Member Safety

Member Safety

Member Protection Policy & Guidelines

Introduction

Richmond United FC (RUFC) has developed the following Child Protection Code of Conduct to guide our employees and volunteers in their interactions with children. The safety, rights, and well-being of the members we serve are at the core of our daily programs. This code of conduct will be continually reinforced with staff and volunteers. RUFC also requires all our Board Members and Staff Coaches to take the Respect in Sport Activity Leader Training program.

 

Why is a Code of Conduct Important?

RUFC is committed to ensuring all our members are protected and safe. A Code of Conduct is an important part of creating a safe environment for everyone. The safety, rights and well-being of members participating in our programs are priorities we take seriously. The intent of the Code of Conduct is to guide our club officials, staff and volunteers in developing healthy relationships with the members involved in our program while modeling appropriate boundaries and behaviours.

 

Treating Children with Dignity and Maintaining Boundaries

All staff, coaches and volunteers must:

  • Treat all members with respect and dignity
  • Establish, respect, and maintain appropriate boundaries with all members
  • Monitor their own behaviour towards members and pay close attention to the behaviour of your peers to ensure that behaviour is appropriate and respectful, and will be perceived as such by others.

All your interactions and activities with members:

  • Should be known to, and approved by, the Board, where applicable, and the parents of the child
  • Tied to your responsibilities as a club official/representative
  • Designed to develop the members’ skills in the sport program

Always consider the members reaction to any activities, conversations, behaviour or other interactions. If at any time you are in doubt about the appropriateness of your own behaviour or the behaviour of others, you should discuss it with the designated person within your organization.

Examples of unacceptable behaviour towards a member:

  • Embarrassing
  • Shaming
  • Blaming
  • Humiliating
  • Putting them down

 

General Rules of Behaviour

Staff/volunteers of the organization must not:

  • Engage in any sort of physical contact with a member that may make the member, or a reasonable observer, feel uncomfortable, or that may be seen by a reasonable observer to be violating reasonable boundaries.
  • Engage in any communication with a member within or outside of duties with the member, that may make the member uncomfortable or that may be seen by a reasonable observer to be violating reasonable boundaries.
  • Engage in any behaviour that goes against (or appears to go against) the organization’s mandate, policies, or Code of Conduct, regardless of whether or not they are serving the organization at the time.
  • Conduct their own investigation into allegations or suspicions of potentially illegal or inappropriate behaviour – it is a staff/ volunteer’s duty to report the matter to the designated person, Child Welfare Agency, or law enforcement, not to investigate.

What Constitutes Inappropriate Behaviour

Inappropriate behaviour includes:

  • Inappropriate Communication. Communication with a member outside of the context of duties for the organization, regardless of who initiated the exchange. For example:
    • Personal phone calls not tied to duties with the member
    • Electronic communications (email, text message, instant message, online chats, social networking including “friending”, etc.) not tied to duties with the member
    • Personal letters not tied to duties with the member
    • Excessive communications (online or offline)
  • Inappropriate Contact. Spending unauthorized time with a member outside of designated duties with the organization.
  • Favouritism. Singling out a member or certain members and providing special privileges and attention (for example, paying a lot of attention to, giving or sending personalized gifts, or allowing privileges that are excessive, unwarranted or inappropriate.) .
  • Taking Personal Photos/Videos. Using a personal cell phone, camera or video to take pictures of a member, or allowing any other person to do so, as well as uploading or copying any pictures you may have taken of a member to the Internet or any personal storage device. Pictures taken as part of your job duties are acceptable, however, the pictures are to remain with the organization and not be used by you in a personal capacity.

Inappropriate behaviour also includes:

  • Telling sexual jokes to a member or making comments to a member that are or is in any way suggestive, explicit, or personal.
  • Showing a member material that is sexual in nature, including, signs, cartoons, graphic novels, calendars, literature, photographs, screen savers, or displaying such material in plain view of a member, or making such material available to a member
  • Intimidating or threatening a member
  • Making fun of a member

Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, especially as it relates to the well-being of the members involved with our club.

Reporting Requirements

All staff, volunteers and members are required to report any incidents of suspected child sexual abuse, inappropriate behaviour, or other inappropriate conduct that they become aware of whether the behaviour or incidents were personally witnessed or not.

Where to report:

  • All allegations or suspicions of potentially illegal behaviour (for example, child sexual abuse) that a staff/volunteer witnesses firsthand, must be promptly reported to police and/or child welfare.
  • To ensure the protection of all our members, all allegations or suspicions of potentially illegal behaviour that a staff/volunteer learns of must also be promptly reported to police and/or child welfare. Police and/or child welfare will make the determination as to whether the allegation or suspicion requires further investigation.
  • All allegations or suspicions of inappropriate behaviour (see above examples), that a staff/volunteer learns of or witnesses first-hand, must be reported to the designate of the club. For RUFC, the designate is the club’s member protection officer who can be contacted at safety@rufc.ca.

Keep in mind that you may become aware of potentially illegal or inappropriate behaviour through a child or some other third party, or you may witness it first-hand.

Examples of the type of behaviour you may learn of or witness and that you must report as set out above includes:

  • Potentially illegal behaviour by a Staff/Volunteer of the organization
  • Potential illegal behaviour by a third party, such as a Parent, Teacher, Babysitter, or Coach

If you are not sure whether the issue you have witnessed or heard about involves potentially illegal behaviour or inappropriate behaviour, discuss the issue with the designated person within your club who will support you through the process. Remember: You have an independent duty to report all suspicions of potentially illegal behaviour directly to police and/or child welfare.

 

Follow Up on Reporting

When an allegation or suspicion of potentially illegal behaviour is reported, police and/or a child welfare agency will be notified. The club will follow up internally as appropriate.

When an allegation or suspicion of inappropriate behaviour is made, the club will follow up on the matter to gather information about what happened and determine what, if any, formal or other disciplinary action is required.

In the case of inappropriate behaviour, if:

  • multiple behaviours were reported
  • inappropriate behaviour is recurring, or
  • the reported behaviour is of serious concern,

RUFC may refer the matter to a child welfare agency or police.