Any suspicion that a child is being abused will raise strong emotions and concerns among staff, PGA professionals, volunteers, members, parents or even other juniors, and it can be inherently difficult to report such matters. But it’s so important that any concerns for the welfare of a child are reported immediately.
All staff, PGA professionals, volunteers, members, parents and children should be assured that their NGB will fully support anyone who, in good faith, reports his or her concern that a child may be exposed to some form of abuse.
An allegation of abuse may give rise to a child protection investigation by the CSC department and/or a criminal investigation involving the police. If the abuse is alleged to have been committed in the course of a person’s employment, he or she will be subject to whatever disciplinary procedures and sanctions apply within their organisation.
However, for volunteers, staff and PGA members, if the abuse is said to have occurred within the context of golf, it may also require separate disciplinary action by the club and/or the governing body, so the CWO or another person in charge of the club should inform the NGB CPO in these circumstances.
The NGB CPO, in consultation with the officers of the SCiG, will make a decision as to whether immediate action is required. If the police and/or CSC are investigating the matter, the NGB may decide to await the outcome of these investigations, which may influence an internal disciplinary investigation, although not necessarily so.
The club should consider whether to suspend the individual while an investigation is taking place. This is not intended to prejudge the outcome of the investigation, but simply to remove the individual from contact with children until the investigation is concluded. England Golf has drafted guidance for handling suspensions in Child Protection matters for clubs. For other organisations, contact the NGB CPO.
The NGB may have guidelines for individuals who are the subject of a suspension for a child protection matter and for clubs that wish to suspend a coach, volunteer or member of staff.
Irrespective of the findings of the CSC or police inquiries, the NGB recommends that each individual case is assessed using the appropriate disciplinary procedure.
It should be noted that the NGB CPO can provide support, even if there is not a serious disciplinary outcome to an allegation. Ill feeling and other potential long-term misunderstandings or recriminations can be avoided if the NGB CPO deals with issues and concerns in a timely, professional manner.