West Bridgford Rugby Club Safeguarding Policy for Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

West Bridgford Rugby Club Safeguarding Policy for Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

West Bridgford Rugby Club Safeguarding Policy for children, young people and vulnerable adults


This policy sets out the principles behind the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.It describes the responsibilities of the club, and what you should expect from the club coaches.Finally, it describes what you should do if you have any concerns.

The RFU provides an excellent source of guidance and more detailed information on its website under the section on managing rugby and safeguarding children (

There is also detailed information about:

  • Photography
  • Recruitment of volunteers
  • Anti-bullying
  • Tours

The club also has policies on the above and details are on the club website ( you register your child or young person each year you will be asked to note that the club does have this and other policies, you will also be asked to disclose contact numbers for the adults/carers, and also any medical information so that the coaches can be aware of any needs.

For the remainder of the document the words ‘young people/players’ are used to cover the categories of children, young people and vulnerable adults as many of the principles of safeguarding, and the contact numbers are the same.The law, however, is different between children (those up to the age of 18) and adults.


The club is run by volunteers, many of whom give valuable time and commitment to rugby and young people.With regard to safety the club will follow the RFU guidance on who needs to have a criminal record check, and all prospective coaches will have an interview with the safeguarding officer to ascertain the reasons for wanting to become a coach, or be involved with the club.


The club works in partnership with young people and their parents/carers to ensure that taking part in Rugby Union is a positive, enjoyable and safe experience.

The aim of this policy is to prevent avoidable harm to young players and to safeguard their health, safety and welfare while in the clubs charge by identifying and minimising the risks of injury, accidents and abuse (including bullying and harassment).

The young person’s safety and welfare are paramount and are placed above the development of individual or team performance.

All young players whatever their age, gender, culture, disability, racial origin, religious beliefs and or sexual identity have the right to be protected from neglect, from discrimination based on any of these attributes, and from physical, emotional and sexual harm and abuse.

Coaches must develop an appropriate working relationship with young players, based on mutual trust and respect, and must encourage and guide players to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.

All club members; volunteers and parents must promote fair play, and adherence to the rules and spirit of the game.

All club members have a duty to make known to the Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO) (or other club official) any suspicions or allegations of neglect, harm or abuse (or actions which are contrary to the principles set out here).

Any suspicion or allegation of discrimination, neglect, harm, or abuse will be taken seriously and the club will respond swiftly and appropriately.

This policy is established and reviewed by the Junior Committee which has a collective responsibility to maximise openness of communication, alertness to dangers, and consideration of suitability of all those involved in the activities of the Junior Section, and the adult section for vulnerable adults.

This policy applies to all coaches, volunteers and club members who are in regular or significant contact with young players.

This policy applies while young players are in the charge of the club (on club premises, at away fixtures, or on ‘tours’).

Players are young players until their eighteenth birthday. However interpretation of this policy will have regard to the fact that young people after their sixteenth birthdays have greater rights and responsibilities.

4.Club Responsibilities

  1. Ensure that all coaches and volunteers have read and understood theSafeguarding Policy, (this policy).
  2. Identify a person(s)(the Safeguarding Officer) whose role is to promote player safety and to deal with any concerns about child abuse or neglect within the club, or in club players, or by club members (including coaches and volunteers).
  3. The Safeguarding Officer(s) must be appropriately trained on RFU accredited courses.
  4. Ensure that each coach, and other significant volunteers (as identified by the RFU guidance)apply for an enhanced DBS check through the RFU, and have an up to date enhanced criminal record certificate.
  5. Ensure that the name and contact number of the Club Safeguarding Officer, Social Services and NSPCC Child Protection Helpline are available in the Clubhouse.
  6. Ensure all players, coaches, parents/carers/guardians and volunteers have access to a written procedure for dealing with accusations or suspicions of discrimination, neglect or abuse.
  7. Ensure that all rugby activities (games, coaching and training) are under the supervision of a named coach who is responsible for adherence to this Policy during the activity.
  8. Encourage all coaches to stay up-to-date with RFU guidance on rugby coaching and child protection issues for all ages up to 18.
  9. Ensure that the Club adheres to provisions of the Data Protection Act in the details it collects of young players.
  10. Ensure that an Accident Book is held in the Clubhouse and that accidents are recorded and reported as per RFU guidance
  11. Failure to disclose relevant information will result in exclusion from the Club.

5.Code of Conduct for Coaches

All Coaches must:

  1. Go on the RFU approved Rugby Union Course as a prerequisite for coaching status.
  2. Stay up-to-date with rugby, coaching and child protection issues.
  3. Ensure that written records of injuries and accidents are kept, and appropriate action is taken with injuries.
  4. Recognise the conflicting demands on the time and energies of young players.
  5. Provide positive feedback in an encouraging and constructive way during coaching sessions and games.
  6. Treat games against opposition as opportunities to learn, not tests.
  7. Share game time and coaching equally: rugby is a squad game.
  8. Be alert to significant changes in a player’s demeanour or behaviour, which might be features of abuse or neglect.
  9. Find out about child development and the physical, emotional and intellectual capabilities of the age group they work with.For vulnerable adults have a clear understanding of their capabilities.
  10. Teach the meaning of fair play and self-control.
  11. Emphasise that winning is not everything - we are there to play safely and to enjoy playing - nothing more.
  12. Understand the Laws of the Game.
  13. Always respect the referee and teach young players and parents to do likewise.
  14. Start and finish sessions on time.
  15. Plan coaching sessions and the season’s programme.
  16. Ensure that contact skills are taught in a safe and secure manner.
  17. Ensure that a safe area is identified for playing / training and keep it safe.
  18. Ensure that equipment is in a good state of repair.
  19. Display high standards of personal behaviour and appearance.
  20. Rugby is a physical game. However physical contact between a coach and a young player is acceptable only for reasons of safety (including administering first-aid) or in exceptional circumstances where a specific skill is being coached. In the latter case (1) the coach must not be working alone (another adult must be present and of the opposite gender if coach and player are of opposite gender) and (2) the coach must tell the player what he/she is going to do.

Coaches will not:

  1. Overplay young players
  2. Ridicule or belittle or demand unrealistic performances from young players.
  3. Leave young players without adequate supervision.
  4. Join in with contact drills and games.
  5. Allow players to continue with or after significant injury.
  6. Change, shower, or bath with young players.
  7. Share a changing room or bedroom with a young player (or group of young players).
  8. Engage in inappropriate physical contact, including horseplay
  9. Make any sexually suggestive comments about or to a player, even in fun.
  10. Permit inappropriate touching or unacceptable or explicit language.
  11. Be alone with individual young players (another club member must be present).
  12. Do things of a personal nature that the player can do for himself.[It may be necessary for a coach or volunteer to do some things of a personal nature particularly if the player is very young or disabled. Such tasks should be done with the full understanding and consent of the parent / carer. There is also the need in these circumstances to be responsive to players reactions – if a player is fully dependant upon you, talk to him/her about what you are doing and give him / her choices where possible]
  13. Encourage young players to use alcohol or other drugs.
  14. Drink alcohol before they coach or while they are coaching.
  15. Smoke while they are coaching.
  16. Spend time alone with young players away from others.
  17. Take young players alone on car journeys, however short.
  18. Take young players alone or in groups to their own home.
  19. Dissuade parents / carers from accompanying their children.
  20. Dismiss or ignore a young person’s comments or statements about harm or abuse inside or outside the club’s activities.

6. Neglect / Harm / Abuse: What to do

At all stages the welfare of the young person is paramount.

It is not your responsibility to decide if child neglect/abuse/harm has occurred.

It is your responsibility to take action if you believe or suspect this has happened or is likely to happen.

  1. If you have concerns about the behaviour of a coach or other volunteer, or if you have concerns about child neglect / harm / abuse in or outside the Rugby Club Environment, report your concern to the Club Safeguarding Officer (but the individual with the concern may choose to report directly to the social services, if necessary immediately to the duty officer, or to the police).
  2. It MAY be appropriate to talk to parents or guardians to clarify an injury or change in behaviour (unless the allegation is one of sexual abuse or if the child might be placed at greater risk). Any individual who makes such an approach is strongly advised to inform the Club Safeguarding Officer.
  3. If the child needs urgent medical attention as a result of suspected abuse this should be sought immediately, then social services and/or police informed. Social service advice should be taken re informing the parents in this circumstance.
  4. The paramount concern of the Club Safeguarding Officer is to ensure the safety of young players and vulnerable adults (and other children who may attend the club and/or its premises).
  5. If the Club Safeguarding Officer considers the reported behaviour or incident to be poor practice and does not intend reporting to social services, the Child Welfare Officer must inform the individual who raised the concern within 72 hours, and must discuss the report / complaint with at least one other club committee member.
  6. The Junior Section Committee should deal with poor practice. Coaches must adhere to the Club’s Code of Conduct for Coaches. Failure to do so will lead to suspension of coaching privileges (and potentially to loss of club membership).
  7. If the Club Safeguarding Officer considers the reported behaviour or incident to require Social Services assessment, the Club Safeguarding Officer should inform Social Services as soon as possible (there is no requirement for prior discussion with parent/guardian or other club official).
  8. When the Club Safeguarding Officer has informed Social Services, the Club Safeguarding Officer should then inform the Chair of the Junior Section and the RFU as per their reporting guidance
  9. If the concern relates to the Club Safeguarding Officer the individual should refer the concern to the Chair of the Junior Section or directly to Social Services.
  10. The Club Safeguarding Officer can recommend to the Chair of the Junior Section immediate suspension of coaching privileges or access to the Club’s premises of an individual about whom concern has been raised. Such suspension in no way prejudices the outcome of further investigations (but the welfare of the young player is paramount).
  11. Coaching privileges and access to club premises can be withdrawn at any time by the Junior Section Chairman (or in his absence by the Vice Chair or by the Club Safeguarding Officer). Withdrawal of such privileges must be reported to the next Junior Section Committee meeting, which will consider further action and re-examine the coach’s fitness to practice.
  12. A coach or other volunteer whose privileges are suspended may appeal to the next meeting of the Junior Section Committee, and has the right to be heard in person.
  13. At all times the Committee must be guided by the principles set out in the Club Safeguarding Policy.

If an allegation of abuse is brought to your attention

Subsequent enquiries and legal action may be compromised if these guidelines are not followed: if in doubt consult the Club Safeguarding Officeror social services duty officer or Childline

  1. Stay calm (do not panic).
  2. Reassure the young person, especially that they are not to blame and that you know how difficult it must have been to tell someone.
  3. Listen and confirm that you are taking the report seriously.
  4. Do not make promises you cannot keep – explain that you have to tell other people to stop what is happening, but will tell only those people who have to know.
  5. Do not ignore what is being disclosed.
  6. Allow only one adult to have a conversation with the young person (although another may act as a witness to what is said).
  7. Do not question the young person and do not make them repeat the account unnecessarily. Avoid questions - especially those that can be answered yes or no. Do not ask leading questions.
  8. Write down as soon as possible what the young person has said (so you can pass on this information). Describe also the young persons behaviour, demeanour, and emotional state and any action you took. Ensure that you sign and date the record and provide a copy for the Club Safeguarding Officer (and if necessary for Social Services). Any witness should also sign the written record as soon as possible.
  9. Consult with the Club Safeguarding Officer (or contact Social Services) as soon as possible.
  10. Do not delay reporting the allegation.
  11. Do not challenge the parent/guardian or any other person believed to be responsible for abuse (including failure to protect the young person) about the report / concern.
  12. Observe confidentiality – do not discuss the report with other young players, coaches or volunteers.

Club Safeguarding Officer: Vicky Bailey07760 162780

Social Services (office hours)0300 500 8080

Social services (emergency)0300 456 4546

NSPCC helpline 0808 800 1111

Nottinghamshire Police0300 300 9999


December 2013 West Bridgford Rugby Safeguarding Policy