Child Protection Policy
The Shanghai Center for Capoeira (TSC4C)
The TSC4C has a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that:
The welfare of the child is paramount;
All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
All staff (paid /unpaid) involved with capoeira have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
The Children Act 1987 defines a child as a person under 18.
This Child Protection Policy has been accepted by the TSC4C trustees and is mandatory for all those involved with the TSC4C.
The TSC4C is committed to working in partnership with all agencies to ensure that information and training opportunities are available to ensure best practice when working with children and young people.
Adopting best practice will help to safeguard those participants from potential abuse as well as protecting teachers and other adults in positions of responsibility from any potential allegation of abuse.
This document is binding for all those working with the TSC4C whether working on a voluntary or professional capacity.
TSC4C has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved with TSC4C from harm.
All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be considered. TSC4C will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in TSC4C through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by TSC4C.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the TSC4C Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
- Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of TSC4C;
- Allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Promoting good practice
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them.
A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection.
All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When a child becomes involved with the TSC4C having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, Capoeira can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the TSC4C activity organizer must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behavior:
- Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.
- Maintaining 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).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process;
- Making Capoeira fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
- Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the TSC4C instructor’s Education Program. Care is needed, as it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving. Young people and their parents should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport.
- Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
- Ensuring that if mixed groups of children are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
- Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
- Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognizing the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
- Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
- Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
- Requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.
Specific good practice on training suitable for children
- Capoeira Instructors need to understand the added responsibilities of teaching children and also basic principles of growth and development through childhood to adolescence.
- Exercises should be appropriate to age and build. Instructors should not simply treat children as small adults, with small adult bodies.
- There is no minimum age for a child beginning Capoeira, as the build and maturity of individuals varies so much. However, the nature of the class must be tailored to consider these factors.
- Children of ages 6 and under should, where possible, train in separate groups to those of 8-11 and 12+.
- In general, the younger the child, the shorter the attention span. One hour is generally considered sufficient training time for the average 12 year old or below.
- Pre-adolescent children have a metabolism that is not naturally suited to generating anaerobic power, and therefore they exercise better aerobically, that is, at a steadily maintained rate. However, they can soon become conditioned to tolerate exercise in the short explosive bursts that more suits games of contemporary capoeira.
- Children should not give assisted stretches to each other – they generally don’t need to, and there is a real risk of damage with an inconsiderate or over-enthusiastic partner.
- Great care must be taken, especially where children train in the proximity of adults or in mixed-age groups, to avoid collision injury.
- Children should not do certain conditioning exercises, especially those which are heavy load bearing, for example weight training, sit ups, push-ups. Children should not do any heavy or impact work but should concentrate on the development of speed, mobility, skill and general fitness.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
- Avoid spending time alone with children away from others
- Avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
- Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay Share a room with a child
- Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
- Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
- Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
- Reduce a child to tears as a form of control
- Fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child
- Do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves
- Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised
N.B. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the players involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the appropriate officer and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- If you accidentally hurt a player.
- If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
- If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
- If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
- If a player feels that they have experienced racism.
- If you receive a concern or an allegation that relates to behavior/actions towards a child or young person.
Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers
TSC4C recognizes that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Preselection checks must include the following:
- All volunteers/staff should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
- Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau.
- Two confidential references regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
- Evidence of identity (passport or driving license with photo).
Interview and Induction
All employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive an induction, during which:
- A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
- Their qualifications should be substantiated.
- The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
- Child protection procedures are explained and training needs are identified.
- They should sign up to the organization’s Code of Conduct and Child Protection policy.
Training of staff/volunteers
In addition to preselection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
- Analyze their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is not likely to result in allegations being made.
- Recognize their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
- Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
- Work safely effectively with children.
- Those delivering sessions for the TSC4C to attend a recognized 3-hour good practice and child protection awareness training workshop, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection.
- Non-teaching staff and volunteers to complete a recognized awareness training on child protection.
- Relevant personnel to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what to do if they have concerns about the behavior of an adult towards a young person
- Relevant personnel to gain a national first aid training (where necessary).
- Attend update training when necessary.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in TSC4C 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 by following the procedures below for dealing with allegations. TSC4C will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:
- A criminal investigation,
- A child protection investigation,
- A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
- The TSC4C Child Protection Officer.
- The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
- The person making the allegation.
- Social services/police.
The TSC4C will seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser (or parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Action if there are concerns
1. Concerns about poor practice by TSC4C staff or volunteers:
- If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the TSC4C Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue in consultation.
- If the allegation is about poor practice by the TSC4C Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to social services or the police direct.
2. Concerns about suspected abuse by TSC4C staff or volunteers
- Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the TSC4C Child Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.
- The TSC4C Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police.
- The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
- If the TSC4C Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to another trustee or in his/her absence directly to social services or the police.
3. Concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (e.g. a parent or carer):
- Report your concerns to the TSC4C Child Protection Officer or when working in a school the school’s own Child Protection Officer, who should make a decision about contacting social services or the police as soon as possible. See below for the information social services or the police will need.
- If the TSC4C Child Protection Officer / School’s Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.
- Social Services and the TSC4C Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
- Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
- See below regarding information needed for social services.
Allegations of previous abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).
Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
Internal Enquiries and Suspension
- The TSC4C Child Protection Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
- Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the TSC4C Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases, the TSC4C Disciplinary Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.
Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse:
- Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process.
- Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.
Action if bullying is suspected
If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in ‘Responding to suspicions or allegations’ above.
Action to help the victim and prevent bullying in sport:
- Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
- Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately). Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. Create an open environment.
- Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
- Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
- Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
- Report any concerns to the Club Child Protection Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).
Action towards the bully(ies):
• Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully (ies) to understand the consequences of their behavior. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
• Inform the bully’s parents.
• Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
• Provide support for the victim’s coach.
• Impose sanctions as necessary.
• Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behavior.
• Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
• Inform all organization members of action taken.
• Keep a written record of action taken.
Most ‘low level’ incidents will be dealt with at the time by coaches and volunteers. However, if the bullying is severe (e.g. a serious assault), or if it persists despite efforts to deal with it, incidents should be referred to the designated Child Protection Officer as in “responding to suspicions or allegations” above.
Action if Racism or discriminatory behavior is suspected
In line with TSC4C’s equal opportunities policy instructors will actively promote attitudes of fairness and equality amongst the children it has contact with. Imposing sanctions for unacceptable behavior is the first step towards helping individuals recognize and challenge their prejudices.
Most ‘low level’ incidents will be dealt with at the time by instructors and volunteers. However, if the behavior is severe (e.g. a serious assault), or if it persists despite efforts to deal with it, incidents should be referred to the designated Child Protection Officer.
Action to help the victim and prevent discrimination in capoeira:
• Take all signs of racism very seriously.
• Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns. Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. Create an open environment.
• Investigate all allegations. Speak with the all concerned separately.
• Reassure the victim that racism and discrimination is treated seriously.
• Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
• Report any concerns to the Club Child Protection Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).
Action towards those behaving in a racist way for example, violence, taunts, and excluding individuals from games.
- Talk with the child, explain the situation, and try to get the child to understand the consequences of their behavior. Seek an apology for the victim.
- Inform the child’s parents.
- Impose sanctions as necessary.
- Encourage and support the child to change their behavior. • Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
- Inform all organization members of action taken.
- Keep a written record of action taken.
Use of photographic/filming equipment at sporting events
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sportspeople in vulnerable positions. All involved with the TSC4C should be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the Club Child Protection Officer.
The TSC4C sanctions the use of video equipment as a legitimate teaching aid. However, players and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the teaching program and their consent obtained, and such films should be stored safely.