It is a growing concern what is and what isn’t acceptable physical contact. The AT appreciate that there are some circumstances in Angling where physical contact may be necessary, have a look for more information here.
It is important that coaches understand these guidelines to protect their own position and the overall reputation of angling. Physical contact in angling coaching may be necessary and if physical contact is required, the coach should explain the nature and reason for the contact and unless the situation is an emergency, ask the child’s permission. Contact should never involve touching any part of the body that could be considered sexual or could cause embarrassment or distress. Where possible, techniques should be demonstrated with another member of coaching staff.
Physical contact should be intended to meet the child’s needs and not the coaches. This could include:
- demonstrating technique/developing skill
- to treat an injury;
- to try to prevent injury, accident or violence from occurring.
It is unlawful for those working with children to administer any form of physical punishment (e.g. slapping, hitting). However, on some occasions it may be necessary to physically intervene to prevent a child from:
- harming themselves;
- harming another;
- putting themselves or others at risk;
- damaging property.
Responding to distress and success
Physical contact may occur in response to distress or success. There is no intention to prevent an adult from giving comfort to an upset child or celebrating a success, but contact should be initiated by the child and for their benefit, not the adults. A young person or coach may also want to mark a success or achievement with a hug or other gesture. Adults should use their discretion in such cases to ensure that (and what is seen by others present) is normal and natural does not become unnecessary and unjustified contact, particularly with the same young person over a period of time. It should also be considered that what an adult may feel appropriate may not be shared by a young person.
Physical contact for medical treatment
There is no intention to prevent medical treatment that is carried out by appropriately trained or qualified practitioners. Guidelines on this include:
- Consent is obtained from parents so that staff may act in emergency situations to administer/obtain medical treatment;
- It is recommended that all treatment procedures are explained to the child and verbal consent is gained before they are carried out.
- It is not recommended that a child is on his/her own in a treatment room with the door closed. It is strongly recommended that all treatment procedures should be ‘open’ i.e. the door remains open, parents are invited to observe treatment procedures. Where strict medical confidentiality is to be observed then the parents of the child should be informed of the procedures involved;
- It is important to maintain medical confidentiality and patient dignity at all times.
In the case of a young person with a disability, specific support or assistance may be required. For those who require assistance with intimate personal care (e.g. toileting, feeding or changing) arrangements should be agreed in partnership with the child and parents, before the activity commences, to ensure that these tasks are undertaken by the child’s parents or carers, rather than by angling officials without the necessary training or experience.
Physical contact as part of coaching
Many sports are likely to require coaches to come into contact with children in the regular course of coaching activity. Angling is no different and an example can be seen when helping learners cast. All adults and coaches should understand the limits of what contact should take place and of the possibility that any contact could be misinterpreted.
While physical contact between an adult and a child may occur during angling coaching this physical contact may be misconstrued or misinterpreted by the learner, somebody from their family or an observer. Questions are more likely to occur if physical contact becomes regular and prolonged. Any physical contact must be communicated to both the learner and parent in terms of what is necessary and why prior to it happening and agreed by them, however it is generally recommended that if methods involving non contact are possible for development of a skill then these would be advised as a preference.