1.0 Introduction

This document has been produced to provide guidance and a framework for the safeguarding of children and other vulnerable persons who are members, visitors or otherwise associated with Leigh Judo Club.

The Policy has been developed from best practice guidelines produced by Sport England and the British Judo Association and thanks is extended to these bodies for the use of their material.


2.0 Guidance & Legislation

The policy and procedures reflect the framework outlined in the Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The following legislation is core to all procedures within the policy-

The Children Act 1989

The Police Act 1997

The Protection of Children Act 1999

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 

The Human Rights Act 1998

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 

The Data Protection Act 1994 & 1998


3.0 Policy Statement

Leigh Judo Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in the Club 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.

Leigh Judo Club will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in Club and its activities through adherence to the Safeguarding children guidelines contained within this document.

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).


4.0 Policy aims

The aim of the Leigh Judo Club’s Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

  • Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the Club.
  • Allow all coaches, staff, volunteers, parents and members to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

5.0 Categories Of Abuse

5.1 Physical Abuse 

This occurs when individuals including other young people, deliberately physically hurt or injure children, or knowingly do not prevent such injuries occurring. It includes injuries caused by hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning and biting or using excessive force. It also occurs when young people are given alcohol, inappropriate drugs, or there is a failure to supervise their access to these substances.

In judo situation physical abuse may also occur due to:

  • Overly hard randori
  • Demonstrating techniques too hard or repeatedly without use of a safety mat. 
  • Over training and inappropriate training which disregards the capacity of the player’s immature and growing body. This also applies to over competing. 
  • Forcing (or “suggesting”) that a child looses weight to make a weight category This would include the use of sauna suits and bin bags to de-hydrate to lose weight. This is a very complex issue and beyond the scope of this document but as a rule of thumb a child should eat a healthy well balanced diet, train as appropriate to the capacity of their immature and growing body. They must compete in the weight category that their growing body naturally settles at. The British Judo Association’s LTPD plan and web site contains more specific guidance and information. (www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical ).
  • Exercises as a punishment – British Judo believes that making a child exercise as a punishment may not only constitute physical abuse in some circumstances but sends mixed messages. We want children and young people to train and exercise to have fun and stay healthy.

5.2 Sexual Abuse

Girls and boys can be abused by adults (both male and female) or other young people. This may include encouraging or forcing a child or young person to take part in sexual activity. Showing children pornographic material is also a form of sexual abuse.

In a judo situation sexual abuse may occur when:

  • An adult uses the context of a training session to touch young people in an inappropriate sexual way, e.g. during ground work (ne waza).
  • Coaches, managers or volunteers use their position of power and authority to coerce young players into a sexual relationship.
  • Coaches or managers imply better progression of the player in return for sexual favours.
  • Children and young people being required to weigh-in naked or in underwear.

Note: In junior competitions children must weigh-in wearing judogi trousers for boys (and given a 0.5kg weight allowance) and judogi trousers and t-shirt for girls (and given a 0.6kg weight allowance). The weigh-in must be conducted in an open environment.

British Judo recognises that there are some senior events where there may be players entered who are under the age of 18. For these events players under the age of 18 will weigh-in under junior rules (i.e. judogi trousers for boys with a 0.5kg weight allowance, and judogi trousers and t-shirt for girls with a 0.6kg weight allowance).

5.3 Emotional Abuse

This occurs when individuals persistently fail to show young people due care with regard to their emotional welfare, when a young person may be constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted, or be subject to sarcasm and unrealistic pressures. There may also be over-protection, preventing young people from socialising, or bullying to perform to high expectations. The young person may lose self-confidence and may become withdrawn and nervous.

In a judo situation, emotional abuse may occur when coaches, volunteers or parents:

  • Provide repeated negative feedback in public or private.
  • Repeatedly ignore a young player’s effort to progress.
  • Repeatedly demand performance levels above the young player’s capability. Over-emphasise the winning ethic.
  • Making a young player feel worthless, unvalued or valued only insofar as they achieve the expectations of their coach/parents/others.

5.4 Neglect

This occurs when a young person’s essential needs for food, warmth and care both physical and emotional are not met.

In judo situation neglect may occur when:

  • Young players are left alone without proper supervision.
  • A young player is exposed to unnecessary heat or cold. This would include the use of sauna suits and bin bags to de-hydrate to lose weight.
  • A young player is not provided with necessary fluids for re-hydration.
  • A young player is exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury.
  • Exposing children to unhygienic conditions.
  • Exposing children to a lack of medical care.
  • Non-intervention in incidents of bullying or taunting.

6.0 Promoting good practice

Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported 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.

6.1 Good practice guidelines

All club officials, coaches and members are expected and encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour at all times, in order to protect themselves and the club from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
  • Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity. 
  • Always putting the welfare of each young person first.
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (eg it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
  • 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 according to guidelines provided by the Coach Education Programme. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving, young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered. 
  • Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
  • Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
  • Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away for the day or night, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember 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 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 administer 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.

6.2 Practices to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (eg the child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents.

Otherwise, avoid:

  • Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
  • Taking or dropping off a child to an event.

Practices 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 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 players 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.

6.3 Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague (Sensei, coach or member of the management committee) and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:

  • If you accidentally hurt a player
  • If he/she seems distressed in any manner
  • If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
  • If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

6.4 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 sportspeople in vulnerable positions. The club will be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the Clubs Child Welfare Officer. Parents or guardians who do not wish their child / children to be photographed during training sessions should formally write to the club indicating their wishes.

Video can sometimes be a useful coaching tool and there is no intention to prevent club coaches 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. Further guidance is available on the BJA website here

6.5 Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers

The Club recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and it will take all reasonable steps to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.

Pre-selection checks must included the following:

  • All coaches and volunteers having close involvement with children, should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
  • Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau.
  • Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
  • Evidence of identity should be provided (eg passport or driving licence with photo).

6.6 Interview and induction

All coaches (and volunteers where appropriate) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction, during which:

  • A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
  • Their qualifications should be substantiated.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
  • They should sign up to the British Judo Association Code of Ethics and Conduct.
  • Child protection procedures are explained and training needs are identified.

6.7 Training

In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:

  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely and effectively with children.

Leigh Judo Club requires:

  • Coaching staff to attend a recognised 3-hour good practice and child protection awareness training workshop, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection.
  • Non-coaching staff and volunteers to complete a recognised awareness training on child protection.
  • Relevant personnel to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person.
  • Relevant personnel to undergo national first aid training (where necessary). Attendance of update training when necessary. Information about meeting training needs can be obtained from Sports Coach UK, the NSPCC and Sport England.

7.0 Responding to allegations or suspicions

The welfare and well being of the child is paramount at all times.

It is not the responsibility of anyone working 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.

Leigh Judo Club will assure all staff / volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his / her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff, volunteer or Club Member 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.

Action

7.1 Concerns about poor practice

If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Child Welfare Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.

If the allegation is about poor practice by the Child Welfare Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the Chair of the Clubs Management Committee who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

7.2 Concerns about suspected abuse

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff, a volunteer, parent or another club member must be reported to the Child Welfare Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and that of any other child who may be at risk.

The Child Welfare Officer will refer the allegation to the Social Services department which may involve the police, or he / she may 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 Welfare Officer should also notify the Chair of the Clubs Management Committee.

If the Child Welfare Officer is the subject of the suspicion / allegation, the report must be made directly to the Chair of the Clubs Management Committee or in his / her absence the Child Welfare Officer who will refer the allegation to social services.

7.3 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 Child Welfare Officer
  • The parents 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).

Advice will be sought from Social Services 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 (eg that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).

7.4 Internal enquiries and suspension

Leigh Judo Club’s Child Welfare Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.

Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the clubs Management Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff, volunteer or member 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 Management 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.

7.5 Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse

It is recognised that following abuse claims professional support may be required by children, parents and members may be required. Whilst the Club has no immediate resources available in this field it will act supportively to those affected and will through the Child Welfare Officer endeavour to locate specialist facilities.

7.6 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.

7.7 Action if bullying is suspected

Leigh Judo Club has a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment amongst members, coaching staff and visitors.

It is important to recognise that in some cases of abuse, it may not always be an adult abusing a young person. It can occur that the abuser is a young person, for example in the case of bullying.

Bullying can be defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour that can take its form both physically and verbally against another person, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. Although anyone can be a target of bullying, the victim is usually shy, sensitive and perhaps anxious or insecure. Sometimes they are singled out for physical reasons, overweight, physically small, having a disability or belonging to a different race, culture or religious belief.

Bullies can be both male and female. Although bullying often takes place in schools, it does and can occur anywhere there is poor or inadequate supervision, on the way to/from school, at a sporting event, in the playground and in changing rooms.

Bullies come from all walks of life; they bully for a variety of reasons and may even have been abused themselves. Typically bullies can have low self-esteem, be, aggressive, jealous and excitable. Crucially, they have learnt how to gain power over others. The Club and the BJA acknowledges that bullying is also a form of physical and/or emotional abuse and will not be afraid to call certain behaviour as just that – abuse.

There are many types of bullying including:

  • Physical: hitting, kicking and theft.
  • Verbal: name-calling, constant teasing, sarcasm, racist or homophobic taunts, threats and gestures.
  • Emotional: tormenting, mobile text messaging, ridiculing, humiliating and ignoring
  • Sexual: unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments, use of camera phones to record images of players in changing rooms.
  • Physical: pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
  • Racist: racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
  • Homophobic: because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality

If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in ‘Responding to suspicions or allegations’ above.

7.8 Action to help the victim and prevent bullying in sport

  • Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
  • Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately). Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. 
  • Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
  • Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
  • Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
  • Report any concerns to the Child Welfare Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring).

7.9 Action towards the bully(ies)

  • Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. 
  • Seek an apology to the victim(s).
  • Inform the bully(ies)’s parents.
  • Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
  • Provide support for the victim’s coach.
  • Impose sanctions as necessary, which may include temporary or permanent withdrawal of club membership.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour. Hold meetings with the families to report on progress. Inform all organisation members of action taken.
  • Keep a written record of action taken.

7.10 Concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (eg a parent or carer) 

  • Concerns should be reported to the Child Welfare Officer, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.
  • See 4. below for the information social services or the police will need.
  • If the Child Welfare 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 Child Welfare Officer will decide how to involve the parents/carers. 
  • The Child Welfare Officer should also report the incident to the British Judo Association (BJA) as the sports governing body. The governing body should ascertain whether or not the person/(s) involved in the incident play a role in the sport and act accordingly.
  • Confidentiality must be maintained on a need to know basis only.

7.11 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 child’s name, age and date of birth of the child.
  • The child’s home address and telephone number.
  • 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 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 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 who took the referral should be recorded.

If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.


8.0 Other Reference Material

BJA Safe Landings. The suite consists of the Child Protection Policiesand Procedures, a toolkit covering practical areas such as safe recruitment and transportation.

A copy of BJA Safe Landings is available from within the Leigh Judo Club or online here

Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), advice a collaboration between NSPCC and Sport England.

LEIGH JUDO CLUB
CLUB WELFARE OFFICER

Name: Stuart Holden

Contact Details:

Phone number: 07709807800

Email: stuartkholden@gmail.com

Background:

Stuart has been a member of the club for many years and is the club’s Welfare Officer. Any child or vulnerable adult welfare concerns should be referred directly and confidentially to Stuart who will advise on the next steps.

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