Child Protection Policy

Richmond Swimming Club recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children, young people or vulnerable adults in some way. All reasonable steps are taken to ensure suitable people are recruited.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct has been written to be consistent with the Amateur Swimming Association new guidelines for swimming clubs, the requirements of Teddington Pool and the Area Child Protection Committee’s policy on child protection.

Richmond Swimming Club asks that all club members and/or parents/carers

Remember that the club can only take responsibility for children and young people in the water and on poolside. At all other times children remain the responsibility of their parents.

Arrange to meet children and young people following the swimming session promptly and collect from inside the building. If you do not stay with your child please ensure that there is:-

a) someone else they know present at the pool who will act "in loco parentis”.
b) they know how to contact you in an emergency.

Ensure that children and young people only change for swimming in the designated changing areas provided.

Ensure that children and young people in swimwear do not use the public areas such as the balcony or reception without covering up with a robe or a towel. Children who are wet must not go ‘dry side’ of the pool.

Request permission and register with reception before taking any photographic images with a camera/mobile phone or video, as written permission must be given by parents of any child appearing in a photograph. In order that we can assure parents that photos are not taken without permission please do not use mobile phones on the balcony or in the changing rooms or any other area where photography would be inappropriate.

Please report any concerns that you have about the welfare of a child to the clubs co-ordinator for child protection, Laura Newbold.

Behave towards others without discrimination and treat everyone with respect and dignity

Ensure that the rules and requests of Teddington Pool with regard to conduct are followed

Remember that teachers and club officials are volunteers who give generously of their time for the benefit of club members

An enhanced Criminal Record Bureau check is undertaken in respect of all swimming teachers and club officials. This check is updated every 3 years.

Please notify the club protection co-ordinator of any concerns you may have about the conduct of any teacher of club official which gives you concern about the welfare of a child. Any concerns will be followed up in accordance with the Area Child Protection Committees policy. If your concern involves the child protection co-ordinator directly please bring it to the attention of the club chair Helen Shanks/Sharon Sinclair.

As a club member or a parent of a club member you may use the Swimline to report any concerns where you feel the welfare of a child is at risk. Swimline 0808 100 40001. Alternatively, you may call the NSPCC Child Protection Help line on 0808 800 5000. This is a 24hr service and calls are free.

A copy of the
Richmond Swimming Club Code of Conduct can be found on the club notice board. Each swimmer is given a copy of Code of Conduct when they enrol at the club.

All staff and volunteers will be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations.

Conduct with Children:

All Staff and Volunteers should have an Enhanced Disclosure certificate which is less than 3 years old.

Treat all children and young people with respect. Don’t automatically laugh at something a child says to you; they may not have intended it to be funny.

Never reprimand or shout at a child.

Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.

Avoid being left alone with a single child.

Do not initiate any physical contact with children unless the lesson requires you to do so. If this is necessary, then explain to the child what you intend to do before initiating the contact.

If a child initiates physical contact such as approaching you for a hug, deflect them if possible and offer a handshake instead.

Do not encourage children to sit on your knee. Sit beside them.

Avoid getting involved in issues that arise amongst the children. Inform the guardians of the children involved at the end of the lesson.

If you are exploring sensitive issues, such as bullying or drugs, children could approach you with their problems. Without being dismissive, try to avoid becoming involved. Do not agree to keep the issue secret and encourage them to tell a teacher or parent.

If something a child tells you lead you to suspect that they are being abused, you are obliged to report it to the Child Protection Officer.

Maintain professional behaviour at all times.

Practices never to be allowed

Staff and Volunteers of Richmond Swimming Club should never:

Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.

Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.

Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.

Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.

Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.

Never take responsibility for a child under any circumstances.

Health and Safety

Staff and volunteers are expected to promote Health and Safety considerations to children and young people.
All Staff and Volunteers must agree to work in accordance with
Richmond Swimming Clubs policy on Health and Safety and to work without causing danger to themselves, to other volunteers or to the general public.
Risk assessment should be a part of planning any activity and should take into account all aspects of the activity, but particularly any risks relating to protection of children and young people. Risk management should be an ongoing part of every activity. Copies of Risk assessments will be maintained by the club.

Use of all forms of photography and video recording equipment

Anyone wishing to use photography and video recording equipment during the Richmond Swimming Club pool time must first seek permission from the Club Welfare Officer.
The nature and use of the photography and video recording will be assessed by the Club Welfare Officer before permission is given.

Accidents and injuries:

If a child or young person is injured while attending
Richmond Swimming Club, a member of staff or volunteer artist must make a record of the injury in the Richmond Swimming Club accident book. This record should be counter-signed by the Club Welfare Officer.

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of a member of staff or volunteer working for Richmond Swimming Club 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 through contact with the appropriate authorities.

Richmond Swimming Club assures all staff and volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports their concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

If a member of staff or volunteer is worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, they can contact social services or the police direct or phone the NSPCC Helpline.

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

A criminal investigation.

A child protection investigation.

A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.

Complaints against a member of staff or volunteer will always and without exception are investigated. The police and other agencies will be informed at the discretion of
Richmond Swimming Club. The results of the police and child protection investigation may influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.

It is possible that a child, young person or vulnerable adult who is suffering, or has suffered, abuse will disclose information to a member of staff or volunteer of
Richmond Swimming Club. This is something that everyone should be prepared for and must handle carefully.

The following action should be taken:

Remain calm and in control but don’t delay acting.

Listen carefully to what is said. Allow the person to tell the story at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification.

Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.

Don’t promise to ‘keep it a secret’. The first opportunity should be taken to say that this information will have to be shared with others.

It should be made clear that only people who need to know will be told and they should be able to help.

The child or young person should be reassured that they ‘did the right thing’ in telling someone.

The child or young person should be told what is going to happen next.

The Club Welfare Officer of Richmond Swimming Club should be told immediately. It is that person’s responsibility to liase with relevant authorities, usually social services.

As soon as possible a note should be made of what was said, using the person’s own words.

Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned and who the information was given to.

Sign and date the record.

Rights and confidentiality

If a complaint or allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer, they should be made aware of their rights under both employment law and internal disciplinary procedures.

This is the responsibility of
Richmond Swimming Club. Both the alleged abuser and the person who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. In criminal law the Crown or other prosecuting authority has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Internal enquiries and suspension:

In the event of an accusation of abuse being made against any member of staff or volunteer of
Richmond Swimming Club, the individual accused will be automatically suspended pending further investigations. The temporary suspension of a member of staff or volunteer in no way implies guilt or innocence. It is a measure intended to protect and reassure both staff and children. At all times the welfare of children should be of paramount importance.

In all cases where the accusation of abuse is found to be true,
Richmond Swimming Club will normally terminate the employment or agreement with the individual. The individual may oppose the outcomes of the disciplinary in writing to the Chairman of Richmond Swimming Club. External advice will then be obtained from the NSPCC and Local Child Protection Officer.

NSPCC Helpline

The NSPCC helpline is available to give advice 0808 800 5000.

Dated 27 April 2014