We at the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association are making massive advances in our initiatives and promotions for women and girls in cue sports here in Ireland. Below we have published a list of our guidelines and rules that apply to our organisation. This will be continuously updated.
One of our many objectives, is that we are open and transparent in all that we do in promoting the sport and that our members are informed on a constant basis and should you have any questions on any of our promotions or initiatives or guidelines, please get in touch via our CONTACT on the website and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association
Snooker Pathway for Success 2015 – 2025
Following the success of the Association in promoting ladies snooker in Enhancing Lives and Communities for over 700 Players, the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association (RILSA) entered into a new era on Wednesday 25th June 2014 following our AGM in the Dolmen Hotel, Carlow on Tuesday 24th June with the launch of our new Strategic Plan, suitably titled Snooker Pathway to Success 2015 – 2025.
The Association underwent an extensive consultation process and review to put structures in place to ensure that RILSA would continue to thrive and move forward. We have listened to over 50 voices to refine and redefine our Mission, Vision and Values, to develop a plan by the members for the members.
Message from our Chairperson Mr Dan Carroll
This is an important occasion for the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association as we launch our ten-year Strategic Plan, Snooker Pathway for Success, 2015-2025.
The Association has travelled a long way since its foundation in the Pierrot Snooker Club, Dublin in 1986. In that short period of 36 years, we have played an influential role for girls and women of all ages in Irish society. Today the Association is a young vibrant and dynamic organisation, with over 712 members throughout Ireland. We are the largest female Snooker organisation in Ireland and in the World. Our Association’s success is in many ways attributable to the great work of our volunteers, the superb ambassadors we have who play our games at the highest level and all those who have worked tirelessly to bring Ladies Snooker and Billiards to where it is today. In order to accommodate continued growth and to ensure that we do not stand still, it is vital that we conduct a full and comprehensive review to put structures in place to ensure that we continue to thrive. We acknowledge all those who played such an important role to get us to where we are and now we must look forward and be ambitious.
We have listened to over 50 voices from players to referees to officers at all levels and sponsors and have taken recommendations on board to refine and define our mission, vision and values. This is a strategic plan developed by members for members.
The task of pulling all this information together and developing the plan for the future fell to me along with our President and National Treasurer Annette Newman, Dave Earle our National Secretary along with Valerie Maloney, Tina Keogh, Margaret Browne, Stephanie Foley, Joanna Ward & Dr Gerard Colleran of the RILSA Board. Also in the consultation framework are our many Schools, Colleges & Youth Reach Centres and people such as Alan Bailey of the CBS Westland Row, Dublin, Joe Dohney of Ballinabranna National School, Carlow, Leona O’Connor of Colaiste Chluan Meala, Tipperary and the support and sponsorship of Paul & Bernie Traynor of Sharkx Snooker Club, Newbridge Kildare, along with great support from the Celbridge Club, D’Arcy McGees Spawell and the CYMS Newbridge and the former Joey’s Snooker Club Dublin with Derek Fagan in support
I would like to thank them for helping us arrive at a Vision for the Association for the next ten years. The launch of this strategic plan Snooker Pathway for Success 2015-2025 is a massive event for the Association as we enter this exciting new era.
Our challenges are very different now than what they were over three decades ago and indeed only a number of years ago due to the rapid rate of growth through our Schools and College Initiative. In many ways our challenges stem from our success. Our players are starting younger and playing longer and our participation programmes have brought new recreational and social members into our Association. However, these members must be looked after and we need to ensure the Association can cater for the demand at all levels. We have a new identity and logo which reflects our modern, skillful, vibrant image and which we can all be proud of. In essence, we need to ensure that we can facilitate continued growth in Ireland and internationally at competitive and social levels. We must continue to promote ourselves and work to attract investment from sponsors. We must invest in participation programmes and support our players, referees, coaches and officers to ensure we are the most attractive and enjoyable games for females to play. Our talented and committed volunteers need to be respected and catered for and all those who work with us must experience our values and be touched by our vision. The growth of the Association and Ladies Snooker and Billiards internationally has been nothing short of exceptional and this growth needs to be sustained and all those who wish to play should be allowed to do so within our structures and framework.
With 5 new Regional Associations formed on 29th March 2016 along with the setting up of County Federations with committees and county secretaries to push the sport forward towards 2025, we are way ahead in many areas of our plan to date and reassessing the plan all the time. Due to the recent pandemic and the slow down of our initiatives, particularly our schools, we are starting from scratch in a number of areas but with new ideas on stream we will soon get back on track in these areas.
The creation of 5 new playing levels and standards in 2017 will further enhance participation among young girls and newcomers to the sport. We are constantly working on new ideas and initiatives. Our committed officials and supporters are working hard every day to ensure our association is maintained and well-informed as we push forward with our promotions for a brighter and secure future for all our members at every level.
Dublin City FM have come on board with broadcasting reports and interviews with players on the RILSA International Irish Open 2017 along with continued reporting and interviewing of players during the RILSA Tour Season 2017-2018. Clontarf Media have been helping and supporting over the past 3 years and their commitment and vision is very much appreciated. In particular we commend Mick Fitz of Clontarf Media and Declan Hughes and Alma Mannion of Dublin City FM for their support. Due to Covid-19 a number of events along with support from a number of agencies and sponsors ceased but we will recommence these initiatives as restrictions are lifted.
This exciting Strategic Plan is the fruit of 6 years of research and debate and is a vital blueprint for the Association as we enter a new era. We want to be an Association with a membership of 5,000 across all levels which will have huge knock on effect for us in terms of participation, attendances, revenue and infrastructure. I would like to thank everyone for their input into this vital document and for all those who have worked tirelessly to make us one of the best cue sporting organisations in Ireland. We can look forward to the future and the almost limitless potential of this great Association.
Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association
Code of Ethics & Good Practice
The guidelines in this document are based on the guidelines as outlined in the following documents
Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport, Irish Sports Council/Sports Council Northern Ireland, 2000.
Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children Dept. of Health & Children 1999
Our Duty to Care, DHSS, 2000
The Children (Northern Ireland) Order, 1995
Core Values in Sport for Young People & Vulnerable Adults
The work of the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association is based on the following principles that will guide the development of sport for young people. Young people’s experience of sport should be guided by what is best for the young person. The stages of development and the ability of the young person should guide the types of activity provided within the organization. Integrity in relationships: Adults interacting with young people in sport should do so with integrity and respect for the child. All adult actions in sport should be guided by what is best for the child and verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse of any kind are unacceptable within snooker. Quality atmosphere and the RILSA snooker ethos for young people should be conducted in a safe, positive and encouraging atmosphere. A child-centred ethos will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place. Care will be taken to ensure that competitive demands will not be placed on children/vulnerable adults too early so that excessive levels of pressure and high levels of dropout from sport can be avoided. Equality: All children/vulnerable adults should be treated in an equitable and fair manner regardless of age, ability, sex, religion, social and ethnic back- ground or political persuasion. Children/vulnerable adults with disability should be involved in sports activities in an integrated way, thus allowing them to participate to their potential alongside other children/vulnerable adults. Fair Play: Fair play is the guiding principle of the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children/vulnerable adult’s Sport. All children/vulnerable adult’s sport should be conducted in an atmosphere of fair play. Ireland has contributed and is committed to the European Code of Sports Ethics, which defines fair play as: “much more than playing within the rules”. It incorporates the concepts of friendship, respect for others and always playing with the right spirit. Fair play is defined as a way of thinking, not just behaving. It incorporates issues concerned with the elimination of opportunities, excessive commercialisation and corruption. (European Sports Charter and Code of Ethics, Council of Europe, 1993). Competition: A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to the development of young people, while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction. Leaders should aim to put the welfare of the child first and competitive standards second. A child-centred approach will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place.
Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association is fully committed to safeguarding the wellbeing of its players and officials. Every individual in Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association should at all times, show respect and understanding for players’ and officials’ rights, safety and welfare and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of the organisation and the guidelines contained in the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children/vulnerable adults’ Sport.
In the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association, our first priority is the welfare of the young people and we are committed to providing an environment which will allow participants to perform to the best of their ability, free from bullying and intimidation.
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association wishes to provide the best possible environment for all young people involved in snooker. Young people deserve to be given enjoyable, safe sporting opportunities, free of abuse of any kind. These participants have rights, which must be respected, and responsibilities that they must accept. Young people should be encouraged to realise that they have responsibilities to treat other participants and sports leaders with fairness and respect.
Guidelines for Managers / Coaches / Referees / Officials
- Managers, coaches and referees in children/vulnerable adult’s sport should strive to create a positive environment for the children/vulnerable adults in their care. They have an overall responsibility to take the steps necessary to ensure that positive and healthy experiences are provided.
- The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association recognises the key role that coaches, referees and team managers play in the lives of children/vulnerable adults in sport.
- All coaches, managers, referees and officials should have as their first priority the children/vulnerable adults’ safety and enjoyment of the sport and should adhere to the guidelines and regulations set out in this Code of Ethics.
- All coaches, managers, referees and officials must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every child and must treat everyone equally, regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion or ability.
- All coaches, managers, referees and officials working with young people in snooker should be suitable and appropriately qualified. They will be expected to go through appropriate recruitment and selection procedures, (see attached application and reference forms), that apply to all persons with substantial access to young people, whether paid or un- paid. References will be needed and will be followed up.
- There will be a ‘sign-up’ procedure, whereby the appointed/reappointed leaders agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children/vulnerable adults in Sport and to the policies and code of Ethics in the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association.
- All coaches, managers, referees and officials will be given a copy of Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association’s Code of Ethics. They should make themselves aware of the procedures contained within this Code, and comply with them.
- Once appointed, a coach / manager / club official must act as a role model and promote the positive aspects of sport and of snooker and maintain the highest standards of personal conduct.
- The use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco must be actively discouraged as being incompatible with a healthy approach to sporting activity.
- Remember that your behaviour to players, other officials, and opponents will have an effect on the players in your care.
- Be generous with praise and never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes or for losing a game. All young players are entitled to respect.
- Be careful to avoid the “star system”. Each child deserves equal time and attention.
- Care must be taken not to expose a child to embarrassment or disparagement by use of sarcastic or flippant remarks about the child or her family.
- Physical punishment or physical force must never be used. Never punish a mistake by verbal or physical means, or exclusion.
. Insist that players in your care respect the rules of the game. Insist on fair play and ensure players are aware you will not tolerate cheating or bullying behaviour.
- Remember that young players play for fun and enjoyment and that skill development and personal satisfaction have priority over highly structured competition. Never make winning the only objective.
- Encourage the development of respect for opponents, officials, referees and other coaches and avoid criticism off fellow coaches.
- When travel/overnight travel is involved, the management team travelling with children/vulnerable adults must sign a separate agreement. Parents and participants will also be asked to sign permission forms in these instances. Where possible a parent or guardian will be encouraged to accompany their child.
- It is important to realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be misinterpreted by the participant or by outsiders. Avoid working alone and ensure there is adequate supervision for all activities.
- Coaches, managers, referees and officials are responsible for setting and monitoring the boundaries between a working relationship and friendship with players. It is advisable for coaches not to involve young players in their personal life i.e. visits to coach’s home or overnight stays.
- When approached to take on a new player, ensure that any previous coach-student relationship has been ended by the student/others in a professional manner.
- When young players are invited into adult groups/squads, it is advisable to get agreement from a parent/guardian. Boundaries of behaviour in adult groups are normally different from the boundaries that apply to junior groups/squads.
- Managers, coaches or referees who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to their players and their obligation to their governing body must make explicit the nature of the conflict and the loyalties and responsibilities involved, to all parties concerned. In any such instance, priority must be given to the rights of the players.
- Managers / coaches / referees should communicate and co-operate with medical and ancillary practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of their players’ medical or related problems. Avoid giving advice of a personal or medical nature if you are not qualified to do so. Any information of a personal or medical nature must be kept strictly confidential unless the welfare of the child requires the passing on of this information
- The nature of the relationship between managers/ coaches / referees and a participant can often mean that they may learn confidential information about a player or player’s family. This information must be regarded as confidential and except where abuse is suspected, must not be divulged to a third party without the express permission of the player/family
- Set realistic goals for the participants and do not push young players. Create a safe and enjoyable environment
- Do not criticise other officials, coaches, managers, and referees. You are the role model for the children/vulnerable adults in your care
- Managers / coaches / referees should refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol before and during coaching sessions.
- Managers / coaches / referees should familiarise themselves with the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children/vulnerable adult’s Sport and with the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association’s Code of Conduct and follow the procedures if they suspect or receive complaints of abuse of any sort
Code of Conduct for Managers / Coaches / Referees
Managers / Coaches /Referees should be. Positive during session, (praise and encourage effort as well as results) · Plan and prepare appropriately · Put welfare of young person first. · Encourage fair play and treat participants equally · Recognise developmental needs · Qualified and up-to-date with knowledge and skill of sport for young people · Involve parents where possible and inform parents when problems arise · Keep record of attendance at training · Keep a brief record of injury(s) or accidents, and action taken · Keep a brief record of problem/action/outcomes, if behavioural problems arise
Where possible Managers / Coaches / Referees should avoid: · Spending excessive amounts of time with children/vulnerable adults away from others · Taking sessions alone · Taking children/vulnerable adults to your home · Taking children/vulnerable adults on journeys alone in their car
Managers / Coaches / Referees must not: · Use any form of punishment or physical force on a child · Exert undue influence over a participant in order to obtain personal benefit or reward · Engage in rough physical games, sexually provocative games or allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any kind, and/or make sexually suggestive comments about, or to a child · Take measurements or engage in certain types of fitness testing without the presence of another adult · Undertake any form of therapy (hypnosis etc.) in the training of children/vulnerable adults
Managers, coaches and referees have a right to: · Ongoing training and information with regard to child protection issues · Support in the reporting of suspected abuse · Access to professional support services · Fair and equitable treatment by the RILSA · be protected from abuse by children/vulnerable adults /youths, other adult members and parents · Not to be left vulnerable when working with children/vulnerable adults
Any misdemeanours or general misbehaviour will be dealt with immediately and reported verbally to the designated person. Persistent breaches of the code will result in dismissal from the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association. Dismissals can be appealed with the final decision being taken by the Executive of the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association.
Guidelines for Parents
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association believes that parents/guardians/carers should:
- Be role models for your child and maintain the highest standards of conduct when interacting with children/vulnerable adults, other parents, with officials and organisers · Always behave responsibly and not seek to affect unfairly the game/player · Never intentionally expose any young participant to embarrassment or disparagement by the use of flippant or sarcastic remarks · Always recognise the value and importance of the volunteers who provide sporting/recreational opportunities for your child. Do not question publicly the judgement or honesty of referees, managers, or coaches. Respect referees, coaches, organisers and other players · Encourage your child to play by the rules. Teach your child that honest endeavour is as important as winning and do all you can to encourage good sportsmanship. · Set a good example by applauding good play on both sides. Encourage mutual respect for team mates and opponents · Support all efforts to remove abusive behaviour and bullying behaviour in all its forms. · Read the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association policy guidelines on bullying and comply with its contents. · Complete and return the Consent Form pertaining to your child’s participation with the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association · Detail any health concerns pertaining to your child on the consent form. Any changes in a child’s state of health should be reported to a member of the management team before coaching sessions · Ensure that your child is punctual for coaching sessions and games · Collect your child on time · Ensure that your child is properly attired. Parents or Guardians have the right to: · be informed of problems or concerns relating to your child · be informed if their child is injured · Have their consent sought on issues relating to tours.
Any misdemeanours or breach of this code of conduct will be dealt with immediately by a Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association official. Persistent concerns or breaches will result in the parent/guardian being asked not to attend snooker games/coaching if their attendance is deemed to be detrimental to their child’s welfare. The ultimate sanction should a parent/guardian continue to be breach the code of behaviour may result in the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association refusing permission for the child to continue their involvement in representative snooker.
Guidelines for Young Players
For the purposes of this document, young players are defined as those who are eligible to play in u-18 competitions.
Young players are entitled to: § Be safe and to feel safe § Be listened to § Be believed § Be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect § Participate on an equal basis § Have fun and enjoy sport § Experience competition at a level at which they feel comfortable § Make complaints and have them dealt with in relation to abuse of any kind § Get help against bullies § Say No § To protect their own bodies § Confidentiality
Recruitment and Selection Policy
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people working with young people are suitable and appropriately qualified. Recruitment and selection procedures are therefore necessary and these procedures apply to all persons with substantial access to young people, whether paid or unpaid.
All adults taking responsibility for children/vulnerable adults in sport should undergo a recruitment process. The responsibilities of the role and the level of experience/qualifications required should be drawn up and clearly stated beforehand.
Volunteers should fill in an application form, giving names of two referees that can be contacted. (See sample application form attached). An interview will be conducted by two members of the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association Executive/Snooker Committee. There will be a probationary period of 6 months.
There will be a “sign-up” procedure whereby the newly recruited volunteers agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children/vulnerable adults in Sport and to Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association’s Code of Conduct.
Education and training in the basics of child protection will apply to all personnel working with children/vulnerable adults or young members. · The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association or each affiliated snooker association will ensure that all new coaches attend a Child Protection Awareness workshop.
Every effort should be made to manage and support appointed coaches/managers/referees. Adequate supervision should always be provided. A coach/manager/official should not have to work alone.
A decision to appoint a coach/manager/official is the responsibility of the various clubs within the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association and not of any one individual within it. The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association should ratify recommendations for appointments.
What is Bullying? Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression be it verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.
It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating and occurs mainly in social environments such as schools, clubs and other organisations working with children/vulnerable adults and young people. It includes behaviours such as teasing, taunting, threatening, and hitting and extortion behaviour by one or more children/vulnerable adults against a victim.
How would you know if a child is being bullied? All bullies operate using furtiveness, threats and fear. Bullying can therefore only survive in an environment where the victim does not feel empowered to tell someone who can help or in which it is not safe to do so. The following indicators are warning signs that a young person might be getting bullied. · Reluctance to come to a venue or take part in activities · Physical signs (unexplained bruises, scratches, or damage to belongings) · Stress-caused illness – headaches, and stomach aches which seem unexplained · Fearful behaviour (fear of walking to a meeting, going different routes, asking to be driven) · Frequent loss of, or shortage of, money with vague explanations · Having few friends · Changes in behaviour (withdrawn, stammering, moody, irritable, upset, distressed) · Not eating · Attempting suicide or hinting at suicide · Anxiety (shown by nail-biting, fearfulness, tics)
Who should deal with bullying? While the more extreme forms of bullying would be regarded as physical or emotional abuse and are reported to the Health Board or An Garda Síochana, dealing with bullying behaviour is normally the responsibility of officers within affiliated associations or the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association Executive.
How can it be prevented? · Ensure that all members follow the code of conduct, which promotes the rights and dignity of each member. · Deal with any incidents as they arise. · Use a whole group policy or ‘no-blame approach’, i.e., not ‘bullying the bully’ but working with bullies and the group of young people, helping them to understand the hurt they are causing, and so make the problem a ‘shared concern’ of the group, (see below) · Reinforce that there is ‘a permission to tell’ culture rather than a ‘might is right’ · Encourage young people to negotiate, co-operate and help others, particularly new or different children/vulnerable adults · Offer victim immediate support and put the ‘no blame approach’ into operation · Never tell a young person to ignore bullying, they can’t ignore it, it hurts too much · Never encourage a young person to take the law into their own hands and beat the bully at their own game · Tell the victim there is nothing wrong with them and it is not their fault
Child Welfare and Protection Procedures
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association accepts that organisations, which include young people among its members, are vulnerable to the occurrence of child abuse. Below are the procedures for dealing with any welfare or protection issue that may arise. Child welfare and the protection of young people is the concern of all adults at all times, irrespective of their role within the organisation. Personnel appointed by the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association to oversee child protection procedures are listed in Appendix 12.
If there are grounds for concern about the safety or welfare of a young person you should react to the concern. Persons unsure about whether or not certain behaviours are abusive and therefore reportable, should contact the duty social worker in the local Health Board or Social Services department where they will receive advice. Grounds for concern include a specific indication from a child, a statement from a person who witnessed abuse or an illness, injury or behaviour consistent with abuse.
A report may be made by any player/official/member of the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association but should be passed on to the Designated Person or to the Children/vulnerable adults’ Officer who may in turn have to pass the concern to the local Statutory Authorities. It is not the responsibility of anyone working within the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association, in a paid or voluntary capacity, or those working in affiliated organisations, to take responsibility or decide whether or not child abuse is taking place. That is the job of the local Statutory Authorities. However, there is a responsibility to protect children/vulnerable adults by assisting the appropriate agencies so that they can then make enquiries and take any necessary action to protect the young person.
Everyone should follow both procedures outlined below, firstly the procedure for responding to a child in distress and secondly the procedure for reporting the concern.
Response to a Child Disclosing Abuse
Note: Unlike the open approach which is advocated with regard to dealing with bullying, if a young person indicates that they wish to make an allegation of abuse, it is recommended that the person to whom the allegation is being made, be accompanied by one other person.
When a young person discloses information of suspected abuse you should:
(a) Deal with any allegation of abuse in a sensitive and competent way through listening to and facilitating the child to tell about the problem, rather than interviewing the child about details of what happened
(b) Stay calm and not show any extreme reaction to what the child is saying. Listen compassionately, and take what the child is saying seriously
(c) Understand that the child has decided to tell something very important and has taken a risk to do so. The experience of telling should be a positive one so that the child will not mind talking to those involved in the investigation
(d)Be honest with the child and tell them that it is not possible to keep information a secret
(e)Make no judgmental statements against the person about whom the allegation is made
(f)Not question the child unless the nature of what she is saying is unclear. Leading questions should be avoided. Open, non- specific questions should be used such as “Can you explain to me what you mean by that”
(g)Check out the concerns with the parents/guardians before making a report unless doing so would endanger the child
(h)Give the child some indication of what would happen next, such as informing parents/guardians, Health Board or Social Services. It should be kept in mind that the child may have been threatened and may feel vulnerable at this stage.
(i)Carefully record the details
(j)Pass on this information to the Designated Person or the Children/vulnerable adult’s Officer
(k)Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you
Reporting Suspected or Disclosed Child Abuse the following steps should be taken in reporting child abuse to the statutory authorities:
(a) Observe and note dates, times, locations and contexts in which the incident occurred or suspicion was aroused, together with any other relevant information
(b) Report the matter as soon as possible to the Designated Person with responsibility for reporting abuse. If the Designated Person has reasonable grounds for believing that the child has been abused or is at risk of abuse, she will make a report to the Health Board/Social Services who have statutory responsibility to investigate and assess suspected or actual child abuse
(c) In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk and the Designated Person is unable to contact a duty social worker, the police authorities should be contacted. Under no circumstances should a child be left in a dangerous situation pending intervention by the Statutory Authorities
(d)If the Designated Person is unsure whether reasonable grounds for concern exists, they can informally consult with the local Health Board/Social Services. She will be advised whether or not the matter requires a formal report. A Designated Person reporting suspected or actual child abuse to the Statutory Authorities will first inform the family of their intention to make such a report, unless doing so would endanger the child or undermine an investigation
The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to persons who report child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to the Health Board or the Gardaí (See 5.13.1 – ISC. Code). The act also covers the offence of ‘false reporting’. The main provisions of the Act are:
- The provision of immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child abuse “reasonably and in good faith” to designated officers of Health Boards or any member of An Garda Siochána;
- The provision of significant protections for employees who report child abuse. These protections cover all employees and all forms of discrimination up to and including, dismissal;
- The creation of a new offence of false reporting of child abuse where a person makes a report of child abuse to the appropriate authorities “knowing that statement to be false”. This is a new criminal offence designed to protect innocent persons from malicious reports.
Allegations against Sports Leaders
The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association has agreed procedures to be followed in cases of alleged child abuse against Sports Leaders. If such an allegation is made against Sports Leader working within the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association, two procedures should be followed:
- The reporting procedure in respect of suspected child abuse. The procedure for dealing with the Sports Leader (carried out by the Chairman or the CEO of the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association)
The safety of the child making the allegation should be considered and the safety of any other children/vulnerable adults who may be at risk. The Association should take any necessary steps that may be necessary to protect children/vulnerable adults in its care. The issue of confidentiality is important. Information is on a ‘need-to know’ basis and the Sports Leader should be treated with respect and fairness.
The reporting procedure if the Designated Person has reasonable grounds for concern, the matter should be reported to the local Health Board/Social Services, following the standard reporting procedure.
The Sports Leader While the Designated Person makes the report to the local Health Board, the Chairman or the CEO of the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association should deal with the Sports Leader in question.
- The Chairman and the CEO should privately inform the leader that (a) an allegation has been made against him/her and (b) the nature of the allegation. He/she should be afforded an opportunity to respond, and to be accompanied by another adult. ·
The leader should be asked to step aside pending the outcome of the investigation. When a person is asked to step aside it should be made clear that it is only a precautionary measure and will not prejudice any later disciplinary proceedings. The Governing Body should be informed by the Designated Person that the leader has been asked to stand aside
Governing bodies can consider disciplinary action on the leader but should ensure that this does not interfere with the investigation of the Statutory Authorities. It is important that Governing Bodies consider the outcome of the investigation and any implications it might have. The fact that the alleged abuser has not been prosecuted or been found guilty does not mean that it is appropriate to work with young people in the future.
Guidelines on General Issues
Travelling with children/vulnerable adults: There is extra responsibility taken on by leaders when they travel with children/vulnerable adults to events. When travelling with young people you should: § Ensure that there is adequate insurance cover § Not carry more than the permitted number of passengers § Ensure use of safety belts § Avoid being alone with one participant, put passenger in the back seat, drop off at central locations or seek parental permission to transport an individual participant on a regular basis and clearly state times of pick- up and drop off
Supervision § make sure there is an adequate adult: child ratio. This will depend on the nature of the activity, the age of the participants and any special needs of the group. Where there are mixed groups there should be leaders of both genders § Avoid being alone with one participant, if you need to talk separately do so in an open environment, in view of others § Clearly state time for start and end of coaching sessions or competitions § Leaders should remain in pairs until all participants have been collected § Keep attendance records and record of any incidents/injuries that arise
Away trips/Overnight stays § Separate permission forms should be signed by parents and participants, containing emergency contact number § All participants should sign a Behaviour Agreement § Management team (manager/coach) will make a report on returning home § Communicate with parents and participants with regard to travel times, competition details, other activities, gear requirements, medical requirements, special dietary needs and any other necessary details § Rooming arrangements – adults should not share rooms with children/vulnerable adults, children/vulnerable adults share rooms with those of same age and gender and adults should knock before entering rooms § All group socialisation should take place in communal areas (i.e. no boys in girls’ rooms and vice versa). § There must be at least one adult of each gender with a mixed party § Lights out times should be enforced § Young players should be under reasonable supervision at all times and should never leave the venue or go unsupervised without prior permission
Coaches/managers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the players with whom they work · Ensure activities are suitable for age and stage of development of participants · Keep a record of any specific medical conditions of the participants · Keep a record of emergency contact numbers for parents / guardians · Ensure any necessary protective gear is used · Ensure First Aid kit is close at hand with access to qualified first-aider · Know the contact numbers of emergency services · Keep first aid kit stocked up · Ensure access to medical personnel if needed and have an emergency plan · If an incident occurs, make a brief record of injury and action taken. Make a brief record of the problem/action/outcome. Contact the player’s parents and keep them informed of all details · Officials (referees) should ensure the proper conduct of the game · Managers/Coaches should hold appropriate qualifications required by the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association · Ensure parents/guardians are informed with regard to finishing time of sessions or events
Avoid unnecessary physical contact · Any necessary contact should be in response to the needs of the child and not the adult · It should be in an open environment with the permission and understanding of the participant · It should be determined by the age and developmental stage of the participant – Don’t do something that a child can do for themselves · Never engage in inappropriate touching.