Reporting Concerns and Allegations to SportCheer England
Reporting contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
While SCE Child Protection Officer(s) (CPO) will have received training/relevant safeguarding experience, they are not safeguarding children experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. If there is any doubt about whether or not the alleged behaviour constitutes abuse, the concern must be shared with professional agencies (such as the police, Local Authority Designated Officer or Children’s Services) who will be responsible for subsequent action.
Any suspicion that an individual has been abused by an SCE member within the activity of cheerleading, should be reported to the SCE who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the individual in question and any other individual who may be at risk. This will include the following:
- the SCE CPO will refer the allegation to the appropriate Local Authority Designated Officer who may involve the police or go directly to the police if out of hours.
- Undertake own investigation as to circumstances of the allegation, but first and foremost will allow the police and/or LADO to undertake their investigation without disruption. SCE will take a collaborative approach with such authorities.
- The parents of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the LADO.
- the SCE CPO will also notify the Chief Executive who will decide who should deal with any media enquires.
- the SCE CPO and/or the Chief Executive can impose an interim suspension of membership and involvement in the activity based on the risk to the child, an assessment of the seriousness of the allegation and the need to ensure a full investigation can be instituted.
- SCE CPO can report to SCE affiliated Event Producers to notify the EP of the suspension of the adult concerned, where the adult may be withdrawn from any event venue if it is considered that their use of that venue would be a form of threat to children.
- SCE CPO may withdraw SCE accreditation/qualifications?
- SCE CPO will work with the police and/or the relevant LADO as to any investigative findings. the UKA CPLO will also make a full report to a UKA Case Management Panel. Irrespective of the findings of the Children’s Social Care (social services) or the Police, UKA will assess all individual cases and determine if the person can be reinstated and how this can be handled sensitively. This decision must be made on the available information, which could suggest on the balance of probability; it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child is paramount.
In circumstances where SCE does not have jurisdiction to deal with the individual (i.e. the person is not a member of SCE but is reportedly partaking in cheerleading as an activity), the SCE CPO will act as liaison between the sport and the LADO and/or the police and pass on all the information to the organisation with disciplinary jurisdiction.
Where the police or social care services make a statutory referral and invite a club official to a child protection conference or professional meeting then the SCE CPO must be informed as soon as possible to determine whether to attend and represent SCE at the meeting and support the individual and club.
Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences relating to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. These decisions will be dealt with by the Independent Safeguarding Authority for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in Scotland this will be the role of the Central Barring Unit. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act (1999) and set out in Schedule 4 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act. The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act (2003) and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups are applicable in Scotland.
SCE will retain a centralised document retaining information as to all referrals of allegations made. Such document is to assist in easily identifying the following:
- Particular areas of concern specific to our sport;
- Any individuals and/or clubs with numerous allegations made
- An aide for building training upon the particular issues that become a “pattern”
- Focusing on clubs/programmes that appear to require further investigation and/or safeguarding training.
Any records of referrals will be kept securely, and on a “need to know” basis. Only the CPO for SCE and the Director will have access to this. Coaches are able to make enquiries as to whether a new member or coach has had any referrals made. Those referrals will be shared with the person with whom the information relates, and to the enquirer on a child protection basis. Full details of substantiated claims will not be disclosed, to ensure the protection of any third party, only information that is necessary to protect athletes in the future.
Poor Practice vs incidents of abuse
If the allegations are against an employee or volunteer at a cheerleading club, and after consideration such allegations relate to poor practice as opposed to child abuse, the allegation will be dealt with by the club’s Child Welfare/Protection Officer in accordance with their disciplinary procedures for misconduct issues.