Working with Children

These recommendations are for team officials to protect them from risk and to keep children safe.

Definitions:

Team officials – for the purpose of this document includes coaches, assistant coaches, managers and any other appointed personnel in charge of athletes.

Athletes – for the purpose of this document includes any player or participant under the age of 18.

Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries Team officials in positions of authority will maintain clear:

Physical Boundaries

  • Fitness should never be used as a punishment, develop fitness using drills
  • Physical contact should only be used when it is appropriate for the development of a particular hockey skill
  • Work within the sight of others at all times

Emotional Boundaries

  • Use positive feedback on performance and avoid negative feedback about any athlete
  • Be encouraging at all times and avoid put-downs

Social Boundaries

  • Attend hockey-related events such as fundraising events, celebrations and annual meetings but do not socialise with athletes outside hockey functions

Sexual Boundaries

  • Do not have sexual relationships with an athlete
  • Do not touch athletes in any way that is likely to make them feel uncomfortable

Minimise Physical Contact
Generally physical contact with athletes will be to:

  • Develop hockey skills
  • Give sport massage
  • Treat an injury
  • Prevent or respond to an injury

All physical contact by team officials will fulfil the following criteria:

  • Any physical contact will be appropriate for the development of a hockey skill
  • Permission from the athlete will always be sought
  • Athletes will be congratulated or comforted in a public setting

Avoid being alone with a child
To protect team officials and athletes from risk:

  • Team officials should not isolate themselves with an athlete and will always avoid being alone with an athlete
  • If approached by an athlete for a private conversation about any matter, team officials will do so in an open area and in the sight of other adults
  • Before entering into change rooms team officials will knock or announce that they are entering. If possible another adult will be present with team officials when in a change room with athletes.

Avoid transporting players/participants
All athletes should ideally provide their own transportation to and from hockey events.

Team officials should only provide transport when the driver is properly licensed to carry passengers and other athletes/parents/guardians are in the vehicle. Any transportation undertaken by team officials should also be approved in writing by the parents/guardians of the athlete and the ride will also be directly to/from the venue of the training/activity.

If responsible for transportation of an athlete, team officials should also:

  • Call someone relevant to inform them of who they are transporting
  • Tell the exact time they are leaving and the planned route of the ride

Plan for overnight camps and away trips
If providing an overnight camp or away trip team officials should provide the appropriate level of supervision. A ratio of 1 adult to every 12 athletes should be enforced depending on a number of factors. 

To help team officials they should:

  • When taking a mixed team or all girls group away, at least one adult women will accompany the group
  • If only one other adult is attending on the trip, apart from the team official, it will ideally not be a relation or partner of the team official
  • At least one team official or adult on the trip will have a current first aid certificate
  • Emergency procedures are in place to enable supervising adults to respond to any alarm raised by athlete.

Any adult attending an overnight camp or away trip will be required to have a National Police Certificate (police check) or equivalent.

Qualified personnel should attend to injuries
Only personnel who are qualified in administering first aid or treating sports injuries will attempt to treat an injury. Personnel should avoid treating injuries out of sight of others.

Team officials or personnel should ensure:

  • The comfort level and dignity of the athlete will always be the priority
  • Only the injured area of the athlete will be uncovered, or something draped over the private parts of the athlete.
  • Any injuries and treatment provided will be reported to parents (Hockey SA injury/incident report form to be completed)

Make sure parents are clear about collection of their children
Parents/guardians need to be responsible for the collection of athletes from trainings/activities. 

Team officials shall:

  • Have a register of athletes parents/guardians contact numbers and easy access to a phone
  • Ensure all athletes and parents are aware of start and finish times of trainings/activities and when they can expect to collect their children
  • Ask the second last athlete and their parent/guardian to wait with the team official and the athlete
  • Avoid the risk of a team official being left alone with a athlete by having a parent/guardian or support person assist with the training and requiring that person to wait until all athletes have left

Have clear guidelines for the use of image recording devices
Team officials should ensure all are aware and understand current advice about acquiring and using images of athletes. 

Team officials will inform the team/athletes and parent/s if they wish to photograph or video the athlete/s as a tool to analyse and improve performance. (This practice will need to consider the Hockey SA Image recording device policy)

These recommendations have been modified from information from the:

  • Child Protection In Sport Unit UK
  • Australian Sports Commission
  • New South Wales Department for Tourism and Sport and Recreation
  • Play by the Rules

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