Child Safety Policy and VOG Check
The Club is committed to ensuring that the Club is a safe and friendly environment for children and young people, and this is embedded in the culture of the Club.
The Club and its Volunteers and Members take physical safety as well as any form of bullying or discrimination seriously. Incidents can be reported via any Committee Member, Board Member of via the Child Welfare Officer (where such contact details are published online) and the Club is committed to taking action to address incidents in a transparent and professional manner wherever necessary.
Child protection is a shared responsibility between the Club, Members, Volunteers and Parents, including the responsibility to report incidents or concerns in the proper manner.
The Club respects and listens openly to all Members, children, Volunteers and other parties when making decisions.
1. VOG Check
In the Netherlands, it is common practice that adults working with children are subject to a check referred to as a VOG or “Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag”. A VOG certificate is a statement that shows that an adult does not have a known legal record which would prevent the Member from working with children, such as criminal offences.
The Club administers the VOG process via the Child Welfare Officer on behalf of the Members. This VOG procedure includes, as a minimum, the Head Coaches and assistant coaches or those working directly with children, and involves filling in a form at the start of the season.
2. Recognising and Reporting Potential Child Abuse or Safety Concerns
Any Member, child, parent or person may at any time have concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing and such concerns should be reported to the Child Welfare Officer, or to a Board Member or Committee Member who must immediately report the concern to the Child Welfare Officer to take action.
2.1 Concerns which should be reported include:
- Physical abuse: when a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant non-accidental physical harm from the actions or decisions of another person.
- Sexual abuse: when a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant physical or mental harm as a result of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation or unwanted sexual contact from another person.
- Emotional, psychological or bullying abuse: when a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, sustained emotional or psychological harm such that the child’s development may be significantly damaged.
- Neglect: when a child’s physical or emotional development or health has been, or is likely to be significantly damaged from the actions or inaction of another person. Such as lack of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, supervision, safety or medical care.
2.2 Reasonable Grounds for Belief
Concerns may at any time be reported as a precaution, with or without evidence. Concerns and accusations will be subject to “Reasonable Grounds for Belief” as determined by the Child Welfare Officer, whereby;
The CWO will gather and assess objectively the relevant facts, such as the source of the allegation and how it was communicated, the nature of and details of the allegation, and whether there is any other related matters known regarding the person(s) involved.
A ‘Reasonable Belief’ or a ‘Belief on Reasonable Grounds’ is not the same as having proof, but is more than mere rumour or speculation.
2.3 Reporting Process and Response from the Club
The CWO and Board Members will hold any report or concern in confidence, without consequence on the people involved.
The CWO and the Board will assess reports objectively and take appropriate action in a timely manner, where such actions may include;
- Report concerns or incidents to the Police if there is a Reasonable Grounds for Belief that a child is in serious need of protection, or there has been a potentially criminal offence, or they are concerned about the safety, health or wellbeing of a child.
- Report concerns or incidents to Parents or guardians of the child.
- Temporary (or permanent) withdrawal of the accused person(s) or Member from active duty, playing or training.
3. Specific Policies regarding Child Welfare and Safety
Physical contact by Coaches or Volunteers with children and players which occurs during training, coaching or matches must be appropriate and necessary for the situation; more than one adult should be present and the Coach or Volunteer should ask for permission or explain what they are doing before coaching the child or player.
Travel: During travel, supervising Adults and Volunteers are responsible for the wellbeing of children during travel, whereby children are not left unaccompanied or unobserved with adults.
Accommodation: Adult Members or Volunteers should not be alone with a child in a changing room or hotel bedroom, unless another adult Volunteer is informed, or they are accompanied by an adult and it is necessary for some reason.
Improper conduct of a sexual nature by any adult Member or Volunteer towards a child is not permitted by the Club including; inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature; obscene language of a sexual nature; suggestive remarks or actions; jokes of a sexual nature; obscene gestures; unwarranted and inappropriate touching; sexual exhibitionism; use of any device to show/watch offensive or explicit material.