Northern Saints Football Club Anti-Bullying Policy

Statement of Intent

We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all our members so they can participate in sport in a relaxed and secure atmosphere.

Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at the Northern Saints Football Club.  

If bullying does occur, all club members should be able to feel free to tell club leaders 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.

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 or tormenting others (e.g: threatening gestures)

• Physical - pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence

• Racist - racial taunts, graffiti or gestures

• Sexual - unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments

• Homophobic – bullying based on or focussing on the issue of sexuality

• Verbal – name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours or teasing

• Cyber - abuse or threats involving any use of the internet, such as email, chat or social media. Can also involve use of phones or text messages and misuse of technology such as camera and video facilities.

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 and as an equal. 

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

Objectives of this Policy

• All club members, whether they be players, coaches, supporters, volunteers or parents should have an understanding of what bullying is, know what the club policy is on bullying and follow it at all times.

• All club players, coaches, supporters, volunteers or parents should know what to do if bullying arises and how bullying is reported.

• As a club we take bullying seriously.  All members of the club should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.

Signs and Symptoms of Bullying

A person, especially a child, may not always ask for support when being bullied. They may feel afraid, ashamed or embarrassed and that the person they tell will think they are weak. Victims of bullying may think that they deserve to be bullied or are ‘dobbing’ by telling someone what is happening to them. There are many signs that someone is being bullied (particularly amongst children). Adults should be aware of these possible signs and should investigate if someone is:

• finding excuses for not wanting to attend training or games (e.g. feeling sick, has an injury, has too much work to do) or talking about hating their sport

• wants to be driven to training or matches instead of walking

• alienated from social or shared activities

• has bruising or other injuries

• becomes uncharacteristically nervous, worried, shy or withdrawn

• clothing or personal possessions are missing or are damaged

• repeatedly loses money or possessions

• suddenly prone to lashing out at people either physically or verbally

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

 Procedures

1. Report bullying incidents to the Club Welfare Officer, members of the club committee or an adult you can trust. 

2. In cases of serious bullying, incidents will be referred to the Club Welfare Officer. 

3. In serious cases parents will be informed and asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.

4. If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted.

5. The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying will be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.

6. An attempt will be made to help the bully/bullies change their behavior.

7. If mediation fails and the bullying continues the club will initiate disciplinary proceedings according to the club constitution.

Recommended Club Actions

When dealing with an incident of bullying the club 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 of the Chairman, Club Welfare Officer, Secretary and committee members) will meet with the person who is alleging bullying to get details of the allegation. If the person alleging bullying is a child a parent should be in attendance.  Minutes should be taken for clarity, which should be agreed by all as a true account.

3. The same people should meet with the alleged bully and their parent/s to notify them of the incident that has been raised and to get their view of the allegation. Minutes should again be taken and agreed.

4. If bullying has in their view taken place the individual 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.

5. In some cases the parent of the bully or bullied player may 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 individuals should be made aware of the concerns and outcome of the process i.e. the warning.

Outcomes

1. The bully/bullies may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place.

2. In serious cases, suspension or even exclusion will be considered.

3. If possible, the people involved will be reconciled.

4. After the incident/incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will continue to be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.

Prevention

1. The club will have a written constitution, which outlines what is acceptable and proper behavior for all members. The anti-bullying policy will be included in the written constitution.

2. All club members 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. If issues of bullying arise in the club, the Club Welfare Officer will meet with members to discuss the issue openly and constructively.

 You may also wish to access any of the following websites designed to give advice and guidance to parents and children who are faced with dealing with bullying:

HELP ORGANISATIONS:

https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/bullying

https://thebullyproject.com.au/home/

https://bullyzero.org.au/

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/what-bullying-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

https://www.ncab.org.au/