1.6 Child Protection
Child protection is of paramount importance to Onside Soccer. It is our first priority that all children attending Onside training sessions can play safely and come to no harm whilst in our care. We strive to create an environment which is free from any form of harassment, bullying or abuse of any kind and it should be the priority of all our coaches that safeguarding measures are put in place and strictly adhered to.
Before coaching or having involvement with the organisation all coaches should go through a rigorous background check. In the UK this is a relatively easy process and involves requesting a criminal record check from the relevant authorities and also requesting references where appropriate. We appreciate, however, that processes are different in different locations and this may not be as straightforward as in the U.K. It is vital, however, that all coaches are checked as thoroughly as possible in your location before working with young people or vulnerable adults and all steps must be taken to ensure our coaches do not present a danger to the children in their care.
Training Session Rules
At Onside Soccer no staff member should ever be alone with a child that isn't their own child. There are no exceptions to this rule. The same rule also applies to vulnerable adults, in that no staff member should ever be alone with a vulnerable adult. This is for the protection of the child/vulnerable adult but also for the protection of the coach or staff member. During training sessions no staff members should place their hands on a child/vulnerable adult, nor should any physical punishment be inflicted on anyone. Hitting and yelling at children/vulnerable adults is completely unacceptable and any coach found to be in breach of these guidelines will immediately be removed from the training session and athorough investigation instigated by the Country Director.
If a child or vulnerable adult makes a complaint of abuse of any nature to a coach or staff member it must be reported straight away to the Onside Country Director. This applies to complaints of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse or neglect. All instances of this kind must be reported by the Country Director to the relevant authorities and also the Onside Head Office in the U.K. A clear record must be kept of conversations with the child and all assistance given to relevant authorities. As an organisation working with young people and children it is of paramount important that all of our interactions are transparent and above reproach. We have a duty of care to young people that overrides all other considerations and this should not be taken lightly.
We have included a video below detailing a recent case in the U.K. where a coach systematically abused the boys in his care. He was rightly jailed for over 30 years. The video is upsetting to watch but highlights that we must be forever vigilant that not one life is ruined by people of this type. On the next page you will find some resources which we hope will be useful.
Video ref - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySAjrdHZMbQ