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Safeguarding and protecting of children and vulnerable adults

1. Introduction

With regard to this document Isami Ryu Martial Arts Academy is herein referred to as IRMAA With regard to this policy and in line with ‘The Children’s Act 1989’ and ‘The Protection of Children Act 1999’ a child is defined as a person under the age of 18  

Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2010) is a detailed government guidance document, applicable to all organisations that work with children. It stresses that organisations
have a responsibility to work together, within a common framework, to ensure that those who come into contact with children are skilled and safe, and to ensure that concerns are properly acted upon.

In line with this guidance IRMAA have a designated Safeguarding Officer or ‘lead adult’ and any satellite club associated with IRMAA will be required to have a club welfare officer.

IRMAA has a duty of care to safeguard all children and vulnerable adults involved in its activities and clubs from harm either through wilful acts or through negligence.

All children have a right to
protection and the needs of the disabled and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. IRMAA will ensure the safety and protection of all children and vulnerable  adults  involved  in  its  activities  and  clubs  through adherence to the guidelines adopted by IRMAA and advised by Local Authority Children’s Services and the Child Protection in Sport Unit.  

This policy will be reviewed at an interval of not more than 14 months.

2. Aims and objectives

IRMAA will ensure that all children and vulnerable adults have the right to protection from abuse.  

IRMAA will ensure that all suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to quickly, sensitively and in the appropriate manner

That the welfare of the child or vulnerable adult is at all times paramount

That all instructors, coaches, assistants and volunteers working either paid or unpaid within clubs which are a part of IRMAA at all times follow best practice in these regards

IRMAA will provide a suitable individual to act as Child Protection Officer,  a  role  that  will  also  encompass  that  of  protection  of vulnerable adults

Confidentiality  will  be  upheld  in  accordance  with  the  Data Protection Act 1984

3. Definitions of best practice

Always working in an open environment thus avoiding private or unobserved situations encouraging open communication, treating children, young people and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity at all times.

Keeping up to date with all qualifications,
technical skills, insurance and regulations relevant to the role within the organisation

Encouraging  involvement  of  parents  and/or  carers  wherever possible:

eing a strong role model by giving enthusiastic, constructive feedback rather than negative criticism and by setting example in all situations both within and without the dojo

Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of all children and vulnerable adults

Ensuring parental consent to act ‘in loco parentis’ if the need arises for the administration of emergency first aid and/or other emergency medical treatment

Keeping up to date records of students including contact numbers and information of any medical conditions. Also ensuring that such information is kept confidential and treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Except  in  exceptional  circumstances  such  emergency  medical treatment being given or sought avoids spending time alone with children away from others. 

The following should never be sanctioned, all instructors, coaches, assistants and volunteers working either paid or unpaid within clubs that are a part of IRMAA a IRMAA official should never:
Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.

Share a room with a child not their own

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 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, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the persons involved.

There is a need
to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and 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 or assisting a child to carry out particular activities.

Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

4. Definitions of abuse

Most of your work should focus on the sport. The safeguarding measures are mainly intended to help you practice martial arts in a safe environment. This will help children and adults to feel supported, and ensure that most problems are tackled before they become serious.

Even so, it is extremely important that there is an awareness of different forms of abuse, and of the possible signs that abuse is occurring. Although this should not be the main focus of the safeguarding and protection measures, it could prevent a child or adult from coming to harm. The following descriptions of different types of abuse, taken from Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2010):

Abuse and neglect - abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.

Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
Physical abuse - physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Emotional abuse - emotional abuse is the persistent emotional
maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent
adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved,
inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of 
another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.
These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation
of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in
normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-
treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying causing
children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the
exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional
abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it
may occur alone.

Sexual abuse - sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child
or young person to take part in sexual activities, including
prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.

The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative
(e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may
include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking
at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching
sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually
inappropriate ways.

Neglect - neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic
physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious
impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may
occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.

Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing
to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion
from home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical
and emotional harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate
supervision including the use of inadequate care-takers, or the
failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s
basic emotional needs.

Bullying - bullying may be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves.

It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name
calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from the activities and social acceptance of their peer group).

The damage 
inflicted by bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children, to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, causes them significant harm (including self-harm). All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have in place rigorously enforced anti bullying strategies.

You can find more information about bullying and how to deal with it in the Anti-bullying paragraphs.

5. Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parent / carer of the child / vulnerable adult are informed:
  • If you accidentally hurt a student in one of these groups
    If he/she seems distressed in any manner
  • If a student appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
  • If a student misunderstands or misinterprets something you have
6. Use of photographic/filming equipment at sporting 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 sports people in vulnerable positions.

All clubs
should be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the Safeguarding Officer. Video as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent club coaches and teachers using video  equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, performers and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the coaching programme and such films should be stored safely.

7. Recruitment and training of instructors and volunteers

IRMAA 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

All volunteers should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant's past and a selfdisclosure about any criminal record. An enhanced CRB check from an applicant must be produced, as a volunteer no charge ought to be levied for this
8. Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in IRMAA or its member clubs, in a paid or unpaid capacity, 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.

We will assure all staff/volunteers that they will be fully supported and protected, anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

ere there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three   types   of   investigation;   a   criminal   investigation,   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.
It can be very difficult to identify that abuse or neglect is occurring,
or that someone’s poor conduct is having a serious impact on a child or adult. It’s not always a question of identifying the visible signs of abuse; often, a child or adult speaking out raises concerns.

Children may not be able to give a clear explanation of what has happened, but will indicate that something is wrong.
It is not your responsibility to investigate or intervene, but it is your responsibility to listen and to make sure that the child receives all the necessary help and support.

Here are five simple steps that you should take if someone reports a concern to you:

1. Stay calm and assure the child.

2. It takes a lot of courage for a child to disclose a problem, and
he/she usually wants you to help. Do not make promises of
     confidentiality, but be clear that you may have to contact
     other people who will be able to help. 

3. Listen carefully to what the child says and do not suggest ideas. Keep questioning to a minimum, use open questions, and record the conversation as soon as you can. Record
precise words and phrases (as closely as possible) and be
clear to make a distinction between fact and opinion.

4. Report the concern to your Welfare Officer, or go directly to
the Safeguarding Officer. If you fear that a child is at
     immediate risk, and you cannot get advice from the above,
     you should contact your local police or social services.

5. Do not discuss the concerns with others until you have
     reported them, as above.

A Welfare Officer might contact the Safeguarding Officer if they feel the problem is serious, and it is possible that the police and/or social services may then become inolved. It is not your
responsibility to make these decisions; the correct course of action is for you to report the concern, as quickly and accurately as you can. 

9. Action in the case of reports or suspicions of abuse

9.1. Concerns about poor practice: If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice,  the  Safeguarding Officer  will  deal  with  it  as  a misconduct issue. If the allegation is about poor practice by the Safeguarding Officer,  or  if  the  matter  has  been  handled  inadequately  and concerns remain, it should be reported to the relevant officer who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
9.2. Concerns about suspected abuse: Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Safeguarding 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 Safeguarding Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department, which 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 Safeguarding Officer should also notify the relevant Local Authorities officer who in turn will inform the Local Authorities Child Protection Officer who will deal with any media enquiries.
If    the   Safeguarding Officer   is   the   subject   of   the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the most senior IRMAA official available who will inform the appropriate Local
Authorities Manager or in his/her absence the Duty Social work Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to social services.
9.3. Confidentiality

Every  effort  should  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 Safeguarding Officer, the parents / carer of the person who is alleged to have been abused, the person making the allegation, social services/police, the alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child)

Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser. Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).

9.4. Internal enquiries and suspension

• The 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

  Irrespective  of  the  findings  of  the  social  services  or  police
inquiries the Child Protection Officer who will ask the chair to raise
a Disciplinary Committee to 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 Disciplinary Committee
must 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 the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.

9.5. Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings  will  maintain  an  open  culture  and  help  the  healing process. 

The  British  Association  for  Counselling  Directory  is
available from The British Association for Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ, Tel: 01788 550899, Fax: 01788 562189, Email: bac@bacp.co.uk, Internet: www.bacp.co.uk

Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator. On occasions it is possible that there can be malicious, unfounded accusations of abuse and while these must be thoroughly investigated the effect on the alleged abuser will be profound.

9.6 Allegations of previous abuse Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (eg by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).

Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the 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. Anyone who has a previous criminal 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.
9.7 Bullying Policy

We don’t put up with bullying in our club.  You should tell someone if you see bullying. We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all our members so they can train in a relaxed and secure atmosphere.

Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our club. If bullying does occur, all members or parents should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively.
This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell the club welfare officer of safeguarding officer of IRMAA or a member of the club coaching team.

What is Bullying?  

Bullying is the use of aggression with the intention of hurting another person. Bullying results in pain and distress to the victim. Bullying can be carried out by children or adults. Bullying can have lots of different forms:

·  Emotional - being unfriendly, excluding (emotionally and physically), sending hurtful text messages,  tormenting, (e.g. hiding equipment, threatening gestures
·  Physical - pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of
·  Racist - racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
·  Sexual - unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive
·  Homophobic - because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality
·  Verbal - name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing
·  Disability - name calling and limiting people’s opportunities  to participate

Here are some examples of what we call ‘bullying’:

·  Someone calling you offensive names
·  Being threatened and feeling scared
·  Being pressured to give someone your money or your things
·  Being hit or pushed deliberately and with intended force
·  Having your personal items damaged or broken
·  Someone spreading rumours about you or about your family
·  Someone posting hurtful comments or pictures on the web (such as on Facebook)

Why do we care about bullying?

Bullying is a serious problem. You have the right to stop it and the right to tell people how you feel and you have the right to expect action to be taken.  

No one should be a victim of bullying, we all have the right to be treated with respect and dignity and above all individual strengths should be acknowledged and their achievements celebrated. No one should be made to feel inferior of hurt by other people’s deliberate actions.   

Objectives of this Policy
·  To make sure that the club finds out about bullying and deals with it as well as possible.
·  All club members, volunteers and parents should know what bullying is.
·  All club members, volunteers and parents should know understand this policy and should follow it when bullying is reported.
·  All members and parents should know about this policy, and should understand what to do if bullying arises.
·  As a club we take bullying seriously. Members and parents should be assured that they would be supported when bullying is reported.
·  Bullying will not be tolerated.

How to spot if someone is being bullied? A person might show that he or she is being bullied in lots of ways. Children and adults should be aware of these possible signs and they should investigate if he or she:

Says he or she is being bullied

Is unwilling to go to club session

Becomes withdrawn anxious or lacking in confidence

Feels ill before training sessions

Comes home with torn/damaged clothes or damaged

Has possessions “go missing”

Asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)

Has unexplained cuts or bruises

Is frightened to say what’s wrong

Gives unlikely explanations for any of the above

In more extreme cases:

Starts stammering

Cries themselves to sleep or has nightmares

Becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable

Is bullying other children or siblings

tops eating

ttempt or threatens suicide or runs away

These signs and behaviour may indicate other problems, but bullying  should  be  considered  a  possibility  and  should  be investigated.


1. Report bullying incidents to the club leader, club welfare officer, IRMAA safeguarding officer, a member of the club or ring the local authority Safeguarding Team

2. In cases of serious bullying, the club should contact the IRMAA safeguarding officer

3. Parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem

4. If necessary and appropriate, the police will be consulted

5. The  bullying  behaviour  and  threats  of  bullying  will  be investigated  and  bullying  will  be  stopped  as  quickly  as possible.

6. An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour and disciplinary action will also be considered where there have been serious acts of misconduct.

7. The  club  will  initiate  disciplinary  action  under  the  club constitution if the bully does not change his or her behaviour.

How we will work with the bully and the victim

 If we decide (if necessary after receiving advice from IRMAA) that it is appropriate for us to deal with the situation, we will follow the procedure outlined below.   

1. Where the victim is comfortable to do so and the bullying has not become very serious, reconciliation will be attempted by getting the parties together. It may be that a genuine apology   solves the problem.

2. If this fails/ or is not appropriate a small panel (Made up from Club leader, club welfare officer, and another key member of the club) will meet with the alleged victim or parent and hild alleging  bullying   to   get   details   of   the   allegation. Notes/minutes will be taken for clarity, and these should be agreed by all as a true account.

3. The same panel will meet with the alleged bully and parent/s and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation. Minute’s will be taken and agreed.

4. If bullying has, in their view, taken place, the panel will  consider whether it is serious enough to take disciplinary action immediately under the club’s normal procedures.

5. If disciplinary action is not taken immediately, the member should be warned and put on notice of further action i.e. temporary or permanent suspension if the bullying continues. Consideration should be given as to whether a reconciliation meeting between parties is appropriate at this time.

6. In some cases the bully or parent of the bully or bullied member can be asked to attend training sessions, if they are able to do so, and if appropriate. The club committee should monitor the situation for a given period to ensure the bullying is not being repeated.

7. All lead seniors involved with both members should be made aware of the concerns and outcomes of the process i.e. the warning.

In the case of adults reported to be bullying members under 18

1. We will contact the IRMAA safeguarding officer for advice on the action to be taken. Bullying by an adult is child abuse and allegations will be treated very seriously. 

2. In most cases in which adults are found to have bullied children, child protection awareness training is the minimum likely outcome. Serious disciplinary action by the club and/or IRMAA could also be taken.

3. More serious cases may be referred to statutory services such  as  the  police  or  social  services.  We  will  consult statutory services at an early stage if we think that this could be relevant.


·  The club has or is developing a written constitution, which includes what is acceptable and proper behaviour for all members of which the anti bullying policy is one part.

·  All members and parents of junior members will sign to accept the constitution upon joining the club.
·  The club welfare officer will raise awareness about bullying and why it matters, and if issues of

·  bullying arise in the club, will consider meeting with members to  discuss  the  issue  openly  and  constructively,  seeking support from IRMAA as necessary.
This   policy   drew   closely   on   that   provided   to   schools   by KIDSCAPE.  KIDSCAPE is a voluntary organisation committed to help prevent child bullying.  KIDSCAPE can be contacted on 0207 730 3300

9.8. Concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (egg a parent or carer):

Report your concerns to the Safeguarding Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible who will appropriate Local Authorities Manager or in his/her absence the Duty  Social  work  Child  Protection  Officer  who  will  refer  the allegation to social services.

If the Safeguarding Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately rather than wait for the Safeguarding Officer to become available

9.9. Information for social services or the police about suspected abuse:

To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record   should   always   be   made   at   the   time   of   the disclosure/concern, which should include the following:

The name, age, date of birth, address and telephone number of the person who has received the alleged abuse

Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.

The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.

Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.

A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes. Details of witnesses to the incidents.

The direct 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?

anyone else been consulted? If so, record details.
If the child was not the person who reported the incident, has the child been spoken to? If so, what was said? Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser?

Record details.
Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact that took the referral should be recorded.   

Adele Ion

(Updated 21/2/2013)