Blackrock Athletic Club is fully committed to ensuring that young athletes in the Club are safeguarded in their participation in athletics. Early experiences of young athletes in our sport need to be positive and enjoyable.  We follow best practice in Child Welfare and fully adhere to Athletics Ireland’s (‘AAI’) recommended processes in this area. The AAI material is available at the AAI website’s Child Welfare page which can be found here.

To maintain an open and transparent approach we have adopted the AAI’s Safeguarding Statement, Related Policies, Codes of Conduct and Guidelines as our own, in some places customised for our club. We have performed a Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment and adopted appropriate policies to address the child safety risks identified.

The Club Safeguarding Statement for Children and Code of ethics can be found on the website and the Club Noticeboard.

The Club has policies around Child Welfare, Coaching, Bullying and Codes of Conduct for all our members. We expect all members, parents, coaches, and volunteers to read the policies to understand and comply with the Club Rules. All participating children must sign up to the code of conduct. All members confirm that they know and understand these policies annually when they renew their membership. We rely on parents to ensure that all young athletes are made aware of the club rules. See policy documents below, click to launch the document.

The child protection officers are:

Emer Mooney, Nuala Hunt, Barry Thornton, Janice Kelly, Louise Kinlen and Michael Wood (DLP) 

The objective of Blackrock Athletic Club is to promote athletics in Blackrock, Co Dublin and the surrounding area. It operates in a safe, caring, friendly and fun-loving environment and endeavours to provide the necessary coaching expertise required to enable young athletes of all abilities to reach their full potential. It lays special emphasis on fair play, community and sportsmanship and works actively to encourage, the development of such attributes as, teamwork and leadership.

Club Principles
The Club and those involved with the Club will abide by the following principles and statements:

  • All young people within Blackrock AC, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, or disability have the right to be protected.
  • All young people participating in sport have a right to do so in a safe environment.
  • All adults involved with the Club will provide a safe, positive, and fun, sporting experience for young people.
  • All volunteers, coaches and officials will understand and be supported in their role and responsibility regarding the duty of care of young people.
  • All suspicious incidents and all allegations will be taken seriously, managed, and dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
  • The Club will assist coaches, volunteers, and officials to remain up to date with the latest safeguarding and child protection issues.
  • The Club will appoint a Children’s Officer/s to deal with issues concerning child welfare at the club.

Club Commitment to Child Welfare

To maintain an open and transparent approach we have adopted the Athletics Ireland (AAI’s) Child Protection Policy Statement and Safeguarding Statement, related Policies, Codes of Conduct and Guidelines as our own, in some places customised for our club.

We have performed a Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment and adopted appropriate policies and guidelines to address the child safety risks identified. Details of this review can be seen on the Child Safeguarding Statement.

We expect all members, parents, officials, coaches, and volunteers to read the policies to understand and comply with the Club Rules.

The Blackrock Athletic Club’s Codes of Conduct and Policies and Procedures can be seen in the ‘Child Welfare’ / ‘Ethics’ section of the website. **Come back to and insert link***

Athletics Ireland Child Protection Policy Statement

Athletics Ireland acknowledges its duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with legislation, best practice, and Sport Ireland requirements.

The policy recognises that the welfare and interests of children are paramount in all circumstances. It aims to ensure that regardless of age, ability or disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, socio-economic background, all children

• have a positive and enjoyable experience of sport at Athletics Ireland in a safe and child-centred environment

• are protected from abuse whilst participating in athletics or outside of the activity.

Athletics Ireland acknowledges that some children, including disabled children and young people or those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and we accept the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare.

As part of our safeguarding policy Athletics Ireland will :

• promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people

• ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify, and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people

• ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern

• ensure that confidential, detailed, and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored

• prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals

• ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation.

The policy and procedures will be widely promoted and are mandatory for everyone involved in Athletics Ireland. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.


The policy will be reviewed every two years, or in the following circumstances:

• changes in legislation and/or government guidance

• as required by Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) and Sport Ireland.

• as a result of any other significant change or event.                                 

Section 1 – NGB / club information

Blackrock Athletic Club, Blackrock, Co Dublin is affiliated to Athletics Ireland and provides various sporting activities and opportunities for children and young people through participation in clubs, regional/provincial events and through to our national teams. Organised events involved the provision of athletic championships and games that involve in some instances require attendance at weekend events and overnight trips for clubs and their members. Athletics Ireland is a volunteer led organisation that provides its members with opportunities to participate in the sport of Track and Field Athletics across all age grades from Juvenile (u9 to u16), Youth (u18), Junior (u20), Senior (u35) and Master (35+).

  • Blackrock Athletic Club 
  • Sport:  Track and Field Athletics, Cross Country, Road Running and Race Walking.
  • Location: Blackrock, Co Dublin
  • Activities:  Track and Field, Cross Country, Road Running and Race Walking.

Section 2 – Principles to safeguard children from harm

Athletics Ireland is committed to safeguarding children and by working under the guidance of our Safeguarding Policies our volunteers working with our young people, throughout the organisation, seek to create a safe environment for young people to grow and develop within sport. The following set of principles should be adhered to:

  • Importance of childhood – The importance of childhood should be understood and valued by everyone involved in sport.
  • Needs of the child – All children’s sport experiences should be guided by what is best for children. This means that adults should have a basic understanding of the emotional, physical and personal needs of young people.
  • Integrity in relationships – Adults interacting with children in sport are in a position of trust and influence. They should always ensure that children are treated with integrity and respect, and the self-esteem of young people is enhanced.
  • Fair Play – All children’s sport should be conducted in an atmosphere of fair play. The principles of fair play should always be emphasised, and organisers should give clear guidelines regarding acceptable standards of behaviour.
  • Quality atmosphere & ethos – Children’s sport should be conducted in a safe, positive and encouraging atmosphere.
  • Competition – Competition is an essential element of sport and should be encouraged in an age appropriate manner. A child centred ethos will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place.
  • Equality – All children should be valued and treated in an equitable and fair manner regardless of ability, age, gender, religion, social and ethnic background or political persuasion.

Section 3 – Risk Assessment

This Blackrock Athletic Club Child Welfare Risk Assessment document indicates the areas of potential risk of harm, the likelihood of the risk occurring, and gives the required policy, guidance or process documents required to alleviate these risks.  The list of risks identified and procedures to manage these risks are contained in the following categories:

Club and Coaching Practices
Complaints and Discipline
Reporting Procedures
Use of Facilities
General risk of harm

Section 4 – Procedures

Our Child Safeguarding Statement has been developed in line with requirements under the Children First Act 2015, (the Children First: National Guidance, and Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice). In addition to our Risk Assessment document described above, there are further procedures that support our intention to safeguard children while they are availing of our activities.

Athletics Ireland has the following procedures in place as part of our Safeguarding Policies:

  • Procedures for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct by staff or volunteers against a child availing of our activities.
  • Procedures for the safe recruitment of staff and volunteers to work with children in our activities.
  • Procedures for access to child safeguarding training and information, including the identification of the occurrence of harm.
  • Procedure for reporting of child protection or welfare concerns to Statutory Authorities.
  • Procedure for maintaining a list of the persons (if any) in the relevant service who are mandated persons.
  • Procedure for appointing a relevant person (Club Children’s Officer).

Please note that all procedures listed are available on request.

Kieron Stout is the relevant person for Athletics Ireland, and he is also a mandated person as set out in the Children First Act 2015. Kieron can be contacted on 086 2450134.

Following the carrying out of a club specific Child Welfare Risk Assessment, Blackrock Athletic Club has adopted the principals, code of ethics, policies and procedures of Athletics Ireland and acknowledges Athletics Ireland leadership and guidance for policy, procedures, and practice within the club.

In accordance with the Athletics Ireland Child Welfare Plan Blackrock Athletic Club has the following list of Policies, Procedures and Codes of Conduct.

  • Child Safeguarding Policy 
  • Child Welfare Risk Assessment
  • Child Safeguarding Statement
  • Code of Conduct – Officials, Coaches and Volunteers
  • Code of Conduct – Children and Young Athletes
  • Juveniles General Club Rules
  • Code of Conduct – Parents and Guardians
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Volunteer Garda Vetting Policy
  • Child Safeguarding Training Policy
  • Coach Education and Training Policy
  • Inclusion Policy
  • Supervision policy and Travel/Away Trip Policy
  • Missing Child Policy
  • Anti – Bullying Policy
  • Film and Photography Policy and Guidelines
  • Communications and Social Media Online Safety Policy
  • First Aid Policy
  • Guidance on Responding to a Critical Incident
  • Reporting Procedures/Policy – Allegations of Abuse
  • Complaints and Diciplinary Policy
  • Data Privacy Statement
  • Covid 19 policy and Risk Assessment

The purpose of creating and adhering to the Codes of Conduct, Policies and Procedures is to facilitate and encourage best practice in athletics and a safe environment in our club for all members and volunteers.

We expect all Members, Coaches, Volunteers and Parents to read and comply with the club Policies, Procedures and Codes of Conduct.

All members confirm that they know and understand these Policies, Procedures and Codes of Conduct annually when they renew their membership.  We rely on parents to ensure that all children and young athletes are made aware of the club rules and policies.

Section 5 – Implementation

We recognise that implementation is an ongoing process. Our club is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our activities.

Please note the following:

  • That all volunteers have been furnished with a copy of this statement.
  • This statement is available to parents/guardians, the Agency & members of the public on request.
  • This statement will be displayed on the Notice Board in the Clubhouse.

The Athletics Ireland Child Safeguarding Plan including all policies and procedures is available on request or at here for download.

You can also email if you would like any information sent to you.

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed on 12 Dec 2022.

Signed: Emer Mooney Date: 13 Dec 2020

(By the Club Children’s Officer (Relevant Person) On behalf the Club)

Name:    Emer Mooney  Phone no: 087 207 9607

For queries on this Child Safeguarding Statement, please contact the Relevant Person (CCO)

Sport should be safe, fun, and conducted in a spirit of fair play.
As a young person, you are entitled to the best possible environment to participate in sport.
You deserve to be given enjoyable, safe sporting opportunities, free from abuse of any kind.
You have rights, which must be respected, and responsibilities that you must accept.
You should always treat other athletes, coaches and team leaders with fairness and respect.

You are entitled to:

  • Be safe and to feel safe
  • Be listened to
  • Be believed
  • Be treated with dignity, sensitivity, and respect
  • Have your voice heard in your sport
  • Participate on an equal and non-discriminatory basis
  • Have fun and enjoy your sport
  • Experience competition at a level at which you are happy
  • Make complaints and have them dealt with.
  • Get help against those who bully.
  • Say No.
  • Protect your body.
  • Privacy and confidentiality.

Athletes should always:

  • Play fairly, do your best and have fun.
  • Respect your coaches, officials and volunteers and accept decisions made.
  • Respect team members and fellow athletes, at all times, even when things go wrong.
  • Respect opponents and be modest in victory and gracious in defeat.
  • Arrive at training on time and ready to participate.
  • Take responsibility for your own belongings and take them home after training.
  • Listen to and obey the coaches’ instructions during training sessions.
  • Wear the club singlet during competitions.
  • Wear bright clothing and a reflective strip at the winter evening sessions.
  • Abide by the rules set down by coaches when travelling to and during competitions.
  • Use a buddy system when going to the bathroom or using changing facilities.
  • Talk to the children’s officers or any of the coaches if you have any concerns.
  • Support and assist where appropriate with the running of your group.

You should never:

  • Leave the training group for any reason without telling your coach.
  • Cheat or seek to gain an unfair advantage.
  • Intimidate, use violence or physical contact that is not welcome.
  • Shout at or argue with another person unreasonably.
  • Cause harm to team members, opponents, or damage property.
  • Bully or threaten another person online or offline.
  • Spread or circulate rumours online or offline about another person.
  • Tell lies.
  • Keep secrets about anyone who has caused you harm.
  • Take banned substances, consume alcohol or recreational drugs.
  • Use email, text, or social media to communicate directly with a coach.
  • Train if injured.
  • Behave in a manner that will bring the club or sport into disrepute.

Code sign up:

The undertaking to abide by and support the club’s Child Protection Policy given by the parent/legal guardian of junior members is deemed to be agreement on the part of the junior member to abide by this Code of Conduct.

Therefore, this Code of Conduct is deemed accepted upon registration with Blackrock Athletic Club and upon renewal of registration every year.

Parents must ensure that their children understand the Code of Conduct for Young Athletes.

  1. Membership

The Blackock A.C. Juvenile Club is made up of the ‘Academy training group’ for juveniles aged 6 & 7 and the Club Juvenile Section for juveniles aged 8 to 18. The membership year runs from 1 January to 31 December. The annual membership fee is inclusive of the Athletics Ireland registration fees. The Club has a waiting list for juvenile members. To join the waitlist complete the link on the under the membership tab

2. Attire

Athletes should attend training in clothes suitable for running.  As per Athletics Ireland rules any athletes competing for the club in official competitions must wear a club singlet. These can be purchased from the clubhouse. Please ensure these, and any other clothing items are labelled with the athlete’s name. For safety reasons high viz vests are required at winter training. Spikes are beneficial in Carysfort Park in the Winter season. The club operates a swop spikes system in the clubhouse.

3. Training Times

Please see the website for your childs training times and venue. Blackrock Athletic Club trains in two venues. Carysfort Park and St Andrews College

At the end of March all St Andrews Thursday training reverts to Carysfort Park.

4. Supervision and Collection

All coaches give their time voluntarily so it is important that training times do not over run. To avoid disruption to the training, which is usually 1 hour long, we ask all athletes to go to the toilet and not to eat immediately before training. All athletes should attend and be ready for training 10 minutes in advance of training times. Parents must collect their children on time. All collections are from the clubhouse or in the grounds of St Andrews and not from a waiting car on the roadside.

Athletes up to 10 years of age must have a responsible adult in attendance at all times at all training sessions and events.

5. Refreshments

All athletes should bring their own water to training-no fizzy/high energy drinks are allowed. Please ensure water bottles are clearly labelled.

6. Code of Conduct

Club Codes of Conduct exist to ensure all children are safe, enjoy the training sessions, and respect is shown to all athletes and coaches. If a child is not behaving and is disruptive at the training sessions we have the following processes in place:

First incident: Verbal warning.

Second incident: Recording by the Club Children’s Officer who gives a second warning.

Further incidents: Follow up with the child’s parents by the Childrens’ Officer and the child’s membership may be suspended or revoked.

7. Photos

Photos of athletes taken by club officials and coaches during events may be used in accordance with the club’s ‘Photography and use of Images Policy’. For details of this policy please see the website. We request that parents refrain from taking photos and videos of other people’s children and uploading them on to social media.

Please note these “Juvenile General Club Rules” should be read in conjunction with the Club Codes of Conduct for Parents, Coaches, and Juveniles. See the noticeboard or website for details.

We hope all athletes have a long and happy association with the Club, making many new friends while developing a lifelong love of athletics.

Blackrock Athletic Club is guided by and fully committed to Athletics Ireland – ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Athletics’.  The document acts as a guide for all other rules and regulations in our club. It outlines best practice with regard to working with children to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

 All coaches, officials and volunteers of the club must receive a copy of the Athletics Ireland Child Welfare Document – ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Athletics’ and they register their intent to adhere to Athletics Ireland Policies regarding the protection and welfare of children in Athletics upon taking up a role in Blackrock Athletic Club.

All coaches, officials and volunteers at the Club should lead by example and:

  1. Ensure their Garda Vetting is completed before commencing coaching.
  2. Be up-to-date with knowledge and skill of sport and athletics for young people and be willing to undertake training courses and workshops relevant to coaching.
  3. The Club aspires to have all coaches trained to AAI Coach level 1 (or equivalent), all assistant coaches trained to AAI Assistant Coach level or equivalent and all volunteers trained to Athletic Leader level or equivalent.
  4. All active coaches, assistant coaches and parent volunteers must have up to date Garda vetting and a certificate of completion for Child Safeguarding Level 1.
  5. Club Children’s Officer must be Garda vetted and have a certification for Child Safeguarding Level 1 and 2
  6. Designated Liaison Person must be Garda vetted and attend Child Safeguarding Level 1, 2 and 3
  7. Confirm that they agree with the Club Coach Education and Training Policy.
  8. Consider the wellbeing and safety of participants before the development of performance.
  9. Display consistently high standards of behaviour.
  10. Follow the guidelines laid down by Athletics Ireland as adopted by the Club.
  11. Develop an appropriate working relationship with athletes based on mutual trust and respect.
  12. Be familiar with Club policies and procedures.
  13. Obtain a listing of registered athletes for their age category and ensure that only registered athletes attend the training sessions. Any queries to be emailed to
  14. Be aware of any medical requirements of the athletes in their care as indicated by parents.
  15. Use a group system for communicating with parents/guardians and coaches of athletes and do not communicate individually by social media, text or email with juvenile athletes.
  16. Do a roll call at training sessions, keep a headcount and confirm training attendance on the club management system.
  17. Be punctual and prepared for training sessions and communicate to parents and other coaches about training sessions on a timely basis.
  18. Ensure that the training plan is appropriate for the athlete’s age group and ability.
  19. Put the welfare of young athletes first, ensuring they leave with a sense of achievement and increased self-esteem.
  20. Be positive during training sessions and competitions and praise and encourage effort as well as results.
  21. Be familiar with the first aid kits, incident forms and be prepared to administer basic first aid or to call on a coach able to do so. Report incidents that arise to a Club Child Welfare Officer.
  22. Encourage fair play and treat participants equally.
  23. Involve parents where necessary and inform parents when problems arise. Encourage parents to get involved in club activities.
  24. When coaching training groups alone or indoors, be accompanied by a parent representative or volunteer.
  25. Keep a brief record of problem / action / outcomes, if behavioural problems arise and report to the Children’s Officer.
  26. Encourage athletes to accept responsibility for their own performance.
  27. Challenge bullying in any form.
  28. Respect other coaches, parents and other club officials.

Coaches, officials and volunteers should not:

  • Spend time with children away from others or find themselves alone with one child.
  • Let the second last child leave at collection if it means being left then with one child.
  • Be isolated with individual children on training runs.
  • Communicate with underage athletes individually via text or email or by social media or communicate directly with Gaisce volunteers. All communications must be via their parent numbers.
  • Have any unnecessary or inappropriate physical contact with athletes.
  • Use any form of physical punishment or force on a child.
  • Exert undue influence over participants to gain personal benefit or reward.
  • Undermine the efforts of an athlete’s personal coach and/or attempt to ‘poach’ an athlete within a squad environment.
  • Condone rule violations, rough play or the use of prohibited substances.
  • Use bad language, shout offensively or ridicule athletes.
  • Smoke while coaching.
  • Consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs immediately prior to or while dealing with underage athletes.
  • Administer any medication or medical aid unless trained to do so.
  • Engage in communications with underage athletes individually via personal social network sites.
  • Transport a juvenile athlete alone.
  • Take a juvenile athlete to the coaches own home.
  • Bring a child alone to a bathroom or attend in a changing room alone with an underage athlete.
  • Engage in rough physical games, provocative games or allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any kind with an underage athlete.
  • Abuse their position of authority by engaging in any form of sexual relations with children, or vulnerable adults.
  • Undertake or use any form of therapy (hypnosis, etc.) in the training of children.

Parents/guardians play a key role in the support and promotion of an ethical approach to sport and young people’s enjoyment in sport. Parents/guardians therefore need to be aware, informed and involved in promoting the safest possible environment for children to enjoy their participation in sport. Sports leaders need the support of parents/guardians to provide a safe environment and in conveying the fair play message. All participants in sport have a responsibility to keep sport safe, fun, and conducted with a spirit of fair play for all.

Parents/Guardians are responsible for their own children. You as a parent/guardian know your child best. If you believe that your child needs further supervision or support than can be given in a group situation at training sessions or competitions, for whatever reason either medical, psychological or emotional then you must ensure that you or an adult responsible for your child is present at training sessions and competitions at all times.

Children under 10 years of age must at all times have a parent/guardian or an adult responsible for them at training sessions or competitions.

Parents Code of Conduct

Parents and Guardians should always:

  • Be a good role model for your child and maintain the highest standards of conduct when interacting with children, other parents, coaches, officials, and volunteers.
  • Support all efforts to remove abusive behaviour and bullying behaviour in all its forms. Please refer to the Bullying Policy.
  • Encourage their child to learn the Athletics Ireland and Club rules & abide by them.
  • Discourage unfair play & arguing with officials.
  • Set a good example by recognising fair play & applauding good performances of all.
  • Always use correct and proper language.
  • Publicly accept officials’ judgements
  • Help your child to recognise good performance, not just results.
  • Support your child’s involvement and help them to enjoy their sport.
  • Encourage and guide your child to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.
  • Ensure that your child is registered with the club and that their membership renewal is up to date. Membership runs from January to December.
  • Ensure that the club has up to date contact details for parents/guardians.
  • Ensure that the club is informed of any medical or physical issues your child may have including any other difficulty or disorder which will impact coach/athlete communication or understanding. This must be communicated annually to the club and your child’s coach. Coaches change so you must ensure each coach is informed.
  • Comply with all Government and Club health and safety guidelines and measures put in place to protect our athletes and volunteers from accidents, danger, or ill health. For example, Covid 19 Pandemic Public Health Guidelines.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the start and finish time of your child’s training sessions or competition and ensure that they are dropped off and collected on time.
  • Ensure that all athlete belongings have name tags, and all belongings are taken home at the end of each training session.
  • Ensure that young athletes are properly attired in club singlets for competitions.

If possible:

  • Volunteer with the club for coaching, officiating, or running events.
  • Volunteer (minimum once per annum) at competition events when your child competes for the Club. 

Parents and Guardians should not:

  • Force your child to take part in sport if they are injured or unwell.
  • Punish or belittle a child for losing or poor performance.
  • Argue with coaches, volunteers or other officials.
  • Behave in a manner that brings the club into disrepute.
  • Attempt to meet your own needs and aspirations for success and achievement through your child’s participation in games.

Please be aware that the training venues of Blackrock Athletic Club are open to the public and are not enclosed. There is easy exit from the grounds onto the main road of Carysfort Avenue, from Blackrock Park and Booterstown Avenue, from St Andrews College on Winter evenings. Children must be dropped off and collected from within the training grounds.

It is a parents/guardian’s responsibility to assess whether their child is safe in that environment. If parents of children over 10yrs of age, do not think, their child is safe in that environment then they must ensure that they stay with their child during training sessions.

Parents and Guardians are entitled to:

  • Know that their child is safe while training and competing with the club.
  • Make a complaint if they believe that their child’s safety is compromised.
  • Be kept informed of any issues arising in relation to their child.
  • Be informed if their child is injured.

Code sign up:

Upon registration with Blackrock Athletic Club and upon renewal of registration every year parents/guardians undertake to abide by and support the club’s child protection policy and in doing so they undertake to abide by Blackrock Athletic Club  ‘Code of Conduct for Parents and Guardians’

What is Bullying?

Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression be it verbal, psychological, or physical conducted by an individual or group against others. It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating and occurs mainly in social environments such as schools, clubs and other organisations working with children and young people. It includes behaviours such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting and extortion behaviour by one or more children against a victim.

How would you know if a child is being bullied?

All bullies operate using furtiveness, threats, and fear. Bullying can therefore only survive in an environment where the victim does not feel empowered to tell someone who can help or in which it is not safe to do so. The following indicators are warning signs that a young person might be getting bullied.

  • Reluctance to come to a venue or take part in activities.
  • Physical signs (unexplained bruises, scratches, or damage to belongings).
  • Stress-caused illness – headaches, and stomach aches which seem unexplained.
  • Fearful behaviour (fear of walking to a meeting, going different routes, asking to be driven).
  • Frequent loss of, or shortage of, money with vague explanations.
  • Having few friends.
  • Changes in behaviour (withdrawn, stammering, moody, irritable, upset, distressed).
  • Not eating.
  • Attempting suicide or hinting at suicide.
  • Anxiety (shown by nail-biting, fearfulness, tics).

There are other possible reasons for many of the above

Who should deal with bullying?

While the more extreme forms of bullying would be regarded as physical or emotional abuse and are reported to the health board or An Garda Síochana, dealing with bullying behaviour is normally the responsibility of all officials and coaches within the club.

How can it be prevented?

  • Ensure that all members follow the code of conduct, which promotes the rights and dignity of each member.
  • Deal with any incidents as they arise.
  • Use a whole group policy or „no-blame approach‟, i.e., not „bullying the bully‟ but working with bullies and the group of young people, helping them to understand the hurt they are causing, and so make the problem a “shared concern‟ of the group, (see below).
  • Reinforce that there is „a permission to tell‟ culture rather than a “might is right‟.
  • Encourage young people to negotiate, co-operate and help others, particularly new or different children.
  • Offer the victim immediate support and put the “no blame approach‟ into operation.
  • Never tell a young person to ignore bullying, they cannot ignore it, it hurts too much.
  • Never encourage a young person to take the law into their own hands and beat the bully at their own game.
  • Tell the victim there is nothing wrong with them and it is not their fault.

What is the ‘No Blame’ Approach?

Step 1 – Interview with the victim

If you find that there has been an incident of bullying, first talk to the victim. At

this stage find out who was involved and what the victim is now feeling. Try asking the following questions:

  • Was it verbal or physical intimidation?
  • How hurt is the victim?
  • Was it within his/her own peer group?
  • Ensure the victim that his/her name will not come out in the investigation.
  • Actively listen.

Step 2 – Meet with all involved

Arrange to meet with all those involved; this should include some bystanders, those who may have colluded, those who joined in and those who initiated the bullying.

  • Have a maximum of six to eight in the group – keep the number


  • Make a point of calling a “special‟ meeting.
  • Ensure the severity of the topic is understood by all.
  • Speak only of the hurt caused in general terms with no reference to the victim.
  • Play on the conscience of all – ask questions like: How would you feel?
  • Would you like it done to you?

Step 3 – Explain the problem

The distress being suffered as a result of the bullying incident is explained. At this stage, the details of the incident or the allocation of the blame are not discussed. Explain the feelings of loneliness, feeling left out, rejected, laughed at. Try asking questions:

  • Would they like it if it happened to them?
  • “Someone here in this group was bullied by someone within the group, what could we do to see it does not happen again?”
  • Listen, watch out for reactions, and pick up on any without isolating anyone.

Step 4 – Share the responsibility

Explain what steps/controls may have to be introduced to prevent further incidents and how everyone will lose out as a result.

Step 5 – Ask the group for their ideas

At this stage, the group is encouraged to suggest ways that would make the victim feel happier. All positive responses are noted. Use phrases “if it were you” to encourage a response. Listen to all suggestions and note them.

Step 6 – Leave it to them

Now the problem has been identified, solutions suggested, the problem is now handed over to the group to solve. Arrange to meet again in a week‟s time.

Pass responsibility over to the group and give a time frame within which something must be done.

Step 7 – Meet them again

Each member of the group, including the bully, discuss how things are going, who is doing what and have there been other incidents? This allows for continual monitoring and also keeps all involved in the process.

Again, enforce the idea of the “team‟ looking after each.

This Filming and Photography policy is not about preventing parents/guardians and supporters from taking pictures, but rather to ensure that only those who have a right to take photographs do so. Taking photographic and filming/video footage at Events (see definition below) of children or young people is a normal activity for a sporting organisation. This policy proposes safeguards so as to minimise the inappropriate use of images.

Throughout this policy the use of the word ‘image’ refers to all photographic and film/video footage.

The term ‘event’ may include competition, training session, social function or any activity organised at any level of the sporting body.


Parents/guardians should be advised that Blackrock Athletic Club or event that their child is attending may record and/or take photographs for the promotion of the sport within the club, county, province or national event.

When parents/guardians register their children as a member of Blackrock Athletic Club they are granting their consent for the possible taking and publication of photographs and video footage of their children in the promotion of the club and the sport and the use of such imagery in line with the club Guidelines outlined below.

If a parent/guardian does not wish their child’s image to be taken they should inform the Children’s Officer at the club or event they are attending.

Blackrock Athletic Club Guidelines for photographic recorded images

Filming and Photography is permitted under the following safeguarding guidelines.

  1. Types of appropriate images

Only use appropriate images of children:

Posed images e.g. medal ceremonies, presentations and team shots should be of children wearing tracksuits or t-shirt and shorts

Action shots of children may be used where the focus is on the participation in the sport and not the child

Images of children should not be taken where the pose is inappropriate e.g. open legs; from behind bending over, etc.

Flash photography is prohibited for any activities where it affects the performance or may have the potential to cause harm to the participant.

The Club reserves the right to request, the removal and /or deletion of any Club-related material from any social media platforms, group apps or texts if the Club committee deems it inappropriate.

  1. Use of images

Images may be taken for a variety of purposes; these can include administration or personal use, publicising the sport or enhancing skill development within the sport. Persons taking images are reminded that some action poses may be inappropriate and not suitable for use/publication.

a) Personal images – these are images taken by parents/guardians or other family members during an event as a celebration of a young person’s attendance or achievement. This could include a professional photographer with permission to take images for the personal use of those attending. Other people may be included in an image and we expect parents/guardians and other family members to respect this by not distributing images publicly.

b) Training images – these are images or footage taken during a training session or during an event specifically to aid the development of a skill or technique for the young person. We expect these images to be taken by a qualified coach or a person specifically appointed by the young person’s coach. These images may be used as examples of technique or mastery of a skill for teaching/coaching purposes. These types of images should not be distributed outside teaching/coaching purposes.

c) Media images – these are images taken by an individual from the media, i.e. TV, newspaper, or professional photographer where the images are to be used for publicity or promotion of the event or future events.

d) Administration images – these are images taken for general administration purposes; including images used for membership cards, competition entries and may also include images that form part of an archive.

Use of images on social media

Where images of young people are used on social media the person responsible for posting an image must be aware of the potential for an image to be used inappropriately and safeguards must be in place to protect young people:

i) Personal details of a young person should not be given

ii) Any caption should be in keeping with the sport represented

iii) The purpose of the posting should not breach the codes of conduct

iv) The type of image should not breach any requirement stated within this policy

Announcement at events regarding taking and the use of images

The following announcement should be read out at the start and during an event to ensure everyone is clearly aware of the policy:

“All persons wishing to take photographs or film footage at this event must first register their device(s) with.… Please note photographic identification will be required as proof of identity. (Company) has been authorised to take photographs of individuals in accordance with our policy.”

It should be noted that we have little or no influence on what photographs may be taken and published in local or national newspapers. Should we ever be unhappy with the publication of such photographs or images we can address this matter with the individual newspaper or the Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman.

See  ‘Athletics Ireland Filming and Photography Policy and Guidelines’ for further regulations and guidance.

3. Storage of Images

Storage includes any image stored as a hard copy or electronically including social media, photographic archives or individual personal databases e.g. personal cameras, phones, etc.

Storage of personal images is a matter for the parent/guardian and the child/young person.

All other images should only be stored for defined and intended purposes e.g. membership, promotion, and/or archiving.

If storage of images is required, the images must only be stored for the length of time for which they are needed

If possible, avoid using the names of children, or any other identifying feature

Once images are no longer required ensure that they are properly destroyed. Digital images stored on computer systems need to be fully deleted, including deletion from the cache memory/temporary files.

4. Reporting of Inappropriate Images

Taking inappropriate images

If there is any concern about the nature of images being taken this should be reported to the responsible/mandated person (AAI Child Welfare Manager/National Children’s Officer) who will refer to the statutory authorities. The concerned individual may also report directly to the statutory authorities. Statutory authority details can be found in the AAI Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children.

Non-authorised taking of images

If you are concerned about individual taking images at an event you should verbally report your concerns to the relevant responsible person on the day. A responsible person may be the children’s officer, head coach, event manager, event controller or facility manager. This may include, if necessary, reporting the non-authorised taking of images to the appropriate statutory authorities.

The responsible person will identify the person and check if their device is registered for the event. If not registered, the person must be asked to register their device, with appropriate identification.

If the person is not willing to register their device they should be asked to leave.

Where the event is open to the public e.g. where only part of the facility is being used, it will be necessary to report non-authorised taking of images to the facility manager.

If there is any concern about the nature of images being taken this should be reported to the responsible/mandated person (AAI Child Welfare Manager) who will refer to the statutory authorities.

Inappropriate use of images

Where there is a concern about the use of images this should be reported to the responsible person who will take appropriate action. This will include reporting the alleged use to:

The parent/guardian of any young person involved

The person responsible for posting the image

The media platform i.e. twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, print media etc.

The statutory authorities

Inappropriate use of images may result in a complaint/disciplinary procedure against those involved within the NGB – see policy.

Where there is a concern about the publication of an image in local or national newspapers you should contact the individual newspaper or the Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman – website telephone: lo-call 1890 208 080, email:

Blackrock Athletic Club uses many different social media platforms to communicate with athletes, parents/guardians and the general public.

These platforms should be used to:

  • Promote Club Policies and Procedures,
  • Publicise club activities, before and after the events.
  • Improve communication with members.
  • Provide coaching and training information for parents.
  • Provide Health and Safety announcements and guidelines.
  • Publish fixtures and results.
  • Provide education and information to coaches, parents and club members
  • Display photographic images, videos and other similar content. This should be in accordance with the Guidelines as outlined in the ‘Film and Photography Policy Guidelines’.
  • Engage Athletes, Coaches, Parents and club community in their support and enjoyment of athletics
  • Build an image and raise awareness of the club.
  • Reinforce and further the club’s reputation.
  • Encourage new membership.

The Club also uses social media platformes, apps, mobile phones and email to communicate directly with adult athletes and parents of juvenile athletes to provide information on scheduling of training, competitions and Health and Safety announcements.

These social media sites, website, email, mobile phones, text messaging and Apps will only ever be used for enabling communication with the membership as a whole.

They should not be used for communicating with individual underage members.

Coaches volunteers should never place themselves in a compromising position by texting

or communicating via social media sites, apps, texts or email with juvenile athletes individually.

All communications should be sent via approved club channels to the parents or guardians of juvenile athletes including ‘Gaisce’ volunteers.

The Club reserves the right to request, the removal and /or deletion of any Club related material from any social media platforms, group apps or texts if the Club committee deems it inappropriate.

The following Rules apply to coaches and officials when communicating with juvenile


  • Do not engage in communications with underage athletes via personal social network sites.
  • Always use official club group text or social media sites to communicate with juvenile athletes.
  • All club social media pages/sites must be a group, organisation and community or sports page.
  • A personal page/account should not be used by a club to communicate with children.

Further guidance is given in the Athletics Ireland ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Athletics’ publication, ‘Athletics Ireland WhatsApp Guidelines’ and ‘Athletics Ireland Policy Regarding Communicating with Children’

Please see our Data Privacy Statement.