Objectives of this Policy
- All charity members, coaches, rowers and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is and what they should do if bullying arises.
- All charity members and coaches should know what the club policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
- As a charity we take bullying seriously. Rowers and parents should be assured that they would be supported when bullying is reported.
- Bullying will not be tolerated.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is the use of aggression with the intention of hurting another person. Bullying results in pain and distress to the victim and can either be short term or continuous over long periods of time.
Bullying can be:
- Emotional being unfriendly, excluding (emotionally and physically), sending hurtful text messages, tormenting, (e.g. hiding kit or equipment, threatening gestures)
- Physical pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
- Racist racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
- Sexual unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
- Homophobic because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality
- Verbal name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing.
- Cyber bulling i.e. threats by social media or text
Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect.
Rowers who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.
Signs and Symptoms of Bullying
Charity members must remain vigilant about bullying behaviours and approach this in the same way as any other category of Child Abuse; that is, do not wait to be told before you raise concerns or deal directly with the matter. Children may not be aware that they are being bullied; because they may be too young or have a level of Special Educational Needs which means that they may be unable to realise what others may be doing to them.
A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
- says he is being bullied
- is unwilling to go to club sessions
- becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
- feels ill before training sessions
- comes with clothes torn or possessions damaged
- has possessions go “missing”
- asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
- has unexplained cuts or bruises
- is frightened to say what’s wrong
- is nervous or jumpy when a social media message is received
- lack of eye contact
- gives improbable excuses for any of the above.
In more extreme cases:
- starts stammering
- cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
- becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
- is bullying other children or siblings
- stops eating
- attempts or threatens suicide or runs away.
These signs and behaviours may indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.
- Report bullying incidents to the Club Welfare Officer or a member of the charity or rowing club AND the relevant school contact.
- In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be referred to British Rowing for advice.
- Parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.
- If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted.
- The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.
- An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour.
- If mediation fails and the bullying is seen to continue the charity will initiate disciplinary action under the charity constitution.****
If the club decides it is appropriate for them to deal with the situation they should follow the procedure outlined below.
- Reconciliation by getting the parties together. It may be a genuine apology solves the problem.
- If this fails/not appropriate a small panel (Made up from Chairman, Club Welfare Officer or charity members) should meet with the parent and child alleging bullying to get details of the allegation. Minutes should be taken for clarity, which should be agreed by all as a true account.
- The same 3 persons should meet with the alleged bully and parent/s and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation. Minutes should again be taken and agreed.
- If bullying has in their view taken place the bully should be warned and put on notice of further action i.e. temporary or permanent suspension if the bullying continues. Consideration should be given as to whether a reconciliation meeting between parties is appropriate at this time.
- In some cases the parent of the bully or bullied rower can be asked to attend training sessions, if they are able to do so, and if appropriate. The charity members should monitor the situation for a given period to ensure the bullying is not being repeated.
In the case of adults reported to be bullying rowers under 18;
- British Rowing should always be informed and will advise on action to be taken.
- It is anticipated that in most cases where the allegation is made regarding a teacher or coach, child protection awareness training may be recommended.
- More serious cases may be referred to the police, social services or British Rowing disciplinary procedure.
- In cases where a coach or teacher who is employed by an outside organisation is implicated the matter should be referred to British Rowing and to the person’s line manager or as detailed in that person’s employment contract.
Note: Cases of bullying should be resolved with the utmost speed to avoid further distress to the victim.
- The club will have a written constitution, which includes what is acceptable and proper behaviour for all members of which the anti-bullying policy is one part.
- All rowers and parents will sign to accept the constitution upon joining the club.
- The club welfare officer will raise awareness about bullying and why it matters, and if issues of bullying arise in the club, will consider meeting with rowers to discuss the issue openly and constructively
This policy is based on that provided by British Rowing and to schools by KIDSCAPE. KIDSCAPE is a voluntary organisation committed to help prevent child bullying. KIDSCAPE can be contacted on 0207 730 3300 or at www.kidscape.org.uk
Bullying Online – www.bullying.co.uk can also be contacted for information.