«Last Revised Rugby Ontario 4/14/2011 RUGBY ONTARIO – CHILD PROTECTION POLICY PROCEDURES MANUAL Table of Contents Introduction Pg 3 Section #1 – ...»
• Keep a written record of actions taken.
In addition to the above, it may be advisable to hold a team or club meeting about bullying/harassment.
HARASSMENTThis Child Protection Policy does not prevent a person from taking immediate, informal, corrective action in response to behavior that, in their view, constitutes a minor incident of harassment or bullying involving children.
Less serious incidents of harassment or bullying may be dealt with through the suggested good practice guidelines that are listed under the topic of bullying.
Serious, and/or repeated incidents of harassment or bullying should be reported to the RO, Child Protection Officer, and an Incident Report Form completed as soon as possible.
Harassment can take many forms but, generally, can be defined for the purposes of this CPP as continued comments, conduct or gestures directed towards a child which is, or is likely to be, construed as insulting, intimidating, humiliating, malicious, degrading or offensive, especially where the child or youth against whom the behaviour is directed has clearly requested the perpetrator(s) to cease, or where he or she by verbal or body language, has expressed distress or dismay at the behaviour in question.
Children and youth may experience harassment or negative discrimination because of their race or ethnic origin, socio-economic status, culture, age, disability, gender, sexuality or religious beliefs. This can have a very detrimental effect on a child. Children from minority ethnic groups or communities (and their parents) may have experienced harassment, racial discrimination, and institutional racism prior to engaging in the sport of rugby.
Although not formally recognized as a form of child abuse, racism can be emotionally harmfully to children. Some racist acts may also involve acts of physical violence towards individuals or groups.
Rugby Ontario and its member clubs in working with children and parents, including those where minority ethnic individuals, groups or communities are numerically small, must remain aware and responsive to these issues.
All serious incidents of harassment or bullying will be reported to and dealt with by the RO, Child Protection Officer, in conjunction with the Child Protection Disciplinary Panel and applicable procedures and processes as outline
SECTION #3 – RESPONDING TO CONCERNS
RESPONDING TO CONCERNS - GENERALIt takes considerable courage for a child to disclose abuse, bullying or harassment.
Disclosures need to be handled very carefully and sensitively to avoid causing further distress to the child.
All concerns must be responded to in a way that ensures that a child receives appropriate help and support, to ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who pose a risk to children and to protect not only the child involved but all other
children. Clear and understandable procedures for responding to concerns will:
• help to avoid those receiving information from engaging in judgments;
• reassure those who report concerns that an appropriate course of action will ensue;
• support those charged with managing concerns by providing them with a stepby-step process to follow; and
• safeguard the rights of those against whom complaints or allegations have been made Concerns not involving Child Abuse Rugby Ontario is committed to working in partnership with parents whenever there are concerns about a child or youth. Parents have the primary responsibility for the safety and well being of their children.
In most situations, not involving the possibility of the abuse of a child, concerns should be discussed with parents. For example, if a child seems withdrawn, he/she may have experienced an upset in the family, such as a parental separation, divorce or bereavement. Common sense is advised is these situations.
Any significant, improper or unusual incidents which cause concern about the welfare of a child should be reported to the Rugby Ontario, Child Protection Officer as soon as possible. Parents should also be informed of the circumstances as soon as possible.
Advice should be sought from the Rugby Ontario Child Protection Officer if there is any uncertainty about the appropriate course of action where there are concerns about the general welfare of a child.
Confidentiality Information provided to Rugby Ontario and its member clubs/societies should remain confidential unless permission has been given to share the information by the individual concerned or the safety of that person or another person may be at risk.
If there is a reasonable concern that a child or youth may be at risk of significant harm, this will always override a professional or organizational requirement to keep information confidential.
It is good practice to inform parents and children about the kind of situations which may
lead to them having to share information with other agencies, such as:
• when criminal conduct may be involved;
• when it is believed necessary to protect others from harassment or bullying;
• when required to ensure fairness or natural justice in the procedures of this policy;
• in the course of an investigation by a law enforcement agency;
• to protect the interests of Rugby Ontario; or
• when required by law Issues regarding defamation Concerned adults are sometimes reluctant to report concerns about abuse for fear that the person suspected will sue them for defamation if the allegation turns out to be unfounded.
To be defamatory a statement must first of all be untrue. Even if subsequently shown to be untrue, the statement will be protected by ‘qualified privilege’ if it is made to the appropriate authority in response to a duty, whether legal, moral or social or in the protection of an interest. Unjustified repetition of the allegations to other persons will not be protected by privilege. The qualification on privilege refers to statements made by malice. If a statement, even to the appropriate authority, can be shown to be motivated by malice, then an action of defamation could be successful.
Equity Rugby Ontario is opposed to discrimination of any form and will promote measures to prevent discrimination, in whatever form, from being expressed.
The Rugby Ontario, Code of Conduct must be adhered to at all times so that rugby can be enjoyed by all.
PROCEDURES FOR RESPONDING TO CONCERNS ABOUT A CHILDAllegations of abuse must always be taken seriously. False allegations are very rare. If a child says or indicates they are being abused or information is obtained which gives reason to believe that a child is being abused, the information must be reported on the same day, in line with the following procedures.
Where there is uncertainty about what to do with the information, Rugby Ontario’s Child Protection Officer can first be consulted for advice on the appropriate course of action.
If Rugby Ontario’s Child Protection Officer is unavailable or an immediate response is required the police and social work services/children’s aid society must be consulted for advice. These organizations have a statutory responsibility for the protection of children, and they may already hold other concerning information about the child.
Record any advice provided to them.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMMEDIATE SAFETY OF A CHILD:Take whatever action is required to ensure the child’s Immediate safety Pass the information immediately to the police and seek their advice Note: No member or volunteer of Rugby Ontario and its member clubs, shall investigate allegations of abuse, or decide whether or not a child has been abused. This is the responsibility of professional authorities and agencies entrusted with welfare and safety of children. It is however, everyone’s responsibility to immediately report their concerns.
The following procedures apply to all members and volunteers involved in Rugby Ontario and Its member clubs/societies in responding to concerns about the abuse of a child.
• React calmly, so as not to frighten the child.
• Listen to the child and take what they say seriously. Do not show skepticism.
• Reassure the child they are not to blame and were right to tell someone.
• Be aware of interpreting what a child says, especially if they have learning or physical disabilities which affect their ability to communicate or English is not their first language.
• Do not assume that the experience was bad or painful - it may have been neutral or even pleasurable.
• Avoid projecting your own reactions onto the child.
• Avoid asking any questions. If necessary only ask enough questions to gain basic information to establish the possibility that abuse may have occurred. Only use open-ended, non-leading questions e.g. Who? Where? When?
• Do not introduce personal information from either your own experiences or those of other children.
• Showing shock or distaste;
• Probing for more information than is offered;
• Speculating or making assumptions;
• Making negative comments about the person against whom the allegation has been made;
• Approaching the individual against whom the allegation has been made; or
• Making promises or agreeing to keep secrets and giving a guarantee of confidentiality.
Make a written record of the information as soon as possible using the Rugby Ontario Incident Referral Form, completing as much of the form as possible. The following information will help the Child Protection Officer, Police and/or Social Services Agency
decides what action to take next:
• Child’s name, age and date of birth;
• Child’s home address and telephone number;
• Any times, dates or other relevant information concerning the incident;
• Whether the person making the report is expressing their own concern or the concerns of another person;
Reporting Print a copy, sign and date. Send the Incident Report Form to the Rugby Ontario, Child Protection Officer, police or social work services the same day. If the Incident Report Form can be completed electronically, do not save copies to the hard drive or floppy disk. Print a copy, sign and date and then delete immediately.
Where there are concerns that the parent(s) may be responsible for, or have knowledge of the abuse, sharing concerns with the parent(s) may place the child at further risk.
In such cases advice must always firstly be sought from the police or social work services as to who informs the parents.
PROCEDURES FOR RESPONDING TO CONCERNS ABOUT THE CONTACT OF A CLUB
MEMBER OR VOLUNTEERThe following section details the procedures to be followed where the concern is about a club member or volunteer.
These procedures are to ensure that all concerns about the conduct of a club member or volunteer are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner.
No member of Rugby Ontario or its member clubs in receipt of information that causes concern about the conduct of a club member or volunteer towards children shall keep that information to himself or herself, or attempt to deal with the matter on their own.
In the event of an investigation in to the conduct of a club member or volunteer all
actions will progress from:
• Club members and volunteers being made aware of the nature of concern or complaint;
• Where the concern is about possible child abuse, advice will first be taken from the police, as to what can be said to the club member or volunteer;
• The club member or volunteer being given an opportunity to put forward their case; and
• Rugby Ontario will act in good faith; ensure the matter is dealt with impartially and as quickly as possible in the circumstances.
In all cases where there are concerns about the conduct of a club member or volunteer towards children, the welfare of the child will be the paramount consideration.
At any point in the management of concerns about the conduct of a club member or volunteer, advice may be sought from the police or social work services.
The following procedures apply to all members and volunteers involved in Rugby Ontario and Its member clubs in responding to concerns about the conduct of a club member or volunteer.
Responding Any concerns for the welfare of a child arising from the conduct of a club member or volunteer must be reported to the Rugby Ontario, Child and Youth Protection Officer on the day the concern arises or, as soon as practically possible.
Where the concern is about the Rugby Ontario, Child and Youth Protection Officer, it must be reported to the President and Executive Director of Rugby Ontario.
Recording & Reporting Concerns must be recorded using the Rugby Ontario, Incident Referral Form as soon as possible. Reporting the concerns to the Rugby Ontario, Child Protection Officer should NOT be delayed by gathering information to complete the form, or until a written record has been made. All subsequent actions taken and reasons for decisions shall be contemporaneously recorded on the Incident Referral Form, signed and dated by the Rugby Ontario, Child Protection Officer, or the person appointed to manage the response to the concerns. Guidance on the storage, sharing and retention of such records is contained in the relevant procedure.
Contact the RO, Child Protection Officer. If Is the child in need of immediate medical attention?