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Downs Sailing Club

Child Protection Policy

Policy Statement

Downs Sailing Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in sailing and other Club organised activities from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others that are particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. Downs Sailing Club will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in Club organised activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the Royal Yachting Association, and generally following good practice guidelines laid out below.

This policy covers all club activities, but it is assumed children will be accompanied / supervised by a parent, guardian or nominated in loco parentis at all times, and that none of these activities involve overnight stays or unaccompanied travelling.

A "child" is defined as under 18 years of age by the "Children Act 1989".

Policy Aims

The aim of the Downs Sailing Club Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice;-

- providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst involved in Club organised activities,

- allowing all members to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

Good Practice Guidelines

All members 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 within Club organised activities.

Good practice means:

¨ Always working in, and encouraging an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations, no secrets, etc.).

¨ Treating all young people equally, with respect and dignity.

¨ Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.

¨ Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust, which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.

¨ Making sailing fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.

¨ Ensuring that if any form of manual support or physical contact is required (e.g. assisting in launching/recovery of boats, pulling out of water into safety boat, etc.) this is minimised and provided openly. Where practical, it should be explained to the child what is happening.

¨ Involving parents/carers wherever possible (e.g. for the responsibility of their children in the changing rooms)*

¨ Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.

¨ Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis if the need arises to give permission for the administration of 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 other than in emergencies.

¨ Use of inappropriate language by children, and by adults in the hearing of children, should be challenged.

* Where a child is accepted as a Cadet member without their parent/carer, a full adult member of the Club must be nominated in writing on an annual basis by the parent/carer to act in loco parentis.


Videoing is a useful and legitimate coaching aid. However, children and their parents/carers should be aware that this is part of a coaching programme. Films should be wiped once they have been reviewed, or if kept in order to highlight a particular training point, permission gained from the subject, and care taken in the storing of such films.

Club Welfare Officer

The Club shall appoint a Child Welfare Officer. This will normally be the Club Commodore, or in his/her absence the Vice Commodore or any other member of the Executive Committee.

The following must be reported to the Club Welfare Officer immediately;-

v If a child is accidentally hurt or injured.

v If a child misunderstands or misinterprets something an adult has done

v If a child seems distressed in any manner.

v If there is obvious visual evidence of unexplained injuries.

v If a child makes a specific allegation.

The parents/carer of the child must also be informed, unless the specific allegation is against them.

It is not the responsibility of the Club Welfare Officer, or any other member of the Club, to decide whether child abuse has taken place, or to take responsibility of the situation. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. Downs Sailing Club will assure all members that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concerns to the Club Welfare Officer.

Separate procedural guidelines will be provided for the Club Welfare Officer in consultation with relevant professional bodies.


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. This includes the following people;-

- The Club Welfare Officer

- The parents/carer of the person who is alleged to have been abused

- The person making the allegations

- Social Services/police

- The RYA Regional Development Manager and/or Regional Child Welfare Officer

- The alleged abuser.

Information and records will be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with current data protection laws.


It should be noted that bullying is a form of child abuse, and will be treated accordingly in line with this policy. Although it is the perception of the "victim" which decides whether bullying has taken place, it is the responsibility of every adult member of the Club to challenge any suggestion or evidence of bullying. Such incidents should be reported to the Club Welfare Officer.