Mon 27 May 2019 22:38

Boston Rugby Club’s Adult at Risk Policy
General Guidance
The guidance given in the Policy is based on the following principles below. Boston Rugby Club – “ the Club”, will follow these and seek support and assistance when required from the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

• All adults, regardless of age, ability or disability, gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital or transgender status have the right to be protected from abuse and poor practice and to play rugby union in an enjoyable and safe environment.

• The Club will seek to ensure that the sport is inclusive and make reasonable adjustments for any ability, disability or impairment, and also commit to continuous development, monitoring and review.

• The rights, dignity and worth of all adults will always be respected.

• The Club recognises that ability and disability can change over time, such that some adults may be additionally vulnerable to abuse, for example those who have a dependency on others or have different communication needs.

The Club recognises that disabled adults may or may not identify themselves or be
identified as an adult ‘at risk’.

• Everyone involved in rugby union has a shared responsibility to ensure the safety
and wellbeing of all adults and should act appropriately and report concerns whether
these concerns arise within rugby union (e.g inappropriate behaviour of a coach) or
outside (e.g in the wider community).

• All allegations will be taken seriously and responded to quickly, in line with this Policy.

• The Club shall appoint a lead to promote and ensure best practice is promoted and that implementation of this Policy is supported at each level within the Club. The Safeguarding lead will be responsible for investigating and reporting to the Chairman of the Club Committee.

An adult at risk has previously been referred to as a vulnerable adult; this is now considered to be inappropriate terminology. The adults referred to in this document are adults at risk using the definition from the Safeguarding Adults in Sport Steering Group (2013):

‘When we are speaking about adults at risk we are referring to those who have health or social care needs (irrespective of whether or not those needs are being met by social services) and who are unable to safeguard themselves as a result. While we recognise that some people will be vulnerable due to their learning disability or mental health needs, there are also those adults who are at risk due to a specific circumstance they may find themselves in, for example: domestic abuse; forced marriage; and sexual or commercial exploitation (this is not an exhaustive list).

In practical terms, an adult at risk is someone may be more vulnerable to abuse than someone else. For example, an adult with a learning disability may well be more at risk of financial abuse as they may struggle with managing their finances, this could leave them at risk from an unscrupulous person.

Types of Abuse

The Club recognises that there are different types of abuse, including:

Neglect – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and hearing.

Sexual Abuse – this includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk has not consented or could not consent or was pressured into consenting.

Physical Abuse – includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions.

Emotional Abuse / Psychological – this includes threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.

Financial Abuse – including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Institutional Abuse – this is abuse which centres around routines and schedules which have been designed for the benefit of the institution and not the individual.

Discrimination – discrimination is abuse which centres on a difference or perceived difference particularly with respect to race, gender or disability or any of the Protected Characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. Research tells us that bullying of vulnerable groups can be an issue in sport.

Exploitation – either opportunistically or premeditated, unfairly manipulating someone for profit or personal gain.

Signs of Abuse

Abuse can take place in any context and by all manner of perpetrator. There are many signs and indicators that may suggest someone is being abused, these include but are not limited to:

• Unexplained bruises or injuries – or lack of medical attention when an injury is present

• Person has belongings or money going missing

• Person is not attending / no longer enjoying their rugby sessions

• Someone losing or gaining weight / an unkempt appearance

• A change in the behaviour or confidence of a person

• They may self-harm

• They may have a fear of a particular group or individual

• They may tell you / another person they are being abused – ie a disclosure

What to do if you have a concern

• You may become aware that abuse or poor practice is taking place, suspect abuse or poor practice may be occurring, or be told about something that may be abuse or poor practice and you must report this.

• Please initially report this to the Club’s Safeguarding Lead. The RFU has an Initial Concern/Issue Reporting Form which may be used to record the concern. This should be completed accordingly and sent to the RFU Safeguarding Team to consider. They will provide support and guidance for anyone reporting this type of information.

• It is important when considering your concern that you also consider the needs and wishes of the person at risk, taking into account the nature of the issue or concern. However, you must inform the person concerned that you cannot guarantee confidentiality. Specifically, if someone reports criminal behaviour it must be reported to the police.

• It is recognised that it is not always easy to identify the best person to share your concerns with, therefore the following may help:

• Report your concerns to the named person in the first instance.

• If you are concerned someone is in immediate danger please contact the police.

• Contact the RFU Safeguarding Team for further advice and support.
The Club is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability. In line with that commitment, all members are encouraged to come forward and voice any concerns. It is recognised that certain cases will have to proceed on a confidential basis.

All suspicions and allegations of abuse or poor practice must be taken seriously, appropriately reported and managed accordingly. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused, particularly in cases where any form of abuse or poor practice is suspected or where there is loyalty, sometimes misplaced, to a colleague or someone who is known to you.

Where an individual feels unable to report concerns internally they should contact the police, adult social care or any of the additional contacts given at the end of this document.

Individuals may be reluctant to express concerns because they fear harassment or victimisation. In these circumstances it is important to understand these feelings but not to allow them to interfere with the need to ensure that concerns are reported appropriately.

Individuals reporting concerns will be supported by the RFU.

All information received will be treated in confidence and only shared on a need to know basis with those individuals who will be able to manage the situation. On occasion it may be necessary to seek advice, or inform the statutory agencies e.g. the Police or Local Authority.

The RFU Safeguarding team’s contact details are:

Richard Smallbone
Senior Safeguarding Manager
T: 0208 831 7832

Kath Bennett
Safeguarding Case Manager
T: 0208 831 7479

Annie Davis
Safeguarding Manager
T: 0208 831 7480

Chris Rawlings
Safeguarding Compliance Officer
T: 0208 831 7454