SPGC Junior Golfers Safeguarding Policy

GUI, ILGU, The PGA in Ireland & CGI

The guidelines in this document are based on the national guidelines as outlined in the following documents:
·        Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport, Sports Ireland (SI)

For Republic of Ireland Clubs and organisations reference should also be made to

·       ·        Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Dept. of Health & Children 1999, revised 2009 and again in 2011 by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs

·       ·        Our Duty to Care, Dept. of Health & Children 2002  
·        National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 
·        Children First Act 2015





Core Values

Policy Statement

Junior Golfers
Playing Policy

Club Children’s Officer Role

Designated Liaison Person Role 


·        Disciplinary, Complaints and Appeals Procedure

·        Recruitment and Supervision Policy for Golf Leaders/Volunteers

·        Anti-Bullying Policy Statement

Guidelines and Codes of Conduct:

  • Code of Conduct for Juniors
  • Guidelines for Parents/Guardians
  • Code of Conduct for Golfs Leaders
  • Guidelines for golfs leaders (including  professional, coach, convenor, etc.) 
  • Guidelines on use of Photographic and Filming Equipment 
  • General Guidelines with Juniors 
  • Travelling, Supervision and Away Trips 
  • Safety and Physical Contact
  • Late Collection  
  • Adults and Juniors Playing Together 
  • Juniors playing on the Course Without Adults  
  • Guidelines on Changing Rooms 
  • Mobile Phones

Child Welfare and Protection Procedures

  • Response to a Junior Disclosing Abuse
  • Reporting Suspected or Disclosed Child Abuse
  • Allegations against Golf Leaders
  • Categories of Abuse
  • Confidentiality, Anonymous Complaints
    and Rumours



Golf, when referred to as a collective authority, shall mean the GUI, ILGU, The PGA in Ireland and CGI.


The Golfing Union of Ireland, founded in 1891, the administrative authority for men’s amateur golf in Ireland.


The Irish Ladies’ Golf Union, founded in 1893, the administrative authority for ladies’ amateur golf in Ireland.

The PGA in Ireland

The Professional Golfers’ Association in Ireland, originally founded in 1911 by the GUI at the request of the Professional Golfers of Ireland and then known as the Irish Professional Golfers’ Association, the Governing Authority for Professional Golf in Ireland.


The Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) was established to support, promote and develop the game of golf on the island of Ireland. A not for profit organisation, the CGI was established by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI), the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) and the Professional Golfers Association in Ireland(PGA) to complement the work of the three associations in advancing the game of golf in Ireland.


The island of Ireland.


A provincial branch of the GUI


A district of the ILGU


Referring to both the GUI and ILGU

Affiliated organisation

Any GUI or ILGU affiliated member golf clubs.


Sport Ireland

Junior Convenor

The individual in the club who heads the Junior Golf Committee or oversees the development of junior programmes.

Designated Liaison Person (DLP) (Clubs)

The Designated Liaison Person is responsible for ensuring that reporting procedures within an organisation are followed so that child welfare and protection concerns are referred promptly to the Statutory Authorities. The Designated Liaison Person should record all concerns or allegations of child abuse brought to his/her attention, and the actions taken following receipt of a concern or allegation of child abuse. 

National Designated Liaison Person

Same as DLP above but at National Level

Club Children’s Officer (CO)

Club Children’s Officers should be junior centred in focus and have as the primary aim, the establishment of a junior centred environment within the club.  S/he is the link between children and the adults in the club. S/he also takes responsibility for monitoring and reporting to the Club Management Committee on how club policy impacts on young people and Golf Leaders.

National Children’s Officer (NCO)

A nominated person within each body to advise on all matters in relation to safeguarding

Mandated Person (NGB Level Only)

A mandated person is a safeguarding officer or child protection officer who is employed for performing the child welfare and protection function of a sporting organisation offering services to children. They have a legal obligation under the Children First Act 2015 to report the harm of children above a defined threshold to the statutory authorities and to assist the statutory authorities, if requested, in assessing a concern which has been the subject of a mandated report.

The Mandated Person is at National level only. The DLP at club level is responsible for making the report to the statutory authorities.


A volunteer, PGA Professional or qualified coach who works with and/or facilitates juniors to learn and compete in golf. A volunteer includes, but is not limited to, Junior Convenors, Teachers, Coaches, Golf Professionals and members of the Junior Golf Committees and those appointed to positions of trust with juniors.


Parent shall mean parent, guardian or carer

Juniors/Junior members

The terms “junior member, juniors, young people and children” will be used interchangeably in the text to refer to those under 18 years of age.

Golf’s Policy

Golf’s Safeguarding Policy– this document, which is based on guidelines of the SI and those listed at the front of this document.

Statutory Authorities  

Refers to those who have statutory responsibility for the welfare and protection of juniors in Ireland, namely An Garda Síochána and Tusla Child and Family Agency / Health and Social Care Trust.


Junior golf is based on the following principles that will guide the development of juniors within golf, (as outlined in page 9, Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children's Sport). 

A junior’s experience of sport should be guided by what is best for the junior. The stages of development and the ability of the junior should guide the types of activity provided within the 

club/organisation. Adults will need to have a basic understanding of the needs of juniors, including physical, emotional and personal.

Integrity in relationships:

Adults interacting with juniors in sport should do so with integrity and respect for the child. There is a danger that sporting contexts can be used to exploit or undermine children. All adult actions in sport should be guided by what is best for the junior and in the context of quality, open working relationships. Verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse of any kind is unacceptable within sport.

Quality atmosphere and ethos

Sport for juniors should be conducted in a safe, positive and encouraging atmosphere. A child-centred ethos will contribute to a safe and enjoyable atmosphere within the organisation.


All children should be treated in an equitable and fair manner regardless of age, ability, sex, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment, social and ethnic background or political persuasion. Children with disabilities should be involved in sports activities in an integrated way, thus allowing them to participate to their potential alongside other juniors.

Equality Statement

Golf is committed to the principle of equality of opportunity. Golf aims to ensure that all present and potential participants, members, instructors, coaches, competitors, officials, volunteers and employees are treated fairly and on an equal basis, irrespective of sex, age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, gender reassignment or social status.

Fair Play:

Fair play is the guiding principle of the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children's Sport. All sport for juniors should be conducted in an atmosphere of fair play. Ireland has contributed and is committed to the European Code of Sports Ethics, which defines fair play as: “much more than playing within the rules”. It incorporates the concepts of friendship, respect for others and always playing with the right spirit. Fair play is defined as a way of thinking, not just behaving. It incorporates issues concerned with the elimination of opportunities, excessive commercialisation and corruption.

(European Sports Charter and Code of Ethics, Council of Europe, 1993).


A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to the development of juniors, while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction. However, competitive demands are often placed on children too early, which results in excessive levels of pressure on them. This can contribute to a high level of drop out from sport. Golf Leaders should aim to put the welfare of the young person first and competitive  standards second. A child-centred approach will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place.


Spanish Point Golf Club

 Child Safeguarding Statement

Spanish Point Golf Club is fully committed to safeguarding the wellbeing of juniors. Every individual at the club should at all times, show respect and understanding for all member’s rights, safety and welfare and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of the golf club and the guidelines contained in the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport and Golf’s Safeguarding Policy.

Spanish Point Golf Club’s first priority is the welfare of juniors and we are committed to providing an environment that will allow participants to perform to the best of their ability, free from neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, bullying and intimidation. All leaders at Spanish Point Golf Club must undergo the necessary Garda Vetting checks and complete the appropriate safeguarding training as required by legislation and best practice.

Spanish Point Golf Club’s written Risk Assessment document indicates the areas of potential risk of harm, the likelihood of the risk occurring and gives the required policy, guidance and procedures required to alleviate these risks. In addition to our risk assessment document described above, there are further procedures that support our intention to safeguard juniors whilst they are availing of our facilities.  Spanish Point Golf Club has the following procedures in place as part of its safeguarding policies:

Procedures for the management of allegations and abuse or misconduct by staff or volunteers against a junior availing of our facilities.

2)  Procedures for the safe recruitment of staff and volunteers who work with juniors at the golf club.

3)   Procedures for access to child safeguarding training and information, including the identification of the occurrence of harm.

4)   Procedure for eh reporting of child protection or welfare concerns to the Statutory Authorities.

For further information on safeguarding juniors or if you have any concerns please contact the Designated Liaison Person (see below). If you feel that a junior is in immediate danger please contact TUSLA or An Garda Síochána.

Designated Liaison Person:    Noel Connellan (Spanish Point Golf Club Secretary)  

Telephone 065 708 4198; 

Email spanishpointsec@gmail.com

This child safeguarding statement will be
reviewed before 31 December 2020





Junior members aged 12 and over will be allowed to play the course at any time without adult supervision.  Junior members aged 11 and under can only play the course with adult supervision in accordance with Rule 11.1.2 of the Constitution.  However, juniors not playing in club competitions will not be allowed on the course on Sundays from 8.00 am until 2.00 pm nor on Tuesdays from 8.00 am until 12 noon.  Junior competitions will be run during the year on Wednesday mornings from 10.00 am to 12 noon.

All junior members with an official CONGU handicap are allowed to play in any competition providing they pay the full entry fee. They are not eligible to win first or second prize of the major competitions listed below as designated by the Men’s and Ladies Sections:

Men’s captains prize

Ladies captains prize

Men’s captains prize to the ladies

Ladies captains prize to the men

Presidents prize to the men

Presidents prize to the ladies

Men’s Golfer of the Year

Ladies Golfer of the Year


Children’s Officer in Spanish Point Golf Club : 

Every club must appoint a CCO.  Club Children's Officers should be child centred in focus and have as the primary aim, the establishment of a child centred ethos within the club. S/he is the link between the children and the adults in the club. S/he also takes responsibility for monitoring and reporting to the Club Management Committee on how club policy impacts on young people and Sports Leaders. 

The Children's Officer should be a member of or have access to, the Club Management Committee and should be introduced to the young people in an appropriate forum. The Children's Officer should have the following role:
·       To promote awareness of the code within the club, among young members and their parents/guardians.This could be achieved by:- the production / distribution of information leaflets, the establishment of children's/age-group specific notice boards, regular information meetings for the young people and their parents/guardians

·        Familiarisation with all relevant documents and legislation

·        Undertake training in relation to child protection (Safeguarding 1 Basic Awareness & Safeguarding 2 Children’s Officer workshops)

·         To influence policy and practice within the club in order to prioritise children's needs

·         Establish contact with the National Children’s Officer at governing body level.

·        To ensure that children know how to make concerns known to appropriate adults or agencies.

·        To encourage the appropriate involvement of parents/guardians in the club activities

·        To act as an advisory resource to Sports Leaders on best practice in children's sport

·         To report regularly to the Club Management Committee

·        To monitor changes in membership and follow up any unusual dropout, absenteeism or club transfers by children or Sports Leaders

·        To ensure that the children have a voice in the running of their club and ensure that there are steps young people can take to express concerns about their sports activities / experiences.

·        Establish communication with other branches of the club, e.g. facilitate parent’s information sessions at the start of the season

·        Keep records on each member on file, including junior members, their contact numbers and any special needs of the child that should be known to leaders

·        Ensure each member signs an annual membership form that includes signing up to the
code of conduct

·        Ensure all volunteers successfully complete Garda Vetting or AccessNI vetting process, sign codes of conduct annually and undertake the appropriate safeguarding training and keep records of same.

·        Ensure that the club rules and regulations include:-

        * complaints, disciplinary and appeals procedures  
        * an anti-bullying policy 
        * safety statement 
        * rules in relation to traveling with children 
        * supervision and recruitment of leaders

(Note: This may simply mean adopting the regulations set out in the governing body’s code for children’s sport)

(Taken from the Sport Ireland Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children in Sport)



Designated Liaison Person in Spanish Point Golf Club :  NOEL CONNELLAN

Every club must appoint a person to be responsible for dealing with any concerns about the protection of children. The designated liaison person is responsible for reporting allegations or suspicions of child abuse to Tusla Child and Family Agency and/or An Garda Siochána. It is  recommended that this person is a senior club person. However, if there is difficulty identifying a separate individual to take this role, the Children’s Officer can be appointed as designated person once the club is clear about the responsibilities of the each role.

The organisation’s child protection policy and procedures should include the name and contact details of the designated person and the responsibilities attached to the role. 

The Designated Liaison Person should have
the following role: 
·        Have knowledge of the Code of Ethics and statutory guidelines 
·        Have a knowledge of categories and indicators of abuse  
·        Undertake training in relation to child protection (Safeguarding 1 Basic Awareness & Safeguarding 3 Designated Liaison Person workshops)   
·        Be familiar with and able to carry out reporting procedures as outlined in the code  
·        Communicate with parents and/or agencies as appropriate  
·         Assist with the ongoing development and implementation of the organisation’s child protection training needs   
·    Liaise with the national children’s officer in relation to child protection training needs  
·        Be aware of local contacts and services in relation to child protection, i.e.  principal and duty social workers and their contacts  
·        To inform local duty social worker in Tusla Child and Family Agency and/or An Garda Síochána of relevant concerns about individual children, using the Standard Reporting Form. Keep a copy of this form and ensure acknowledgement of receipt of this form  
·         Report persistent poor practice to the National Mandated Person  
·        Advise club administrators on issues of confidentiality, record keeping and data protection

Children's Officers/Designated Persons do not have the responsibility of investigating or validating child protection concerns within the club and have no counselling or therapeutic role. These roles are filled by the Statutory Authorities as outlined in Children First and Our Duty to Care. It is, however, possible that child protection concerns will be brought to the attention of the Children's Officer. In this event, it is essential that the correct procedure is followed. 
(Taken from the Sport Ireland Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children in Sport)  

Disciplinary, Complaints & Appeals Procedure for GUI, ILGU, PGA & CGI

Non-safeguarding concerns may be dealt with under the ‘disputes’ rule contained within the Union’s Constitution. Any such complaints received in relation to PGA members will be referred to the PGA for consideration. 

·        If any party does not agree with the disciplinary finding the appropriate appeals process can be invoked

·        The appeals committee shall have the power to confirm, set aside or change any sanction imposed by the disciplinary committee

·        The appropriate disciplinary committee should hear the case of all parties involved and decide if a rule or regulation has been infringed

·        They should, in writing, inform those involved of the sanctions to be imposed. Written notification should be given to parents if the complaint is against a junior member

Safeguarding Complaints

The majority of concerns will be poor practice issues and should be dealt with by the club, but for those complaints that cause serious grounds for concern (contact National DLP for further advice) the Golf Safeguarding Policy reporting procedures will be followed.

·         Complaints should be received in writing/email by the National DLP of the union, CGI or the PGA Lead Compliance Officer. (see appendix 11 for contact details)

·         The complaint should outline all relevant details about the parties involved

·        If the complaint involves the possibility of a criminal offence, the National DLP will follow the Policy’s reporting procedure. The Statutory Authorities will then be informed

·        The DLP may convene a disciplinary committee (including 3 members involved with junior golf at Provincial/District or National level).

·        While maintaining confidentiality the appropriate disciplinary committee with safeguarding knowledge should hear the case of all parties involved and decide if behavior has breached Golf’s Safeguarding Policy.

·        They should, in writing inform those involved of the sanctions to be imposed. Written notification should be given to parents if the complaint is against a junior member

·        Records of poor practice complaints should be kept on file by the Unions until the young person concerned becomes a full member within golf. The PGA will hold appropriate case management records in relation to their own members and staff at their national headquarters in accordance with data protection legislation and UK Child Protection legislation

Any safeguarding concerns within golf clubs should be made to their CCO or DLP. The DLP is responsible for reporting any abuse allegations to the statutory authorities.   

Recruitment & Supervision Policy for Golf Leaders / Volunteers

GUI, ILGU, PGA and CGI will take all reasonable steps to ensure that adults representing them and working with juniors are suitable to do so and are appropriately qualified, experienced and motivated. Recruitment and/or supervision procedures will apply to all persons with substantial access to juniors, whether paid or unpaid. A decision to appoint a Leader is the responsibility of the Branch/District /Union/PGA and not of any one individual within it. The relevant committees ratify all recommendations for appointment.

Golf will use the following as a suitable recruitment procedure and would recommend all golf clubs’ follow these best practice procedures: -

A description of the role including responsibilities, level of experience / qualifications required should be drawn up and clearly stated

·     Once voted /nominated to an elected position the Leader should be made aware of and sign up to the code of conduct as it relates to juniors and any related guidelines within this document. This involves newly recruited volunteers and all volunteers assigned by the Branch / District / Union / PGA for that season. Existing Leaders will sign the appropriate code of conduct, including the self- declaration questions, (see appendix 3).

·        ·   Leaders must successfully complete the Garda Vetting process
·     Undertake training: Safeguarding 1(Basic Awareness Workshop) must be completed, firstly on a face to face basis and then an online refresher course every 3 years until the 9th year which will require the face to face workshop being completed again.


For those residents in ROI please follow the link below for the online refresher course. Please note YOU MUST HAVE previously attended a Safeguarding 1 workshop in a classroom setting or your on-line refresher certificate will not be valid.


For an online introductory safeguarding course for anyone who has infrequent contact with children in a sports organisation


·    New Leaders should fill in an information form, giving names of two referees that can be contacted and answering the self-declaration questions. (See appendix 1). For regulated position (i.e. working directly with children) you will also be asked to undergo Garda Vetting checks and you will receive these forms from the relevant governing body.

·        Where possible there should be an induction, this can be done in an informal manner with members of the junior committee, perhaps on a junior competition day. Following this, a probationary period is advisable. 

·        Adequate supervision should always be provided, a Leader should not have to work alone

Every effort should be made to manage and support appointed Leaders. Coaching courses and workshops will be provided; codes of conduct will be made available and Garda Vetting will be implemented.

Golf’s Anti-Bullying Policy Statement

Bullying can occur between an adult and young person, and young person to young person. In either case, it is not acceptable within Golf. The competitive nature of golf can create an environment that provides opportunities for bullying. The bully may be a parent who pushes too hard, a coach who adopts a win-at-all costs philosophy, a young player who intimidates another or an official who places unfair pressure on a person. Golf’s Anti-Bullying Policy and Guidance (appendix 8) applies to all – juniors, adults, parents, coaches and any others who help and assist within golf and golf activities.

Code of Conducts

The codes of conduct are for junior members,  parents and leaders involved in activities organised by the Unions or CGI. We recommend clubs adopt these codes and if clubs wish to add to these, any amended guidelines should remain consistent with the ethos that the welfare of the child is paramount.  

Juniors Code of Conduct

Golf wishes to provide the best possible environment for all juniors involved in the sport. Juniors deserve to be given enjoyable, safe sporting opportunities, free of abuse of any kind. These participants have rights, which must be respected, and responsibilities that  they must accept. Juniors have responsibilities to treat other participants and Golf Leaders with fairness and respect.  

Guidelines for Parents   

To help your child have a positive experience remember to:

·        Focus on what your child wants to get out of golf

·        Be the best role model you can be

·        Help your child achieve their potential

·       Be respectful of other children and coaches

·        Communicate with the coach and club  

Parents are expected to co-sign their child’s code of conduct form (appendix 4 and the specific parental code of conduct form / guidelines for parent’s appendix 6)  

Leaders Code of Conduct

Leaders should familiarise themselves with Golf’s Safeguarding Policy, in particular this code of conduct. Leaders should read and agree to abide by these terms. Leaders must complete this Code of Conduct (appendix 3) annually.

Guidelines for Golf Leaders (including professional, coach, convenor etc.) 
Golf recognises the key role leaders (professionals, coaches, convenors, captains, selectors and team managers, etc.) play in the lives of juniors in sport. Leaders in golf should strive to create a positive environment for the children in their care. They have an overall responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure that positive and healthy experiences are provided. All Leaders should have as their first priority the children’s safety and enjoyment of golf and should adhere to the guidelines and regulations set out in the Golf’s Safeguarding Policy.

Leaders should respect the rights, dignity and worth of every junior and must treat everyone
equally, regardless of gender reassignment, age, sex, race, ability, religion or belief, social and ethnic background or political persuasion etc.

Leaders working with juniors in golf should have the appropriate experience or hold the necessary qualifications. Leaders will be expected to go through an appropriate recruitment and a selection procedure, whether paid or unpaid. Vetting checks must be undertaken to comply with legislation, for those in ROI Garda Vetting should be successfully completed every 3 years for all those working with or in contact with juniors on a regular and continuous. For those ‘new’ to the organisation references will be required and will be followed up.

There will be a ‘sign-up’ procedure, whereby the appointed/reappointed leaders agree to abide by Golf’s Safeguarding Policy.  The Leaders Code of Conduct must be completed annually.  You should know and understand the junior protection policies and procedures in Golf’s Safeguarding Policy.

Once appointed the Leader should act as a role model and promote the positive aspects of golf and maintain the highest standards of personal conduct. Leaders should develop an appropriate relationship with juniors, based on mutual trust and respect.  Remember your behaviour to players, other officials, and opponents will influence the players in your care. You should report any concerns you have to the National Children’s Officer & DLP in your organisation, or in a club environment the DLP.

Being a role model

      ·        You will be required to display high standards of language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation    

      ·    Ensure that playersin your care respect the rules of the game. Insist on fair play and ensure players are aware you will not tolerate cheating or bullying behaviour

·      Encourage the development of respect for opponents, officials, selectors and other leaders and avoid criticism of fellow professionals and coaches. Do not criticise other leaders

      ·        The use of illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco must be actively discouraged as they are incompatible with a healthy approach to sporting activity. Leaders should avoid the use of alcohol and illegal substances before coaching, during events, while supervising trips with juniors and providing a duty to care

Reducing Risk

It is important that leaders build a good working relationship with juniors they are coaching but ensure this relationship remains professional and in accordance with Golf’s Safeguarding Policy and the Leaders Code of Conduct.  (appendix 3)

·        Leaders are responsible for setting and clearly stating the boundaries between a working relationship and friendship with players. It is advisable for leaders not to involve juniors in their personal life i.e. visits to leaders’ homes to ensure that they reduce the risk of their behaviour being misinterpreted by the participant or others  

·        Avoid working alone and ensure there is adequate supervision for all activities 

·        Where possible work in an open environment and ensure that physical contact is appropriate and has the permission or understanding of the junior 

·       Care must be taken not to expose a junior intentionally or unintentionally to embarrassment or disparagement by use of sarcastic or flippant remarks about the junior or his/her family 

·        Physical punishment or physical force must never be used. Never punish a mistake - by verbal means, physical means, or by exclusion   

A positive environment 

       ·     Be generous with praise and never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes or for losing a game.  All juniors are entitled to respect.

·        Be careful to avoid the “star system”. Each junior deserves equal time and attention

·        Remember that juniors play for fun, enjoyment and competition. Never make winning the only objective     
·    Set realistic goals for the participants and do not push juniors. Create a safe and enjoyable environment     
·    When approached to take on a new player, ensure that any previous coach- participant relationship has been ended in a professional manner  
·        When juniors are invited into adult groups/squads, it is advisable to get agreement from a parent/guardian. Boundaries of behaviour in adult groups are normally different from the boundaries that apply to junior groups/squads

·        Leaders who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to their players and their obligation to the club/organisation must make explicit to all parties concerned the nature of the conflict and the loyalties and responsibilities involved

·        Leaders should communicate and co-operate with medical and ancillary practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of their players’ medical or related problems. Avoid giving advice of a personal or medical nature if you are not qualified to do so. Any information of a personal or medical nature must be kept strictly confidential unless the welfare of the junior requires the passing on of this information

·        The nature of the relationship between leader and a participant can often mean that a leader will learn confidential information about a player or player’s family. This information must be regarded as confidential and, except where abuse is suspected, must not be divulged to a third party without the express permission of the player/family

Photographic Image Guidelines

Golf has adopted guidelines (appendix 9) for  consideration in relation to the use of images of athletes on their websites and in other publications as part of its commitment to providing a safe environment to juniors. Golf will take all necessary steps to ensure that  juniors are protected from the inappropriate use of their images in resource and media publications, on the internet and elsewhere.

This guidance is for anyone with responsibility for the publication of official photography (including videos) of children involved in golfing activities or events.

Golf benefits from using images of young participants to promote and celebrate activities, events and competitions. Parents and children generally welcome opportunities to celebrate or publicise their achievements. Some leaders/ coaches may want to use photographs or videos as a tool to support a young athlete’s skill development.

However, the use of photos and videos on websites and social media, and in posters, the press or other publications, can pose direct and indirect risks to children and young people if not managed correctly.

Clubs wishing to use or permit the use of images of children involved in their activities must therefore follow the good practice guidelines outlined in appendix 9 to safeguard children.  

What are the risks?

·        Children may be identified, located, groomed or contacted

·        Taking or producing inappropriate or illegal images of children

Video recording as a coaching aid: Video equipment can be used as legitimate coaching aid. However, permission should first be obtained from the player and the player’s parent.

Anyone concerned about any photography taking place at events or training sessions can contact the National Children’s Officer & DLP and ask them to deal with the matter.

General Guidelines with Juniors Travelling

There is extra responsibility taken on by leaders when they travel with juniors to  events.  When travelling with juniors you should:

·        Inform parents of the child why and how long the journey will take.

·        Attempt to have more than one child in the car or seek parental permission to transport an individual child

·        Alternate drivers if possible and which child is dropped off last or drop off at a central location

·        Ensure the driver has a point of contact/mobile phone.

·        Have a person other than the planned driver talk to the child about transport arrangements to check they are comfortable about the plans.

·        Ensure that they have insurance to carry others.

·        Ensure use of safety belts

·        Ensure drivers representing and volunteering on behalf of a club are vetted through Access/National Vetting Bureau if driving regularly, and therefore meting the regulated activity criteria.    

·        Consider the need for booster seats.

·        Parents and coaches can also download Sport Ireland’s Safeguarding App.

 https://www.sportireland.ie/Participation/Code_of_Ethics/Code-Of-Ethics-App/ and one of the features of the App is a ‘Travel Tracker’ function. This allows parents and coaches who are driving someone else’s child/children home for example after a training session, to permit the child’s parent or guardian to view and have oversight of their journey.

Booster Seats

From 2006, the law in Europe requires all children in cars, vans and other goods vehicles to be carried using an appropriate child restraint until either they have reached the age of 12 years or are 150cm (5” in Republic of Ireland) and 135cms (4’ 5” in Northern Ireland) or whichever comes first with very few exceptions. The European law allowed countries to opt for minimum height of between 135cm and 150cm.  For more information visit;





      Make sure there is an adequate adult: child ratio. This will depend on the nature of the activity, the age of the participants and any special needs of the group. As a guide a ratio of 1:8 for under 12 years of age and 1:10 for participants over 12 years of age. This is only a guide and will change depending on the circumstances, e.g. players with special needs or away trips  

      Where there are mixed groups there should be leaders of both genders

      Avoid being alone with one participant, if you need to talk separately do so in an open environment, in view of others

      Leaders should not need to enter the changing rooms unless juniors are very young or need special assistance, where supervision should be in pairs of appropriate gender

      Clearly state time for start and end of training sessions or competitions, leaders should remain in pairs until all participants have been collected

      Keep attendance records and records of any incidents / injuries that arise  

      Facilitate parents who wish to stay and supervise sessions, (for safety and supervision, not necessarily for their ‘technical’ expertise)  

Away trips / Overnight stays

      Separate permission forms should be signed by parents and participants, containing emergency contact number and any other relevant information.

      Young participants should sign a Code of Conduct agreement  

      Appoint a group leader who will make a report on returning home to the Union/club committee who organised the trip  

       A meeting with parents and participants is useful to communicate travel times, competition details, other activities, gear requirements, medical requirements, special dietary needs and any other necessary details

      Rooming arrangements – adults should not share rooms with juniors. Juniors should share rooms with those of same age and gender and adults should knock before entering rooms

      All group socialisation should take place in communal areas (i.e. no boys in girls’ rooms and vice versa)

      Alcohol, smoking or any illegal substances are not permitted to players

      There must be at least one adult of each gender with a mixed party, there should be a good adult – child ratio, 1:5/6

      Lights out times should be enforced  

      Juniors should be under reasonable supervision at all times and should never leave the venue or go unsupervised without prior permission  


All clubs / organisations must have a safety statement, including specific risk assessments
linked to the activity. They should also have procedures in place for safeguarding against such risks. In addition, clubs / organisations should:  

·        Ensure activities are suitable for age and stage of development of participants  
·        Keep a record of any specific medical conditions of the participants  
·        Keep a record of emergency contact numbers for parents / guardians 
·        Esure any necessary protective gear is used
·        Ensure First Aid kit is close at hand with access to qualified first-aider 
·        Know the contact numbers of emergency services 
·        Keep first aid kit appropriately stocked 
·        Ensure easy access to medical personnel if needed and have an emergency plan 
·       If an incident occurs, make a brief record of injury and action taken. Make a brief record of the problem/action/outcome. Contact the participant’s parents and keep them informed of all details

·        Officials (convenors and referees, etc.) should ensure the conduct of the game

·        Participants should know and keep the etiquette guidelines of golf, keeping in mind that many rules are there for safety 

·        Leaders should hold appropriate qualifications required by the governing body 

·        Ensure there is adequate insurance cover for all activities

·        Ensure parents / guardians are present at finishing time of sessions or events

Physical Contact

    Golf on occasion requires a ‘hands on approach’, especially in a teaching or coaching situation, e.g., it may be necessary to assist a junior when learning how to grip the club for the first time but the following should be taken into consideration  

·        Avoid unnecessary physical contact

·        Any necessary contact should be in response to the needs of the junior and not the adult

·        It should be in an open environment with the permission and understanding of the participant and parent/guardian.

·        It should be determined by the age and developmental stage of the participant - Don’t do something that a child can do for themselves 

·        Never engage in inappropriate touching

Late Collection

It is important to have some clear and easy guidelines if a parent is late to collect a junior, such as, contact the parent using the emergency contact number. If there is no answer, ask the junior if there is another family member to contact. Wait with the junior at the club or venue, preferably with other staff or volunteers. Remind parents of the policy in relation to good practice and supervision.

Adults and Juniors playing together

One of the reasons for the popularity of golf is that the game is not restricted either competitively or socially by skill, age or gender. Golf can be enjoyed and keenly contested by players from and between any number and/or apparently diverse groups. That this diversity,
almost unique to golf, is encouraged is essential to ensure the continuity of one of the most endearing traditions of the game. Every effort must be made to promote this mix of physical and technical ability.

Responsible interaction between adults and juniors helps bring mutual respect and understanding and helps the standards of the club to be understood and maintained. Nevertheless, when playing golf with a junior, adults should always be aware that certain age-related differences do exist and should conduct themselves in a manner that recognises this.

Juniors playing on the course without adults

Golf courses may have a number of unmanned access and egress points which limit the control of juniors playing alone or with another junior, but this in itself should not preclude the club from attempting to minimise potential problems involving juniors playing together. Golf clubs should endeavour to have procedures in place for juniors to register in and out when using the golf club. This is to help ensure that they are aware when juniors are playing or on club premises.

If possible, it is advisable to have some method for juniors playing on their own or with another junior to sign in and out. If it is not practicable to hold a register, then at least permission should be gained from parents for their children to be on the club’s premises by including this in their Code of Conduct. (appendix 4)

The organisation is not responsible for  providing adult supervision of juniors, except for formal junior golf coaching, matches or competitions

Changing Rooms

As golf clubs are seen as a recreational facility, members, visitors and juniors are entitled to the use of the changing rooms, this means that often people of all ages regularly need to change and shower during the same period. Therefore, the following guidance in relation to adults and juniors using the changing rooms should be followed: 

·        Adults should exercise care when in the changing rooms at the same time as juniors 

·        Parents/guardians should be made aware that adults and juniors may need to share the changing facility.The parent/guardian should discuss this with their child ensuring their child is aware of who to talk to if any issues arise in unsupervised areas.  

·        Parents can choose to supervise their child while they change.  

·        If juniors are uncomfortable changing or showering in public, no pressure should be placed on them.  Encourage them to do this at home.  

Mobile Phones

Young people value their mobile phones as it gives them a sense of independence and they can often be given to young people for security to enable parents to keep in touch. However,
technology has given direct personal contact between adults and juniors and in some cases adults have used this to cross personal boundaries placing themselves and young people at risk. The following guidelines should be followed:  

As a Leader    

Use group texts for communication among players and teams and inform parents of this at the start of the season, tournament or event.  

·       It is not appropriate or acceptable to have constant contact with an individual athlete.  

·       Don’t use your phone in inappropriate locations, such as changing rooms, especially if your phone has a camera. 

·       Do not send messages late at night 

·       Remember the principles of the Leaders Code of Conduct apply to social media communication as well and consider your digital footprint before posting. 

As a Junior golfer  

·       If you receive an offensive message, email or photo don’t reply to it, save it, make note of times and dates and tell a parent, children’s officer or responsible adult you trust.  

·       Be careful about whom you give your number or email address to and don’t respond to unfamiliar numbers.  

·       Don’t use your phone in inappropriate locations, such as changing rooms, especially if your phone has a camera. 

·        Treat your phone as you would any valuable item so that you can guard against theft.

Child Welfare and Protection Procedures

The following are the procedures for dealing with any welfare or protection issue that may arise.  Child welfare and the protection of juniors is the concern of all adults at all times, irrespective of their role within the organisation.

If there are grounds for concern about the safety or welfare of a junior, you should react to the concern. Persons unsure about whether or not certain behaviours are abusive and therefore reportable, should contact the duty social worker in Tusla – Child & Family Agency or An Garda Siochana where they will receive advice. (details in Appendix 11)

Reasonable Grounds for concern

TUSLA or Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) should always be informed when there are reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been abused, or is being abused, or is at risk of abuse.

The following examples would constitute
reasonable grounds for concern: 

·        A specific indication from the child that he or she was abused (disclosure) 

·        An account by a person who says the child is being abused  

·        Evidence, such as an injury or behavior, that is consistent with abuse and unlikely to be caused in another way 

·        An injury or behavior that is consistent both with abuse and with an innocent, explanation, but where there are corroborative indicators supporting the concern that it may be a case of abuse e.g. a pattern of injuries, an implausible explanation, and other indications of abuse and/or dysfunctional behavior  

·        Consistent indication, over a period of time that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect  

A report may be made by any member in the organisation but should be passed on to the National Children’s Officer & Designated Liaison Person, who may in turn have to pass the concern to the local Statutory Authorities. It is not the responsibility of anyone working within golf, in a paid or voluntary capacity, to take responsibility or decide whether or not child abuse is taking place. That is the job of the local Statutory Authorities. However, there is a responsibility to protect juniors by assisting the appropriate agencies so that they can then make enquiries and take any necessary action to protect the junior.

Everyone should follow both procedures  outlined below, firstly the procedure for responding to a junior in distress and secondly the procedure for reporting the concern.

Response to a Child Disclosing Abuse 
When a junior discloses information of suspected abuse you should:

(a) Deal with any allegation of abuse in a sensitive and competent way through listening to and facilitating the junior to tell you about the problem, rather than interviewing the junior about details of what happened

(b) Stay calm and don’t show any extreme reaction to what the junior is saying. Listen compassionately, and take what the junior is saying seriously  

(c)  Understand that the junior has decided to tell something very important and has taken a risk to do so. The experience of telling should be a positive one so that the junior will not mind talking to those involved in the investigation

(d) Be honest with the junior and tell them that it is not possible to keep information a secret but you will maintain confidentiality  

(e) Make no judgmental statements against the person whom the allegation is made

(f)   Do not question the junior unless the nature of what s/he is saying is unclear. Do not use leading questions. Open, non-specific questions should be used such as “Can you explain to me what you mean by that” 

(g)  Check out the concerns with the Golf DLP and then advise the parents/guardians you are contacting the statutory authorities unless doing so would possibly place the child at any further risk.

(h) Give the junior some indication of what would happen next, such as informing parents/guardians, or Statutory Authorities. It should be kept in mind that the junior may have been threatened and may feel vulnerable at this stage.  

(i)   Carefully record the details 

(j)     Pass on this information to the National Children’s Officer & DLP 

(k)   Reassure the junior that they have done the right thing in telling you

Reporting Suspected or Disclosed Child Abuse

The following steps should be taken in reporting child abuse to the Statutory Authorities: 

(a)  Observe and note dates, times, locations and contexts in which the incident occurred or suspicion was aroused, together with any other relevant information 

(b)  Report the matter as soon as possible to the Mandated Person (NGB level only) or Designated Liaison Person within the organisation who has responsibility for reporting abuse. If the Mandated Person & DLP has reasonable grounds for believing that the junior has been abused or is at risk of abuse, s/he will make a report to local Statutory Authorities who have statutory responsibility to investigate and assess suspected or actual child abuse 

(c) In cases of emergency, where a junior appears to be at immediate and serious risk and the Mandated Person & DLP is unable to contact a duty social worker, An Garda Síochána/Police authorities should be contacted. Under no circumstances should a junior be left in a dangerous situation pending intervention by the Statutory Authorities

(d) If the Mandated Person & DLP is unsure whether reasonable grounds for concern exists s/he can informally consult with the Statutory Authorities. S/he will be advised whether or not the matter requires a formal report.  

A Mandated Person & DLP reporting suspected or actual child abuse to the Statutory Authorities will first inform the family of their intention to make such a report, unless doing so would put the child at further risk or undermine an investigation. 

The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 (ROI only) provides immunity from civil liability to persons who report child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to the Tusla Child and Family Agency or An Garda Síochána. The act also covers the offence of ‘false reporting’.  The main provisions of the Act are:  

1. The provision of immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child abuse “reasonably and in good faith” to designated officers of Tusla Child and Family Agency or any member of An Garda Síochána 

2.  The provision of significant protections for employees who report child abuse. These protections cover all employees and all forms of discrimination up to and including, dismissal 

3. The creation of a new offence of false reporting of child abuse where a person makes a report of child abuse to the appropriate authorities “knowing that statement to be false”. This is a new criminal offence designed to protect innocent persons from malicious reports

Allegations against Golf Leaders

Golf has agreed procedures to be followed in cases of alleged child abuse made against Golf Leaders. If such an allegation is made against a Golf Leader working within the organisation, two procedures should be followed: 

·        The reporting procedure in respect of suspected child abuse (reported by the Mandated Person & DLP), see previous page 

·        The procedure for dealing with the Golf Leader

The safety of the child making the allegation

should be considered and the safety of any other children who may be at risk. The organisation will take any necessary steps that may be needed to protect children in its care.

The issue of confidentiality is important.
Information is on a need to know basis and the Golf Leader should be treated with respect and fairness.

The reporting procedure

If the Mandated Person & DLP has reasonable grounds for concern, the matter should be
reported to the Statutory Authorities, following the standard reporting procedure. See appendix 10 a for ROI.  

The procedure for dealing with Golf’s leader

The Mandated Person & DLP makes the report to the Statutory Authorities and seeks advice about how and when to inform the person the allegation is made against.

In golf, the Unions following advice from statutory agencies will inform the Leader that  

(a) an allegation has been made against him/her, and

(b) the nature of the allegation. He / she should be afforded an opportunity to respond. His / her response should be noted and passed on to the Statutory Authorities

·        The Leader may be asked to step aside pending the outcome of the investigation. When a person is asked to step aside it should be made clear that it is only a precautionary measure and will not prejudice any later disciplinary proceedings 

Disciplinary action on the Leader should be considered but only if this does not interfere with the investigation of the Statutory Authorities. It is important to consider the outcome of the investigation and any implications it might have. The fact that someone an allegation has been made against has not been prosecuted or been found guilty does not automatically mean that they are appropriate to work with juniors in the future.

Irrespective of the findings of the Statutory Authorities, the Golf Unions & PGA Disciplinary Committees will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer should be reinstated and if so how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision, especially where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the Statutory Authorities. In such case the Golf Disciplinary Committees must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on the balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true, and the implications of this for the safety of juniors.
The welfare of the junior should remain of paramount importance throughout. The Unions and PGA may need to disclose information to ensure the protection of juniors in its care, in NI clubs are obliged to pass information to the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).



All Sports Leaders should be familiar with signs and behaviours that may be indicative of child abuse.

Though a child may be subjected to more than one type of harm, abuse is normally categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. For detailed definitions of abuse, refer to Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children R.O.I. The categories of abuse may be briefly summarised as follows:  

Neglect is normally defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, and/or medical care. It may also include neglect of a child’s basic emotional needs.

Harm can be defined as the ill-treatment or the impairment of the health or development of a child. Whether it is significant is determined by the child's health and development as compared to that which could reasonably be expected of a child of similar age.

Neglect generally becomes apparent in different ways over a period of time rather than at one specific point. For example, a child who suffers a series of minor injuries may not be having his or her needs met in terms of necessary supervision and safety. A child whose height or weight is significantly below average may be being deprived of adequate nutrition. A child who consistently misses school may be being deprived of intellectual stimulation.

The threshold of significant harm is reached when the child's needs are neglected to the extent that his or her well-being and/or development are severely affected.

Emotional abuse is normally to be found in the relationship between a parent/carer and a child rather than in a specific event or pattern of events. It occurs when a child's developmental need for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met. Unless other forms of abuse are present, it is rarely manifested in terms of physical signs or symptoms. Examples may include: 

·   The imposition of negative attributes on a child, expressed by persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility or blaming; 
·   Conditional parenting in which the level of care shown to a child is made contingent on his or her behaviours or actions; 
·    Emotional unavailability of the child's parent/carer; 
·    Unresponsiveness, inconsistent or unrealistic expectations of a child; 
·     Premature imposition of responsibility on the child; 
·    Unrealistic or inappropriate expectations of the child's capacity to understand something or to behave and control himself or herself in a certain way;  
·      Over or under protection of the child;  
·     Failure to provide opportunities for the child’s education and development; 
·     Use of unreasonable or over-harsh disciplinary measures; 
·     Exposure to domestic violence; 
·     Exposure to inappropriate or abusive material through new technology. 

Emotional abuse can be manifested in terms of the child's behavioural, cognitive, affective or physical functioning. Examples of these include insecure attachment, unhappiness, low self-esteem, educational and developmental underachievement, and oppositional behaviour. The threshold of significant harm is reached when abusive interactions dominate and become typical of the relationship between the child and the parent/carer.

Physical abuse is any form of non-accidental injury that causes  significant harm  to a child. 
It may occur as a single incident or repeated incidents.

Physical abuse can involve:  
·        Severe physical punishment; 
·        Beating, slapping, hitting or kicking; 
·        Pushing, shaking or throwing; 
·        Pinching, biting, choking or hair-pulling; 
·        Terrorising with threats; 
·        Observing violence; 
·        Use of excessive force in handling;  
·        Deliberate poisoning;  
·        Suffocation; 
·        Fabricated/induced illness  
·  Allowing or creating a substantial risk of significant harm to a child.


Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or sexual arousal, or for that of others.

Examples of child sexual abuse include:  ·     Exposure of the sexual organs or any sexual act intentionally performed in the presence of the child; 
·     Intentional touching or molesting of the body of a child whether by a person or object for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification; 
·    Masturbation in the presence of the child or the involvement of the child in an act of masturbation; 
·   Sexual intercourse with the child, whether oral, vaginal or anal; 
· Sexual exploitation of a child, which includes inciting, encouraging, propositioning, requiring or permitting a child to solicit for, or to engage in, prostitution or other sexual acts. Sexual exploitation also occurs when a child is involved in the exhibition, modelling or posing for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or sexual act, including its recording (on film, video tape or other media) or the manipulation, for those purposes, of the image by computer or other means. It may also include showing sexually explicit material to children, which is often a feature of the 'grooming' process by perpetrators of abuse; 
·      It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. 

    ·     Consensual sexual activity involving an adult and an underage person. In relation to child sexual abuse, it should be noted that, for the purposes of the criminal law, the age of consent to sexual intercourse is 17 years for both boys and girls in the Republic of Ireland. An Garda Síochána will deal with the criminal aspects of the case under the relevant legislation.  


Confidentiality should be maintained in respect of all issues and people involved in cases of abuse, welfare or poor practice. It is important that the rights of both the junior and the person about whom the complaint has been made are protected.  

The following points should be kept in mind: 
·      A guarantee of secrecy cannot be given, as the welfare of the junior will supersede all other considerations but confidentiality will be maintained. 
·   All information should be treated in a careful and sensitive manner and should be discussed only with those who need to know 
·       Information should be conveyed to the parents / guardians of the child in a sensitive way following consultation with the Golf DLP and statutory agencies 
·        Giving information to others on a ‘need to know’ basis for the protection of a junior is not a breach of confidentiality 
·    All persons involved in a child protection process (the child, his/her parents/guardians, the alleged offender, his/her family, Leaders) should be afforded appropriate respect, fairness, support and confidentiality at all stages of the procedure 
·        Information should be stored in a secure place, with limited access only to designated people and/or National Children’s Officer & DLP   

The requirements of the Data Protection laws should be adhered to; Breach of confidentiality is a serious matter

Anonymous Complaints

Anonymous complaints can be difficult to deal with but should not be ignored. In all cases the safety and welfare of the junior/juniors is paramount. Any such complaints relating to inappropriate behaviour should be brought to the attention of the National Children’s Officer & DLP. The information should be checked out and handled in a confidential manner.


Rumours should not be allowed to hang in the air. Any rumours relating to inappropriate behaviour should be brought to the attention of the National Children’s Officer & DLP and checked out without delay.

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