Anti-bullying Policy for Atlantis Swimming Club

Statement of Intent

We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our members so they can swim in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our club. If bullying does occur, all swimmers or parents should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a TELLING club. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell the club welfare officer or any committee member.

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.

Bullying can be:

  • Emotional - being unfriendly, excluding (emotionally and physically), sending hurtful text messages or tormenting (hiding goggles/floats, threatening gestures).
  • Physical - pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
  • Racist - racial taunts, grafitti or gestures.
  • Sexual - unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments.
  • Homophobic - because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality.
  • Verbal - name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours or teasing.

Why is it Important to respond to Bullying?

Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Swimmers who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.

Atlantis has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.

Objectives of this Policy 

  • All committee members, coaches and teachers, swimmers and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
  • All committee members, coaching and teaching staff should know what the club policy is on bullying and follow it when bullying is reported
  • All swimmers and parents should know what the club policy is on bullying and what they should do if bullying arises.
  • As a club we take bullying seriously. Swimmers and parents should be assured that they would be supported when bullying is reported.
  • Bullying will not be tolerated.

Signs and Symptoms

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/she is being bullied.
  • Is unwilling to go to club sessions.
  • Becomes withdrawn or anxious, or lacking in confidence.
  • Feels ill before training sessions.
  • Comes home with clothes torn or swimming equipment damaged.
  • Has possessions go missing.
  • Asks for money or starts stealing money to pay bully.
  • Has unexplained cuts and/or bruises.
  • Is frightened to say what is wrong.
  • Gives improbable excuses for any of the above.

In more extreme cases, a child may:

  • Start stammering.
  • Cry themselves to sleep at night or have nightmares.
  • Become aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable.
  • bully other children or siblings.
  • stop eating.
  • attempt or threaten suicide or run away.

These signs and behaviours may indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.

Procedures

  1. Report bullying incidents to the club welfare officer ( Janet Charter. Email -  janetcharter@hotmail.com , Mobile - 07914 255750) or another member of the committee or ring Swimline ( Tel: 0808 100 4001 ).
  2. In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be referred to the ASA for advice.
  3. Parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.
  4. If necessary and appropriate, the police will be consulted.
  5. The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.
  6. An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour.
  7. If mediation fails and the bullying is seen to continue, the club will initiate disciplinary action under the club constitution.

Club Action

If the club decides it is appropriate for them to deal with the situation they will follow the procedure outlined below. 

  1. Reconciliation by getting the parties together. It may be that a genuine apology solves the problem.
  2. If this fails or is not appropriate, a small panel (Made up from Chairman, Welfare Officer, Secretary, committee members or coaches) will meet with the parent and child alleging bullying to get details of the allegation. Minutes will be taken for clarity, and these should be agreed by all as a true account.
  3. The same persons on the panel will meet with the alleged and parent/s and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation. Minutes will again be taken and agreed.
  4. If bullying has, in view of the panel, taken place, the swimmer will be warned and put on notice of further action i.e. temporary or permanent suspension if the bullying continues. Consideration will be given as to whether a reconciliation meeting between parties is appropriate at this time.
  5. In some cases the parent of the bully or bullied swimmer will be asked to attend training sessions, if they are able to do so, and if appropriate. The club committee will monitor the situation for a given period to ensure the bullying is not being repeated.
  6. All coaches involved with both swimmers will be made aware of the concerns of the and outcome of the process i.e. the warning.

In the case of adults reported to be bulling swimmers under 18.

  1. The ASA will always be informed and will advise on action to be taken.
  2. It is anticipated that in most caseswhere the allegation is made regarding a teacher or coach, child protection awareness training may be recommended.
  3. More serious cases may be referred to the police , social services or judicial complaints procedure.

 Prevention:

  1. The club is required to adhere to ASA law, which includes what is acceptable and proper behaviour for all members of which the anti-bullying policy is one part.
  2. All swimmers and parents will sign to accept the constitution upon joining the club.
  3. 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 swimmers to discuss the issue openly and constructively.

This policy is based on that provided to schools by KIDSCAPE.

KIDSCAPE is a voluntary organisation committed to help prevent child bullying. KIDSCAPE can be contacted on 0207-730-3300 

The ASA has information from KIDSCAPE, which is available on request.