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Anti-Bullying Policy

Policy Aims

The aims of the policy are as follows:

  1. To make all those connected with Oxford Rhythmic Gymnastics Club aware of our opposition to bullying.

  2. To produce a consistent and clear club response to any behaviour deemed as bullying.

  3. To develop a club ethos in which bullying is regarded as unacceptable.

  4. To ensure a safe and secure environment where all children can train without anxiety and feel valued.

 

Definition of Bullying

 At Oxford Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, we define bullying as:

‘.. a person or persons who consistently and repeatedly take action to deliberately intimidate or hurt another person verbally, emotionally or physically. This also includes the use of technology (particularly mobile phones and the internet).’

 

We believe that bullying behaviour is:

  • Deliberately hurtful (including aggression) 

  • Repeated often over a period of time

  • Difficult for victims to defend themselves against

 

Examples of bullying include: 

  • Physical: pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching, any form of violence, threats -One child hurting another.

  • Verbal: name-calling, sarcasm, persistent teasing, insulting, teasing, making racist remarks, homophobic remarks or transgender remarks.

  • Psychological, spreading hurtful rumours, excluding someone from groups, moving away as a person approaches, leaving notes, failure to speak to or to acknowledge a person.

  • Sexual: unwanted physical contact, abusive comments.

  • Vandalism: Deliberately damaging or taking another child’s belongings.

  • Threatening either verbally or by e-mail/text message or social media.

  • Group bullying any of the above, but where two or more children conduct the bullying behaviour.

  • Constantly excluding from conversations or activities

 

These examples are judged to be bullying only if the action is deliberate, one sided and there are repeated instances. This is not an exhaustive list.

 

It is important to clarify the types of behaviour that we feel are unacceptable, but not examples of bullying. Examples of such types of behaviour include:

  • Where one gymnast calls another a name on one occasion.

  • Where a gymnast has hit or kicked as a response to being hurt him/herself. 

  • Where gymnasts fall out on one occasion. 

 

These types of behaviour are not regarded as bullying, but they are regarded as unacceptable forms of behaviour, and would be dealt with according to our Behaviour Policy. 

 

Responding to Incidents of Bullying

Policy and Practice

Identifying the gymnasts who are being bullied are not always prepared to tell those in authority for a number of reasons. When a disclosure of bullying is made, we will always treat it seriously. For gymnasts who are unable to tell ORG staff of their problems, we know that sometimes their behaviour can give clues about the problem. Such behaviours include:

 

  • An unwillingness to come to the club.

  • Acting in a withdrawn way, isolating themselves from others.

  • Complaining about missing possessions.

  • Refusing to talk about the problem.

  • Being easily distressed.

 

Preventing and Investigating the Problem

Bullying will not be tolerated at Oxford Rhythmic Gymnastics Club and all incidents will be taken very seriously. All gymnasts, their parents and ORG staff members are encouraged to tell us of any concerns, and we will act upon them. All investigations of bullying allegations will be thorough and involve the staff interviewing both the bully and their victim separately. Where others have witnessed the bullying, they will be interviewed so that as far as possible we know exactly what has happened. These conversations could be discreet meetings or informal opportunities if the situation warrants. 

 

The head coach or welfare officer will then investigate the incident by firstly talking with the bullied gymnast, listening to and noting the feelings expressed. A written factual record of the incident, investigation and outcomes will be made, and an Action Plan will be formulated. 

 

A meeting will then be arranged for all those directly/indirectly involved in which the feelings of the victim will be described, and measures will then be applied. 

 

Parents will be informed and asked to attend a meeting with the Head Coach. The parents of the victim will be fully informed of the ways in which the incident is dealt with, and of the support that will be given to their child after the incident. In dealing with the bullying incident in such a clear, thorough and immediate way, it is hoped that the victim will feel that his/her feelings and safety is paramount to the staff at the club.

 

Further support will be given to the victim in the form of regular monitoring by their coach.

  • Observation of the child in both the gym and recreational areas. 

  • The child will be made fully aware of the support available to him/her.

  • A buddying system with another supportive child.

  • A self-esteem book to rebuild self-confidence. 

  • Exclusion of any kind is to be regarded as a last resort.

 

Where bullying is substantiated, appropriate measures will be taken to reduce the chances of it recurring. Bullying will not be eradicated unless the behaviours of the bullies are changed. Efforts will be made to help the bully recognise why their behaviour is unacceptable and they will be offered help to modify that behaviour. This will include trying to understand why the gymnast has bullied, so that recurrence can be prevented. 

 

If the perpetrator continues with this behaviour their membership at the gym will be withdrawn.

 

Encouraging Best Practice Through Effective Partnership

Where gymnasts make allegations against other gymnasts

Whatever the nature of the allegation, this shall be taken seriously, and the head coach and welfare officer will work promptly to investigate the allegation. If the allegation is a safe-guarding issue and the child is not already referred to social services, the welfare officer lead will ring British Gymnastics Regional Welfare Officer for advice as whether to refer the child. If it is not a safe-guarding issue, the club will investigate and then inform both sets of parents of the situation, working with them to restore good relationships between the gymnasts.

Staff

The Head Coach and Welfare Officer will have responsibility for all aspects of implementing the anti-bullying policy, and for ensuring their bullying issues are dealt with.  All staff have a responsibility to implement this policy and to ensure all agreed procedures are followed.

 

Implementation

This policy is to be introduced and adopted by the whole gym community.  

 

Monitoring and Review

All incidents of bullying will be recorded on an incident proforma and kept by the Head Coach who deals with incidents associated with anti-bullying will feed back to relevant members of the coaching staff.  Any bullying incidents must be shared and dealt with by either the head coach or the welfare officer. These incidents will be recorded and both hard and electronic copies of documents of the records will be kept safe.

 

The anti-bullying policy is the head coach’s responsibility and reviewed on an annual basis.  

Last reviewed: April 2022

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