Child Protection Policy

The Scottish Croquet Association

Child Protection: Policy, Code of Practice and Procedures for the SCA

(adapted from CA)

Note that the 1989 Children’s Act defines children as persons of less than 18 years of age.

Vulnerable Adults

Vulnerable Adults are defined as persons aged 18 or over who:

(a)    are in need of assistance by reason of mental, physical or learning disability, age or illness, and who

(b)   are unable to take care of themselves or to protect themselves against significant harm or serious exploitation which may be occasioned by the acts or omissions of other people.

References to children in this document should be taken to include vulnerable adults.

1           Policy Statement

  • The child’s welfare is paramount and the SCA is committed to provide a safe place for children.
  • All children have the right to protection from abuse.
  • All suspicions and allegations of inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with.

2          Recognising abuse

This section explains briefly what child abuse is, how to recognise it and what to do.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is a term used to describe ways in which children are harmed, usually by adults.

(i) Physical abuse

Physical abuse occurs where adults or other children:

  • Physically hurt or injure children
  • Give children noxious substances (e.g. alcohol/drugs)

(ii) Neglect

Neglect includes situations in which adults:

  • Consistently leave children unsupervised
  • Fail to ensure children are safe or expose them to unnecessary risk of injury

(iii) Sexual abuse

Children are sexually abused when adults or children use them to meet their own sexual needs. Examples:

  • Unlawful intercourse
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Taking pornographic photographs

(iv) Mental Cruelty

When children are:

  • Taunted or unnecessarily shouted at
  • Subjected to undue criticism
  • Put under unreasonable pressure to perform

(v) Bullying

May be carried out by adults or by other children:

  • Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour usually repeated over a period of time
  • Any child can be a victim of bullying
  • More usual victims are shy, sensitive, anxious and insecure

How to recognise if a child is being abused

It is not always easy to spot when children have been abused.  However, typical symptoms would include:

  • Unexplained or suspicious injuries
  • Sexually explicit language or actions
  • A sudden change in behaviour
  • The child describes an abusive act
  • The child has a general distrust and avoidance of adults
  • An unreasonable reaction to normal physical contact

Although a child may be displaying some or all of these signs, it does not necessarily mean the child is being abused.

3        Scrutiny

All those who are likely to have significant contact with under-18s will be subject to scrutiny.  The SCA will require from such persons:

i)         a statement indicating whether or not they have any conviction for criminal offences against children;

ii)        information about their past careers or experience so that it can be established independently if there has been any conviction for criminal offences against children;

(iii)       their consent to checks being made with Disclosure Scotland.

4        Prevention of abuse

This section offers advice aimed at protecting children from abuse and adults from false allegations.

The person appointed by the SCA to manage an activity will point out to parents of under-18s who take part that the SCA will take every possible care of children but they cannot be deemed to be in loco parentis.

(i) Good practice guide

Opportunities for abuse can be minimised, and the SCA can be protected against allegations, by the use of good practice.

  • Except for essential training purposes, minimise time spent alone with children
  • Do not take children alone in a car
  • Do not take children to your home
  • Where these situations are unavoidable ensure they only occur with the authority of the child’s parents or a responsible SCA person

(ii) You should never -

  • Allow children to use inappropriate language
  • Make suggestive comments to a child
  • Fail to act upon allegations made by a child
  • Do things of a personal nature for children
  • Engage in physical or sexually provocative games
  • Engage in inappropriate touching

5        What to do if there are allegations of abuse

Where there is an allegation of abuse, there may be three types of investigation:

  1. A criminal investigation (police)
  2. A child protection investigation (social services)
  3. A disciplinary or misconduct investigation (SCA)

Action if a child complains she/he is being abused

(i) Always:

  • Stay calm - ensure the child is safe and feels secure
  • Tell the child you are taking the complaint seriously
  • Be honest; explain you will have to tell somebody else, emphasising that this will be on a need to know basis
  • Document what the child has said as soon as possible

(ii) Never:

  • Rush into actions
  • Make promises you cannot keep
  • Ask inappropriate questions
  • Take sole responsibility

(iii) Why should I intervene?

  • Taking the correct action about abuse is never easy
  • You may be upset about what the child has said or you may worry about the consequences of your actions
  • One thing is certain: you cannot ignore abuse
  • The effects of abuse on children can be devastating

(iv) Recording information

  • Record basic information
  • Do not start an investigation
  • Remember that unnecessary interviews with a child may prejudice a police enquiry
  • Consider environment carefully if recording information
  • Ensure another adult is present
  • Avoid touching the child.

 

While the SCA does not have a child protection officer as such, enquiries may be addressed in the first instance to Allan Hawke, 52 Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh EH14 1HG, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tel 0131 443 1410.