Rules, Terms & Conditions and Child Protection Policy
Please check these rules from time to time as they are regularly updated. As well as rules specific to CaniX, we also adhere to British Triathalon Rules which can be found here.
CaniX is cross-country running with your dog for all breeds, any size, big or small. This can be done with collar and lead or for greater comfort for you and your dog and hands-free running, with a CaniX waist belt for you, CaniX line and CaniX harness for your dog. CaniX events cater for 1 or 2-dog teams and most races are over +/- 5km distance with a short course (1km+) for the kids and adults who want to have-a-go. CaniX cater for all human ages young and old with races divided into 10 age classes (+ Have-a-go Class).
NEW! ParaCaniX (wheelchair)
ParaCaniX caters for wheelchair users who want to get involved with their dog (for all breeds). You may choose between a 1-dog or 2-dog team but both options run under the same class; and have the option of an additional human on foot on your team for assistance on hills and muddy sections. Dogs must run in harness with a bungee line attached to the wheelchair. Most races will be run over the same course as the CaniX, unless the terrain is too difficult to negotiate where an alternative route will be found - ParaCaniX will also have the option of the short course where you will run under the Have-a-go Class. To enter you must be 17+ with races divided into male and female classes. Please see IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL BIKEJOR INFO.
Some courses would be OK with a standard wheelchair - like Lydiard, Pembrey (short), Moors Valley (short), Alice Holt, Cannock (short), and Crufts. All courses may have an element of grass and mud. If you have a wheelchair adapted for off-road (with the large mountain bike wheel at the front - below left) this will be suitable for all events (standard or short course). Mountain Trikes (below right) have also been used at our events and would also be suitable for all courses - Mountain Trike have also offered their trikes for people to borrow and enter our events.
Wheelchair adapted for off-road use
MountainTrike (available to borrow and enter events)
For the 2013/14 season Bikejor will have their own Male and Female classes (NB should numbers not materialise to justify separate Bikejor and Scooter, Male and Female classes, they may be joined Bikejor/Scooter and/or M/F and points recalculated for the whole season). Bikejor is mountain biking with your dog for all breeds, any size, big or small. Dogs must run in harness with a bungee line attached to the front of the bike. Bikejor events cater for 1-dog teams only and most races are over +/- 5km distance. To enter you must be 17+ with races divided into male and female classes. Please see IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL BIKEJOR INFO.
For the 2013/14 season Scooter will have their own Male and Female classes (NB should numbers not materialise to justify separate Bikejor and Scooter, Male and Female classes, they may be joined Bikejor/Scooter and/or M/F and points recalculated for the whole season). Scooters should be specialised off-road scooters designed to be used with a dog (for all breeds). You may choose between a 1-dog or 2-dog team. Dogs must run in harness with a bungee line attached to the front of the scooter. Please see IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL BIKEJOR INFO.
Night runs will be over a shortened course with glow sticks marking the route. All competitors must be 17+ and wear hi-vis vests, a head torch and carry a whistle.
Caniteering is orienteering with your dog for teams of 3 or more (if you cannot make up a team, enter as an individual and other team members will be found on the day). Teams can be made up of non-dog runners but there must be at least one dog on each team. Teams can be made up of under 17s but there must be a minimum of 2 adults (over 17) on teams including under 17s. For safety teams must stay together and visit each checkpoint as a team (ie you cannot split up and each visit one checkpoint). Each team will be given a map with checkpoints marked; you choose the route to take to visit each checkpoint; the first team back who visited all the checkpoints wins. For more info and additional equipment required CLICK HERE
5XC is cross-country running (without a dog) over +/- 5km distance. To enter you must be 17+ with races divided into male and female classes. This was introduced for couples/friends that attend the events and want to run but only have one dog and those that enter the CaniX but for some reason their dog is unalbe to run (comes into season, recovering from injury) - in this case you will be able to swap your entry on race day.
By completing an entry form to a CaniX UK event you confirm that:
- you agree to CaniX UK Rules, Terms & Conditions and Child Protection Policy.
- you do not have any criminal convictions that would mean you are unsuitable to compete alongside and camp at weekend events with children and young people under 18 years of age.
- you give consent for CaniX UK to request information on you from the Criminal Records Bureau should the need arise.
- if you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person under the age of 18, in your absence, you consent to CaniX UK staff or volunteers treating your child for first aid or taking other actions deemed necessary in the event of an emergency or to protect your child.
groups and distances (human)
Age groups and distances (dogs)
Bitches in season
What equipment do I need?
Borrowing of dogs
Closing date and Pay-on-the-day
Bad weather, cancellation, refunds and credits
Optional cancellation Cover
Camping (selected venues only)
Child Protection Policy
Classes, distances and age
|Classes (for 2013/14 season)
|CaniX 1-dog classes
||Age range (**)
||5-7km (3 miles)
||VM + VF
||5-7km (3 miles)
||MM + MF
||40 to 49
||5-7km (3 miles)
||M + F
||15 to 39
||1-3km (1 mile)
||J (M+F combined)
||11 to 14
||1-3km (1 mile)
||C (M+F combined)
||7 to 10
|CaniX 2-dog classes
||5-7km (3 miles)
||XM + XF
|ParaCaniX 1 or 2-dog classes (wheelchair)
||5-7km (3 miles)
||P (M+F combined)
||YES (prize TBC)
|NEW! Bikejor (1-dog only)
||5-7km (3 miles)
||BM + BF
|NEW! Scooter (1 or 2-dog)
||5-7km (3 miles)
||SM + SF
|CaniX/ParaCaniX Have-a-go class, 1-dog or 2-dog
||1-3km (1 mile)
||H (M+F comb)
|5XC classes (cross-country without a dog)
Two classes (M+F) for over 17s without a dog. These classes have been introduced for one dog families where two or more people would like to run as well as the CaniX runner - or any runners who just want to come along and run the 5km(*) cross-country course.
||5-7km (3 miles)
||NDM + NDF
|(*) Distance may not be exact due to the nature of forest trails.
|(**) Age at 31 May at the end of the season.
|(*3) All classes for under 15s will be awarded points towards the Championship and medals at the Championship prizegiving, but do not qualify for a years supply of dog food (with exception of XM, XF, BM, BF, SM and SF classes).
|(*4) To run 2 dogs in Have-a-Go class you need to be 17+.
|(*5) Have-a-go class is timed in alphabetical order.
|(*6) NB should numbers not materialise to justify separate Bikejor and Scooter, Male and Female classes, they may be joined Bikejor/Scooter and/or M/F and points recalculated for the whole season.
As our race season runs from 1 Sep to 31 May, the class you compete in
for the whole season is determined by your age at 31 May (at the end of
the season). For example, the classes you can enter, if on 31 May you
- Age 7* is: Cubs (M+F combined)
- Age 11* is: Juniors (M+F combined)
- Age 15 are: M / F / H
- Age 17 are: M / F / XM / XF / P / BM / BF / SM / SF / H
- Age 40 are: MM / MF / XM / XF / P / BM / BF / SM / SF / H
- Age 50 are: VM / VF / XM / XF / P / BM / BF / SM / SF / H
The following distance restrictions apply:
- Age 7* to 14*: 1 to 3km (short course)
- Age 15* to 16*: up to 7km
- Age 17 to 19: up to 10km
- Age 20 and over: any distance
The 13 adult classes (VM / VF / MM / MF / M / F / XM / XF / P / BM / BF / SM / SF) and the two junior classes* (J/C) are officially timed with results and points awarded towards the CaniX UK Championship. The Have-a-go class (H) for 15s and over is officially timed in alphabetical order but does not count towards the Championship. If you are over 15 and would like to compete in the CaniX Championship, please choose 5km when you enter.
(*) Competitors aged under 17 (C / J / M / F / H class), please note:
- For safety reasons, it is compulsary for an adult (over 18) without a dog to accompany under 11s on the course (in case a child is approached by a member of the public, gets lost, injured, or their dog is involved in an incident with another competitors dog or member of the publics dog). At times your child will be alone in the forest out of sight of a marshal. We also strongly advise that both child and adult are attached to the dog, via two hand held leads, CaniX lines or a double CaniX line in reverse (in case the child trips or slips on downhill sections and gets pulled by the dog especially if a child is running with a large, powerful dog).
- Entrants as young as 6yrs 3mths can enter C
- Entrants as young as 10yrs 3mths can enter J class.
- Entrants as young as 14yrs 3mths can enter M oe F class.
- We advise that an adult accompany children under 17 on the course (with/without a dog).
- Under 17s: run with parental/guardian consent. One dog only (no 2 dog class or bikejor class).
- All classes for under 15s will be awarded points towards the CaniX UK Championship and medals at the Championship prizegiving, but do not qualify for a years supply of dog food.
- Please refer to our Child Protection Policy.
groups and distances (dogs)
Dogs must be at least one year old on the day of the race. Dogs under
one year old are not able to compete. The following distance restrictions
- Age 1 to 2: up to 7km.
- Age 2 and over: any distance (providing training for the distance in the lead-up to the race has been done).
- NB For ParaCaniX, Bikejor and Scooter the minimum age for race entry is 18 months.
We advise you build your dogs distance up over several
weeks/months. During training runs and hot weather (over 16°c) some
breeds (ie those with short muzzles) may have difficulty cooling themselves.
If your dog is overweight, unfit, not used to exercise, recovering from
illness, of advancing years, or you have any doubt about your dogs ability,
please consult your vet.
- Always carry water with you there are camel
packs (designed for running) that hold up to 3 litres and folding dog
bowls for this purpose.
- Do not train for long distances during hot weather
(over 16°c). If your dog is unfit and not used to exercise, it may
suffer from heat exhaustion in lower temperatures.
- Familiarise yourself with your dogs normal
behaviour while running. If at any time sh/e shows any signs they are
struggling (excessive foaming at the mouth, shaking the head or pulling
to the side), immediately find a shaded place to stop (preferably with
a cool breeze) and give them some water.
- Watch your dogs behaviour for 1/2hr after your run
this is the most critical time when sh/e is likely to overheat.
If entering a race with a distance over 7km, you must
convince CaniX UK that your dog is fit enough to run.
CaniX UK reserve the right to refuse a dog on the start
line if deemed unfit.
Bitches in season
If you have a bitch in season, please do not run her, and if at the event, keep well away from other dogs and the start/finish area.
What equipment do I need?
The following items are NOT
If you already run with your dog, you are already
doing CaniX. No special equipment is needed, but for
you and your dogs comfort the following items are recommended:
- Banned wasit belt MORE INFO
- Studded boots
- Choke chains or any collar
that constricts your dogs throat
- Electric shock collars
- Muzzles (other than racing greyhound type muzzle)
- Flexi leads
Your line (whether a CaniX line or a lead) must not have a metal snap or loop on the handle – if released this can cause injury to dogs and by-standers. Together
with waist belt (if worn) should be no longer than 22.5meters (68
If your equipment does not meet these rules, you may be turned away from the start line – if in doubt ask at registration.
An element of control of your dog is desirable!
The only brakes you have are your feet which can be
precarious on loose gravel trails, wet grass or other surfaces where traction
is not ideal. Remember that your footing will not be as solid when a dog
is pulling you on downward slopes.
Borrowing of dogs
Although the swapping, lending and borrowing of dogs is not prohibited, as the events grow with more competitors, dogs and spectators, safety must be maintained. Anyone running a dog that is not owned by them must disclose this on their entry form. Ultimatly it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the person they are lending their dog to is able to read the dog’s signals in order to anticipate any problems before they happen and if a situation should occur they are capable of handling it. They must also be confident the dog is sound when approaching and being approached by other dogs. For the safety of the dog being lent out, the runner should also be made aware of the dogs limitations, signs that the dog may be having difficulties and have undertaken a number of training runs before entering a race. If there is any doubt that the runner is not capable or the dog could act unpredictably, the entry should not be submitted or withdrawn. If a situation occurs the owner of the dog will be held responsible.
CaniX UK may close the entry prior to the
advertised closing date if entry capacity is reached. If capacity is not
reached, entries will remain open until 5pm the Monday before the
event (unless specified). We do not take entries on the day of the race.
If conditions/temperatures dictate
the race may begin early for runners with dogs. In extreme cases CaniX entrants will be given the option to run without their dog without effecting their Championship points. 5XC (runners without dogs) will not be effected.
Bad weather, cancellation, refunds and credit
All competitors should check our Twitter page for updates before setting off for the event. This will not only inform you the event is proceding as planned, but give you any new information we have right up until the morning of the race. We use Twitter to spread this information as it can be sent via text message from a mobile phone - forests generally have bad mobile signals and we cannot access the internet to send emails. Twitter will also send you a text the second we issue an update (if you choose this in your Twitter settings).
If possible, an email will be sent to all entrants, and updates issued on our website status page BUT PLEASE DO NOT RELY ON THESE.
From the moment an event goes into planning, costs start to be incured. Your entry fee is invested into the cost of staging the event - everything from barriers to signage, printing to safety pins, race numbers to marketing, land owner permissions/costs, public liability insurance, risk assessments and first aid cover not to mention time and admin 24/7. Organising any event requires a considerable amount of forward planning, risk and expense. The cancellation policy reflects this and is as follows:
|Competitors withdrawing from event
A credit will be issued as follows:
|Notification dated 8 weeks (57 days) or more before the event
|Notification dated 4 weeks to 8 weeks (29 to 56 days) before the event
|Notification dated less than 4 weeks (28 days) before the event
|Notify CaniX UK in writing via email withdrawals@caniX.co.uk giving your full name and event you are withdrawing from. Date of withdrawal is the date of email. Telephone messages are not acceptable.
Race entries are NOT transferable to any other person or any other event. The online entry system and race database is fully automated and any manual changes to the data held on the race database requires considerable time and cost in administration.
Optional Cancellation Cover does not include withdrawals.
|Event cancelled due to reasons beyond organisers control
|if an event is cancelled due to reasons beyond the organisers control, we regret that no entry fees can be refunded, credited or deferred to future events. This is due to the amount of admin, organisation and cost that goes into each event prior to the actual event itself.
CaniX have run over 100 events in the past 6 years throughout the winter months and have only had to cancel two events due the venue being closed as a result of bad weather.
|Optional Cancellation Cover
If you choose to include cancellation cover with your entry and the event is cancelled by the organisers due to reasons outside of the organisers control you will receive a full refund of your entry fee (less cancellation cover fee). To be valid, cancellation cover must be purchased with the associated entry - it cannot be included at a later date. This cover only applies to cancellations by the organisers, there is no refund for a withrawal/ cancellation by an individual due to personal circumstances (credits will be given for individual cancellations 4 weeks or more prior to an event - see above for more info). Without this cancellation cover no refunds will be issued. This cover is non-refundable.
|Event cancelled by organiser
|if an event is cancelled by the organiser for reasons within it's control, a full refund will be issued.
Distance Selling Regulations
Merchandise orders are governed by the Distance Selling Regulations which allow every customer the right to cancel their merchandise order within 7 working days of placing the order. This cancellation right does not extend to race entries.
Prizes and race mementos
Prizes and race mementos given to competitors on the day of the race cannot be made available to anyone who fails to turn up for the prizegiving, race, or who has withdrawn from the event.
In all cases the safety and health of you/your dog are paramount. If you/your
dog are not active, it is advised that you/your dog should be checked
out by a doctor/veterinarian before running. The organisers are not held
responsible for any accident or injury sustained during the race. If in
doubt, do not run.
If you have one dog between two runners and both wish to run, you may enter the same dog twice - once in the 5km course (SM/SF/VM/VF/MM/MF/M/F/TM/TF/BM/BF Classes) and once in the short course (in the Have-a-go Class for over 17s, or JM/JF/CM/CF Classes for under 17s). If a CaniX event includes a relay, the same dog used in the mornings main race can be used to run in the afternoons 3 by Xkm relay (a different dog must be used for each leg of the relay). Whilst a runner may run more than once with different
dogs in the main 5km race, a dog may only run the 5km course once per day.
All particants must attend the pre race briefing/safety
No prizes will be given before prizegiving or mailed after the event. If you are not present at prizegiving, your prize will be recyled. With regard to the Championship Prizegiving and any standalone event (including Crufts), non-attendance at prizegiving will result in award being presented to the next highest placed competitor who is present – the results will not be effected, but you forfeit your award / prize.
Qualified First Aiders will be available on the day.
To help ensure the continued acceptance of the sport and the availability
of trails that will accommodate dogs:
During the race:
- always pick up after your
dog carry poop bags with you at all times.
- leave the trail in a good condition.
- pick up small items left
behind by others (i.e. other dog owners, sweet wrappers).
- remember not everyone loves
canines like we do, keep yours under control and on a lead at all times.
- if you have an aggressive
type dog, don't provide the opportunity for it to be out of control.
- although facilities will
be available, we recommend that you bring water for your dog.
- no dogs must be left
unattended in cars.
- no physical or verbal abuse of your dog is allowed.
- try and get your dog to
do its business before the start.
- move off the trail if your
dog needs to relieve itself. If your dog relieves itself whole heartedly
in the middle of the trail pick it up no one wants to
be running and sliding into your dogs excrement! Carry poop bags
with you at all times.
- maintain a good rapport with walkers, MTBs, horse
riders and other trail users that you may see on the trail a
smile or good morning greeting never goes amiss.
- do whatever it takes to make other trail users feel
comfortable and not intimidated or inconvenienced. Always give right
of way. We do not and never will have sole use of trails. Conflicts
may jeopardise our future use of venues so dont allow a small
isolated situation escalate to the point where we will be unable to
return to a venue.
- when overtaking other runners on narrow trails,
call before overtaking. If being overtaken, keep your dog close. When
passing other runners, each party should ensure this is done safely,
allowing plenty of space for each runner and ensuring dogs do not become
- dogs should be attached to the runner at all times
except in cases of danger to dog or runner.
- runners should not go ahead of their dog at any
stage except in cases of danger to dog or runner.
- the swapping of dogs during a race is not allowed. The dog you start the race with is the dog you must finish the race with. If for any reason your dog refuses to run you must not force your dog to run and you must retire your dog. A DNF (Did Not Finish) result will be recorded in the results. At a two day event, you may change dogs before you start on the second day (*), but you must notify the organiser of the change before you start. At the organisers descrection you may restart the race with the same dog or another dog - but you will not be timed, placed or receive points for a restart.
(*) At the European Championship you must run with the same dog on both days of the main competition. You may change dogs for the relay.
- runners must not pull, drag or force their dog to
go forwards by any means except in cases of danger to dog or runner.
Dogs are allowed to run at heel.
- no bitches on heat.
- Racing bibs supplied by CaniX UK must be worn on the front of your garment attached with 4x safety pins in each corner (please supply your own pins). The whole bib must be visible at all times during the race. If your bib is not visible to the start timer you will be asked to leave the start line, rectify the problem and be moved to the end of the queue to restart. The whole bib must be visible to the finish timers, marshals, the public and other runners throughout the race - failure to do so may result in your time not being recorded. Bibs must not be altered or defaced in any way or the sponsors logos/CaniX logo intentionally obscured. Sponsors use the bibs to promote their companies and sponsor logos are to be on display at all times - failure to do so may result in the removal of sponsorship resulting in increased entry fees and jeopardise the future of CaniX events.
- Animal cruelty, unsportsmanlike, aggressive, threatening, abusive or any behaviour deemed to be unacceptable at any stage during the event will not be tolerated. As well as the distress negative behaviour causes, CaniX events are attended by families with young children. The venues are public places where families come to enjoy themselves. This also extends to intimidation or harassment of dogs, runners, marshals, helpers, volunteers or CaniX UK outside of events.
CaniX UK have a permit to operate in the various venues and in the course of running the events have permission to promote, sell or endorse CaniX UK.
CaniX UK respectfully request that you do not bring flyers, brochures or display any placards, bills, cards or notices. Television crews, photographers, live radio, press and freelance journalists are invited by CaniX UK to promote CaniX UK and any person undertaking any of these activities without an invitation will be in breach of venue byelaws and rules & regulations.
- Runners start at timed intervals
and the winner will be the one to complete the course in the fastest
- Markers will be placed at regular intervals
to indicate the direction of the course.
- Marshals will be positioned
along the course with water.
- Please contact marshals
if you/your dog experience difficulties.
- Any form of abuse of marshals will result
in automatic disqualification and possible ban from future events.
If you have a complaint, the proceedure is detailed below.
Camping (selected venues
Camping is at your own risk. You are responsible
for the health, welfare and actions of your party and your dog. Picking
up after your dog is essential to ensure we are invited back.
Neither land owners or CaniX UK accept responsibility
for damages or loss including accident or injury resulting from the use
of the camping facilities to either human or canine.
Anybody whose behaviour is considered unacceptable
will be asked to leave.
Disregard of any of the above may result in a Did Not Finish (DNF), Warning (WRN), No Time Recorded (NTR), disqualification (DSQ), Suspension (SUS)
and/or a ban (BAN) from future events; championship points being revoked and a suspension/ban from the CaniX membership. In extreme cases a ban will be immediate and without warning. Refunds will not be issued if your actions result in any of the above.
CaniX UK reserve the right to amend these rules if circumstances dictate and apply retrospectivly should the need arise. Event entries or membership may be declined at the organisers discretion.
The whole complaints/appeals procedure is confidential. During this procedure no names will be divulged at any stage of the process. This is so people can lodge a complaint free in the knowledge their name will not be divulged to the person they have lodged the complaint against subjecting them to possible intimidation and reprisal.
If you make a complaint against another competitor or appeal a decision made against you, you may submit a complaint/appeal which will be considered by the Technical Committee and a ruling made. The procedure is as follows:
If you have a complaint about an incident at an event it must be lodged via email within 3 days of the event with a non refundable payment of £37.00(*). If a complaint about an incident at an event is received outside of this 3 day period, it will be heard at the Technical Committee's discretion. If you have a complaint about an incident outside an event it can be lodged using the same channel. Your complaint will not be heard unless it is accompanied with the payment(*). Complaints are per person per complaint.
- SUBMIT A COMPLAINT
- MAKE PAYMENT
- Action: A decision will be made on what action to take regarding a complaint and the person involved officially notified via email.
NB If a marshal, helper or volunteer report an incident at an event or the race organisers witness an incident, action may be taken on the spot without the Technical Committee's sanction. If this is the case you may appeal the decision using the channel below within 3 days of notification, which will then be heard by the Technical Committee.
If a complaint is made against you and action taken or you are not happy with the action taken regarding a complaint you made, an appeal may be lodged via email within 3 days of the date of notification with a non refundable payment of £37.00(*). Your appeal will not be heard unless it is accompanied with the payment(*). If an appeal is received outside the 3 day period it will not be heard. Appeals are per person, per appeal.
- SUBMIT AN APPEAL
- MAKE PAYMENT
- Record: Following official notification, any penalty imposed will be recorded on the related results page with further information given below under Penalties imposed, but details will not be released.
Following an appeal, the Technical Committee's decision is final.
- The CaniX Technical Committee (as of 15/04/2013)
D Hydon (Head of Technical)
The Technical Committee is made up of independent members of CaniX UK. These members are not directly associated with CaniX UK organisers and have been chosen for their impartial view of any complaint/appeal. The Technical Committee is appointed to address complaints/appeals received by CaniX UK. The names of those who lodge a complaint will remain confidential throughout the entire process. All correspondence between CaniX UK, the Technical Committee and those making the complaint will be confidential. This has been decided to ensure people are free to lodge a complaint without the threat of intimidation or reprisal.
If, following a penalty imposed against you, you seek reprisal on any individual or CaniX UK, the penalty will be increased. Reprisals include: disrupting CaniX events and/or intimidating individuals at CaniX events including intimidating individuals outside of CaniX events. This includes vengeful, aggressive, threatening or abusive behaviour; any inciteful derogatory comments in any form, ie Facebook or any social networking forums, private messaging, emails, etc. Should there be any ongoing legal disputes a ban will remain in force.
(*) This payment does not apply to marshals, helpers and volunteers. The entire payment is divided between the members of the Technical Committee to compensate for their time in making a decision. The payment is non-refundable but may be refunded at the Technical Committee's discretion.
Any legal action will result in membership and entries automatically being suspended without notice, until the matter has been resolved.
CaniX UK Child Protection Policy
All sporting organisations which make provision for children and young people must ensure that:
- the welfare of the child is paramount.
- all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
- all suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- all staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.
CaniX UK has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in CaniX UK from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. CaniX UK will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in CaniX UK through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by CaniX UK.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the CaniX UK Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
- providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of CaniX UK.
- allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Promoting good practice
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When a child enters a sporting activity having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the organisers must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to promote childrens welfare and reduce the likelihood of allegations being made. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means:
- Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.
- Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with runners (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
- Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
- Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly. Care is needed, as it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving. Young people and their parents should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport.
- Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
- Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
- Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
- Being an excellent role model - this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults - avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
- Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
- Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
- Requesting written parental consent if CaniX UK officials are required to transport young people in their cars.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge or the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
- avoid spending time alone with children away from others.
- avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity.
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
- engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- share a room with a child.
- allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
- allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
- make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
- reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
- fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child.
- do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves.
- invite or allow children to stay with you at your home/van/caravan/tent unsupervised.
NB It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the runners involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the appropriate officer and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- if you accidentally hurt a runner.
- if he/she seems distressed in any manner.
- if a runner appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
- if a runner misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Use of photographic/filming equipment at sporting events
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sportspeople in vulnerable positions. Any concerns should to be reported to CaniX UK.
Videoing as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent the use of video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, runners and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the programme and their consent obtained, and such films should be stored safely.
Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers
CaniX UK recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Preselection checks must included the following:
- All volunteers/staff should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant's past and a self disclosure about any criminal record.
- Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau.
- Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).
Interview and induction
All employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive an induction, during which:
- A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
- Their qualifications should be substantiated.
- The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
- Child protection procedures are explained and training needs are identified.
- They should sign up to the organisation’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and Child Protection policy.
In addition to preselection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
- Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is not likely to result in allegations being made.
- Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
- Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
- Work safely effectively with children.
CaniX UK requires:
- Relevant personnel to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person.
- Relevant personnel to gain a national first aid training (where necessary).
- Attend update training when necessary. Information about meeting training needs can be obtained from Sports Coach UK, the NSPCC, and the Sport Council.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in CaniX UK, in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities.
CaniX UK will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:
- a criminal investigation
- a child protection investigation
- a disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision.
Reporting concerns about poor practice
If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice the designated CaniX UK Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
If the allegation is about poor practice by the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the CaniX UK Technical Committee who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
Reporting concerns about suspected abuse
Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.
The CaniX UK Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police.
The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
If the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the CaniX UK Technical Committee who will refer the allegation to Social Services.
If you are concerned about a child and unable to contact the designated person, please call the NSPCC 24-hour Helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
- the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer.
- the parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
- the person making the allegation.
- social services/police.
- the CaniX UK Technical Committee.
Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser (or parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Enquiries and further action
Internal enquiries and possible suspension
The CaniX UK Child Protection Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the CaniX UK Technical Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled.
This may be a difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases, the CaniX UK Technical Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.
Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse
Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process.
The British Association for Counselling Directory is available from The British Association for Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ, Tel: 01788 550899, Fax: 01788 562189, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: www.bacp.co.uk .
Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.
Allegations of previous abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).
Where such an allegation is made, CaniX UK will follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person. Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in 'Responding to suspicions or allegations' above.
Action to help the victim and prevent bullying in sport:
- Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
- Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately). Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. Create an open environment.
- Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
- Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
- Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
- Report any concerns to the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).
Action towards the bully(ies):
- Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
- Inform the bully’s parents.
- Insist on the return of 'borrowed' items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
- Provide support for the victim's coach.
- Impose sanctions as necessary.
- Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
- Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
- Inform all organisation members of action taken.
- Keep a written record of action taken.
- Most 'low level' incidents will be dealt with at the time by coaches and volunteers. However, if the bullying is severe (e.g. a serious assault), or if it persists despite efforts to deal with it, incidents should be referred to the designated CaniX UK Child Protection Officer as in "responding to suspicions or allegations" above.
Reporting concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (e.g. a parent or carer)
Report your concerns to the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.
If the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.
Social Services and the CaniX UK Child Protection Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
The CaniX UK Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the CaniX UK Technical Committee. The CaniX UK Technical Committee should ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident play a role in CaniX UK and act accordingly.
Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
Providing information to police or social services
Information about suspected abuse must be accurate and a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern. It should include the following:
- The child's name, age and date of birth of the child.
- The child's home address and telephone number.
- Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
- The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
- Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
- A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
- Details of witnesses to the incidents.
- The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
- Have the parents been contacted?
- If so what has been said?
- Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details.
- If the child was not the person who reported the incident, has the child been spoken to? If so what was said?
- Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
- Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.
If you have any concerns about a child call the NSPCC 24-hour Helpline on 0808 800 5000 for immediate advice
Help for children and young people
Help for adults concerned about a child