As required by the Basketball Victoria Member Protection By-Laws, this attachment sets out the screening process for people in our Club who work, coach, supervise or have regular unsupervised contact with people under the age of 18 years.
Our Club will:
- Identify positions that involve working, coaching, supervising or regular unsupervised contact with people under the age of 18 years.
- Obtain a completed Member Protection Declaration (MPD) from all people who are identified in the above step and keep it in a secure place.
- Provide an opportunity for a person to give an explanation if a MPD isn’t provided or it reveals that the person doesn’t satisfactorily meet any of the clauses in the MPD. We will then make an assessment as to whether the person may be unsuitable to work with people under the age of 18 years. If unsatisfied we will not appoint them to the role/position.
- Where possible, check a person’s referees (verbal or written) about his/her suitability for the role.
- Make sure that the person being interviewed/screened has a valid Working with Children Check (WWC) issued by the Victorian government. Our organisation recognises two (2) exceptions to the Working with Children Check – police officers and teachers. These personnel will not be required to have a Victorian WWC for the positions identified in Step 1.
PROMOTING GOOD PRACTICE
This document will help you identify what is meant by good practice and poor practice.
All personnel should adhere to the following principles and actions:
- always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets)
- make the experience of basketball fun and enjoyable: promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying
- treat all children, including Aboriginal children, children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and children with a disability equally and with respect and dignity
- always put the welfare of the child first, before winning
- maintain a safe and appropriate distance with players (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them)
- avoid unnecessary physical contact with children. Where any form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and with the consent of the child. Physical contact can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the child’s consent has been given
- involve parents/carers wherever possible, e.g. where children need to be supervised in changing rooms, encourage parents to take responsibility for their own child. If groups have to be supervised in changing rooms always ensure parents, coaches, etc. work in pairs
- request written parental consent if Club officials are required to transport children in their cars
- gain written parental consent for any significant travel arrangements e.g. overnight stays
- ensure that if mixed teams are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff
- ensure that at away events adults should not enter a child’s room or invite young people to their rooms
- be an excellent role model; this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of children
- always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
- recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the children and do not risk sacrificing welfare in a desire for Club or personal achievements. This means avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will
- secure written parental consent for the Club to act in loco parentis, to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical treatment if the need arises
- keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given
The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all personnel:
- unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others
- taking children alone in a car on journeys, however short
- taking children to your home where they will be alone with you
- sharing a room with a child
- engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
- allowing or engaging in inappropriate touching of any form
- engaging with children on social media platforms
- taking unauthorised photographs of children (please read the attached document on precautions to be taken while photographing/filming children)
- allowing children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
- making sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
- reducing a child to tears as a form of control
- allowing allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
- doing things of a personal nature that the children can do for themselves.
When a case arises where it is impractical/impossible to avoid certain situation e.g. transporting a child in your car, the tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of the parent/care and the child involved.
If during your care you accidentally hurt a child, the child seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions and/or if the child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to another colleague and make a written note of it. Parents should also be informed of the incident.
PROCEDURES FOR RESPONDING TO SUSPICONS AND ALLEGATIONS
It is not the responsibility of anyone working for our 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 so that they can then make inquiries and take necessary action to protect the child. This applies BOTH to allegations/suspicions of abuse occurring within our Club’s activities and to allegations/suspicions that abuse is taking place elsewhere.
This attachment explains how to respond to allegations/suspicions.
NOTE: Please also read the Victoria State Government’s Education and Training website for further information on child protection reporting obligations. This website will provide you with information on the concerned authorities to be contacted when child abuse has taken place and the procedures to be followed for making a report of child abuse to the concerned authorities.
Receiving Evidence of Possible Abuse
We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways. We may see it happening, we may suspect it happening because of signs such as those listed above or it may be reported to us by someone else or directly by the child affected.
In the last of these cases, it is particularly important to respond appropriately. If a child says or indicates that he/she is being abused, you should:
- stay calm so as not to frighten the young person.
- reassure the child that he/she is not to blame and that it was right to tell.
- listen to the child, showing that you are taking him/her seriously.
- keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said. The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested during questioning. Only ask questions to clarify.
- inform the child that you have to inform other people about what he/she has told you. Tell the child this is to help stop the abuse from continuing.
- safety of the child is paramount. If the child needs urgent medical attention call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are made aware that this is a child protection issue.
- record all information.
- report the incident to the Club’s welfare officer.
To ensure that information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern. In recording you should confine yourself to the facts and distinguish what is your personal knowledge and what others have told you. Do not include your own opinions.
Information should include the following:
- the child’s name, age and date of birth
- the child’s home address and telephone number
- whether or not the person making the report is expressing his/her concern or someone else’s
- the nature of the allegation, including dates, times and any other relevant information
- a description of any visible bruising or injury, location, size etc. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes
- details of witnesses to the incident
- the child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising/injuries occurred
- have the parents been contacted? If so what has been said?
- has anyone else been consulted? If so record details
- has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
Reporting a Concern
All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty to a colleague. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.
Beavers Basketball Club expects its members and staff to discuss any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child IMMEDIATELY with the person in charge and subsequently to check that appropriate action has been taken.
If the nominated Club welfare officer is not available you should take responsibility and seek advice from the duty officer at your local social services department or the police. Telephone numbers can be found in your local directory.
Where there is a complaint against an employee or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation.
- Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved
- Child Protection in which case the social services (and possibly) the police will be involved
- Disciplinary or Misconduct in which case Basketball Victoria will be involved
As mentioned previously in this document, Beavers Basketball Club’s employees and volunteers are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. All suspicions and allegations must be shared with professional agencies that are responsible for child protection.
Social services have a legal responsibility under The Children Act 1989 to investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and making inquiries jointly with the police.
NB: If there is any doubt, you must report the incident: it may be just one of a series of other incidences which together cause concern
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by an employee or a volunteer should be reported to Beavers Basketball Club who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. This will include the following:
- we will refer the matter to social services department
- the parent/carer of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department
- the chair person of our organisation will be notified to decide who will deal with any media inquiries and implement any immediate disciplinary proceedings
- if the Club welfare officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report will be made to the appropriate manager who will refer the matter to social services
Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometime after the event. Where such an allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter reported to social services. This is because other children in the sport or outside it may be at risk from the alleged abuser. Anyone who has a previous conviction for offences related to abuse against children is automatically excluded from working with children.
Concerns Outside the Immediate Sporting Environment (e.g. parent or carer)
- Report your concerns to the welfare officer.
- If the welfare officer is not available, the person being told or discovering the abuse should contact their local social services department or the police immediately.
- Social Services and the welfare officer will decide how to inform the parents/carers.
- The welfare officer should also report the incident to Basketball Victoria. We will ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident play a role in the organisation and act accordingly.
- Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis.
Precautions to be Taken While Photographing Children
When photographing or filming a child or using children’s images for work-related purposes, one must:
- assess and endeavour to comply with local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images before photographing or filming a child.
- obtain informed consent from the child and parent or guardian of the child before photographing or filming a child. As part of this one must explain how the photograph or film will be used.
- ensure photographs, films, videos and DVDs present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive.
- ensure images are honest representations of the context and the facts.
- ensure file labels, meta data or text descriptions do not reveal identifying information about a child when sending images electronically or publishing images in any form.
- understand that the onus is on him/her to use common sense and avoid actions or behaviours that could be construed as child exploitation and abuse.