Child Safeguarding Policy

 

If you have any questions, or would like to report a complaint under this policy, please contact us via tellus@waitakwaterpolo.co.nz

Approval

This Child Safeguarding Policy was adopted by the Committee Elect on the 10th December 2018. The record of this is formalised in the meeting minutes of the Committee Meeting of the 10th December 2018.

Introduction and Purpose of Policy

Waitakere Water Polo Club (referred to hereon as WWPC) has developed this Policy to reinforce its commitment to providing an environment for children that is safe, free from harassment and abuse, and promoting respectful and positive behavior and values. WWPC also acknowledges that disclosures of child abuse may be made to someone within water polo. This policy will provide a guide for what to do should this situation occur. This policy is a part of WWPC’s proactive approach to promoting appropriate behavior within our sport.

The purpose of this Policy is to:

  • Maintain a safe environment for children at WWPC.

  • Guide children and young people in WWPC who need to seek guidance if they observe or experience any form of abuse.

  • Provide guidance to those who have concerns around the well-being and safety of children and young people.

  • Provide coaches, administrators, officials, volunteers and parents/supporters with good practice information about child safeguarding in water polo in Waitakere.

The policy aligns with, and is best understood in conjunction with the Code of Conduct.

Who this Policy applies to

This Policy applies to the following people:

  • Any person or organisation (such as a school or visiting club) that is a member or affiliated to WWPC.

  • Persons appointed or elected to WWPC’s Committee and sub-committees.

  • Contractors and volunteers of WWPC.

  • Support personnel appointed or elected to WWPC teams and squads (e.g. managers, sport trainers, etc).

  • Coaches and assistant coaches.

  • Athletes under the age of 18 years old who are members of WWPC.

  • Parents, guardians and spectators.

Responsibilities of the organisation

WWPC must:

  • Adopt, implement and comply with this policy.

  • Publish, distribute and promote this policy to all whom this policy applies to. This policy will be on WWPC’s website for all to access.

  • Promote and model appropriate standards of behavior at all times.

  • Promptly deal with any observed or reported signs of abuse or disclosures, breaches or complaints made under this Policy in a sensitive, fair, timely and confidential manner.

  • Apply this Policy consistently.

  • Monitor and review this Policy from time to time as appropriate on an annual basis or whenever timely before this.

Individual and organisation responsibilities

Individuals and organisations bound by this Policy are responsible for:

  • Making themselves aware of this Policy and complying with its standards of behavior.

  • Placing the safety and welfare of children above other considerations.

  • Being accountable for their own behavior.

  • Following the procedures outlined in this Policy regarding child protection concerns.

  • Co-operating in providing and promoting an environment that supports the protection of children.

Child safeguarding

WWPC has a responsibility to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are established to safeguard all children from any threat of, or form of abuse or harassment while involved in our club activities, and use the policies/procedures to act upon suspicions of abuse and/or neglect (outside or inside the organisation). For the purpose of this Child Safeguarding Policy, children are defined as under 18 years of age (in accordance with the Oranga Tamariki’s description of a child or young person as being under the age of 18 years). WWPC aims to foster an environment within our sport that ensures the safety and well-being of all children. An awareness of the Child Safeguarding Policy amongst all involved with children and young people in water polo also assists in reducing risk to our club, coaches, officials, volunteers and parents/supporters.

Adults should at all times establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries in their relationships with children in water polo. In the situation whereby parents/caregivers of a WWPC member/child are in a parental dispute over a child, or where an allegation of child abuse has taken place, WWPC must have an official third party confirmation (i.e. lawyer, Oranga Tamariki, Police or the courts) with regards to withholding or excluding information from either parent/caregiver at either parent/caregivers request. The third party does not need to disclose the specific nature of the child safety concern.

Waitakere Water Polo Club expects all its members, supporters, advisers, staff and associates to abide by our Code of Conduct such as to uphold the principles and values of the organisation.

Members should recognise that at all times, they have a duty of care to all WWPC members.

Definitions of abuse and harassment

WWPC considers the following as definitions and examples of abuse and harassment applicable to all its members.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is any act that results in inflicted injury to a person. Injuries caused through abuse/neglect are known as non-accidental injury. They may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Shaking, hitting, kicking, throwing, burning, or, training methods that are inappropriate for the age and physiological development of the athlete. Any strength training should be used with extreme caution as it can be harmful if not conducted appropriately and should only be implemented by someone qualified to do so.

Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is any act or acts that result in the sexual exploitation of a person, whether consensual or not. It may be perpetrated by an adult, older child or similarly aged athlete. It may include, but is not restricted to:

  • Non-contact abuse such as: exhibitionism, suggestive behaviours or comments; and

  • Contact abuse such as: touching breasts, genital areas or any inappropriate contact; exposing children to any obscene or inappropriate material or images.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is described as unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited sexual attention. Some of the behaviours that lead to sexual harassment are, but not limited to:

  • Someone who draws another person into emotional intimacy through developing inappropriate friendships; someone who is coercive about their rights to demand favours from children; inappropriate flattery; someone who is coerced into divulging personal information; jokes; display of offensive material; or propositions.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse
Emotional abuse is any act or omission that results in impaired psychological, social, intellectual and/or emotional functioning and/or development of a person. It may include, but is not restricted to:

  • Rejection or isolation; inappropriate or continued criticism, threats, humiliation or accusations of the child or young person; exposing children to, or involvement in anti-social or illegal activities; bullying actions such as sarcasm, persistent teasing, tormenting.

Neglect
Neglect is any act or omission that results in impaired psychological functioning, injury and/or development of a person. It may include, but is not restricted to:

  • Failing to provide medical care when necessary; neglectful supervision, defined by failure to provide developmentally appropriate supervision of the child or young person or athlete, leading to increased risk of harm; abandonment – leaving a child or young person in a situation without arranging necessary care for them and with no intention of returning.

Please note: It is the responsibility of the parent/caregivers to ensure their children are not left alone at a training or competition venue without adult supervision. The exception to this is when a team is travelling at an ‘away competition’ and an adult such as a Team Manager is acting as caregiver on behalf of WWPC.

Practice guidelines

Good practice amongst coaches, officials and volunteers means:

  • The safety and well-being of children/young people must be paramount at all times.

  • Athletes are treated with dignity and respect.

  • Always working in an open environment, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.

  • At camps or ‘away/out of town’ competitions, coaches should not enter children’s rooms or invite children/young people into their room (other than the child’s own parents/caregivers) in the absence of other children.

  • Interactions with children must be in communal facilities.

  • Concerns regarding safeguarding children/young people are referred and dealt with according to the steps within this Policy.

  • Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.

  • Ensuring any form of abuse or sexual harassment directed at a child from others, whether this is from another child or adult, is challenged and referred to WWPC, Oranga Tamariki (OT) or Police.

  • Knowing and understanding the Child Safeguarding Policy.

  • Where a coach believes it is necessary to use touch with an athlete in order to correct or demonstrate technique, it is important that they:

    • Ensure the child is made aware of the purpose of the contact and gives consent.

    • Consider the appropriateness of the ways in which technique is corrected involving touch.

    • Ensure this is not conducted in an isolated environment.

All coaches, officials and volunteers must ensure:

  • They never take, or are in the presence of, children/young people in secluded places where they will be alone, irrespective of gender.

  • Wherever possible, they should not share a room with a child other than their own.

  • They never use inappropriate language, or allow other children to use inappropriate language unchallenged (e.g. innuendo, sexualised connotations, culturally or racially offensive comments).

  • They never cause an athlete to lose self-esteem by humiliating or undermining the individual.

  • They never make sexually suggestive comments or actions to, or in the vicinity of a child/young person, even in fun.

  • They never engage in rough, physically or sexually provocative games.

  • They never engage in, or allow unchallenged, any form of abuse or harassment as described in this Policy.

Handling concerns/disclosures

As a trusting adult, disclosures of abuse or sexual harassment may be made to you by the person affected or another person or, you may directly observe concerning behaviour.

The following is a guide to handling disclosures or concerning observations:

  • If you have observed behaviour by another person to a child that causes you concern, firstly ensure the child is not in immediate danger. You do not have to discuss this with the child/young person but can contact WWPC in the first instance, Oranga Tamariki (0508 326 459) or the Police to seek advice.

  • At any time, you are able to report concerns to WWPC, Oranga Tamariki (0508 326 459) or the Police. Your referral to these agencies can be anonymous.

  • At any time you can bypass WWPC and go directly to OT or the Police if you have any child safety concerns.

  • Any investigation into the nature of the concern must only be managed by an external statutory agency. Your role is not to investigate, but to gather information and pass it onto a statutory agency like OT/Police. Please contact OT or the Police should this need arise.

To report any concerns to WWPC, please email tellus@waitakwaterpolo.co.nz

Responding to child safeguarding concerns

 
 

Taking images/videos of children

Images or videos of children can be used inappropriately and/or illegally. Any device that has the ability to take/record images or videos are included in this Policy, including the use of telescopic or zoom lenses and mobile phones. Vigilance is encouraged to ensure the use of photography and/or videography with children is appropriate.

It is possible for images or video to be taken by aforementioned any device without the knowledge of the subject. WWPC requires all its members to be vigilant in changing rooms and other areas of the pool and to report immediately any concerns arising from the taking or recording of images or video. WWPC prohibits the use of camera phones, videos and cameras inside changing areas, showers and toilets. The use of these devices in these areas will always result in an investigation.

Always be vigilant for people who don’t appear to be relatives or friends of those who are playing water polo, but seem to spend a lot of time videoing or taking images of them. Report these incidents to the event organisers or the pool management immediately.

Taking an image or video of a medal or award presentation or a team photo is an exception.

Spectators need to exercise caution when recording videos or images that include children who are not their own. Particular caution is needed when considering uploading these onto any social media platform or website. WWPC recommends that all individuals and associations, wherever possible, obtain permission from a child’s parent/guardian when sharing images or videos of a child that is not their own.

When using images of a child, WWPC will not display personal information such as residential address, email address or telephone numbers without gaining consent from the parent/guardian. They will not display any information about hobbies, likes/dislikes, school, etc. at this information can be used as grooming tools by paedophiles or other persons.

The exception to this is where:

  • Information is given to WWPC by the player’s parents/caregivers for uploading on the Player Profile, and;

  • Where a parent/caregiver submits information or images, to be uploaded on the athletes WWPC Player Profile on its website or gives consent for WWPC to use their own images and player names on their website or social media accounts.

It is important to note that an athlete may be under an external agency’s protection order that may not be known to another parent, coach, volunteer or official photographer. Images of this nature may compromise the safety of the person.

Electronic and Social Media

WWPC acknowledges the enormous value of social networking websites, such as (but not limited to) Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to promote our sport and celebrate the achievements and success of the people involved in our sport.

We expect all people, bound by this Policy to conduct themselves appropriately when using social media platforms to share information related to our sport.

Children and young people are among the biggest users of social media, and must also know how to use these platforms appropriately within our sport.

Social media postings, blogs, status updates and tweets:

  • Must not use offensive, provocative or hateful language.

  • Must not be misleading, false or injure the reputation of another person.

  • Should respect and maintain the privacy of others.

Children and Electronic & Social Media/Networking

Many children and young people communicate using electronic and social networking platforms, of which many modalities are available to them. Ideally, communication should be conducted between the coach/another adult and the parent of the child, however, if you need to communicate directly with the child/athlete, you need to observe the cautions stated below.

WWPC recommends the following cautions:

  • If coaches/managers use SMS, MMS or any social networking means to communicate directly with children, content should remain brief and directly related to sport, avoiding any social comment.

  • Any electronic communication by a coach/manager with a child remains professional.

  • Do not include personal information of yourself or others in social media communication channels.

  • Do not use offensive, provocative or hateful language or images.

  • Use your best judgement – do not publish something that makes you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable and, never write/publish if you are feeling emotional or upset.

  • Always ask for a person’s permission before posting their picture on a social media platform.

  • Never deny, affirm, speculate upon or in any other way comment on rumours.

  • Always use electronic and social media platforms to add value and promote the sport of water polo in a positive way.

The WWPC Social Media Policy should be considered in conjunction with the above to ensure the safe and constructive use of social media.

Legal/Privacy Issues

When disclosures or observations of child abuse are made that fall in the remit of this Child Safeguarding Policy, those to whom disclosure is made are required in all circumstances to follow the procedures outlined. All those involved in dealing with issues of Child Safeguarding are required to respect the provisions of confidentiality which relate to their responsibility. The Privacy Act 1993 and the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 authorises disclosure of information necessary to prevent or lessen serious and imminent harm to any individual (to the extent necessary) to statutory social workers or the Police.

The Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (Previously titled the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act) also gives way to privacy under certain circumstances. These deal with the reporting of child abuse (Section 15) and protection of an individual from proceedings (disciplinary, civil and criminal) when disclosing child abuse to either a Oranga Tamariki social worker or the Police (Section 16). The Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 states that concerns can be passed on based on a ‘belief’ that abuse/neglect may be occurring.

Upon request in writing, information can or must be released to a OT social worker, police officer or care and protection coordinator (Section 66 OT Act 1989).

Screening and Vetting requirements

Child abusers often seek to work with children. Robust and consistent screening and vetting will help you assess whether people are suitable to work with children.

The following outlines the Screening and Vetting processes for people in WWPC who work, coach, supervise or have regular unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 years.

For the paid or unpaid employment of coaches and, the appointment of team managers for away meets, WWPC are required to:

  • Carry out an Identity Verification – this is where proof is required for people to verify who they say they are, including previous identities.

  • Check a person’s referees (preferably at least 2 – ensure they are not friends) (verbal or written) about his/her suitability for the role.

  • Obtain a signed consent form from the applicant for a check of Justice records (often referred to as police vetting).

  • Undertake the check of Justice records.

  • Make an assessment as to whether the person may be unsuitable to work with people under the age of 18 years if the person doesn’t agree to a records check, after explaining why it is a requirement of this Policy. If unsatisfied, do not appoint them.

  • This information should be updated and reassessed every three years.

  • Protect the privacy of the person who is checked and maintain confidentiality of any information obtained through the checking process.

  • Return all information or paperwork to the person if they are not appointed.

Those who have conviction(s) for child sex offences or violent crimes against children are not permitted to work with children affiliated to WWPC.

Other relevant policies

Some of the policies that contribute to the welfare of all those involved in our activities include: