4.3 Reporting the Concern
All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty to a colleague. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.
B1KE expects it’s members and staff to discuss any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child immediately with the person in charge and subsequently to check that appropriate action has been taken.
If the nominated club welfare officer is not available you should take responsibility and seek advice from the NSPCC helpline, the duty officer at your local social services department or the police. Telephone numbers can be found in your local directory.
Where there is a complaint against an employee or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation.
- Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved
- Child protection in which case the social services (and possibly) the police will be involved
- Disciplinary or misconduct in which case B1KE will be involved
As mentioned previously in this document B1KE are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. All suspicions and allegations must be shared with professional agencies that are responsible for child protection.
Social services have a legal responsibility under The Children Act 1989 to investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and making inquiries jointly with the police.
NB: If there is any doubt, you must report the incident: it may be just one of a series of other incidences which together cause concern
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by an employee or a volunteer should be reported to B1KE’s management who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. This will include the following:
- B1KE will refer the matter to social services department
- the parent/carer of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department
- B1KE’s management will decide who will deal with any media inquiries and implement any immediate disciplinary proceedings
- the club welfare officer should also notify the relevant sport governing body
- if the Club welfare officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation the report must be made to the appropriate manager who will refer the matter to social services
Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometime after the event. Where such allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter reported to social services. This is because other children in the sport or outside it may be at risk from the alleged abuser. Anyone who has a previous conviction for offences related to abuse against children is automatically excluded from working with children.