Child Protection Policies and Procedures

The guidelines in this document are based on the national guidelines as outlined in the following documents.

  • Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport, Irish Sports Council, 2000.
  • Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Dept. of Health & Children 1999
  • Our Duty to Care, Dept. of Health & Children 2002
  • Football Association of Ireland Code of Ethics & Best Practice

Jeta Sports Mission Statement:

The work of Jeta Sports is based on the following principles that will guide the development of sport for children who attend our camps .A child’s experience of soccer should be guided by what is best for the child. The stages of development and the ability of the child should guide the types of activity provided within the camp. Adults will need to have a basic understanding of the needs of young people, including physical, emotional and personal.

Integrity in relationships:

Adults interacting with young people in soccer should do so with integrity and respect for the child. All adult actions in soccer should be guided by what is best for the child and in the context of quality, open working relationships. Verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse of any kind is unacceptable within soccer.

Quality atmosphere and ethos:

Soccer for children should be conducted in a safe, positive and encouraging atmosphere. A child-centred ethos will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place. Too often unhealthy competitive demands are placed on children too early and results in excessive levels of pressure on them and as a consequence, high levels of dropout from sport.

Equality:

All children should be treated in an equitable and fair manner regardless of age, ability, sex, religion, social and ethnic background or political persuasion. Children with disability should be involved in sports activities in an integrated way, thus allowing them to participate to their potential alongside other children.

Fair Play:

Fair play is the guiding principle of the Irish Sports Councils Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport.

It states that “all children’s sport should be conducted in an atmosphere of fair play”. Ireland has contributed and is committed to the European Code of Sports Ethics, which defines fair play as: “much more than playing within the rules”.

It incorporates the concepts of friendship, respect for others and always playing with the right spirit. Fair play is defined as a way of thinking, not just behaving. It incorporates issues concerned with the elimination of opportunities, excessive commercialization and corruption.

(European Sports Charter and Code of Ethics, Council of Europe, 1993).

Competition:

A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to the development of young people, while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction. Management and Coaches should aim to put the welfare of the child first and competitive standards second. A child-centred approach will help to ensure that competition and specialization are kept in their appropriate place.

Child Protection & Welfare Policy Statement

Introduction

Jeta Sports is committed to ensuring that all necessary steps will be taken to protect and safeguard the welfare of children who participate in our soccer camps. This Policy document clearly demonstrates the importance placed by Jeta Sports on the protection and safety of children and young people who participate in soccer.

All children who participate in our soccer camps should be able to do so in a safe and enjoyable environment. While doing so they should be protected from any form of abuse be it physical, emotional, sexual, neglect or bullying. The responsibility for protecting children lies with all staff involved in the camp.

Jeta Sports recognises and accepts its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children by protecting them from physical, emotional or sexual harm and from neglect or bullying.

These clear policies, practices and procedures in addition to relevant training programmes will ensure that everybody at Jeta Sports knows exactly what is expected of them in relation to protecting children within the camp.

It is vital that children  who participate in Jeta Sports Camps are able to do so in a safe, enjoyable and quality environment.

In pursuit of this goal Jeta Sports will:

  • Advise all members of Jeta Sports (management, coaches and players) of their responsibilities in relation to the welfare and protection of children who participate in their camps.
  • Operate within the recommended Football Association of Ireland codes of conduct and best practice guidelines.
  • Provide a child protection and welfare module in staff induction and development programmes

The aims of the  Jeta Sports Child Protection Policy are:

  • To develop a positive and pro-active position in order to best protect all children who participate in our camps, in order for them to do so in a safe and enjoyable environment.
  • To provide appropriate guidance and advice to all staff members in all matters concerning child welfare and protection.
  • To demonstrate best practice in the area of child welfare and protection.
  • To promote ethics and best practice standards throughout soccer.

The key principles underpinning this Policy are that:

  • The welfare of the child is the first and paramount consideration.
  • All children have a right to be protected from abuse of any kind regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual identity.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse/poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately. It is essential that we work in partnership with children and their parents/carers. The HSE has a statutory responsibility to safeguard and protect the welfare of children and Jeta Sports is committed to cooperating fully with them in accordance with procedures as outlined in “Children First” National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children.
  • Jeta Sports will cooperate fully with the Football Association of Ireland National Children’s Officer, Gardai and Health Boards in any investigation of child abuse in soccer.

Procedure for dealing with Child Abuse Concerns or Allegations

It is important to note that the investigation of suspected child abuse is the responsibility of the Statutory Authorities (Gardai, HSE) and should not be undertaken by Management or any other staff member. All allegations of child abuse must be referred to the Statutory Authorities.

When an allegation is received it should be assessed promptly and carefully. It will be necessary to decide whether a formal report should be made to the HSE and this decision should be based on reasonable grounds for concern.

The following examples would constitute reasonable grounds for concern:

  1. a specific indication from a child that (s)he was abused;
  2. a statement from a person who witnessed abuse;
  3. an illness, injury or behaviour consistent with abuse;
  4. a symptom which may not in itself be totally consistent with abuse, but which is support by corroborative evidence of deliberate harm or negligence;
  5. consistent signs of neglect over a period of time.

Ref. Children First

Step One

Any allegation of abuse must in the first instance be brought to the attention of Jeta Sports Management. Should management be unsure whether reasonable grounds for concern exist they can informally consult with the local HSE duty social worker. They will be advised whether or not the matter requires a formal report.

Coaches/helpers may be subjected to erroneous or malicious allegations. Therefore, any allegation of abuse should be dealt with sensitively and appropriate support should be provided for staff  including counselling where necessary.

Step Two

Should Jeta Sports become aware of an allegation of abuse of a child or children by a coach/helper during the execution of that coaches/helpers duties, Jeta Sports management will privately inform the coach/volunteer of the following:

  • the fact that the allegation has been made against him/her;
  • the nature of the allegation.

Step Three

The coach/helper should be afforded an opportunity to respond. Jeta Sports Management will note the response and pass on this information when making the formal report to the HSE.

The report to the HSE should contain observations, dates, times, locations and contexts in which the incident occurred or suspicion was aroused, together with any other relevant information.

In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk and Jeta Sports Management is unable to contact a duty social worker, the Gardai shall be contacted.

Under no circumstances will a child be left in a dangerous situation pending intervention by the Statutory Authorities

Step Four

Jeta Sports Management, if reporting suspected or actual child abuse to the Statutory Authorities will first inform the family of their intention to make such a report, unless doing so would endanger the child or undermine any statutory investigation.

Step Five

All subsequent actions following an allegation of abuse against a coach/helper will be taken in consultation with the HSE and An Garda Síochána. An immediate meeting will be sought with these two agencies for this purpose.

Step Six

Any coach/helper, who is the subject of a statutory investigation into alleged child abuse, will be required to stand down from all camp activities until the investigation is completed.

When a person is asked to stand down it should be made clear that it is only a precautionary measure in keeping with standard procedures/guidelines and will not prejudice any later disciplinary proceedings.

The coach/helper concerned should be advised that the procedures being undertaken are in accordance with statutory requirements. He or she should be treated with respect and fairness, and also be assured that all information will be dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner.

Step Seven

Jeta Sports Management will carefully consider the outcome of the statutory investigation and will take the necessary action required. It must be remembered that the fact that the alleged abuser has not been prosecuted or been found guilty does not mean that they are appropriate to work with young people in the future.

Internal disciplinary proceedings can only be initiated after the Statutory Authorities have completed theirs.

Recruitment Policy


Jeta Sports will take all reasonable steps to ensure that coaches/helpers are suitable to work with children.

All coaches/helpers are required to complete an application/self declaration form, giving the names of two referees who will then be contacted. Written references will then be verified and kept on file.

All coaches/volunteers subject to Garda clearance (when applicable)

All coaches/helpers will be subject to a sign up procedure in which they undertake to abide by the Jeta Sports Code of Conduct and Good Practice. (Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained in regard to all application and reference forms)

Once recruited, Jeta Sports will make all efforts to support and manage coaches/helpers ensuring that no person is expected to work alone.

Jeta Sports will make all efforts to assist all new volunteers, managers, coaches in whatever way they can.

Jeta Sports will provide an induction pack to all new volunteers/coaches which will familiarise them with Club rules, policies and procedures and expected codes of behaviour for children, coaches and parents/spectators.

Safety Policy

All coaches/helpers at Jeta Sports have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the children with whom they work with as far as possible within the limits of their control. Therefore coaches/helpers should seek to create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to play and train. (Jeta Sports will carry out a risk assessment in relation to premises, training facilities and equipment and implement appropriate safety rules)

In this respect:

  • Adequate supervision must be maintained at all times.  no coach/helper works alone with a child.
  • Regular safety checks should be carried out in relation to premises, training facilities and equipment. Ensure that the FAI Goalpost safety policy is strictly adhered to at all times
  • Jeta Sports safety rules should be adhered to at all times
  • Parents/guardians should be informed of the starting and finishing times of camps.
  • A first aid kit should be available at camp and injuries should be recorded, with a note of action taken in relation to each one.
  • Parents/Guardians should be notified of injuries/illness which their children incur while participating at Jeta Sports Camps.
  • Records of attendance should be maintained
  • Ensure the use of any recommended safety equipment.

Children’s Welfare Officer

The appointment of a Children’s Officer is an essential element in the creation of a quality atmosphere in at the camp. They act as a resource to children and parents with regard to children’s issues.

Government guidelines advise that a children’s officer should be appointed by all organizations involved in activities concerning children and this should be done in accordance with recommended selection and recruitment procedures.

The Children’s Officer should have the following functions:

  • To promote the Code of Ethics & Good Practice
  • To influence policy and practice and to prioritise children’s needs
  • To ensure that children know how and whom they can report their concerns to within the camp. Information disclosed by a child should be dealt with in accordance with the Department of Health and Children’s Guidelines “Children First”
  • To co-operate with parents to ensure that each child enjoys his/her participation in sport.
  • To act as a resource with regard to best practice in children’s soccer.
  • To report regularly to the Management Team.
  • To monitor changes and follow up any unusual dropout, absenteeism by children or coach/helpers involved at the camp.

The Children’s Officer does not have the responsibility of investigating or validating child protection concerns within the camp, nor do they have a counselling or therapeutic role.

This responsibility lies with the HSE and Gardai.

Jeta Sports have appointed Robert Ellison as their Children’s Officer and he can be contacted at 0876225222 or rob@jetasports.ie

Contact Guidelines

All coaches/helpers at Jeta Sports are advised that:

Any necessary physical contact should be in response to the needs of the child and not the adult

It should be in an open environment with the permission and full understanding of the player.

It should be determined by the age and developmental stage of the player. You should not do anything that a child can do for him/herself

Coaches/helpers should not treat injuries out of sight of others. Use a “Two-Deep” (two personnel, or two players) supervision system. Only personnel who are qualified in administering First Aid or treating sports injuries should attempt to treat an injury.

The comfort level and dignity of the player should always be the priority. Example: Only uncover the injured area, or cover private areas of the athlete’s body.

Any doubts of a medical nature should be passed on to a suitably qualified medical person.

Coaches should not play injured players.

Guidelines for this type of touch are:

Limit touching to “safe” areas, such as hand-to-shoulder. It should not involve touching genital area, buttocks, breasts, or mouths.

Make your intention to congratulate or comfort clear to the player.

Respect a players discomfort or rejection of physical contact.

Avoid unnecessary physical contact and never engage in inappropriate touching

Guidance on the use of Sanctions

Discipline at Camp

Discipline in soccer should always be positive in focus, providing the structures and rules that allow players to set their own goals and strive for them. It should encourage players to become more responsible for themselves and their actions and therefore more independent.

Discipline should be a positive reinforcement for effort. It should encourage the development of emotional and social skills as well as skills in soccer. Players have to be helped to become responsible for the decisions and choices they make within soccer, particularly when it is likely to make a difference between playing fairly or unfairly.

There is no place in soccer for fighting, bullying, over aggressive or dangerous behaviour.

At all times, players should treat others in a respectful manner. They should never bully, interfere with or take unfair advantage of others.

The use of sanctions is an important element in the maintenance of discipline. However Coaches/Helpers should have a clear understanding of where and when particular sanctions are appropriate.

It should be remembered that effectively controlled organisations and successful coaches/helpers are characterised by the sparring use of sanctions. The age and developmental stage of the child should be taken into account when using sanctions.

Sanctions should always be fair, consistent and applied evenly, and in the case of a persistent offence, should be progressively applied.

The following steps are suggested:

  • Rules should be clearly stated and agreed
  • A warning should be given if a rule is broken
  • A sanction (use of time out for example) should be applied if a rule is broken for a second time
  • If a rule is broken three or more times, the child should be spoken to and parents/guardians involved if necessary
  • Sanctions should only be used in a corrective way that is intended to help children improve both now and in the future. They should never be used in retaliation or to make coach/helper feel better or more powerful
  • When violations of the camp rules or other misbehaviours occur, sanctions should always be applied in an impartial and fair manner
  • Sanctions should never be used as threats. If a rule is broken, the appropriate sanction/s should implemented consistently, fairly and firmly
  • Sanctions should not be applied if the coach/helper is not comfortable with them. If an appropriate action cannot be devised immediately, the child should be told that the matter will be dealt with later, at a specified time and as soon as is possible
  • Once a sanction/s has been imposed, it is important to make the child feel s/he is a valued member of the team again
  • A child should be helped, to understand if necessary why sanction/s are imposed
  • A child should not be sanctioned for making errors whilst playing soccer
  • Physical activity (e.g. running laps or doing push ups) should not be used as a sanction as to do so may cause a child to resent physical activity which is something that s/he should learn to enjoy throughout his/her life. Remember Soccer has to be Fun if participants are to continue playing
  • Sanctions should be used sparingly. Constant criticism and sanctioning can cause participants to turn away from Soccer
  • Adapted from the Irish Sports Councils Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children’s Sport (2005)

Players Code of Conduct

Children at camp are entitled to:

  • Be safe
  • Be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect
  • Participate in soccer on an equal basis, appropriate to their ability and stage of development.
  • Be happy, have fun and enjoy soccer
  • Make a complaint in an appropriate way and have it dealt with through a proper and effective complaints procedure
  • Be afforded appropriate confidentiality
  • Be listened to and to be believed

Children should also be encouraged to realise that they also have responsibilities to treat other children, fellow players, coaches and volunteers with the same degree of fairness and respect.

In this regard children who attend camp should undertake to:

  • play fairly, do their best and have fun
  • be on their best behaviour at all times
  • abide by all camp rules
  • make high standards of Fair Play the standard others want to follow
  • give opponents a hand if they are injured, put the ball out of play so they can get attention
  • accept apologies from opponents when they are offered
  • respect fellow team members and support them both when they do well and when things go wrong
  • treat players from minority groups with the same respect you show other people
  • be modest in victory and be gracious in defeat- “Be A Sport”

Children at camp should not:

  • cheat
  • use abusive language, or argue with, the coach/helper, management or team mates.
  • use violence, use physical contact only when it is allowed within the rules
  • bully
  • tell lies about adults or other children
  • spread rumours
  • keep secrets about any person who may have caused them harm

At Jeta Sports we want children to have fun and develop skills in a safe environment.

Jeta Sports are aware that recent research would suggest that increasing numbers of children leave sport between the ages of eight and thirteen. A number of the most common reasons given were; that sport was no longer fun, they did not get to play and overemphasis on winning.

Therefore we have to make every effort to ensure that we keep a balanced approach to competition, make sure all players get a chance to play and strive to keep the fun in soccer.

Making sport fun.

In promoting “Sport for Fun” we at Jeta Sports will insist on:

  • Encouraging participation and fun
  • Promoting the development of skills as opposed to winning at all costs
  • Emphasising and praising effort
  • Acting as a good role models
  • Insisting on Fair Play
  • Being realistic with our expectations
  • Being aware of children’s feelings
  • Teaching players to respect different cultures
  • Teaching players that standards of behaviour are just as important as winning

Best Practice-Coaches

In keeping children at the forefront of planning and practice, our coaches/helpers can be confident that participants will enjoy their football experiences and that their actions are regarded as safe and in keeping with the principle that the safety and welfare of children is of paramount consideration.

Our Coaches/helpers are given a position of trust by parents/guardians and players, and are expected to operate to the highest standards of behaviour whilst in the company of children. Our coaches/helpers are also expected not to engage in any activity that could reasonably be viewed as bringing Jeta Sports into disrepute.

It is important to for our coaches/helpers to note that in adhering to these guidelines ensures not only a safe environment for children but also a safe environment in which coaches/helpers can operate.

Most coaches/helpers work in an environment where it is recognised that, in a sporting context, certain types of coaching require a ‘hands on approach’, i.e., it may be necessary to support a participant in order to physically demonstrate a particular technique. This should only occur when necessary and in an open and appropriate way with the knowledge, permission and full understanding of the participant concerned and his/her parents/guardians.

Coaches/helpers must realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be misinterpreted, not only by the player, but by outsiders motivated by jealousy, dislike or mistrust and could lead to allegations of sexual misconduct or impropriety. Therefore coaches/helpers should be aware of, and avoid all situations conducive to risk.

Where possible, our coaches/helpers should avoid:

  • Spending excessive amounts of time with children away from others.
  • Taking sessions alone (always employ “Two Deep” supervision).

Our Coaches/helperts should never:

  • Exert undue influence over a participant in order to obtain personal benefit or reward.
  • Engage in rough physical games, sexually provocative games or allow or engage in
  • Inappropriate touching of any kind, and/or make sexually suggestive comments about or to a child.
  • Use any form of corporal punishment or physical force on a young person.
  • Take measurements or engage in certain types of fitness testing without the presence of another adult and permission from the Committee

Safety

Coaches/helpers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all children possible within the limits of their control. Therefore, coaches/helpers should seek to create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to play..

In this respect:

  • Regular safety checks should be carried out in relation to premises, training facilities and equipment. Any problems should be brought to the attention of the Management
  • Appropriate safety rules should be adopted and implemented and protective equipment should be used in any contact training session.
  • Parents/guardians should be informed of the starting and finishing times of camp.
  • A first aid kit should be available at camp and injuries should be recorded, with a note of action taken in relation to each one.
  • Parents/Guardians should be notified of injuries/illness which their children incur while participating at camp
  • Never play injured players.
  • Ensure that the FAI Goalpost safety policy is strictly adhered to at all times