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When you have a concern - Reporting Incidents

Child Protection concerns may arise from:
  • Behaviour or experiences within the sports organisation or environment (e.g. allegations of abuse by a coach)

  • Allegations arising outside the organisation (e.g. allegations of abuse at home or bullying in school or a rugby volunteer being the subject of an investigation which may indicate a risk to children within the sport)

Everyone has a legal and moral responsibility to respond to any concerns about the welfare of young people - irrespective of whether the cause of the concern is internal or external - and to ensure that they take action by reporting this in line with The WRU's procedures.

If a child discloses that they or another young person is being abused, the person receiving the information should:

  • Stay calm and ensure that the child feels safe and is not at any immediate risk

  • Show the child that you have heard what they are saying, and that you take their allegations seriously

  • Reassure the child that they've done nothing wrong

  • Allow the child to talk freely, and use their own words, but do not probe for more information than is offered as this may affect any subsequent investigation by Police and/or Social Services

  • Don't interrupt when the child is recalling significant events

  • Don't make the child repeat their account

  • Don't allow your emotions, shock or disgust to show

  • Do not make negative comments about the alleged abuser and do not approach him/ her

  • Recognise any difficulties the child may have in explaining the incidents

  • Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in revealing the information

  • Explain what actions you must take, in a way that is appropriate to the age and understanding of the child

  • Do not promise to keep what you have been told secret or confidential, as you have a responsibility to disclose information to those who need to know. Reporting concerns is not a betrayal of trust

  • Record in writing what was said using the child's own words as soon as possible (preferably on the WRU Incident Referral Form)

The WRU Incident Referral Form is available to download here.

Volunteers who have to deal with disclosures of abuse should consider the 'Six R's as a guide of what to do:

  • RECOGNISE signs or indicators of abuse

  • REASSURE the child or person involved

  • RECORD what is said, but don't ask questions unless you need to clarify something, and then use 5WH and an open questioning style (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How)

  • REPORT or REFER to the appropriate person i.e. Police, Social Services or if appropriate the WRU Safeguarding Advisor

  • RETAIN any notes or materials that you have gathered


It is important that any information that has been disclosed remains confidential and should only be discussed with the appropriate people in order to protect the child and other children and initiate the investigative process.

There are flow charts of the WRU reporting procedures available to download below:

Responding to Allegations of Poor Practice in a Rugby Environment

Responding to Allegations of Poor Practice outside a Rugby Environment


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