3. Membership and members' register
It is compulsory for an incorporated association to keep an up-to-date register of all its members, including children where they are members. The members' register must list each member's name and postal or residential address. The register must be made available to members for inspection, and a member may also make a copy of all, or part of, the register. The register does not need to be available to non members, unless the non-member has legal authority, such as a warrant.
Apart from the members' names and addresses, no other information is required for the register and associations cannot insist on members providing other personal information for the purpose of the register. If an association has a genuine need for keeping additional information about members, it is recommended that the association keep a separate list of the information needed. This additional list is not made available to members or any other person for inspection and is treated with the utmost confidentiality. More detail on the members' register may be found in the section on Record Keeping.
3.1 Children as members
Parents are often genuinely concerned about the names and addresses of their children being included on the members' register. One way to avoid these concerns is to have the parents (or at least one parent) join as the member(s) while the children are signed up as players or participants. Only the names and addresses of the parents would then be kept on the members' register. A separate 'players' register' would also need to be maintained so that the club could effectively run its sporting activity, but this register would not be accessible to the general membership.
This strategy may require the rules of association to be amended to provide for a 'players' category and for maintenance of the players list or register.
A different concern about having children as members is that some clubs may not have any adult members who can legally form a management committee. Commerce has encountered several sporting clubs where under their rules, only children are signed up as members. Although parents actually run the club as a committee, they are not members of the club and therefore not entitled to form a management committee.
All sporting and recreational clubs are advised to review their rules of association to make sure that those rules appropriately distinguish between under-age players or members, and adults who can realistically and lawfully form management committees.
3.2 Child protection
An association is responsible for providing a safe environment for members and associates, such as players. Protecting young members and associates (children under the age of 18 years) against any form of abuse, harassment, maltreatment and intimidation is a priority. Child abuse is a criminal offence and must be taken seriously.
It is important, therefore, for associations that have young members and associates and/or that provide activities for children, to have a clear policy statement on child protection and procedures for reporting child abuse. A child protection policy conveys the message to all members that they have a legal duty to ensure the safety of children and that child abuse is unlawful. As child abuse is a serious offence, this would inevitably lead to the expulsion of a member from the association.
|A model child protection policy is available from the Department of Sport and Recreation.|