‘Safeguarding’ is the work a club does to provide a safe, positive and friendly environment for children. Our code of conduct encourages relevant attitudes and approaches. An open, accountable and responsible approach helps to prevent problems before they occur. Clear standards for recruitment and conduct also contribute to a safe, supportive environment.
Good safeguarding helps reduce the need for protection, but robust procedures are needed in case a problem arises. If a child suggests that they are being abused, or if an adult reports abuse or bad practice, these procedures must be followed. Our Welfare Officer can liaise with national or county-level LTA Child Protection, giving the Club an important safety net.
The better the Club is at developing a safe and positive club for junior members, the easier it will be to identify when things are going wrong and to deal with them appropriately.
The Club’s work focuses, properly, on tennis. However, safeguarding measures help us offer tennis in a safe environment. This means young people feel supported and ensures most problems are tackled before they become serious.
Abuse – including neglect and bullying – is maltreatment, which can be physical, emotional or sexual. An individual or individuals may abuse a child by inflicting harm or failing to prevent harm. Children may be harmed in a family, institution or community by those known to them or strangers. They may be abused by an adult, adults or another child or children.
It can be hard to spot abuse. There may be visible signs or the victim may speak out. Children may not be able to explain, but will indicate something is wrong. The Club must listen and ensure a child receives necessary help and support.
Code of Conduct
Young people can play tennis because adults, paid and unpaid, provide opportunities. Adults have responsibilities to the children they work with. This code of conduct offers guidance on how to meet these responsibilities.
Those working with children in tennis should:
- be professional and maintain the highest standards of personal behaviour at all times;
- recognise the trust placed in adults by children, and the power held over children by adults. Treat this trust and power with the highest responsibility;
- work in an open and accountable manner. Work in view of others wherever possible: be wary of working unobserved, and be willing to accept advice regarding good practice;
- expect others to work in an open and accountable way. Question the practice of others if necessary;
- maintain a professional relationship with children. Any form of sexual relationship or activity with a child is unacceptable and could lead to disciplinary or legal action;
- not work under the influence of drink, drugs or any illegal substance;
- use appropriate and respectful forms of discipline and communication. Any physical aggression or verbal abuse should be regarded as a serious incident;
- use appropriate language. Don’t swear or make sexual or suggestive comments to a child. If a child makes such comments, respond in a professional manner.
- not appear to favour or show interest in one child over others;
- not discriminate against a child because of age, gender, disability, culture, language, race, religion or sexual identity;
- use physical contact with players only where necessary. If required for coaching or first-aid, explain the purpose to the child, and change the approach if they appear uncomfortable;
- design and use training methods/programmes that are appropriate to individual child;
- be aware of situations that could be misunderstood. For example, if a coach is alone with a child in a clubhouse, changing-room or car, he or she may be vulnerable to allegations of misconduct;
- be aware that actions can be misinterpreted. Actions made with good intentions can seem intrusive or intimidating. Children may become attracted to adults working with them. Adults should be aware of this and should sensitively address any misunderstanding.
Conway LTC aims to create an enjoyable environment for all juniors wishing to take part in tennis or other activities at the Club. Accordingly:
- we believe children and young people have the right to be safe, secure and free from threat;
- we believe young people should treated with respect and have any concerns addressed;
- the Club will engage juniors through specific programmes, facilities, and safe practice;
- the Club has procedures in place to address poor practice, and offer help and support to any young person who appears to be at risk or a victim of abuse;
- we will take steps to ensure that any club volunteers or professionals working with children are suitable to do so, through the use of references and background checks. We will ensure that all relevant people have been vetted and approved through the LTA’s DBS disclosure process;
- we will ensure that all those working with children are made aware of the LTA code of conduct for people working with children in tennis, and are required to follow it;
- the club appoints a Welfare Officer who is responsible for children, young people and child protection.
The Club’s Welfare Officer is Mark Bryan, contactable on 07900 213694 and firstname.lastname@example.org.