable or trusting relationship
- become involved with drugs or prostitution
- increase alcohol consumption
- show angry or volatile behaviour without reason
- attempt suicide or self-harm
- go on to abuse another individual
- severe weight loss
- become withdrawn
- discrimination including ethnic or racial, sexual, disability orientated, etc.
- isolation low self image and low self esteem resulting in vulnerable self presentation
- lack of knowledge about appropriate behaviours by others
- desire for acceptance , affection and attention
- powerlessness to protect themselves
- dependency upon others to care for them
- difficulty in communicating that abuse has occurred
GRC is aware of the types of abuse that could occur in the rowing environment such as:
- neglect through prolonged exposure to the effects of the weather, lack of nourishment, lack of clothing, repeated lateness in picking participants up from the club.
- physical abuse through violence or punishments, or over-training participants.
- sexual abuse through inappropriate intimate contact, inappropriate language, or engineering time alone with a participant.
- psychological abuse through discrimination, placing undue pressure on a participant to perform, or verbal intimidation.
- financial abuse through blackmail, theft or charging individual participants higher fees.
GRC recognises that bullying is a type of abuse that every member is susceptible to. The club endorses the wording of British Rowing’s Welfare Guidance Form (BR WG) WG 1.1 ‘Model Anti-Bullying Policy’ and shall incorporate the principles and definitions in the club’s ‘Anti-Bullying Policy’. The club shall encourage members to act responsibly to report concerns about suspected bullying any club official, or in the case of a complaint, to the club Secretary of Chairman.
The club shall be committed to the principles of equality and diversity. In the Club Constitution it states that “The Club is fully committed to the principles of equality of opportunity and is responsible for ensuring that no member, volunteer, employee or job applicant receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, gender, disability, race, ethnic origin, nationality, colour, parental or marital status, pregnancy, religious belief, social status, sexual orientation or political belief or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be relevant to performance.” and protection of this type of abuse is reinforced in the club’s ‘Equal Opportunities Policy’
GRC are very aware that sexual abuse does not need to involve physical contact on the club premises, but can occur remotely via the use of social media. The club shall implement an ‘Email Communication and Use of Social Media Policy’ to help protect vulnerable members from this type of abuse.
Dealing with allegations
GRC shall take all suspicions and allegations of abuse or poor practice seriously. The club shall endeavour to treat all concerns confidentially, responding swiftly, fairly and appropriately in accordance with British Rowing’s reporting procedures detailed in their ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy’ (2013), the ‘Adults at Risk Policy’ (2013) and where appropriate the club’s own ‘Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures’.
GRC is aware of British Rowing’s statement from the ‘Adults at Risk Policy’ (2013) “In cases of suspected adult abuse it is important to recognise that assertive persuasion to encourage the individual to report or take action against an abuser or abusive situation may have negative outcomes for that adult and could be detrimental to their wellbeing by causing them further harm. Therefore, the protection of Adults at Risk from abuse is a more complex process than child protection and requires policy and procedures that reflect this“
The Policy goes on to state that “Policy users need to develop an understanding that protecting Adults at Risk necessitates a more supportive and advisory approach in response to reporting abuse, than in child protection situations where the legal framework is clear and definitive and requires stipulated responses. In serious situations the child can be removed from the abusive environment, for Adults at Risk it is not always possible or appropriate to achieve this level of safety”
At the time of writing, the club considers that the club’s Codes of Conduct and Policies have sufficient regard to protect the welfare of any current members who may be ‘Adults at Risk’. The Codes of Conduct and Policies shall be reviewed on an annual basis, or revised as necessary if an individual member requires specific consideration.
Any member reporting a concern of suspected abuse or persistent poor practice shall record their information using BR WG 1.2 ‘Report Form…’, a reference copy of which is maintained in the clubhouse and is available for download from www.britishrowing.org. This form shall be sent to the CWO, whose responsibility it is to co-ordinate what further action is required and inform the British Rowing Lead Safeguarding Officer for further advice. It is not the CWO’s role to make judgements about the suspected abuse or poor practice, but to ensure that known facts are recorded accurately and appropriately.
GRC is a Regulated Activity Provider that relies on volunteers to run all aspects of the rowing programme and club facilities. The vast majority of volunteers required to fill specific roles, and particularly those in a ‘position of trust’, shall be recruited from individual members with an established history with the club. Those volunteer roles that have significant access to vulnerable members shall be required to apply for DBS clearance, with or without barring in accordance with their capacity to supervise participants. Procedures for recruitment of members and non-members to fill specific role is set out in the club’s ‘Safe Recruitment Policy’.
GRC supports and adapts the principles of BR WG 1.3 ‘Whistleblowing Policy’ (2010) to protect and support any member of the club, who acts in good faith, to report a club official or person in a ‘position of trust’ of poor practice or suspected abuse. This is set out in the club’s ‘Whistleblowing Policy’.
Training and supervision
The CWO shall be responsible for promoting what level of training is required by certain club officials in line with British Rowing recommendations. All members of the Club Committee shall be expected to attend a ‘Safeguarding Children Workshop’ run by British Rowing or an equivalent course provider and a written record of this shall be maintained by the CWO. All lead coaches who have significant access to children and supervise junior training sessions shall be required to have a DBS Clearance with barring, and have a Level 2 Coaching qualification, a prerequisite of which involves attendance at a ‘Safeguarding Children Workshop’. The club shall sponsor selected members to achieve their Level 2 coaching award and provide supervised training opportunities for those working towards their Level 2 qualification.
As part of the Level 2 Coaching award training, coaches are instructed in the preparation of Risk Assessments of the training conditions at the start of the training session. The purpose of the Risk Assessment is to “help identify possible sources of danger and take appropriate action to minimise these risks taking into account the age, number and competence of participants” British Rowing’s ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy’ (2013). All coaches shall be expected to follow this procedure and to work within the parameters of British Rowing’s guidance ‘RowSafe’ (2016) and ‘How Much How Often’ (2010). Coaching members shall refer to the club’s ‘Coaches Code of Conduct’.
Volunteer parents/carers shall be encouraged to support their children in their sport by assisting with the running of the junior sessions in a supervised capacity. Parents/carers shall be given practical training by lead coaches to help develop their skills in aspects of good practice. The club has produced a ‘Parent/Helper Guide’ (2013) which is available from the club website.
Culture of listening
GRC shall working toward an improved culture of listening and consulting with children. At present the club Constitution states that members over 16 may vote at a General Meeting. Members younger than 16 shall be allowed to attend and make known their views in general debate at these meetings, but shall not be eligible to vote. The club shall aim to involve children in reviewing the club’s Codes of Conduct and Policies.
The club’s ethos is to strive towards being an all-inclusive club catering for a range of rowing needs, from high performance to recreational. All members, including child participants, shall have direct influence over which rowing programmes they take part in and which competitions, if any, they wish to enter. Lead coaches shall work closely with their junior participants on all aspects of their training programme and gain mutual agreement on levels of commitment. The club realises that for some members that rowing is their recreation and therefore enjoyment of the sport is their primary aim.
The CWO shall promote the principles of BR WG 5.2 ‘CPSU Information Sharing Protocol’ for sharing sensitive and confidential information and in particular the Flowchart in Appendix 2. The CWO shall maintain records of when the information was reported, decisions for sharing and what was the outcome, but shall respect the protocol of not to share such information with:
- the club Committee
- other members of the club
- other acquaintances outside of rowing
Where there are circumstances require sharing of information in the best interest of the Child or Adult at Risk, or if a concern of suspected abuse has been received, the CWO shall defer to British Rowing’s Lead Safeguarding Officer (LSO) for advice on the best course of action. Information divulged to the LSO shall follow BR WG 5.3 ‘Seven Golden Rules for Information Sharing’. This information is set out in the club’s ‘Confidentiality and Data Protection Policy’.
Storage of records
GRC shall follow the guiding principles of the Data Protection Act (1998) requiring that personal information shall be:
- adequate, relevant and not excessive for the purposes(s) for which they are held (third principle)
- accurate and where necessary kept up to date (sixth principle)
- not kept for longer than is necessary for its purpose(s) (fifth principle).
The club shall implement procedures for handling and storing personal, sensitive and confidential data in accordance with the club’s Confidentiality and Data Protection Policy’ , which sets out the purpose of the data, how it is used and stored, who it may be shared with and the consents required, together with how it will be destroyed. All club officers who are authorised to handle data shall maintain such data away from the club premises and on personal devices that have password only access.
At the time of writing the club does not hold any records relating to reported concerns regarding an Adult at Risk. This safeguarding policy shall be reviewed if the situation necessitates.
GRC shall maintain clear lines of responsibility for overseeing the welfare and safeguarding of its members. The role of the CWO, Junior Coordinator, coaches and elected members of the club Committee are set out in the club’s ‘Safeguarding and Welfare Roles’. Those members elected and appointed to fulfil these positions within the club shall be expected to do so by working within the remit of their role; to give advice on health and nutrition, educate participants about substance abuse, and be able to recognise signs of abuse and know how to report it. They shall hold appropriate qualifications and insurance as prescribed by British Rowing and abide by the club’s Codes of Conducts and Policies.
Safeguarding at club events
For club hosted heads and regattas the club shall issue a Safeguarding Statement for all competitors, giving contact details of the club CWO and setting out safeguarding procedures for visitors.
Safeguarding away from the club at competitions
All junior members competing on behalf of the club at away venues shall be accompanied either by their parent/guardian or a responsible adult member nominated as loco parentis. For every event where the club is represented by junior members, the club shall designate an adult member to be the junior representative of the club. Typically this shall be their lead coach, or in their absence an experienced adult member of club who has DBS clearance. Where parents/carers are present supporting their child, they shall be deemed to have overall responsibility for the welfare of their child. The club relies on provisions in the club’s Codes of Conduct and the ‘Junior and Adult Interaction Policy’ to safeguard junior participants at competitions away from the club. The club shall endorse the following guidance issued by the CPSU, as follows:
- ensure that all other children continue to be supervised appropriately while a search for the child concerned is carried out.
- organise the remaining available responsible adults to conduct a search of the surrounding area allocating each individual to a specific area; request all those searching report back within a short time, dependent on the size of the area being searched.
- if the child cannot be found after a good search of the immediate surroundings, contact the child’s parents to advise them of the concern and reassure them that everything is being done to locate the child.
- make a note of the circumstances in which the child has gone missing and where he/she was last seen and prepare a detailed physical description of the child, to include their hair and eye colour, approximate height and build and clothing he/she was wearing, as this will be required by the police.
- report the concern to the police if the search is unsuccessful and no later than 20 minutes after the initial missing person report if the search is ongoing.
- follow police guidance if further action is recommended and maintain close contact with the police.
- report the incident to the designated safeguarding officer [host club CWO].
- ensure that you inform all adults involved including the parents, searchers and police if at any stage the child is located.