Responding to Disclosure, Suspicions and Allegations
The Irish Amateur Archery 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.
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 Service Executive 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 member in the club but should be passed on to the Designated Person, who may in turn have to pass the concern to the local Statutory Authorities.
It is not the responsibility of anyone working within Irish Amateur Archery Association, in a paid or voluntary capacity, or those working in affiliated organisations, to take responsibility or to 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 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
When a young person discloses information of suspected abuse you should:
- 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.
- stay calm and not show any extreme reaction to what the child is saying. Listen
- compassionately and take what the child is saying seriously.
- 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.
- be honest with the child and tell them that it is not possible that keep information a secret.
- make no judgmental statements against the person whom the allegation is made.
- not question the child unless the nature of what he or 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”.
- check out the concerns with the parents or guardians before making a report unless doing so would endanger the child or compromise an investigation.
- give the child some indication of what would happen next, such as informing parents or guardians, the Health Service Executive or Social Services. It should be kept in mind that the child may have been threatened and may feel vulnerable at this stage.
- carefully record the details.
- pass on this information to the Designated Officer of the Irish Amateur Archery Association.
- reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.