Volunteers who deliver sports activities to children may, on occasions, be required to deal with a child’s challenging behaviour. These guidelines aim to promote good practice and to encourage a proactive response to supporting children to manage their own behaviour.

These guidelines are based on the following principles:

• The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.
• All those involved in activities (including children, coaches/volunteers and parents/carers) are provided with these clear guidelines about required standards of conduct, and the organisation/club’s process for responding to behaviour that is deemed unacceptable.
• Children must never be subject to any form of treatment that is harmful, abusive, humiliating or degrading.

Sport can make a significant contribution to improving the life experience and outcomes for all children and young people. Every child will be supported to participate and, only in exceptional circumstances where the safety of a child or of other children cannot be maintained, will a child be excluded from club activities.

Volunteers, children, young people and parents/carers will be involved in developing an agreed statement of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (code of conduct) and the range of sanctions which may be applied in response to unacceptable behaviour. Every member of the group will be asked to read and sign the Dreigiau Coed y Brenin Dragons Code of Conduct issued with this document.

In responding to challenging behaviour the response will always be proportionate to the actions, be imposed as soon as is practicable and be fully explained to the child and their parents/carers. In dealing with children who display negative or challenging behaviours, volunteers might consider the following options:

• Time out – from the activity, group or individual work.
• Reparation – the act or process of making amends.
• Restitution – the act of giving something back.
• De-escalation of the situation – talking through with the child.
• Increased supervision by volunteers where/when possible.
• Use of individual ‘contracts’ or agreements for their future or continued participation.
• Temporary or permanent exclusion – in worse case scenarios only.

The use of verbal intimidation, ridicule or humiliation from any individual will not be tolerated.

Volunteers will review the needs of any child for whom sanctions are frequently necessary. This review will involve the child and parents/carers to ensure an informed decision is made about the child’s future or continued participation. As a last resort, if a child continues to present a high level of risk or danger to him or herself, or others, he or she may have to be suspended or barred from the group or club activities.

The use of physical intervention will always be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary to prevent a child injuring themselves or others, or causing serious damage to property. Before physically intervening, the member of staff or volunteer should ask themselves, ‘Is this the only option in order to manage the situation and ensure safety?’ It is good practice to ensure that if you have to physically intervene in a situation with a child/young person, it is in the least restrictive way necessary to prevent them from getting hurt, and used only after all other strategies have been exhausted.

A timely debrief for volunteers, the child and parents/carers should always take place following an incident. This should include ensuring that the physical and emotional well-being of those involved has been addressed and ongoing support offered where necessary. Volunteers, children and parents/carers should be given an opportunity to talk about what happened in a calm and safe environment.