For Rifle and Pistol Shooters in the United Kingdom
The Vintage Arms Association (VAA) believes it is always unacceptable for a child, young person or vulnerable adult to experience abuse of any kind. We recognise our responsibilities to safeguard the welfare of all children, young people, and vulnerable adults, by a commitment to best practice in adhering to this policy.
We recognise that:
- The welfare of children/young people/vulnerable adult is paramount.
- All users, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation, or identity have the absolute right to equal protection from all forms of harm or abuse.
- It is essential to work in partnership with children/young people/vulnerable adults, their parents, carers in promoting best practice in safeguarding.
NRA Guidelines and Policy on Safeguarding:
Rather than creating a unique policy for the VAA we will adopt the NRA (National Rifle Association) Guidelines and Policy on Safeguarding.
However, that document is 140 pages long and as such the following is a synopsis of the key areas of Procedures and Practice that all VAA members should be aware of and implement as required.
The NRA Policy document can be obtained via the link at the end of this document.
VAA Procedures and Practice:
The Club is required to have a Procedure and Practice in place that is known to Members, in order that appropriate action by the Club is taken to deal with an allegation of an abuse without delay.
- There are many kinds of abuse and typically:
Physical / emotional / psychological / bullying / financial / sexual.
Any member observing or suspecting abuse should report it to a Club Officer such as RCO (Range Conducting Officer), First Aider, Range Secretary, if On Range, or if Off Range to one of the club Officers, i.e., Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, or a Committee Member.
- A victim is a child, or young person, or vulnerable adult for these purposes.
- The sort of inappropriate personal conduct leading to an instance of abuse, which comes to the attention of a member, is physical evidence (say of bruising), or signs of neglect, domestic abuse, discriminatory or abusive language, excessive verbal coercion, abduction, isolation of a victim from a group of other people, or excessive attention or “grooming” of a victim.
- An Abuser may be a relative, or carer, or confidence trickster, or another adult in a care institution, or even someone who has indecent pictures of the victim on a laptop, other digital device or mobile phone.
- If abuse is suspected or a member has observed same that person may have to attend a victim, to listen non-judgmentally to the victim’s story, with respect to and recognising the dignity of the victim, then make a brief written note, and report it to a Club Officer as defined above. On reporting the incident to the Club Officer, any formal investigation of the circumstances should be handled under the control of the Club Chairman, or in special circumstances to a committee member, if the Chairman is not available.
- The Club Chairman, in conjunction with the Disciplinary Committee (consisting of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary), will immediately report the instance of abuse to the NRA, Police, or Social Services or Care Quality Commission or other statutory body required.
- Members should be aware that whilst any report within the club is to be treated as confidential, any instance of abuse of a victim concerning an adult abuser, may be shared by the Club Chairman without the adult abuser’s permission with statutory authorities (such as the Police). Usually, the consent of the Abuser is required for sharing information about the abuser, but if the abuse is of a child or young person victim, where it is imperative to ensure the safety or protection of the victim, consent of the abuser is not required.
- Notwithstanding a conviction following Police prosecution of a member abuser or reference to a statutory authority as above, a member must understand that the Committee of the Club reserves the right to hold a disciplinary hearing before the Disciplinary Committee to determine whether to cancel or continue the member abuser’s club membership.
If a member abuser is not so disciplined, the club is obliged to make a Safeguarding Agreement with the Abuser regarding his future attendance at any Club meetings On or Off Range. Usually that member will be required under that Agreement to be separated from or never allowed to be alone with the victim or any potential victim of abuse.
Every member is under a duty to make disclosure annually upon renewing membership, whether they have been given a criminal conviction of a serious offence (a felony) or has been recorded on the Sex Offenders’ Register. A member convicted of or cautioned by Police for keeping indecent images of children or young person’s electronically on a laptop, other electronic device, or mobile phone, or who fails to make such disclosure, will also be subjected to a Club disciplinary procedure.
Link to NRA Safeguarding Policy document:
NRA Child Protection Policy Updated 23.06.15