Whose responsibility is safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in rugby?
Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is everyone’s responsibility. This means
that everyone in rugby has a responsibility to respond to any concerns that they or
others, may have about a child or a vulnerable adult, or the behaviour of a non-
vulnerable adult. This relates to concerns which arise both within the rugby
environment and outside of the rugby environment.


1) In its simplest form Safeguarding is to protect from harm or damage with an
appropriate measure.
2) In a more specific context, Safeguarding refers to the process, practice and
culture embedded within an organisation to create a safe environment where
children, young people and adults at risk are free from all forms of harm, abuse or
neglect. This includes bullying and exploitation and encompasses physical, mental,
emotional and sexual harm abuse and neglect.
3) Safeguarding in respect of children is the action that is taken to promote their
welfare and protect them from harm. It means protecting children from abuse and
maltreatment, preventing harm to children’s health or development, ensuring children
grow up with the provision of safe and effective care, taking action to enable all
children and young people to have the best outcomes.

4) The Care Act statutory guidance defines adult safeguarding as: Protecting an
adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and
organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of
abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is
promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings
and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes
have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or
unrealistic about their personal circumstances.

Children and Young People (Minors)
1) In UK law a child is a person under the age of fourteen (14) years
2) A young person (minor) is a person who has not attained the age of eighteen (18)
3) For safeguarding purposes a child or young person (minor) is any person under
the age of eighteen (18) years

Vulnerable Adult
1) In the law of England and Wales, a wide definition is applied to meet the standard
of vulnerable adult. Section 59 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
states that:
A person is a vulnerable adult if, having attained the age of 18, he or she: 1) Is in
residential accommodation 2) Is in sheltered housing 3) Receives domiciliary care
4) Receives any form of health care 5) Is detained in lawful custody 6) By virtue of an
order of a court, is under supervision per Criminal Justice Act 2003 sections
regarding community sentences 7) Receives a welfare service of a prescribed
description 8) Receives any service or participates in any activity provided
specifically for persons who has particular needs because of their age, has any form
of disability or has a prescribed physical or mental problem. (Dyslexia, dyscalculia
and dyspraxia are excluded disabilities) 9) Has payments made to him/her or to an

accepted representative in pursuance of arrangements under Health and Social
Care Act 2012 10) Requires assistance in the conduct of own affairs.

2) A simpler definition is:
Anyone over the age of 18 years who may be unable to protect themselves from
abuse, harm or exploitation, which may be by reason of illness, age, mental illness,
disability or other types of physical or mental impairment

Policy / Compliance

1) Winlaton Vulcans Rugby Football Club acknowledges its responsibility to
safeguard the welfare of every child and young person who has been entrusted to its
care and is committed to providing a safe environment for all members, including any
adult identified as vulnerable (see 2 below).
2) Winlaton Vulcans RFC recognises that vulnerable adults involved in Winlaton
Vulcans RFC activities may also require specific safeguarding from harm.
3) Winlaton Vulcans RFC confirms that it adheres to the Rugby Football Union’s
Safeguarding Policy, it’s procedures, practices and guidelines and endorses the
Policy Statement contained in that document.
4) The Key Principles of the RFU Safeguarding Policy are that:
• The welfare of the child or vulnerable adult is, and must always be, paramount to
any other considerations.
• All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race, faith, culture,
size, shape, language or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse
harm or exploitation.
• All allegations or suspicions of abuse, neglect, harm and poor practice will be taken
seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately.

• Working in partnership with other organisations, statutory agencies, parents,
carers, children and young people, is essential for the welfare of children and young
• Children have a right to expect support and personal and social development to be
delivered by an appropriately recruited and vetted person. They also have the right
to be properly managed in relation to their participation in rugby union, whether they
are playing, volunteering or officiating in the community areas of the sport.
5) Where a 17-year-old male or female player is playing in the adult game, it is
essential that every reasonable precaution is taken to ensure that their safety and
wellbeing are promoted. These risks will be managed by the responsible officers /
members along with their guardians, who will be required to complete a ‘playing out
of age grade’ form. These guidelines apply to all players playing out of their age
grade (where permitted).
6) A vulnerable adult could include a female or male coach, physio or volunteer who
is responsible for the welfare of senior / youth players and has a responsibility to
protect those in her / his care. Winlaton Vulcans RFC has a similar responsibility to
protect any vulnerable adult whilst they are working at Winlaton Vulcans RFC. This
includes club employees and volunteers alike who will also be encouraged to
carefully manage their own vulnerability
7) Winlaton Vulcans RFC recognises that all children and vulnerable adults have the
right to participate in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment, whilst at
the same time being protected from abuse, neglect, harm and poor practice.
Winlaton Vulcans RFC recognises that this is the responsibility of everyone involved,
in whatever capacity, at the club.
8) Winlaton Vulcans RFC adopts the RFU recommended codes of practice around
the recruitment, training and development of volunteers. This includes the initial and
ongoing vetting of individuals along with ensuring that each age grade team have
appointed representation for Safeguarding and First Aid responsibilities.
9) Winlaton Vulcans RFC takes a conscientious and responsible approach towards
Safeguarding and will conduct an annual audit to be provided to the RFU

10) Winlaton Vulcans RFC will implement and comply with the RFU Code of
Conduct and the Codes of Conduct for Coaches, Spectators and Officials as
appropriate. Winlaton Vulcans RFC will ensure its spectators, parents, members and
officials are all aware of and have accepted the club Photographic Policy as
11) Winlaton Vulcans RFC will endeavour to comply with the Guidance for Websites
as set out on the RFU website.
12) All members of Winlaton Vulcans RFC who have a regular supervisory contact
with children or vulnerable adults or a management responsibility for those working
with children or vulnerable adults, must undertake an RFU Enhanced Criminal
Records Bureau disclosure (through the Disclosure and Barring Service).
13) Winlaton Vulcans RFC will ensure that all its members, whether they are
coaches, parents, players or officials will comply with the Best Practice Guidance as
issued by the RFU.
14) Winlaton Vulcans RFC manages the changing facilities and will ensure that they
are supervised by two adults (RFU DBS checked) of the appropriate gender for the
players using the facilities. Winlaton Vulcans RFC will ensure that all its coaches,
parents, officials and spectators are aware that adults must not change at the same
time, using the same facilities as children or vulnerable adults.
15) All events held on Winlaton Vulcans RFC premises must comply with this Policy
and if appropriate a Safeguarding Plan should be discussed and circulated to those
affected. Any tours, overseas or domestic, undertaken by Winlaton Vulcans RFC
must comply with the relevant RFU Regulations and Guidance relating to tours.
16) Winlaton Vulcans RFC recommends and encourages that this policy is viewed in
conjunction with other relevant RFU policies such as Bullying and Harassment,
Managing Challenging Behaviour, Speak Up and Social Media policies.
17) The Club Safeguarding Officer is Colin HURST, mobile 07885 143 855, email
colin.hurst@blaydondistrict.org.uk, who is responsible for age grade male/female
players and vulnerable adults. If any adult witnesses or is aware of an incident
where the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult has been put at risk, they must in the

first instance inform the Club Safeguarding Officer, who will then decide on the
course of action which could include informing the Durham County Safeguarding
Manager and or the RFU Safeguarding Executive. If an incident involves the Club
Safeguarding Officer, the Hon Secretary or the Club President should be informed,
who will then contact the CB Safeguarding Manager or the RFU Safeguarding

Adult Code of Conduct / Behaviour
(to be publically displayed in the Clubhouse)

1) Do remember that you are a role model at ALL times, inside and outside Rugby
Football. Set a good example for others to follow.
2) Do treat everyone with dignity and respect in line with the Rugby Football Values
3) Do treat all children / young people and vulnerable adults equally – do not show
4) Do follow the adult-to-children / young person ratios at all times. There should
always be at least one DBS checked adult in charge of any group of children / young
people. The RFU recommends a minimum ratio of adult to children of:
• 1:10 for children over 8 years old aged at least 9
• 1:8 for children under 8 years old aged 7 and 8
• 1:6 for children under 7 years old
5) Do remember that you have been placed in a position of trust – do not abuse this
6) Do report all allegations, suspicions and concerns immediately
7) Do remember that someone may misinterpret your actions
8) Do respect a child, young person’s or vulnerable adult’s right to personal privacy
9) Do act within appropriate boundaries, even in difficult circumstances

10) Do encourage an open and transparent culture, where people can challenge
inappropriate attitudes or behaviours
11) Do make everyone (children, young people, parents, carers, adult members
including players, employees and volunteers aware of this Code of Conduct /
12) Do create an environment where children, young people and vulnerable adults
feel safe to voice their concerns
13) Do (on any tour) have separate sleeping accommodation for children, young
people and adults (vulnerable or otherwise)
14) Do plan training and activities that involve more than one other person being
present, or at least within sight and hearing of others.

Do Not’s
A) Do not plan to be alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult.
B) Do not drink alcohol when you are directly responsible for children young people
or vulnerable adults and never allow children or young people on Rugby activities to
drink alcohol
C) Do not smoke in the presence of children or young people
D) Do not trivialise abuse or let it go unreported
E) Do not join in physical contact games with children or young people
F) Do not overstep the boundaries between yourself and children, young people or
vulnerable adults by engaging in friendships or sexual relationships
G) Do not allow activities that encourage bullying behaviour including initiation
ceremonies, dares or forfeits

H) Do not take a child, young person or vulnerable adult to your home or a place
where you will be alone with them
I) Do not do things of a personal nature (however it is recognised that some
children will need assistance with for example, tying bootlaces, adjusting head
guards or adjusting tag belts)
J) Do not take a child, young person or vulnerable adult, whilst you are alone, on
car journeys however short (in an emergency where this is unavoidable seek
parental / carers permission or if not available advise a club committee member.
Make a record of the event)
K) Do not leave the rugby club / rendezvous point until all children, young people or
vulnerable adults have departed
L) Do not use (or allow children, young people or vulnerable adults to use) foul,
abusive or offensive language or language of a sexual nature, whether verbal,
written or online
M) Do not engage with children, young people or vulnerable adults via private
communications, telephone calls, text, emails or social media platforms always
ensure that all “conversations” are “public” with more than one adult “present” /
“copied in”
N) Do not rely on your reputation or position to protect you

Breaches of the Safeguarding Code of Conduct or Behaviour will be treated
seriously by Winlaton Vulcans RFC and may result in disciplinary action being
taken by the club, the County or the RFU

What do I do if…?

(to be publically displayed in the Clubhouse)

If a child, young person or vulnerable adult tells you they are being abused,
you must:

  1. Allow them to speak without interruption, and accept what they say
  2. Be understanding and reassuring particularly in respect of confidentiality, do not
    give your opinion
  3. Tell them you will try to help but must pass the information on (in confidentiality)
  4. Tell your Safeguarding Officer immediately (if not available or if the allegation
    involves the Safeguarding Officer refer to the Club Hon Secretary or the Club
  5. Write careful notes of what was said using the actual words
  6. Include the time and date and full names of those involved
  7. Sign and pass your notes to your Safeguarding Officer (or Hon Secretary / Club
    President as above)
  8. Make sure that Rugby poses no further risk to their welfare

If you are concerned about the welfare of a young person or there is a
concern, complaint or allegation about an adult or yourself, inside or outside
of Rugby Football Union, you must:

  1. Tell your Safeguarding Officer immediately (or other Club official[s] as above)
  2. Write careful notes of what you witnessed, heard or were told
  3. Include the time and date and full names of those involved
  4. Sign and pass your notes to your Safeguarding Officer (or other Club official[s] as
  5. Make sure that Rugby poses no further risk to their welfare

It is your duty to report ALL safeguarding concerns as a matter of urgency
following the correct process.
If a young person is at immediate risk of significant harm call 999 and request
Inform your Safeguarding Officer (or other Club official[s] as above) once you
have done this.
You must refer any concern or complaint to your Safeguarding Officer (or
other Club official[s] as above) as a matter of urgency.
DO NOT investigate it yourself.