Club Child Welfare Officer
Berney Higgins
Co Roscommon.
Phone: 086 2592282
E-Mail: berneyhiggins@yahoo.ie


Branch Child Welfare Officer
Lyndon Jones
Connacht Rugby,
The Sportsground,
College Road, Galway
Phone: 091 536222
Email: lyndon.jones@connachtrugby.ie


The Committee of Creggs RFC has adopted the Child Welfare Policy as produced by the I.R.F.U.

All personnel working “regularly and continuously” with age grade players should submit to and follow this ‘Safeguarding Policy’ by successfully completing a Garda vetting and signing the Declaration for Intent.

This policy defines roles and provides guidance to clubs and volunteers on child welfare issues while ensuring best practice in all rugby activities.

The principles of this policy and the code of conduct should be adhered to at all times. If members or parents have any queries, please contact our club child welfare officer Berney Higgins.

All age grade volunteers (coaches/ managers/ team assistants, referees and their officials) are to read the ‘Club Safe Guarding Policy’ and after reading the document, are to sign the ‘Declaration of Intent’ page and hand it to the Club Child Welfare Officer, to be kept in the club records.







What to look for when you join a club

  • Recruitment of leaders
  • Child Welfare initiatives
  • Safety and Best practice models in the club
  • Adult to player ratios
  • Training & playing schedule
  • Selection, inclusion, playing and development
  • Player registration and membership
  • Codes of Conduct for players, coaches, spectators, parents and referees

What do we expect of our players?

  • All players to be registered and to have their registration cards with them at matches
  • Membership fees to be paid on time as part of the player insurance
  • To be committed to the training and playing schedule of the club
  • To have the right attitude towards training, playing, team mates, leaders, selection and representing the club
  • To respect the Ethos, Laws of the Game and traditions of rugby
  • To have the appropriate training and playing kit:
    For matches:
    Club jersey/ shorts and sock and gum shield (properly fitted)
    For training:
    Jersey/ socks/ shorts/ gum shield – ensure kit is warm and safe (no zips/ strings or sharp edges etc.)
  • Check with coaches if additional equipment/requirements are in place

What do we expect of Leaders?

  • Should be recruited through the club recruitment policy
  • To go through relevant screening re: child welfare & vetting
  • Be appropriately qualified
  • Plan and prepare for matches & training sessions
  • Be fair when dealing with players and particularly when dealing with selection and inclusion issues
  • Set the right example and be approachable at all times

What do we expect of parents?

  • Always support your child in his/her efforts – don’t let your ambitions rule their experience
  • Ensure your child(ren) have required kit whether training or playing
  • Attend matches and training as much as possible
  • Volunteer to assist the club when available
  • Ensure you and your child are on time for sessions/ matches and especially when collecting your child after such events
  • Respect the club and volunteer efforts – join the club!
  • Adhere to the Code of Conduct of the club

What is expected of clubs?

  • Have a policy on child welfare, recruitment, best practice, selection, training and fixtures
  • Ensure adherence to all Codes of Conduct
  • Ensure all coaches are appropriately qualified
  • Appoint a Child Welfare Officer and ensure access for appropriate training
  • Committees (youth and mini) to meet regularly to ensure adherence to all club policies
  • Strive to create a safe environment for all rugby activities

The value of a Child Welfare Policy

  • Sets policies to ensure enjoyment; inclusion and fair play
  • Promotes properly recruited and qualified coaches
  • Allows the appointment of Child Welfare Officers to represent the interest of the players
  • Supports the policies and initiatives regarding child awareness and children in sport
  • Recognises the importance of the player registration scheme
  • Highlights the Codes of Conduct
  • Encourages respect and dignity for all participants
  • Supports sportsmanship and fair play


Bullying is repeated aggression, be it verbal, physical or psychological, by an individual or group against others, which causes significant harm to the victim(s). It is intentional, aggravating and intimidating.

Types of bullying (this list is non-exhaustive and serves only as a guide):

  • Name-calling.
  • Spreading harmful rumours about others.
  • Exclusion from activities.
  • Intentionally isolating another person from conversation or during activity.
  • Threatening or intimidating behaviour.
  • Taking or damaging property or belongings.
  • Physical assault or causing physical harm
  • Making a person do things they don’t want to.
  • Threatening or abusive messaging (text, social media, email).

Occurs between:

Child to child – physical aggression, verbal bullying, intimidation, damage to
property and isolation.

Adult to child – includes the repeated use of gestures or expressions of a
threatening or intimidatory nature or any comment intended
to degrade the child.

Child to adult -includes the use of repeated gestures or expressions of
threatening or intimidatory nature by an individual child or
group of children.

The culture of bullying
It is the responsibility of the club to deal with bullying that may take place. Each club
should have anti-bullying statement that should be known to all members involved with
Age-Grade Players. All coaches and volunteers in the club should implement it.
Incidents must be dealt with as they arise to demonstrate that such behaviour will not be

Bullying will continue in a culture that assumes name-calling, exclusion, teasing and
other similar behaviours are acceptable, part of ‘growing up or a ‘man-up’ approach. This
is never a pleasurable experience and is especially unwelcome for young people who
may not have developed the emotional maturity to put the behaviour in context or have
the tools to cope with it. Young people are often embarrassed to share their concerns
with others and often need adults to be their voice in such circumstance.
Strive to provide a place where:

  • name calling will not be tolerated.
  • no one suffers abuse of any nature.
  • no one is victimised.
  • each member is supported and listened to.
  • all members are treated equally.
  • solutions to problems are the concern of all.

Preventing bullying

  • Having a proactive approach can prevent bullying from occurring within the club.
  • Be committed to ensure the safety and security of all players – good supervisionnumbers make it hard for bullying behaviour to go unnoticed.
    Encourage an awareness of what bullying is and how to avoid it. Have the antibullying statement visible within the club and ensure the Club Welfare Officer, coaches and other volunteers remind players and coaches of their Codes of Conduct
  • Establish Codes of Conduct – Encourage young people to contribute to the rules about behaviour, and reinforce anti-bullying messages by adults leading by example in their behaviour.
  • Encourage a ‘permission to share’ culture that allows Age-Grade Players to raise their concerns.
  • Encourage a mature and measured attitude towards bullying so that Age-Grade players know how to respond effectively. Bullying should always be considered in conjunction with the Codes of Conduct. Poor practice should always be tackled early, warnings should be given and in the case of Age-Grade Players especially, there should be an opportunity to adjust their behaviour. Encourage the group to come forward with any future concerns – this will reinforce the message that bullying in whatever form is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Persistent poor practice may escalate into severe bullying if allowed to go unchecked.

Responding to bullying

  • When bullying arises within a group situation use the ‘no-blame’ approach
  • Assure the victim that nothing is wrong with them and it is not their fault.
  • Talk with the person alleged to be bullying another person, explain the situation,
    and try to get the “bully(ies)” to understand the consequences of their behaviour.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behavior by asking open
    questions for example;
  1. Tell me what happened?
  2. What were you thinking that led you to behave that way?
  3. Cho has been affected by what you have done?
  4. can you tell me how that person has been affected by your behavior?
  5. What do you think you need to do to make things right?
  • Seek an apology to the victim(s).
  • Inform parents and where necessary inform coaches or volunteers working the group.
  • Impose sanctions as necessary.

For further assistance in dealing with incidents you can use the ISPCC reporting tool where necessary, http://www.ispcc.ie/ispcc-shield-/stand-up-report-tool/12531

More extreme forms of bullying would be regarded as physical or emotional abuse and are reportable to Statutory Authorities Clubs who wish to achieve the highest standards for combatting bullying can set themselves the task of participating in the ISPCC ‘Shield Your Club’ campaign.


The IRFU have begun work with the ISPCC to develop a tool for all clubs. This will be an entry level standard for achieving the ‘Shield’ that will be useful in implementing

Safeguarding standards, http://www.irishrugby.ie/news/33933.php.

For further information on bullying click on the presentation ‘Understanding Bullying and

Supporting Young People’ by Ms Kellie Turtle (Childline),

For clubs that are currently dealing with bullying issues the following link may provide some useful anti-bullying activities, https://thecpsu.org.uk/resource-library/2014/anti-bullying-activities/

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