Everyone shares the responsibility for safeguarding and creating safe environments in rugby union whether as a parent, coach, spectator or club official.

All should operate within an accepted ethical framework and demonstrate exemplary behaviour to both safeguard children and protect all personnel from allegations of abuse or poor practice.

Children, who are anyone under the age of 18, must be cared for in the correct manner, as set out in the RFU Safeguarding Children Policy.

Devon RFU Contact Details

Sharon Higginson – Devon RFU Safeguarding Manager


Safeguarding Policy

RFU Safeguarding Children Policy

Club Safeguarding Children Policy Template

Important for All

Regulation 21


Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Anyone in rugby can report a concern to either their Club Safeguarding Officer, or the RFU, via  

It is natural to feel a little nervous about sharing concerns, but it is important to remember that it is not your responsibility to decide if abuse or neglect is happening, it is your responsibility to share your concerns. Doing nothing is not an option. 

How to share a concern 

There are several ways people can share their concerns: 

  • If the child whom you have concerns about is in immediate danger or needs medical attention, call 999 as soon as possible
  • If you’re a parent or volunteer, you should share your concerns with your Club Safeguarding Officer
  • If you’re a Club Safeguarding Officer, you should share your concerns with your Constituent Body Safeguarding Manager
  • If neither of those options is available, you should contact the RFU Safeguarding team, via as soon as possible 
  • If you are ever unsure of who you need to contact, you can call the NSPCCon 0808 800 5000, which operates between 10:00 AM and 16:00 PM Monday to Friday
  • Or you can contact the unmanned RFU Safeguarding line on 0208 831 6655 and a member of the Safeguarding team will respond to you within 24 hours

For more information on how to share concerns regarding children, please see our Sharing Concerns flowchart.

RFU safeguarding referral form 

The RFU Safeguarding Referral Form should be completed regarding any concerns you have or have been disclosed to you, relating to the behaviour of any child or adult involved in or spectating at your club. These may include general concerns about a child’s welfare, concerns about bullying or poor practise, suspicions or allegations of misconduct, or allegations of abuse. To report concerns to the RFU Safeguarding team, please fill the form out and send it to as soon as possible.  

RFU Safeguarding Referral Form

Receiving concerns 

When someone shares a concern with you, whether this is about something that has happened to them or someone else, it is important to: 

  • Stay calm, but don’t delay
  • If a child or adult at risk has disclosed to you directly, re-assure them that they are not to blame
  • Do not make any promises of confidentiality or outcome. It is almost certain that you will have to share this information with someone
  • Keep questions to a minimum and try not to interrupt the child or adult
  • Make brief notes, as accurately as you can, at the earliest opportunity 

For further details, see our Sharing Concerns Guidance

Safeguarding complaints

If you have a complaint relating to a safeguarding process undertaken by the RFU, please refer to the RFU’s Safeguarding Complaints Policy.  

Speak up

The RFU is committed to developing a culture where it is safe and acceptable for everyone involved in rugby union to raise concerns about any unacceptable practice, behaviour, wrongdoing or misconduct. 

If you have a concern about unacceptable behaviours or misconduct, you can speak up. Speaking up will enable concerns to be investigated and dealt with for the benefit of all involved and for that of the wider game. Anyone speaking up can be confident that the matter will be handled appropriately and with an appropriate level of confidentiality. 

You can speak up via emailing the Speak up Hotline via,  

For more information, please visit the Speak Up page on the RFU website


The RFU are committed to ensuring our staff and volunteers have appropriate safeguarding training. In addition to an online safeguarding awareness course, the RFU regularly delivers face to face safeguarding courses countrywide. 

Introduction to Safeguarding 

This free 30-minute eLearning course is for anyone working or volunteering with children in rugby union to ensure a basic understanding of safeguarding. The completion of the Introduction to Safeguarding is compulsory prior to all DBS applications and prior to participation in England Rugby Coaching or Refereeing Award Courses.   

The course ensures that everyone has a grasp of the basics in relation to safeguarding, including being able to recognise potentially abusive situations and understand how to report concerns.  

This awareness course can be booked via the GMS course booking page. Please select virtual courses in the course selector. 

Play it Safe 

This three-hour safeguarding course is for any volunteer, coach or match official who is working with or who has responsibility for children within rugby. Club Safeguarding Officers can request to run this course in your rugby club by using the Play it Safe Tutor map. Simply find your nearest tutor, make contact and agree a suitable date and time. Please note that we ask for a 6-week lead-in time, between the point of course request and the course start date. The cost of the course is £10 per delegate, each receiving accreditation.  

Once the course date has been agreed, a link will be shared so that delegates can book directly via GMS. 

In Touch 

This is a mandatory course for all Club Safeguarding Officers. It is a two and a half hour workshop that is delivered remotely (via Teams) by the RFU Safeguarding Team. 

The course will guide you through topics such as Safer Cultures, Safer Recruitment and how to report concerns.    

You will have an opportunity to ask questions of the RFU Safeguarding Team and learn from Club Safeguarding Officers around the country.  


If you have any concerns or queries relating to safeguarding in rugby union, please contact us. All safeguarding referrals, feedback or general enquiries should go to We will ensure to respond to your email as quickly as we can. 

The RFU runs a 24-hour unmanned child protection line, which you can reach on 0208 831 6655. You can access this number 24 hours a day, but please note that the line is unmanned, and you will be met with a voicemail. You will receive a response from us within 24 hours of your call.

If a child is at risk of harm and contact cannot be made with the RFU, please contact the police or out-of-hours children’s social care. You can also call the NSPCC on their contact line, 0808 800 5000, which operates between 10:00 AM – 16:00 PM Monday to Friday. You can find more details on their website


Vivien Rimmer, Head of Safeguarding

Responsible for driving safeguarding within rugby union. Promoting safeguarding, implementing changes and visiting CB’s to ensure safeguarding practices are adhered to throughout the game.

Kath Bennett, Safeguarding Case Manager

Responsible for managing the safeguarding case management process. Acts as first point of contact in all issues around safeguarding; Case Manager for all referrals to the RFU involving adults or children.

Richard Drake, Safeguarding Case Officer

Assists and supports the Safeguarding Case Manager in coordinating and conducting the investigation of safeguarding incidents and referrals to the RFU. Acts as an additional point of contact for all issues around safeguarding.

Michael Maguire, Safeguarding Case Officer

Assists and supports the Safeguarding Case Manager in coordinating and conducting the investigation of safeguarding incidents and referrals to the RFU. Acts as an additional point of contact for all issues around safeguarding.

Chris Rawlings, Safeguarding Compliance Officer

Manages the entire RFU DBS process and RFU Safeguarding compliance programme. Providing additional support for the work of the RFU Safeguarding Case Manager.

Tom Ramsell, Safeguarding Quality Assurance and Development Officer

Responsible for ensuring the RFU plan and respond to developments in safeguarding best practice, and to ensure the RFU are pro-active in working towards the highest standard of safeguarding.


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