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oldman
05-12-14, 10:12
Can I ask if other members have had this concern, and if so how have they solved it?
The gym I use has recently started to encourage 16 - 18 year olds to use the facility. No problem with encouraging a healthy life style, however, the children use the gym after school meaning about 3.15 - 3.30 each day a number, usually up to 10ish, use the changing rooms. This is often about the time I finish my daily session.
Given the RFU's strict "don't change with Under 18's" policy how can I ensure I am not putting myself at risk of any accusations when using the gym changing rooms. I have raised the issue with the gym management who were less than interested.
Any help and advise would be most welcome. A change of time using the gym would be very difficult given my working arrangements.

Taffy
05-12-14, 10:12
Interesting. I am going to go out on a limb here.


I'm completely fed up of the rubbish that gets spouted at us refs and the changing room scenario. I reffed a private schools 7's tournament last year. Brand new balls, water bottles sparkly clean, £30,000 per annum school fees. Organiser less than interested when I turned up. Waved a hand in the direction of some changing rooms. I go off there to discover under 16's changing. Of back and tell Mr Nobby and he seems dis interested and says "oh! well when they have gone you can change in there". Obviously less than ideal. Of course they have a strict policy on this, but then they don't follow it. All gong and no dinner as a friend of mine used to say.


I told my advisor about this the last time we met "insist on a separate changing room or you go home" he said, just didn't feel worth it really.


It it is the total inconsistency of the rules that hacks me off.


And I'm not convinced AT ALL that it's the right way to go about dealing with the situations, because it is all based on the supposition that under age boys and adult referees can't peacefully co exist. They did for many, many, many years and the situation we have now is in my view an unpleasant one.


The children are growing up believing that most adults can't be trusted, when in fact, most of us can. I know that the policy is out there to protect me as much as them, but personally I would rather take the risk than have a Stasi state control what we can or can't do.


My 15 year old daughter missed a lift last week. I thought she might and told her to use her initiative. Granted we live in Devon, but she calmly hitch hiked into town with a bloke she waved down. That's my girl........Grandma of course horrified, but how much does that do for her confidence? If we don't encourage this we are breeding a new generation of boring young farts.......


I await the brickbats..........

crossref
05-12-14, 11:12
has there ever been a time when the referee would change in the same room as the U16s?

It was a long time ago, but I can remember being an U16, and I don't recall the referee ever getting changed in our changing room with us.

Do you want to get changed with the U16?

Blackberry
05-12-14, 11:12
Taffy, I was at a merchant navy school. The day we finished our A Levels the Head would shake our hands and say "Off you go then". We then got three days to get as far way from the school as we could using our own means. There was a map in the assembly room marking each boy's progress. As you said, it built our confidence.

Dixie
05-12-14, 12:12
Oldman, I assume your gym is in no way connected to the local rugby club, and is simply a resource available to the Community.

The last Labour government's strictures and policies on child safety were a huge, wasteful and anti-Community overreaction to a genuine problem of kiddy-fiddling in certain areas of society. They demonstrably made children less safe, not more, as adults felt unable to come to the aid of a child in distress. It was thus welcome that the current government (motivated it has to be said as much by money as by strategy) hugely scaled back the outrageous bureaucracy and suspicion inherent in the previous regime. Common sense is now the watchword.

With that in mind, places such as public gyms and swimming pools are the defining areas of the change in culture. Scantily-clad adults may encounter scantily-clad children. Whereas Labour would have seen this as a huge problem, quite likely requiring CRB checks on anyone wishing to use the establishment coupled with the employment of beefy minders to patrol the facility and keep age groups apart, the common sense approach takes into account the very public space, the existence on the premises of lifeguards and gym trainers, and (crucially) the known incidence of problems in these environments in the past. The risk factor is thus deemed pretty low.

From your own perspective, the RFU has no interest in what you do in your external gym. The guidance it gives to anyone working with children is sensible - avoid being alone with minors, don't offer them lifts home, don't touch them unless it is essential. I'd guess your concern relates to the first - you are in the changing room and 10 minors arrive to change. What defence do you have if they collude in making up a story about you?

The answer is none - just as you have no defence if, when taking your child to watch Paddington, the noisy group of young teenagers next to you claims you've been sticking your hand up one of the girls' skirts. You can allow such fears to rule your life, or you can accept the (very low) risk and move on. The decision has to be yours.

Dixie
05-12-14, 12:12
I await the brickbats.......... With you all the way, Mate.

crossref
05-12-14, 12:12
With you all the way, Mate.

all the way where?
I am not clear whether Taffy is complaining about not being given his own changing room, or complaining about not being able to change in with the U16s.


and also not sure why oldman's original post prompts the complaints about undue caution : he is reporting that in his gym the management DON'T see a problem with 16-18 yr olds and adults all using the same changing room. So - no scaremongering to see there.

Phil E
05-12-14, 12:12
So Oldman has a legitimate concern about having to get changed in front of minors.....and Dixie turns it into a rant about the Labour Government.....funny how some people's minds work?

Taffy
05-12-14, 13:12
all the way where?
I am not clear whether Taffy is complaining about not being given his own changing room, or complaining about not being able to change in with the U16s.


and also not sure why oldman's original post prompts the complaints about undue caution : he is reporting that in his gym the management DON'T see a problem with 16-18 yr olds and adults all using the same changing room. So - no scaremongering to see there.

I am complaining about


Mr Knobbies as previously mentioned
the inconsistency of it all
the distasteful lack of trust

And yes, I would prefer my own space to have a cup of tea and get changed in. Do not think it is too much to ask........

crossref
05-12-14, 13:12
so Taffy - what you are complaining about is that there was no ref's changing room, and Mr Nobby couldn't give a toss about you.

I am fully on your side.

That players were U16s is a red herring - you'd have had exactly the same complaint had they been vets or women. You want your own changing room, and to be treated properly.

I am not at all clear what you mean about lack trust, as Mr Nobby DID trust you. It wasn't lack of trust that kept you out of the changing rooms is was that you didn't want to share them (quite rightly)

Taffy
05-12-14, 14:12
so Taffy - what you are complaining about is that there was no ref's changing room, and Mr Nobby couldn't give a toss about you.

I am fully on your side.

That players were U16s is a red herring - you'd have had exactly the same complaint had they been vets or women. You want your own changing room, and to be treated properly.

I am not at all clear what you mean about lack trust, as Mr Nobby DID trust you. It wasn't lack of trust that kept you out of the changing rooms is was that you didn't want to share them (quite rightly)


Yes you're right. I was irritated by their lack of organisation and the fact that the school obviously had a policy on under age etc ex but couldn't be bothered to ensure it was carried out........reminds me of a lot of people I encounter in my life............

Shelflife
05-12-14, 14:12
Theres merits to both sides, yes there has been an over reaction but at the same time we are expected to act in a particular manner. If you arrived to an underage game and started togging out in one of the dressing rooms you would be prob be reported to at least the society that appointed you.

Clubs/schools expect us to adhere to guidelines yet dont facilitate us to do so, recently i drove a four hour round trip, togged out in a storage room, reffed a game and togged back in there as well, no shower facilities and not even a cup of tea offered, this was one of the higher ranked schools in the area.

If im unsure as to the changing facilities,I will arrive ready to go and then just throw on a tracksuit and leave, there is no way that I will change or shower with minors.

Im self employed, if any allegation was made against me then thats my business finished, common sense for me is to avoid any potential senarios that could put me in an awkward situation.

Schools and clubs need to realise this and have basic facilities in place so that we can have a cuppa and a shower after the match.

Phil E
05-12-14, 14:12
For kids games, unless I know the club/school, and know they have separate changing rooms, I will always go ready to ref with a tracksuit on top.

Submariners' Dhoby, tracksuit back on.

Browner
05-12-14, 14:12
Serious "Pae" emanates from the power/controllers of our society, does it not???!!!?!! Rhetorical only.

That aside, Even through the CRB intense RFU Seal of Approval years, some clubs became 'jobsworth beyond reason' about this subject.

All I will say is that in 40 years of participation in this sport I've never become aware of any 'kiddy fiddling' in and around rugby, i dont research deeply or know why this is, so i'll hazard a contributory guess .....that maybe any likely perpetrator would do their own welfare risk assessment beforehand & adjudge their being too great a risk of a damned good kicking from the other rugby adults as a significant 'personal welfare' protection strategy before targetting this sport.

Just a thought.

TheBFG
05-12-14, 14:12
do a search of your old stomping ground, you'll unfortunately find out that you're wrong and the "kiddy fiddling"! :sad:

Browner
05-12-14, 15:12
Theres merits to both sides, yes there has been an over reaction but at the same time we are expected to act in a particular manner. If you arrived to an underage game and started togging out in one of the dressing rooms you would be prob be reported to at least the society that appointed you.

Clubs/schools expect us to adhere to guidelines yet dont facilitate us to do so, recently i drove a four hour round trip, togged out in a storage room, reffed a game and togged back in there as well, no shower facilities and not even a cup of tea offered, this was one of the higher ranked schools in the area.

If im unsure as to the changing facilities,I will arrive ready to go and then just throw on a tracksuit and leave, there is no way that I will change or shower with minors.

Im self employed, if any allegation was made against me then thats my business finished, common sense for me is to avoid any potential senarios that could put me in an awkward situation.

Schools and clubs need to realise this and have basic facilities in place so that we can have a cuppa and a shower after the match.

Yes, & About time schools paid for their refereeing services, many take us for granted.
Maybe enquire about the referees changing facilities when they confirm the appointment with you, if inadequate then you always have the option to decline the fixture.
If declining happened more often then maybe schools would give the subject more consideration.

Browner
05-12-14, 15:12
do a search
I just tried ...., failed to uncover anything relevant, text me more specific 'search criteria' if you have it BFG.

TheBFG
05-12-14, 15:12
his name is Keith Ruby, got 10 years!

Simon Thomas
05-12-14, 15:12
Serious "Pae" emanates from the power/controllers of our society, does it not???!!!?!! Rhetorical only.

That aside, Even through the CRB intense RFU Seal of Approval years, some clubs became 'jobsworth beyond reason' about this........

All I will say is that in 40 years of participation in this sport I've never become aware of any 'kiddy fiddling' in and around rugby, i dont research deeply or know why this is.

I agree re a few jobsworths and the over-protective CRB circus we had to run for some seasons.
Sadly I have the opposite experience to Browner and over the last ten years have been amazed at some of the incidents I have heard about in an official capacity through Society and County, and also from my daughter who teaches science in a large urban comprehensive to 11-18 year olds

matty1194
05-12-14, 15:12
The gym I use has recently started to encourage 16 - 18 year olds to use the facility. No problem with encouraging a healthy life style, however, the children use the gym after school meaning about 3.15 - 3.30 each day a number, usually up to 10ish, use the changing rooms. This is often about the time I finish my daily session.

In the OP their is no distinction between whether this a gym that members of the public have access to that is on school grounds or is it a commercial gym like Pure or Virgin? If on school grounds then there should be a procedure in place for kids to change in a different area, if this is a commercial fee paying gym then just get on with it, at the fee paying gym I go too the changing rooms are used by young and old to change.

Again if this is a commercial gym then surely the RFU dont have control and cant dictate to the gym on procedures for changing rooms for U18s.

Up here in Scotland I always enquire on access to a changing room if this is not mentioned in the call leading upto the game as I have earned a shower after my game of rugby aswell, I dont think I have ever been to a club in Scotland that did not provide a separate changing room for match officials in an underage game.

Browner
05-12-14, 16:12
his name is Keith Ruby, got 10 years!

Sorry, I should have been more specific, none in community rugby clubs that I've been involved with , least to my knowledge.

A quick search doesnt reveal that this 'private school teacher' was directly involved in a local rugby club ( or one known to me) , the core catalyst seemed to be his teacher/pupil relationship.

It could easily be argued that education ( especially 'boarding' ) fulfills the regularity of contact that grooming seemingly requires.

Therefore, arguably, u16 players are a damned sight safer with society appointed referee inadvertantly glancing once a season whilst changing amongst them ( if forced to do so by inadequate provision of facilities - orchestrated and advised by their teacher in charge) , than they are with their school teacher observing them on a more regular basis throughout their entire school tenure !

But hey, who needs this grief ... No separate changing facilites then dont referee, there .... That's better - everyone is now happy ?!!

FlipFlop
05-12-14, 18:12
The distinction I see is:
Private gym - everyone is there in a private capacity. You have no "Power" over the kids, you are not there in any form of "parental" capacity, you have no "duty of care". You cannot be accused of "abuse of power".

However as soon as you are a referee - then everything changes. You have power, you have duty of care, you have some form of Parental capacity. You can be accused of "abuse of power".

When refereeing schools (when I was in UK) - whenever I was offered the Kids changing rooms/showers, I asked if the teachers did the same. Always a shocked look, and a negative response, then the light dawned on them. And they always offer the "away" teams changing room. Where necessary - I've taken the home team changing room, and key, and locked it. And insisted that the children wait until I am done. Amazing how asking the home team to do this, almost always works, as they don't want their kids hanging around in the cold and wet after a game....

The best was when they "couldn't find" the key to the teachers changing room, and with no other sensible options I asked the groundsman (and a rugby man to boot!) to open the door for me - he didn't have the key, but did have a sledge hammer. As we walked towards the changing room with said hammer, the rugby master quickly "discovered" the key in his pocket. The conversation afterwards about why he didn't trust me in the teachers room, but trusted me to be alone, naked, changing with his kids, was most amusing for me, be he was a deep shade of red, and very flustered... And his Head Master was not very impressed with him. On my next visit, there were no issues at all.... (I suspect the groundsman knew this would happen. No idea if he really would have "unlocked" the door with the hammer!)

Ian_Cook
05-12-14, 18:12
Can I ask if other members have had this concern, and if so how have they solved it?
The gym I use has recently started to encourage 16 - 18 year olds to use the facility. No problem with encouraging a healthy life style, however, the children use the gym after school meaning about 3.15 - 3.30 each day a number, usually up to 10ish, use the changing rooms. This is often about the time I finish my daily session.
Given the RFU's strict "don't change with Under 18's" policy how can I ensure I am not putting myself at risk of any accusations when using the gym changing rooms. I have raised the issue with the gym management who were less than interested.
Any help and advise would be most welcome. A change of time using the gym would be very difficult given my working arrangements.


I can remember a time (a happier time as it happens) when this concern would not have even been raised.

In fact, it would not have crossed anyone's mind that this even was a concern.

OB..
05-12-14, 19:12
I can remember a time (a happier time as it happens) when this concern would not have even been raised.

In fact, it would not have crossed anyone's mind that this even was a concern.Wasn't that the Jimmy Saville era?!

Ian_Cook
05-12-14, 19:12
Wasn't that the Jimmy Saville era?!

Hardly fair OB. None of what we do today would have prevented a Jimmy Saville from doing what he did. Might have made it more difficult, but it wont stop a determined paedophile, as evidenced by the huge number of prosecutions annually... just the tip of a very large iceberg I am sure.

You protect kids by educating them, and making them aware of what is around them and building their confidence; these are parents' responsibilities, not legislators. In the Jimmy Saville era, people like Jimmy Saville were not talked out, especially to kids.

You can only offer short term protection to kids by wrapping them in cotton wool, very short term!

thepercy
05-12-14, 20:12
Wait, you get a place to change, and with a cup of tea, and a shower after the game?

Rushforth
05-12-14, 20:12
Wait, you get a place to change, and with a cup of tea, and a shower after the game?

You had your chance for tea at Boston.

Pegleg
05-12-14, 21:12
Wasn't that the Jimmy Saville era?!



And the rest!

matty1194
05-12-14, 23:12
Wait, you get a place to change, and with a cup of tea, and a shower after the game?

And if your really lucky and the home team won you may also get a warm pie and a pint! That ma ybe warm aswell depending on the area of the country your in.

Taff
05-12-14, 23:12
... I was at a merchant navy school. The day we finished our A Levels the Head would shake our hands and say "Off you go then". We then got three days to get as far way from the school as we could using our own means. There was a map in the assembly room marking each boy's progress..
Well? I'm dying to know - who got the furthest?

My dad tells a similar story of when he was in National Service; the one who got furthest away from camp won. Some hitched lifts, some "borrowed" bikes, some stowed away on trains etc.

I suspect a bit of poetic license, but according to my dad one of them knew someone at an RAF base and blagged his way onto a plane to Hong Kong. I really hope it's a true story. :biggrin:

OB..
06-12-14, 00:12
Well? I'm dying to know - who got the furthest? My dad tells a similar story of when he was in National Service; the one who got furthest away from camp won. Some hitched lifts, some "borrowed" bikes, some stowed away on trains etc. I suspect a bit of poetic license, but according to my dad one of them knew someone at an RAF base and blagged his way onto a plane to Hong Kong. I really hope it's a true story. :biggrin:I heard a similar story, though in my case it was the USA. On a similar line of thought, when I was in the uSA we had the right to use RAF Indulgence Flights ie if therre was a free space, you paid £12 to fly. A colleague's wife took the family home to visit her mother on one such flight, and when she came to Brize Norton to return, discovered that they could go to Hong Kong for£12 (each), so they did - and phoned my colleague from there.

Blackberry
06-12-14, 13:12
Hi Taff
The year before me, someone got onto a North Sea Production Rig, one of the Statfjord ones (I recall he pulled some merchant marine strings with a supply boat company). I was not even in that league.