Child Protection Policy

North Down Cycling Club

Safeguarding Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy


Policy Statement

North Down Cycling Club (NDCC) has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in club activities from harm.

All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
NDCC will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in our activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by Cycling Ireland / Cycling Ulster.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).

Policy aims

The aim of the NDCC Safeguarding Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy is to promote good practice:
Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the club.
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 enters the club having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the club 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 behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.

Good practice means:

+ Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.

+ Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.

+ Always putting the welfare of each young person first.

+ Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (eg 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 and empowering children to share in decision making.

+ Making sport 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 Coach Education Programme. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving, young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered.

+ Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.

+ 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 teams are taken away for the day or night, 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.

+ Recognising 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.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:

+ Any injury and details of treatment given

+ 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

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in NDCC, 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 through contact with the appropriate authorities.

NDCC will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

1. Concerns about poor practice:

+ If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Club Committee will deal with it as a misconduct issue.

2. Reporting suspected or disclosed child abuse:

+ Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Club’s Safeguarding 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 Safeguarding Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department which may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.

+ If the Safeguarding officer is unsure whether reasonable grounds for concern exist s/he can informally consult with the local health board/social services.

+ The Safeguarding Officer 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.


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.

In all instances the Club will be guided by information and guidelines put in place by Sport

NI, Cycling Ireland & Cycling Ulster.