Do we know who your Welfare Officer is?
Last year the RYA appointed a Safeguarding Officer, Andrea Gates, to work alongside the Safeguarding Manager. One of her tasks is to increase the number of clubs where we have a named safeguarding contact. Starting from a position where we had a contact in 47% of affiliated clubs (667 clubs), she has so far added another 9% (123 clubs).
We believe about a quarter of clubs have no members aged under 18 - although they may have adult members who could be regarded as ‘adults at risk’ and should still consider having a safeguarding policy. We’re still chasing up nearly 300 clubs who haven’t yet replied. If your club is one of them, please ask your Safeguarding/Welfare Officer to contact email@example.com to check that we have their contact details. We can then make sure we keep the right person up to date with any news, changes in legislation or training opportunities.
RYA’s good practice recognised
The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) of the NSPCC advises and monitors National Governing Bodies on behalf of the Sports Councils (in Scotland this is done by Children1st). Following its last annual reviews of all funded sports in England, the CPSU produced a list of examples of good practice. The RYA was recognised for the guidance we provide to clubs on codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures (Disciplinary procedure), for having a policy on the inclusion of young transgender people in squads (Trans and non-binary policy), for the work we are doing to provide or signpost mental health support to young athletes at all levels, and for influencing and engaging with clubs to embed a safe culture.
We recently conducted a survey of parents of young people involved in the sport. Just under 60% of the 160 respondents had a child in an RYA or class association squad. Parents cited the main benefits of participation as Confidence, Friendship, Independence, Resilience and Fun.
40% of parents stated that their child hadn’t had any negative experiences. Where they had, the main ones were the conflicting demands of participation and school work, inappropriate conduct or language from an adult, a poor experience of race officials or the protest process, or a poor experience of the RYA squad selection or training programme. The RYA Safeguarding Steering Group will be reviewing the responses and referring matters for action to the appropriate departments or committees, but clubs also have a role to play in influencing the conduct of their members and race officials.
A high proportion of parents (93%) said that their children’s clubs, class associations or training centres had safeguarding policies and procedures, 81% had a designated Welfare officer and 64% had a culture of listening to young people. However a surprising 30% of parents were not sure whether staff or volunteers had completed safeguarding training, and 40% were not sure whether appropriate checks or references had been sought. In some cases this may be because the club is taking the right actions but hasn’t communicated this clearly to parents. Make sure your club not only has safeguarding measures in place, but keeps its members fully informed.
For more information see www.rya.org.uk/go/safeguarding
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