All sports/organisations should have a clear commitment to confidentiality and how this is to be respected. This commitment covers much broader issues than child protection. Families and children in contact with our organisations should be sure, for example, that personal and sensitive details which they have confided about their lives or family situations will not be talked about or passed on to others without their consent.
However, the legal principle that 'the welfare of the child is paramount' means that considerations of confidentiality should not be allowed to override the right of children to be protected from harm. Everyone in your organisation, including children, must be aware that they can never promise to keep secrets. However, information of a confidential nature will only be communicated on a 'need to know' basis.
This will mean, at the very least, informing:
- the person responsible for safeguarding in our organisation/sport;
- where relevant, a statutory child protection agency;
- the parent/guardian of the child, unless to do so would place the child at further risk;
- the alleged perpetrator, but only following advice/consultation with the statutory agencies.
Informing the parents of a child about whom you are concerned will need to be handled in a sensitive way and may be undertaken in consultation with the statutory agencies.
Any individual under suspicion whether or not s/he is a staff member or volunteer within your club/organisation has a right to be notified of the cause of the concern. This is a matter that will need careful consideration and should only be understaken in consultation with a statutory agency if it is an issue of suspected abuse.
Depending on the outcome of your initial inquiries for clarification, staff and other agencies who have contact with either the child concerned or the alleged perpetrator may need to be given brief details of the incident and subsequent action. The statutory agency will advice you about who should be told, when they should be told, and the kind of information which it is appropriate to share.