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Child Protection Policy

WAIKATO WATER POLO CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

Policy Statement

Waikato Water Polo is committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children in its care. We recognise the responsibility to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation while participating in our activities.

Officers, Committee members, Staff (paid or unpaid) and volunteers will work together to embrace difference and diversity and respect the rights of children and young people.  For the purposes of this policy and associated procedures a child is recognised as someone under the age of 18 years.

This policy is based on the following principles:

The welfare of children is the primary concern

All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, socio-economic status, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from all forms of harm and abuse

Child protection is everyone’s responsibility

Children have the right to express views on all matters which affect them, should they wish to do so

Our organisation will work in partnership together with children and parents/carers to promote the welfare, health and development of children.

Definition of child abuse 

Child abuse means the harming (whether physically, emotionally or sexually), Ill treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation of any child or young person.” Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 (section 2).

Policy Objectives 

The aim of this policy is to promote good practice through:

Promoting the health and welfare of children by providing opportunities for them to take part in water based activities safely

Respecting and promoting the rights, wishes and feelings of children

Promoting and implementing appropriate procedures to safeguard the well-being of children and protect them from abuse

Recruiting, training, supporting and supervising staff, members and volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children from abuse and to reduce risk to themselves

Requiring staff, members and volunteers to adopt and abide by the Child Protection Policy and procedures

Responding to any allegations of misconduct or abuse of children in line with the Policy and procedures as well as implementing, where appropriate, the relevant disciplinary and appeals procedures

Regularly monitoring and evaluating the implementation of this Policy and procedures.

Procedures 

1. Screening 

As part of our duty of care, we must ensure that suitable and appropriate employees and volunteers (including parents) are engaged to work with children. When recruiting people to engage with children we will ensure that there is robust recruitment process that includes:

  • creating a role description,
  • developing candidate specifications,
  • advertising the position,
  • an application process,
  • following up on referees,
  • interviewing and
  • screening (e.g. police vetting).

 

2. Appointing a Child Protection Officer 

A Child Protection Officer (CPO) role shall be created and a committee member appointed to manage child protection issues by:

Ensuring that child protection procedures are understood and adhered to by all members,

Organising promotional activities, training and raising awareness within the organisation,

Establishing and maintaining the complaints procedure,

Regularly reporting to the Waikato Water Polo Committee,

Acting as the main contact for child protection matters,

Keeping up-to-date with developments in child protection legislation,

Liaising with local child protection agencies,

Maintaining confidential records of reported cases and any action taken and

Regularly monitoring and reviewing existing policies and procedures.

3. Good Practice Protocols 

The protocols provide guidance to those working with children by outlining good practice and establishing boundaries in a range of situations.

Applying a child-centred approach where all children are treated equally and with dignity. 

Activities should be appropriate for the age and development of the children in your care

Ensure feedback to children is about their performance and not of a personal nature

Use positive and age-appropriate language when talking to children and in their presence.

Creating a safe and open working environment

 

Ensure that all physical contact with children is relevant and appropriate to the activity

Seek permission to touch when doing the above

Do not engage in any intimate, over-familiar or sexual relationships with people under the age of 18 years

Ensure that any filming or photography of children is appropriate. (Obtain consent prior to filming or photographing & explain purpose e.g. to promote course etc)

Request parental consent before transporting young people in a vehicle. (Ensure vehicle is insured & has current WOF and everyone wears a seatbelt)

Ensure you have parental consent to administer first aid if required

Do not use alcohol in the presence of children and do not offer alcohol to children under any circumstances

Do not engage in communication on a one to one basis through social media or email other than relevant coach/trainee feedback or administration

Do not allow parents, coaches, other children, or spectators to engage in any type of bullying behaviour (this includes cyber bullying)

Do not engage in any bullying activity.

Avoiding situations where you are alone with a child. 

Avoid private or unobserved situations, including being alone with a child in the changing rooms.

Avoid entering changing rooms. If you must enter, knock and announce yourself and try to have at least one other adult with you

Avoid driving a child unaccompanied

Do not invite or encourage children to your home.

4. Codes of behaviour 

A code of behaviour sets out an organisation’s expectation of its employees, volunteers and supporters. These codes can be developed to cover a variety of roles including coaches, players, officials, parents and supporters and administrators. They will also reinforce the good practice protocols.

An effective code of behaviour:

  • identifies risk factors
  • addresses risk factors
  • is developed collectively with those who are expected to follow the code
  • is clear and unambiguous and
  • is widely promoted and used within your organisation.

Complaint and internal discipline procedures for breaches of the code procedures should be developed in conjunction with the code of behaviour and also be widely distributed and promoted.

 

5. Dealing with allegations, responding to concerns
In accordance with members’ responsibility to act on any serious concerns, the following should be brought to the attention of the CPO.

  • Any instance where policy is breached or good practice protocols are not followed
  • Any disclosure by a child that abuse or harm is occurring
  • Any suspicions or concerns about a child being subject to abuse.

 

Where concerns about poor practice are reported 

Poor practice involves actions that are contrary to the good practice protocols provided by Waikato Waterpolo and increase the risk of harm to children.

Initial concerns should be discussed with the CPO (in the absence of a CPO the board or executive of Waikato Water Polo should be notified)

Consider the allegation and where there is a legitimate concern provide a written notice to the individual(s) involved

If the poor practice is continued or repeated poor practice following a written notice then enact disciplinary procedures. This may include expulsion from Waikato Waterpolo

Consider actions across all circumstances for example – classroom, pool and on off site training situations.

Where abuse is suspected or reported

 

The welfare and interests of the child or young person are the first and paramount considerations.

Ensure the child is safe from immediate harm

Consult immediately with nominated CPO/person-in-charge

As soon as possible, record accurately and appropriately the information received

Records should be factual (not opinion or hearsay) and concise and include:

i. The nature of the allegation

ii. Who noticed/disclosed the abuse and their relationship to the child

iii. Details of any witnesses

iv. Signs and symptoms noted (including behavioural change)

v. Any particular incidents with dates, times and places (if possible)

vi. Any action taken

Respect the confidentiality of ALL parties and do not engage in gossip, or share confidential information even by insinuation.

Consult with other others as necessary – do not work alone

Avoid questioning the child beyond what has already been disclosed

Do not question or counsel the alleged offender

Do not investigate/presume expertise unless very experienced and qualified to do so

Notify Child Youth and Family or the Police.

Policy Review 

This Policy and Procedures will be regularly reviewed:

In accordance with changes in legislation and guidance on the protection of children or following any changes within Waikato Water Polo

Following any issues or concerns raised about the protection of children or this policy within Waikato Water Polo

In all other circumstances, at least every two years.

 

Additional Guidance 

Waikato Water Polo will:

Have access to a register of every child involved with the group including relevant medical details and have a contact name and number accessible in case of emergencies

Treat everybody with respect

Set an example we would wish others to follow

Where possible consider activities that involve more than one adult being present or within sight and hearing of others

Be aware that on occasions our actions may be misinterpreted by others even if they were well intentioned

Respect a child’s right to personal privacy

Provide time and attention for children to talk to us

Encourage children to respect and be courteous to others

Intervene to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour

Have a pre-arranged plan for the safe collection of children after Waikato Water Polo training events have finished

Ensure that any suspicions or allegations of abuse are REFERRED not INVESTIGATED

Ensure that all information is kept CONFIDENTIAL and discussed only with appropriate parties

Only refer and seek support from other agencies as identified under the child protection policy

Complete Personal Profile and vetting pro-forma ( – see  Appendix 2).

Appendix 1: RELEVANT LEGISLATION 

There are numerous pieces of legislation relating to the protection of children under 18 years that may impact on sport and recreation providers.

Vulnerable Children Act 2014

Privacy Act 1993 

Sports clubs gather certain personal information about members. The Privacy Act governs the collection and use of personal information where a person’s identity is apparent from the information.

Crimes Amendment Act – Protection of Children

The key purpose of this amendment to the Crimes Act 1961 is to ensure that children are adequately protected from assault, neglect and ill-treatment.

The amendment places greater responsibility on adults (parent or persons in place of a parent) who have actual care or charge of a child to take reasonable steps to protect that child from injury. While ‘a person in place of a parent’ is not defined in the Act it appears possible that sports club personnel could at times be considered to be ‘a person in place of a parent’. For example, when taking children away to an event or tournament.

The amendment also compels people who live with a child and those who are in frequent contact with children and know, or ought to know, that the child is at risk of death, grievous bodily harm or sexual assault to take reasonable steps to protect the child from that risk.

Other relevant legislation includes: