The Working with Children Check

All Cannons team and Club officials in contact with children are required under the policy of the administrative Club to obtain a Working With Children Check. The Check involves a national criminal history check and review of findings of workplace misconduct.

The result is either a clearance to work with children for five years, or a bar against working with children. Cleared applicants are subject to ongoing monitoring, and relevant new records may lead to the clearance being revoked.

The Check is fully portable – it can be used for any unpaid child-related work in NSW for as long as the worker remains cleared.

How to get a WWCC

The first stage of the Check is completed online. The applicant will then receive an application number. The applicant will need to take this application number and proof of identity to a NSW Motor Registry. Within four weeks, the applicant will receive a Working With Children Check number.

This number needs to be provided to the Child Protection Officer, who will verify the number online.

Further information and video tutorials are available on the website of the Office of the Children’s Guardian.

Child Protection Guidelines

Reference material

The guidelines should be read in conjunction with the AFL Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy Documents, available on the AFL Sydney Junior’s website.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian also has a wealth of information online. The Office of the Children’s Guardian runs seminars regularly and advisers are available to answer queries you may have. This is a very valuable resource for anyone working with children, whether in a paid or volunteer capacity.

Maintain appropriate boundaries

All team and club personnel in positions of authority should maintain clear:

Physical boundaries

Use drills to develop fitness, not as a punishment.
Only use physical contact that is appropriate of the development of a particular skill
Work within sight of others at all times
Emotional/verbal boundaries

Use positive feedback on performance, not negative feedback about the person
Be encouraging. Avoid put-downs.

Sexual boundaries

Any sort of sexual relationships with any players are strictly forbidden and illegal.
Do not touch players in ways likely to make them feel uncomfortable.

Physical contact

General physical contact with players should be to:

  • Develop sports skills
  • Give sports massage
  • Treat an injury
  • Prevent or respond to an injury
  • Meet the specific requirements of the sport.

All physical contact by team and club officials should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Physical contact should be appropriate for the development of sport skills
  • Permission from the player or parent/guardian should always be sought.
  • Players should be congratulated or comforted in public, not in an isolated setting.
  • Avoid being alone with a child

To protect both yourself and a child from risk:

  • Do not isolate yourself and a child and avoid being alone with any particular child.
  • If a child approaches you and wants to talk to you privately about a matter, do so in an open area and in the sight of other adults (eg, other coaches, officials or parents/guardians).
  • Before going into change rooms, knock or announce that you will be coming in. Try to have at least one adult with you in a change room with children.

Maintain control

Avoid losing your temper.

Adopt positive language and behaviour (eg avoid bad or aggressive language that could intimidate a child or set a poor example).
If you find that you regularly lose your temper with children, you should seek support in learning how to manage children’s behaviour, or consider whether you have the patience to work with children.

Some ideas to assist with maintaining control include:

Set up some basic rules at the beginning of the season such as: be nice but firm; be fair; follow instructions; have a go; and no put downs. Make sure children are aware of these rules. ‘Nice but firm’ avoids creating problems of ambiguity as it makes it clear where an adult stands in relation to the child. Being ‘fair’ is also important because of the strong message it sends to children.

Give positive messages

Have a ‘time out’ area for young people who are not behaving. This could be simply a signal such as an agreed ‘T’ sign with the hands that children know means to go to time out for two minutes.

Adopt a warning system to express concerns with a child’s behaviour rather than becoming verbally agitated. For example, give a first warning, a second warning means time out for a specific period of time, and a third warning could mean the child sits out the rest of the training session or game.

It is important to ensure that children are aware that the rules around bad or aggressive behaviour and language also apply to them, and that inappropriate behaviour or put downs from one child to another will not be tolerated.

Collection of children

Team managers should make sure parents are clear about training and match start and end times. Coaches and managers should have access to parent/guardian emergency contact numbers.
If a parent is late for collection, ask the second to last child and their parent/guardian to wait with you and the child.

If there are other people at the ground or facility, wait for the parent/guardian closer to those people. In the meantime, try to make contact with the parent/guardian.

Avoid being alone with a child by having a parent/guardian or support person assist you with the training. Require that person to wait until all children have left.

Avoid transporting players

Ideally, all players should have their own transportation to and from sporting events.
In your capacity as a representative of the Canada Bay Cannons, you should only provide transportation when:

  • the driver is properly licensed to carry passengers, and
  • other players/participants/parents/guardians are in the vehicle, and
  • the ride has been approved by parents/guardians
  • the ride is directly to/from sports or recreational activities.

Plan for overnight and “extra-curricular” activities

While overnight trips are not common, extra-curricular team building activities are sometimes organised at a team or age group level. These usually involve parents however if an event is considered a Club event, team officials must ensure appropriate levels of supervision.

The general rule of thumb is a minimum of two parents or officials per team, or an adult:child ratio of 1:8, although this can vary between 1:12 and 1:4 and depends on a number of other factors. Please use common sense.

Other considerations include:

  • If you are taking a mixed team or all girls group on an overnight or away trip, there must be at least one woman accompanying the group.
  • If there is only going to be one other adult accompanying a coach or team official on an overnight or away trip, that person must not be a relation or partner of the team official.
  • At least one adult on an overnight or away trip should have a current first aid certificate.
    Adults should not share rooms with children
  • Ensure emergency procedures are in place to enable supervising adults to 
respond to any alarm raised by a child (more than one adult should respond).
  • All adults attending overnight or away trips should have a Working with
 Children check.

First Aid

Only personnel who are qualified in administering first aid or treating sports injuries should attempt to treat an injury. Personnel should avoid treating injuries out of sight of others.

Other general considerations:

  • The comfort level and dignity of the player should always be the priority.
  • Only uncover the injured area, or drape something over the private parts of the 
player.
  • Always report to parents/guardians any injuries incurred and any treatment
 provided and document an incident report.
  • If necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible or recommend that 
parents seek medical attention.

Photographing children

The registration form contains a general consent clause, allowing images of players to be used for any promotional, marketing and publicity purposes. However, such images may not be identified by name.

The Club encourages teams to submit weekly match reports, which are published in the weekly newsletter and online. Children must be identified in these match reports only by first name (and initial if required). Names are not to be attached to any accompanying photographs.

Full names of players will appear in the Club’s annual Year Book and may be used in other club publications (newsletter and online), with the prior consent of the player’s parent/guardian.
 If the Club is re-publishing an article that is already in the public domain (for example, a newspaper or other online news item) that contains the child’s name and/or photograph, parental consent is assumed.

There are some people who visit sporting events to take inappropriate photographs or video footage of children. You need to be alert to this possibility and report any concerns to a responsible person in your club (either the Ground Manager, the Child Protection Officer, or other Club executive).

Types of Child Abuse

People working with children, even in a volunteer capacity, should be aware of the different types of child abuse, and the indicators of child abuse
. The four main types of child abuse are:

Sexual abuse/sexual misconduct

This includes any sexual act or sexual threat imposed on a child or young person. For example, suggestive behaviour, inappropriate touching or voyeuristically watching an athlete shower or change clothes.

Physical abuse

Non-accidental injury and/or harm to a child or young person, caused by another person such as a parent, care-giver or even an older child. For example, physically punishing a young person for losing a game by hitting, throwing equipment, pushing or shoving.

Emotional abuse

Behaviours that may psychologically harm a child or young person. For example, threatening language, bullying, ridicule, personal abuse and comments designed to demean and humiliate.

Neglect

Failing to provide a child or young person with basic physical and emotional necessities, harming them or putting them at risk of harm. For example, keeping the best young player on-field to win the game despite having an injury or making children play in excessive heat.

Indicators of Child Abuse

It is important that people working with children are aware of the indicators of abuse and have the confidence to respond to any indication that a child may have been abused.

Some indicators of child abuse are:

  • bruising, particularly in the face, head or neck region
  • multiple bruising or injuries – for example, burns, scalds, sprains, dislocations 
or fractures
    injury left untreated
  • differing versions of how an injury occurred
  • child/relative advising of abuse
  • a child, referring to someone else being abused, may mean him/herself
  • sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for the age of the child
  • nightmares/bedwetting/going to bed fully-clothed
  • a high level of distrust of other people
  • an inability to relate well with adults and/or children
  • extreme attention-seeking behaviour, disruptive or aggressive behaviour and
 bullying
  • seeking indiscriminate or inappropriate adult affection.

The presence of one indicator does not necessarily suggest that a child is the subject of abuse. People working with children need to consider the context in which the indicators are observed and use common sense. 
If you feel any doubt, discuss the matter with the Club’s Child Protection Officer or call the Child Protection Hotline on 132 111.

This information is this document has been adapted for use by the Canada Bay Cannons from various sources. 
It does not purport to cover all situations. It is not intended as legal advice.