More than 70% of our membership is aged under 18 years and we have produced this Child Protection Policy for implementation within the Lee Taylor Karate (LTK). This is because all sporting organisations which make provision for children and young people have a responsibility to ensure that:
a) The welfare of the child is paramount.
b) All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
c) All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
d) All instructors/coaches whether paid or unpaid working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
2) Policy Statement
Karate as a sport and pastime has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in Karate 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.
LTK will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in our sport through adherence to this Child Protection Policy and in line with W.K.G.B and EKF policies and procedures. A child is defined as being under 18 years of age and as defined in the Children Act 1989.
3) Policy Aims
The aims of the Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
a) Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Karate instructors affiliated to LTK
b) Allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
4) Promoting Good Practice With Young People
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. Abuse can occur within many situations including in the home, school and the sporting environment. It is a fact of life that some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them.
A coach/instructor, teacher, official or volunteer may have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases of child abuse and where a young person needs protection.
All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported to the LTK Child Protection Officer, Committee Member and or the relevant authorities following the guidelines in this document.
When a child enters the club 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 club 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 protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate within the Karate environment.
Good practice means:
• Always working in an open environment (eg avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment ie no secrets.)
• Treating all young people and vulnerable/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
• Always putting the welfare of each young person first eg before winning.
• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (eg it is not appropriate 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 and in accordance with standard coaching guidelines provided by the governing body, Sports Coach UK etc.
• Keeping up to date with the technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport all as per the requirements laid down by the Karate Governing Body.
• Involving parent/carers wherever possible/appropriate (eg for the responsibility of their children in the changing rooms). If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents/teachers/coaches/officials work in pairs.
• Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female instructor/coach etc. where possible. (NB however it should be noted 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 vulnerable/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 give permission for the administration of 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 club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.
Practice to Be Avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge consent of someone in charge in the club 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 session.
• Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
• Avoid taking children to your home where they will be alone with you.
Practice 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.
• Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
• Do things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable/disabled adults that they can do for themselves.
• Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
NB it may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children eg if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the players. If a person is fully dependant on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing 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/assisting to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are told.
• If you accidentally hurt a player.
• If he/she seems distressed in any way.
• If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
• If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
5) Guidelines for Use of Photographic Equipment at LTK Training Sessions and/or 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. It is advisable that all clubs be vigilant with any concerns to be reported to the LTK Child Protection Officer. Videoing as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent clubs and instructors/coaches from using video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, performers and their parents/carers should be aware that this is part of the coaching programme and care should be taken in the storing of such films.
6) Instructor/coach Selection
LTK 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. When undertaking pre-selection checks LTK will undertake the following:
a) All instructors/coaches will complete an application form. The application form will elect information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
b) Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau and the appropriate check will be carried out – usually an enhanced disclosure. This is a requisite prior to being granted a coaching licence.
c) Two confidential references, including where possible, one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and may be confirmed through telephone contact.
d) Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).
7) Responding to Suspicions or Allegations
a) It is NOT the responsibility of anyone working in Karate, in a paid or unpaid capacity, to take responsibility or to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there IS a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.
LTK assures all instructors/coaches 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 the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.
b) Action if there are concerns
The following action should be taken if you are concerned about the behaviour of a parent or carer.
• Report your concerns to the LTK Child Protection Officer. If the 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 person reporting concerns decide how to involve parents/carers.
• Record what the child has said, or what has been seen. Include dates and times and if possible, send a copy to social services. The child protection officer should always inform the LTK Committee on the appropriate form provided for this purpose.
c) Poor Practice
If following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the LTK Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
If the allegation is about poor practice by the Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the Governing Body Child Protection Officer who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
d) Suspected Abuse
• Any suspicion that a child has been abused by an instructor/coach or a volunteer, should be reported to the 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 Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out of hours.
• The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the Social Services Department.
• The Child Protection Officer will also notify the relevant Governing Body Child Protection Officer who will advise and deal with any procedural issues and media enquiries.
• If the Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made direct to the LTK Committee or Governing Body Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department.
Every effort will 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 Association Child Protection Officer
• The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
• The person making the allegation.
• Social Service/police
• The Governing Body Child Protection Officer
• The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child). Social Services’ advice should be sought as to who should approach the alleged abuser.
Information will be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (eg that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure.
If you do not know who to turn to for advice or are worried about sharing your concerns with a senior colleague, you should contact the Social Services direct
(or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.)
f) Accuracy of Information
Information passed to the Social Services or the police must be as helpful as possible, hence the necessity for making a detailed record at the time of the disclosure/concern. Information should include the following;
• Name of the child involved.
• Age of the child and date of birth.
• Home address and telephone number.
• Is the person making the report expressing their own concerns or those of someone else?
• What is the nature of the allegation? Include dates, times any special factors and other relevant information.
• Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion and hearsay.
• A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Behavioural signs/indirect signs?
• 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 it is not the child making the report, has the child concerned been spoken to? If so what was said?
• Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
8) Allegations of Previous Abuse
a) Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (eg by an adult who was abused as a child or by an instructor/coach or volunteer who is still currently working with children).
b) Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow 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.
c) Anyone who has a previous 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.
9) Internal Enquiries and Suspension
a) The LTK 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.
b) Irrespective of the findings of the Social Services or police inquiries the LTK Disciplinary 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 LTK Disciplinary Committee will 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 children should always remain
10) Action if Bullying is Suspected
The same procedure should be followed as set out in the section relating to responding to suspicions or allegations, if bullying is suspected. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies in place.
Remember: In all Child Protection Issues :
• Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only
• Ensure the Child Protection Officer follows up with Social Services.
• The Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the Governing Body
Child Protection Officer, who will advise, support and report as necessary.
DEFINING CHILD ABUSE
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm, it commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
There are five main types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and bullying. The abuser may be a family member, someone the child encounters in residential care or in the community, including sports and leisure activities. Any individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming the child.
Abuse in all of its forms can affect a child at any age. The effects can be so damaging that if not treated, may follow the individual into adulthood.
Children with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse had occurred.
Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse: Where adults physically hurt or injure a child e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating or drowning. Giving children alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also constitute child abuse.
This category of abuse can also include when a Parent/Carer reports non-existent symptoms or illness deliberately causes ill health in a child they are looking after.
In a sports situation, physical abuse may occur, when the nature and intensity of training, disregards the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body.
Emotional Abuse: The persistent emotional ill treatment of a child, likely to cause severe and lasting adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve telling a child they are useless, worthless, unloved, inadequate or valued in terms of only meeting the needs of another person. It may feature expectations of children that are not appropriate to their age or development. It may cause a child to be frightened or in danger by being constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted which may make the young person frightened or withdrawn. Ill treatment of children, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse in sport may occur when the child is constantly criticised, given negative feedback, expected to perform at levels that are above their capability. Other forms of emotional abuse could take the form of name calling and bullying.
Bullying may come from another young person or an adult. Bullying is defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. There are three main types of bullying.
It may be physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive text messages), emotional (e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating form the group), or sexual (e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
In sport bullying may arise when a parent or coach pushes the child too hard to succeed, or a rival athlete or official uses bullying behaviour.
Neglect occurs when an adult fails to meet the child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, to an extent that is likely to result in serious impairment of the child’s health or development. For example, failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect from physical harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Refusal to give love, affection and attention can also be a form of neglect.
Neglect in sport could occur when a coach does not keep the child safe, or exposing them to undue cold/heat or unnecessary risk of injury.
Sexual Abuse occurs when adults (male and female) use children to meet their own sexual needs. This could include full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling. Showing children pornography or talking to them in a sexually explicit manner are also forms of sexual abuse.
In sport, activities which might involve physical contact with children could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed. Also the power of the Coach over young athletes, if misused, may lead to abusive situations developing.
Indicators of Abuse
Even for those experienced in working with child abuse, it is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place. Most people are not experts in such recognition, but indications that a child is being abused may include one or more of the following:
· Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries.
· An injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent.
· The child describes what appears to be an abusive act involving them.
· Another child or adult expresses concern about the welfare of a child.
· Unexplained changes in a child’s behaviour, e.g. Becoming very upset, quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper.
· Inappropriate sexual awareness.
· Engaging in sexually explicit behaviour.
· Distrust of adults, particularly those whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
· Difficulty in making friends.
· Being prevented from socialising with others.
· Displaying variations in eating patterns including over eating or loss of appetite.
· Losing weight for no apparent reason.
· Becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt.
Signs of bullying include:
· Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go to training or competitions.
· An unexplained drop off in performance.
· Physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, bingeing e.g. On food, alcohol or cigarettes.
· A shortage of money or frequent loss of possessions.
It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is NOT the responsibility of those working in LTK to decide that child abuse is occurring. It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.
Responding to concerns/allegations
We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways. We may see it happening, we may suspect it happening because of signs such as those listed in this document, it may be reported to us by someone else or directly by the young person affected.
In the last of these cases, it is particularly important to respond appropriately. If a young person says or indicates that they are being abused, you should:
· Stay calm so as not to frighten the young person.
· Reassure the child that they are not to blame and that it was right to tell.
· Listen to the child, showing that you are taking them seriously.
· Keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said. The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested during questioning. Only ask questions to clarify.
· Inform the child that you have to inform other people about what they have told you. Tell the child this is to help stop the abuse continuing.
· Safety of the child is paramount. If the child needs urgent medical attention call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are made aware that this is a child protection issue.
· Record all information.
· Report the incident to the club/welfare officer.
In all cases if you are not sure what to do you can gain help from the NSPCC 24 hour help line Tel No: 0800800500
Concerns outside the immediate Sporting Environment (e.g. a parent or carer)
· Report your concerns to the Child Protection Officer
· If the Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told or discovering the abuse should contact their local social services department or the police immediately.
· Social Services and the Club Child Protection Officer will decide how to inform the parents/carers.
· The Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the appropriate Karate Governing Body. The Governing Body should ascertain whether or not the person/s involved in the incident play a role in the organisation and act accordingly.
· Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis.
Working with the Aftermath
After a suspicion or allegation about a child protection concern has been investigated, there is likely to be strong feelings amongst staff, parents and children and possibly among the wider community, which will need to be addressed.
There are likely to be issues of:
Communication - if rumour or fact.
Guilt and blame - if suspicions had been around for some time.
Impact - on individuals, or the nature of what occurred and to whom.
Gaps in the organisation in terms of roles and post held.
Careful thought will need to be given to the sharing of information and the provision of appropriate support.
London N1 OBR
Tel - 0800 1111
Criminal Records Bureau
PO Box 91 Liverpool L69 2UH
Helpline 0870 90 90 811
NSPCC Child Protection Helpline
National Helpline 0808 800 5000
Welsh Helpline 0800 100 2524 (Mon-Fri 10am-6.00pm)
Asian Helpline 0800 096 7719
Deaf User’s Textphone 0800 056 0686
NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (Wales)
Cardiff 02920 267000
Social Care & Support
Herefordshire Council 04132260800
Social Care & Support
Powys Council 01597825275
Police and Social Services
Consult your telephone directory for the most relevant local numbers
These contact numbers and addresses are subject to change with little or no notice. Therefore you should refer to your local directory or counsellor.