Code of Ethics and Good Practice
- Core Values
- Policy Statement
- Code of Conduct for Young People
- Guidelines for Parents
- Guidelines for Sports Leaders
- Leaders/ Coaches Code of Conduct
- Disciplinary Procedures
- Recruitment and Selection Policy
- Bullying Policy
- Guidelines on General Issues
- Child Welfare and Protection Procedures
- Application Forms
The work of Dungarvan Gymnastics Club is based on the following principles
:Young People’s experience of sport should be guided by what is best for the
young person. The stages of development and the ability of the young person
should guide the types of activity provided within the club. Adults will need to
have a basic understanding of the needs of young people, including physical,
emotional and personal.
Integrity in relationships:
interacting with young people in sport should do so with integrity and respect
for the child. There is a danger
that sporting contexts can be used to exploit or undermine children.
All adult actions in sport 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
Quality atmosphere and ethos
for young people should be conducted in a safe, positive and encouraging
atmosphere. A child-centered ethos
will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their
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
play is the guiding principle of the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for
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 commercialisation and corruption.
Sports Charter and Code of Ethics, Council of Europe, 1993).
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. However, often competitive
demands are placed on children too early, which results in excessive levels of
pressure on them. This can contribute to a high level of drop out from sport.
Leaders should aim to put the welfare of the child first and competitive
standards second. A child-centered approach will help to ensure that competition
and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place.
Dungarvan Gymnastics Club is fully committed to safeguarding the well
being of its members. Every
individual in Dungarvan Gymnastics Club should at all times, show respect and
understanding for members rights, safety and welfare and conduct themselves in a
way that reflects the principles of the organisation and the guidelines
contained in the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport.
Dungarvan Gymnastics Club our first priority is the welfare of the young people
and we are committed to providing an environment which will allow participants
to perform to the best of their ability, free from bullying and intimidation.
Gymnastics Club wishes to provide the best possible environment for all young
people involved in the sport. Young
people deserve to be given enjoyable, safe sporting opportunities, free of abuse
of any kind. These
participants have rights, which must be respected, and responsibilities that
they must accept. Young people should be encouraged to realise that they have
responsibilities to treat other participants and sports leaders with fairness
Young players are entitled to:
- Be listened to
- Be believed
- Be safe and to feel safe
- Be treated with dignity,
sensitivity and respect
- Have a voice in the club /
- Participate on an equal basis
- Be happy, have fun and enjoy
- Experience competition at a
level at which they feel comfortable
- Make complaints and have them
- Get help against bullies
- Say No
- To protect their own bodies
Young players should always:
- Treat Sports Leaders with
- Play fairly at all times, do
- Respect team members, even
when things go wrong
- Respect opponents, be gracious
- Abide by the rules set down by
team coaches when traveling to away events.
- Behave in a manner that avoids
bringing the sport of gymnastics into disrepute
- Talk to children’s officer
if they have any problems.
Young players should never:
- Use violence or physical
contact that is not allowed within the rules
- Shout or argue with officials,
team mates or opponents .
- Harm team members, opponents
or their property
- Bully or use bullying tactics
to isolate another gymnast
- Use unfair or bullying tactics
to gain advantage
- Take banned substances
- Keep secrets, especially if
they have been caused harm
- Tell lies about adults / young
- Spread rumours
Dungarvan Gymnastics Club
believes that parents should….
Be a role model for your child and maintain the highest standards of conduct
when interacting with children, other parents, with officials and organisers
Always behave responsibly and do not seek to unfairly affect the sport or
Never intentionally expose any young participant to embarrassment or
disparagement by the use of flippant or sarcastic remarks
Always recognise the value and importance of the volunteers who provide
sporting/recreational opportunities for your child. Do not publicly question the
judgment or honesty of referees, coaches or organisers.
Respect referees, coaches, organisers and other gymnasts.
Encourage your child to abide by the rules. Teach your child that honest
endeavour is as important as winning and do all you can to encourage good
Set a good example by applauding good display on both sides. Encourage mutual
respect for teammates and other gymnasts.
Parents should support all efforts to remove abusive behaviour and bullying
behaviour in all its forms. Please read the bullying policy within the club /
Parents Code of Conduct:
- I will respect the rules and
procedures set down in Dungarvan Gymnastics Club Code of Ethics for Children
- I will respect my child’s
teammates, leaders, (e.g.. coaches, officials, judges), and parents, as well
as gymnasts, parents and coaches from opposing teams. I will encourage my
child to treat other participants, coaches, selectors, and managers with
- I will give encouragement and
applaud only positive accomplishments whether from my child, his/her
teammates, their opponents or the officials.
- I will respect my child’s
leader(s) and support his/her efforts
- I will respect the officials
and their authority during sessions and events.
- I will never demonstrate
threatening or abusive behaviour or use foul language.
Leaders in children’s sport should strive to create a positive
environment for the children in their care.
They have an overall responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure
that positive and healthy experiences are provided.
Gymnastics Club recognises the key role leaders (coaches, selectors and team
managers, etc.) play in the lives of children in sport.
Leaders should have as their first priority the children’s safety and
enjoyment of the sport and should adhere to the guidelines and regulations set
out in the club’s Code of Ethics.
must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every child and must treat
everyone equally, regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion or ability.
working with young people in gymnastics should be suitable and appropriately
qualified. Leaders will be
expected to go through appropriate recruitment and selection procedures, (see
application and reference forms overleaf), that apply to all persons with
substantial access to young people, whether paid or unpaid. References will be
needed and will be followed up.
will be a ‘sign-up’ procedure, whereby the appointed/reappointed leaders
agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Sport
and to the policies and code of the club / association.
will be given a copy of the club ’s code of ethics and they should be made
aware of the procedures contained within the club’s code.
appointed the Leader must act as a role model and promote the positive aspects
of sport and of gymnastics and maintain the highest standards of personal
use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco must be actively discouraged as being
incompatible with a healthy approach to sporting activity.
your behaviour to players, other officials, and opponents will have an effect on
the gymnasts in your care.
generous with praise and never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes.
All young gymnasts are entitled to respect.
careful to avoid the “star system”. Each
child deserves equal time and attention.
must be taken not to expose a child intentionally or unintentionally to
embarrassment or disparagement by use of sarcastic or flippant remarks about the
child or his/her family.
punishment or physical force must never be used. Never punish a mistake - by verbal means, physical means, or
that players in your care respect the rules of the sport.
Insist on fair play and ensure players are aware you will not tolerate
cheating or bullying behaviour.
that young players play for fun and enjoyment and that skill development and
personal satisfaction have priority over highly structured competition.
Never make winning the only objective.
the development of respect for opponents, officials, selectors and other coaches
and avoid criticism of fellow coaches.
travel/overnight travel is involved, the Leaders traveling with children must
sign a separate agreement. Parents
and participants will also be asked to sign permission forms in these instances.
are responsible for setting and monitoring the boundaries between a working
relationship and friendship with
gymnasts. It is advisable for
coaches not to involve young gymnasts in their personal life i.e. visits to
coaches home or overnight stays.
working alone and ensure there is adequate supervision for all activities.
is important to realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be
misinterpreted by the participant or by outsiders.
approached to take on a new gymnast, ensure that any previous coach-student
relationship has been ended by the student/others in a professional manner.
young gymnasts are invited into adult groups/squads, it is advisable to get
agreement from a parent/carer. Boundaries
of behaviour in adult groups are normally different from the boundaries that
apply to junior groups/squads.
who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to their gymnast and
their obligation to their governing body must make explicit the nature of the
conflict and the loyalties and responsibilities involved, to all parties
should communicate and co-operate with medical and ancillary practitioners in
the diagnosis, treatment and management of their gymnasts’ medical or related
problems. Avoid giving advice of a personal or medical nature if you are not
qualified to do so. Any information
of a personal or medical nature must be kept strictly confidential unless the
welfare of the child requires the passing on of this information
nature of the relationship between leader and a participant can often mean that
a leader will learn confidential information about a gymnast or gymnast’s
family. This information must be
regarded as confidential and except where abuse is suspected, must not be
divulged to a third party without the express permission of the player/family
realistic goals for the participants and do not push young gymnasts. Create a
safe and enjoyable environment
not criticise other leaders, (officials, coaches, and selectors).
You are the role model for the children in your care
should avoid the use of alcohol, before coaching, during events, on trips with
/ Coaches should familiarise themselves with the Code of Ethics and Good
Practice for Children’s Sport and with the Gymnastics Ireland Association
Code of Conduct and follow the procedures if they suspect or receive complaints
of abuse of any sort
Leaders should be
during session, praise and encourage effort as well as results
and prepare appropriately
welfare of young person first, strike a balance between this and winning /
fair play, treat participants equally
and up-to-date with knowledge and skill of sport for young people
parents where possible and Inform parents when problems
- Keep record of attendance at
- Keep a brief record of
injury(s) and action taken
- Keep a brief record of
problem/action/outcomes, if behavioural problems arise
possible Leaders should avoid:
- Spending excessive amounts of
time with children away from others
- Taking sessions alone
- Taking children to your home
- Taking children on journey’s
alone in their car
Leaders should not:
- Use any form of punishment or
physical force on a child
- 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
- Take measurements or engage in
certain types of fitness testing without the presence of another adults
- Undertake any form of
therapy (hypnosis etc.) in the training of children
procedure has been put in place to allow all members who are dissatisfied to
register their complaint in a formal way
- Dungarvan Gymnastics Club
on receiving a complaint, should appoint a disciplinary committee to
resolve problems relating to the conduct of its members. This should include
bullying. The complaint should
be in writing to the secretary or Children’s Officer and should be
responded to within 5 working days. The committee should consist of representatives from the Management
Committee and the Children’s Officer .
- if the complaint involves
suspected abuse or a criminal offence the children’s officer/designated
person should be consulted and the disciplinary committee disbanded. The
statutory authorities will then be informed
- the disciplinary committee
should review any relevant paper work and hold any necessary meetings with
all parties to proceed with complaints into any incident of suspected
misconduct that does not relate to child abuse. It should, as soon as
possible, inform the Management Committee of the progress of the
disciplinary process. This should be done within 10 working days
- the disciplinary committee
should furnish the individual with the nature of the complaint being made
against him/her and afford him/her the opportunity of providing a response
either verbally or in writing, but usually at a meeting with the
- written confidential records
of all complaints should be safely and confidentially kept and club
procedures should be defined for the possession of such records in the event
of election of new officers
- where it is established that
an incident of misconduct has taken place, the disciplinary committee should
notify the member of any sanction being imposed. The notification should be
made in writing, setting out the reasons for the sanction. If the member is
under 18 years of age, correspondence should be addressed to the
- if the member against whom the
complaint was made is unhappy with the decision of the disciplinary
committee s/he should have the right to appeal the decision to an appeals
committee (independent of a disciplinary committee). Any appeal should be
made in writing within an agreed period after issue, usually 10 days of the
decision of the disciplinary committee. The chairperson of the appeals
committee should be a member of the Management Committee. The appeals
committee should consult with the Children’s Officer in relation to issues
of child welfare and codes of conduct. the appeals committee should have the power to confirm, set aside or
change any sanction imposed by the disciplinary committee
- if any party is not
satisfied with the outcome the matter can be referred to the Governing Body.
However efforts to resolve the issue at local level should be exhausted
before the Governing Body is engaged in attempts to resolve the matter
Gymnastics Club will take all reasonable steps to ensure that leaders are
appropriately qualified and suitable to work with young people.
These procedures apply to all persons with substantial access to young
people, whether paid or unpaid.
The responsibilities of the role and the level of experience/qualifications
required should be drawn up and clearly stated beforehand.
Applicants should complete an application form which should include a
self-declaration section / form.
Formal vetting procedures should be availed of when and if available.
References should be verified by the club.
A probationary period is advisable and should be established through an informal
interview, which can be used to assess the leader’s commitment and interest to
Every effort should be made to manage and support appointed Sport Leaders,
including awareness of the code of conduct. Adequate supervision should be
provided, a leader should not have to work alone.
A decision to appoint a Sports Leader is the responsibility of the club and
not of any one individual within it. The club’s committee should ratify all
recommendations for appointment.
When storing information in relation to applicant’s information should be
treated as sensitive and confidential. It should be kept in a secure place that
is only accessible to nominated officers.
Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression be it verbal,
psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.
It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating and occurs
mainly in social environments such as schools, clubs and other organisations
working with children and young people. It includes behaviours such as teasing,
taunting, threatening, hitting and extortion behaviour by one or more children
against a victim.
would you know if a child is being bullied?
All bullies operate using furtiveness, threats and fear. Bullying can
therefore only survive in an environment where the victim does not feel
empowered to tell someone who can help or in which it is not safe to do so.
The following indicators are warning signs that a young person might be
to come to a venue or take part in activities
signs (unexplained bruises, scratches, or damage to belongings)
illness – headaches, and stomach aches which seem unexplained
behaviour (fear of walking to a meeting, going different routes, asking to
loss of, or shortage of, money with vague explanations
in behaviour (withdrawn, stammering, moody, irritable, upset, distressed)
suicide or hinting at suicide
(shown by nail-biting, fearfulness, tics)
There are other possible reasons for many of the above
should deal with bullying?
While the more extreme forms of bullying would be regarded as physical or
emotional abuse and are reported to the health board or An Garda Síochana,
dealing with bullying behaviour is normally the responsibility of all Leaders
within this club / organisation.
can it be prevented?
that all members follow the code of conduct, which promotes the rights and
dignity of each member.
with any incidents as they arise.
- Use a
whole group policy or ‘no-blame approach’, i.e., not ‘bullying the
bully’ but working with bullies and the group of young people, helping
them to understand the hurt they are causing, and so make the problem a
‘shared concern’ of the group, (see below)
that there is ‘a permission to tell’ culture rather than a ‘might is
young people to negotiate, co-operate and help others, particularly new or
the victim immediate support and put the ‘no blame approach’ into
tell a young person to ignore bullying, they can’t ignore it, it hurts too
encourage a young person to take the law into their own hands and beat the
bully at their own game
the victim there is nothing wrong with them and it is not their fault
What is the ‘No Blame’
1 – Interview with the victim
If you find that there has been an incident of bullying, first talk to
the victim. At this stage find out who was involved and what the victim is now
feeling. Try asking the following questions:
- Was it
verbal or physical intimidation?
hurt is the victim
- Was it
within his/her own peer group?
the victim that his/her name will not come out in the investigation
2 – Meet with all involved
Arrange to meet with all those involved; this should include some
bystanders, those who may have colluded, those who joined in and those who
initiated the bullying.
- Have a
maximum of six to eight in the group – keep the number controllable
- Make a
point of calling a ‘special’ meeting
the severity of the topic is understood by all
only of the hurt caused in general terms with no reference to the victim
on the conscience of all – ask questions like: How would you feel? Would
you like it done to you?
Step 3 – Explain the problem
distress being suffered as a result of the bullying incident is explained. At
this stage the details of the incident or the allocation of the blame is not
discussed. Explain the feelings of loneliness, feeling left out, rejected,
laughed at. Try asking questions:
Would they like it if it
happened to them
“Someone here in this group
was bullied by someone within the group, what could we do to see it does not
Listen, watch out for
reactions, and pick up on any without isolating anyone
Step 4 – Share the responsibility
Explain what steps / controls may have to be introduced to prevent
further incidents and how everyone will loose out as a result
Step 5 – Ask the group for their
At this stage the group is encouraged to suggest ways that would make the
victim feel happier. All positive responses are noted. Use phrases “if it were
you” to encourage a response. Listen to all suggestions and note them
Step 6 – Leave it to them
Now the problem has been identified, solutions suggested, the problem is
now handed over to the group to solve. Arrange to meet again in a week’s time.
Pass responsibility over to the group and give a time frame within which
something must be done
Step 7 – Meet them again
Each member of the group, including the bully, discuss how things are
going, who is doing what and have there been other incidents. This allows for
continual monitoring and also keeps all involved in the process.
Again enforce the idea of the ‘team’ looking after each other at
regular intervals to ensure it is know that bullying or intimidating behaviour
will not be tolerated.
is extra responsibility on leaders when they transport young people to events.
- Ensure that there is adequate
insurance cover on their car, they follow the rules of the road, including
legal use of seat belts
- Not carry more than the
permitted number of passengers
- Avoid being alone with one
participant, put passenger in the back seat, have central drop off locations
or seek parental permission to transport an individual participant on a
regular basis and clearly state times of pick- up and drop off. Parents
should check with young people about the plans and be happy with the
- Make sure there is an adequate
adult: child ratio. Leaders should try to have more than one adult present.
The number of adults needed will depend on the nature of the activity, the
age of the participants and any special needs of the group. As a guide a
ratio of 1:8 for under 12 years of age and 1:10 for participants over 12
years of age. This is only a guide and will change depending on the
circumstances, e.g. water sports or adventure sports, athletes with special
needs or away trips
- Where there are mixed groups
there should be leaders of both genders
- Avoid being alone with one
participant, if you need to talk separately do so in an open environment, in
view of others
- In changing rooms, ask parents
to take responsibility and supervise in pairs of appropriate gender
- Leaders should not need to
enter the changing rooms unless children are very young or need special
assistance, where supervision should be in pairs of appropriate gender
- Clearly state time for start
and end of training sessions or competitions, leaders should not be left
alone with young people at the end of sessions. If there are late
collections leaders should remain in pairs until participants have left.
- Keep attendance records and
record of any incidents / injuries that arise
- Ask parents to stay and
supervise sessions, (for safety and supervision, not necessarily for their
- Separate permission forms
should be signed by parents and participants, containing emergency contact
participants should sign a behaviour agreement
- Appoint a group leader who
will make a report on returning home
- A meeting with parents and
participants is useful to communicate travel times, competition details,
other activities, gear requirements, medical requirements, special dietary
needs and any other necessary details
- Rooming arrangements –
adults should not share rooms with children, children share rooms with those
of same age and gender and adults should knock before entering rooms
- All group socialisation should
take place in communal areas (i.e. no boys in girls’ rooms and vice
- Alcoholic drink, smoking or
other illegal substances are forbidden to players. Leaders should act as
role models in this respect
- There must be at least one
adult of each gender with a mixed party, there should be a good adult –
child ratio, 1:5/6, and proper access to medical personnel
- Lights out times should be
- Young gymnasts should be under
reasonable supervision at all times and should never leave the venue or go
unsupervised without prior permission
Gymnastics Club will :
- Ensure activities are suitable
for age and stage of development of participants
- Keep a record of any specific
medical conditions of the participants
- Keep a record of emergency
contact numbers for parents / guardians
- Ensure any necessary
protective gear is used
- Ensure First Aid kit is close
at hand with access to qualified first-aider
- Know the contact numbers of
- Keep first aid kit stocked up
- Ensure easy access to medical
personnel if needed and have a emergency plan
- If an incident occurs, make a
brief record of injury and action taken. Make a brief record of the
problem/action/outcome. Contact the participants parents and keep them
informed of all details
- Officials (umpires, referees,
etc.) should ensure the conduct of the gymnastics
- Participants should know and
keep the rules of gymnastics, keeping in mind that many rules are there for
- Leaders should hold
appropriate qualifications required by the governing body
- Ensure there is adequate
insurance cover for all activities
- Ensure parents / guardians are
present at finishing time of sessions or events
during sport should always be intended to meet the child's needs, NOT the
adult's. The adult will probably use appropriate contact when the aim is to
assist in development of the skill or activity or for safety reasons, e.g. to
prevent or treat an injury. This should be in an open environment
with the permission and understanding of the participant.
- Contact should be determined by the age and developmental stage of
the participant - Don’t do something that a child can do for themselves
- Never engage in inappropriate touching such as touching of groin, genital areas, buttocks, breasts or any other
part of the body that might cause a child distress or embarrassment.
of Photographic and Mobile Equipment
having photographic and filming guidelines is not about preventing parents from
taking pictures, it is to ensure that only those who have a right to take
photographs do so. Anyone concerned
about photography taking place at events or training sessions can contact the
children’s officer/ designated person and ask them to deal with the matter
purpose is to reduce the risk of inappropriate, unsolicited attention from
people within and outside the sport. Group photographs where the club is
identified rather than individuals are good for publicity without creating a
risk to those in the photographs. When publishing photographs the following
guidelines will be adhered to : -
- If the gymnast is named, avoid
using their photograph.
- If a photograph is used, avoid
naming the gymnast.
- Ask for the gymnast’s
permission to use their image to ensure that they are aware of the way the
image is to be used to represent the sport.
- Ask for parental permission to
use the gymnast’s image to ensure that parents are aware of the way the
image is to be used to represent the sport. A permission form may be used or make an announcement at
the start of an event.
- To reduce the risk of
inappropriate use, only use images of gymnasts in suitable dress. The
content of the photograph should focus on the activity not on a particular
- Talk to children’s
officer/designated person if you are worried about use of images
photographers/film/video operators wishing to record an event or practice
session should seek accreditation with the children’s officer, event organiser
or leader of session. Permission forms should be available on site.
ensure spectators and participants are informed of the policy, the club/event/organisation
should display the following information prior to the start of an event and
where possible make an announcement over a tanoy.
“In line with the recommendation in Dungarvan
Gymnastics Club Code of Conduct, the promoters of this event request that any
person wishing to engage in any video, zoom or close range photography should
register their details with the organisers.
It is not advisable that children are photographed or filmed without
their permission and/or the permission of their parent/guardian”.
phones are often given to children for security, enabling parents to keep in
touch and make sure they are safe. Young people value their phones highly as it
offers them a sense of independence. In addition mobile phones allow quick and
easy contact, which can make a safe and efficient way to carry out club
business. However such technology has also allowed an increase in direct
personal contact with young people, in some cases used to cross personal
boundaries and cause harm to young people. Within clubs there is a need to
encourage responsible and secure use of mobile phones by adults and young
a young person remember
- If you receive an offensive
photo, email or message, do not reply, save it, make a note of times and
dates and tell a parent or children’s officer/designated person within the
- Be careful about who you give
your phone number to and don’t respond to unfamiliar numbers
- Change your phone number in
cases of bullying or harassment
- Don’t use the phone in
certain locations; inappropriate use of your camera phone may cause upset or
offence to another person, e.g. changing rooms
- Treat you phone as you would
any other valuable item so that you guard against theft
a Leader remember
- Use group texts for
communication among athletes and teams and inform parents of this at the
start of the season
- It is not appropriate to have
constant communication for individual athletes
use the phone in certain locations; inappropriate use of your camera phone may
cause upset or offence to another person, e.g. changing rooms
Dungarvan Gymnastics Club accepts that
organisations, which include young people among its members, are vulnerable to
the occurrence of child abuse. Below are the procedures for dealing with any
welfare or protection issue that may arise.
Child welfare and the
protection of young people is the concern of all adults at all times,
irrespective of their role within the club .
If there are grounds for concern about
the safety or welfare of a young person you should react to the concern. Persons unsure about whether or not certain
behaviours are abusive and therefore reportable, should contact the duty social
worker in the local health service executive or social services department where
they will receive advice. Grounds for concern include a specific indication from
a child, a statement from a person who witnessed abuse or an illness, injury or
behaviour consistent with abuse.
report may be made by any member in the club but should be passed on to the
Children’s Officer who may in turn have to pass the concern to the local
Statutory Authorities. It is not the responsibility of anyone working within
Dungarvan Gymnastics Club, in a paid or voluntary capacity, or those working in
affiliated organisations, to take responsibility or decide whether or not child
abuse is taking place. That is the job of the local statutory authorities.
However, there is a responsibility to protect children by assisting the
appropriate agencies so that they can then make enquiries and take any necessary
action to protect the young person.
should follow both procedures outlined below, firstly the procedure for
responding to a child in distress and secondly the procedure for reporting the
Response to a Child Disclosing Abuse
young person discloses information of suspected abuse you should:
The Children's Officer when
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 an investigation
The Protection for Persons Reporting Child
Abuse Act, 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to persons who report
child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to the Health
Service Executive or the Gardai . The act also covers the offence of ‘false
reporting’. The main
provisions of the Act are:
provision of immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child
abuse “reasonably and in good faith” to designated officers of Health
|Service Executive or any member of An Garda Síochana;
provision of significant protections for employees who report child abuse.
These protections cover all employees and all forms of discrimination up to
and including, dismissal;
creation of a new offence of false reporting of child abuse where a person
makes a report of child abuse to the appropriate authorities “knowing that
statement to be false”. This is a new criminal offence designed to protect
innocent persons from malicious reports.
Allegations Against Sports Leaders
Dungarvan Gymnastics Club has agreed procedures to be
followed in cases of alleged child abuse against Sports Leaders. If such an
allegation is made against Sports Leader working
within the club, two procedures should be followed:
reporting procedure in respect of suspected child abuse (reported by the children’s
officer), see previous page
procedure for dealing with the Sports Leader (carried by out by the club
Chair or senior officer, or a person not already involved with the child
The safety of the child making the allegation should be considered and the
safety of any other children who may be at risk. The club should take any
necessary steps that may be necessary to protect children in its care
The issue of confidentiality is important. Information is on a need to know
basis and the Sports Leader should be treated with respect and fairness.
The reporting procedure
If the designated person has reasonable grounds for
concern, the matter should be reported to the local health board / social
services, following standard
The Sports Leader
While the children's officer makes the report to the local health board,
the Chair of the club should deal with the Sports Leader in question.
Chair should privately inform the leader that (a) an allegation has been
made against him / her and (b) the nature of the allegation. He / she should
be afforded an opportunity to respond. His / her response should be noted
and passed on to the health board / social services.
leader should be asked to step aside pending the outcome of the
investigation. When a person is asked to step aside it should be made clear
that it is only a precautionary measure and will not prejudice any later
The governing body should be informed by a Designated Person that the leader has been asked to stand aside
Governing bodies can
consider disciplinary action on the leader but should ensure that this does not
interfere with the investigation of the Statutory Authorities. It is important
that governing bodies consider the outcome of the investigation and any
implications it might have. 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.
Confidentiality should be maintained in respect of all issues and people
involved in cases of abuse, welfare or bad practice. It is important that the
rights of both the child and the person about whom the complaint has been made
The following points should be kept in mind:
guarantee of confidentiality or undertakings regarding secrecy cannot be
given, as the welfare of the child will supersede all other considerations
information should be treated in a careful and sensitive manner and should
be discussed only with those who need to know
should be conveyed to the parents / guardians of the child in a sensitive
- Giving information to others on a ‘need to know’ basis for the
protection of a child is not a breach of confidentiality
- All persons involved in a child protection process (the
child, his/her parents/guardians, the alleged offender, his/her family,
Sports Leaders) should be afforded appropriate respect, fairness, support
and confidentiality at all stages of the procedure.
- Information should be stored
in a secure place, with limited access only to designated people.
- The requirements of the Data
Protection laws should be adhered to.
- Breach of confidentiality is a
Anonymous complaints can be difficult to deal with but should not be ignored.
In all cases the safety and welfare of the child/children is paramount.
Any such complaints relating to inappropriate behaviour should be brought
to the attention of the Children's Officer .
The information should be checked out and handled in a confidential
Rumours should not be allowed to hang in the air. Any rumours relating to inappropriate behaviour should be
brought to the attention of the Children's Officer , and checked out without
Copyright © 2007 [Dungarvan Gymnastics Club]. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 07, 2007