Everyone who participates in HNMC (Herts Nitro Model Club) is entitled to do so in an enjoyable and safe environment. HNMC have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that the Committee and Club drivers are provided with the highest possible standard of care.
HNMC is committed to devising and implementing policies so that everyone in the sport accepts their responsibilities to safeguard children from harm and abuse. This means to follow procedures to protect children and report any concerns about their welfare to appropriate authorities.
The aim of the policy is to promote good practice, providing children and young people with appropriate safety/protection whilst attending HNMC events and to allow all drivers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Within HNMC, a child/ young person is defined as a person aged 16 years and under.
HNMC is committed to the following:
To provide children with the best possible experience and opportunities in radio control car racing everyone must operate within an accepted ethical framework such as The Coaches Code of Conduct.
It is not always easy to distinguish poor practice from abuse. It is therefore NOT the responsibility of the Committee or participants in radio control car racing to make judgements about whether or not abuse is taking place. It is however their responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and act if they have concerns about the welfare of the child, as explained later in the policy
This section will help you identify what is meant by good practice and poor practice.
All drivers should adhere to the following principles and action:
The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all committee personnel:
When a case arises where it is impractical/ impossible to avoid certain situation e.g. transporting a young person in your car, the tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of the parent / guardian and the young person involved.
If during your care you accidentally hurt a young person, the young person seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions and / or if the young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to another committee member and make a written note of it. Parents should also be informed of the incident.
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a young person regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
There are four main types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. The abuser may be a family member, someone the young person encounters in residential care or in the community, including sports and leisure activities. Any individual may abuse or neglect a young person directly, or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming the young person.
Abuse in any form can affect a young person at any age. The effects can be so damaging that if not treated may follow the individual into adulthood
Young people with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse had occurred.
Physical Abuse: where adults physically hurt or injure a young person e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating, drowning. Giving young people alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also constitute child abuse.
This category of abuse can also include when a parent/carer reports non-existent symptoms or illness deliberately causes ill health in a young person they are looking after. This is call Munchauser’s syndrome by proxy.
In a sports situation, physical abuse may occur when the nature and intensity of training disregard the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body
Emotional Abuse: the persistent emotional ill treatment of a young person, likely to cause severe and lasting adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve telling a young person they are useless, worthless, unloved, inadequate or valued in terms of only meeting the needs of another person. It may feature expectations of young people that are not appropriate to their age or development. It may cause a young person to be frightened or in danger by being constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted which may make the young person frightened or withdrawn.
Ill treatment of children, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse in sport may occur when the young person is constantly criticised, given negative feedback, expected to perform at levels that are above their capability. Other forms of emotional abuse could take the form of name calling and bullying.
Bullying may come from another young person or an adult. Bullying is defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. There are three main types of bullying.
It may be physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive text messages), emotional (e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating form the group), or sexual (e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
In sport bullying may arise when a parent or coach pushes the young person too hard to succeed, or a rival athlete or official uses bullying behaviour.
Neglect occurs when an adult fails to meet the young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, to an extent that is likely to result in serious impairment of the child’s health or development. For example, failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect from physical harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Refusal to give love, affection and attention can also be a form of neglect.
Neglect in sport could occur when a coach does not keep the young person safe, or exposing them to undue cold/heat or unnecessary risk of injury.
Sexual Abuse occurs when adults (male and female) use children to meet their own sexual needs. This could include full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling. Showing young people pornography or talking to them in a sexually explicit manner are also forms of sexual abuse.
In sport, activities which might involve physical contact with young people could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed.
Even for those experienced in working with child abuse, it is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place. Most people are not experts in such recognition, but indications that a child is being abused may include one or more of the following:
It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is NOT the responsibility of those working in HNMC to decide that child abuse is occurring. It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young people. All clubs should be vigilant and any concerns should be reported to the Club Chairman.
All parents, guardians and drivers should be made aware when the Club use video equipment.
It is not the responsibility of any HNMC Committee member to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities so that they can then make inquiries and take necessary action to protect the young person. This applies BOTH to allegations/ suspicions of abuse occurring within HNMC events and to allegations / suspicions that abuse is taking place elsewhere.
This section explains how to respond to allegations / suspicions.
We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways. We may see it happening, we may suspect it happening because of signs such as those listed earlier in this document, it may be reported to us by someone else or directly by the young person affected.
In the last of these cases, it is particularly important to respond appropriately. If a young person says or indicates that they are being abused, you should:
To ensure that information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/ concern. In recording, you should confine yourself to the facts and distinguish what is your personal knowledge and what others have told you. Do not include your own opinions.
Information should include the following:
All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty to a colleague. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.
HNMC expects its members and committee members to discuss any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child immediately with the person in charge and subsequently to check that appropriate action has been taken.
If the club Chairman is not available you should take responsibility and seek advice from the NSPCC helpline, the duty officer at your local social services department or the police. Telephone numbers can be found in your local directory.
Where there is a complaint against an RC car driver, there may be three types of investigation.
As mentioned previously in this document HNMC committee members are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. All suspicions and allegations must be shared with professional agencies that are responsible for child protection.
Social services have a legal responsibility under The Children Act 1989 to investigate all child protection referrals by talking to the child and family (where appropriate), gathering information from other people who know the child and making inquiries jointly with the police.
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by an RC car driver or other visitor should be reported to a HNMC committee member who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. This will include the following:
Allegations of abuse are sometimes made sometime after the event. Where such allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter reported to social services. This is because other children in the sport or outside it may be at risk from the alleged abuser. Anyone who has a previous conviction for offences related to abuse against children is automatically excluded from working with children.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser. All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.