Club Policies

Child Protection Policy

In Karate as in most sporting activities today, a high level of participants are young people, and people that can be classed as vulnerable and at risk. For this reason this document is being issued to cover 'Best & Poor Practice', 'Moral & Legal responsibilities'.

Our responsibilities and those of this club are determined by the following legislation:

  • Police Act 1997
  • Sex Offenders Act 1997
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Children Act (Amended) 1990
  • Protection of Children Act 1999
  • Sexual Offences Act (Revised) 2000
  • Youth Evidence & Crime Evidence Act 1999


This Association has a deep concern for the wholeness and well being of each individual and we aim to provide a safe and secure environment for all. We seek to safeguard the welfare of all people, regardless of age, who come into contact with our organisation and member clubs. It is the responsibility of each individual participating in this Association (including member groups) to prevent the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children and young people, and to act appropriately if abuse is discovered or suspected or when good practice and guidelines are not being followed.

Our aims are to:

  • Plan the work of the organisation so as to minimise situations where abuse of children may occur
  • Be aware that there is a system whereby children may talk with an independent person
  • Use supervision as a means of protecting children
  • Know how to deal with the discloser or discovery of abuse, and the importance of referring to others
  • Know particular procedures where the alleged abuser is a club member
  • Know particular procedures for activities that take place away from the Dojo environment
  • Know the particular procedure for 1st Aid
  • Know the procedure for Fire Safety
  • Know the procedure for administering medication
  • Follow proper procedure for appointing all instruction and helpers

All Instructors, leaders, secretaries, and members of this Association are expected to read this Child Protection Policy, for good practise in the care of children & young people.

This is our response to the Home Office Codes of good practice.


All sporting organisations which make provision for children & young people must ensure:

  • The welfare of the child/children is paramount
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs &/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • All Instructors/Coaches (paid or unpaid) have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer

Note: Instructors/Coaches are very unlikely not to be trained to deal with situations of abuse nor decide if abuse has occurred.


This Association has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in Karate from harm. All children have the right to protection and the needs of disabled children & others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. This Association ensures the safety and the protection of all children involved in Karate through the adherence to the Child Protection Guidelines adopted by this Association.

A child is defined as under 18 – The Children Act (revised) 2000

Policy Aims

The aim of this Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice when dealing with children & the vulnerable and to constantly look for improvement within coaching/teaching methods.

  • Providing children & young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the Karate environment – this will obviously mean predominantly within the Dojo, but when other areas are used for instance when training outdoors, that the child is protected and safe
  • Allow all Instructors/Coaches to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues

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 judgment about any action that is to be taken.

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment and of course outside the stated areas. 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 where a young person needs 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.

All Instructors/coaches 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 Karate and this Association.

Good Practice

  • Always work in an open environment
  • This within Karate is generally common practice due to the Dojo training area. However, when private tuition is being taken then it is good practice to have the child's guardian observing, never be alone with a child or vulnerable person as this is leaving you at risk. Also it is common that some clubs do not allow parents to watch, maybe a re think in this attitude may be needed, setting out guidelines for the parents / guardians while within the Dojo
  • Treat all young people / disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity
  • Always put the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with students (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them)
  • Building appropriate relationships based on mutual trust which lets children share in the decision making process
  • Make Karate fun and enjoyable and promote fair play. (If a child enjoys their training they are more likely to progress and stay part of your club)
  • Due to the nature of Karate (as with a lot of sports e.g. gymnastic) manual/physical support is required. This should be openly carried out and according to guidelines provided by the Coach Education Programme. Care is obviously required and needed, as hand positions are difficult when a child is constantly moving. You should make this process of instruction aware to the child and guardians, as some people are very sensitive about manual handling within sport, and always be aware of their views on this matter
  • Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance in Sport
  • Involve parents/carers wherever possible and ensure if groups have to be supervised in changing rooms that they work in pairs. This goes for parents, teachers, coaches, official's etc.
  • If mixed teams are taken away, which is most common in Karate, that a male and female adult accompany the group – Note same gender abuse can also occur
  • When at tournaments or at residential events/courses, adults should not enter children's rooms or invite children into their rooms
  • Due to the position of an Instructor/Coach children will naturally hold you as a role model, this holds a lot of responsibility and you should strive to be an excellent one, this will include not smoking, not drinking and no swearing in front of children. Other area's will include personal hygiene and attitude e.g. sportsmanship etc.
  • Give constructive and enthusiastic 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. You are there to try and get the best from your student and done within the guidelines you will
  • Secure 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. Q what can you do if you are at a competition and the parent or carer are not in attendance and the child needs urgent medical surgery?
  • Keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of treatment given. You must then inform the child's parents/carers as soon as possible
  • Request written parental consent if the club officials are required to transport young people in their cars. Note: Never get into a one on one situation in a car; you are leaving yourself at risk

Practice to be Avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If the cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge and 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 pick a child up at the end of a 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
  • If you need to treat an injury or discuss anything with a child try to do this in full view of other adults, even at a distance. If this is not possible try and have someone go with you

Poor Practice

The following are classed as should never happen. – 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

Note: It may sometimes be necessary for Instructors/Coaches 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 students involved.

There is a need to be responsive to person's reactions. If a person is fully dependant 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 clothing. Or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for the tasks for which you are not appropriately trained. Within Karate, it is common for a child when first in a Karate suit to look very untidy, you will possibly have to have a ' hands on approach' to 'tidy' them up', Karate belts Obi's are a classic, if left incorrectly tied could cause damage to the individual or others.

If any of the following occurs you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also insure the parents of the child are informed:

  • If you accidentally hurt a student
  • 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 done

Guidelines for Use of Photographic Filming Equipment in Training and other Karate Events

There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or 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 Club Child Protection Officer.

Videoing as a Coaching Aid

There is no intention to prevent any club coaches and instructors 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.

Recruitment and Selection

This Association recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Due to the nature of the Karate and this Association's constitution, procedures, and the grading process Instructors/Coaches have trained within Karate for a number of years; the records require that all criminal offences are disclosed when registering for a licence. However, this may still be 'abused' so the following should apply.

  • All Instructors/Coaches should complete an application form. The form will elect information about an applicant's past and self disclosure about criminal record
  • Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
  • In the case of general helpers (parents etc) two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact
  • Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo) – again for general helpers

Responding to Suspicions or Allegations


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.

  • This Association will assure all Instructors/Coaches that it will support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concerns that a colleague is, or may be or has been abusing a child
  • Where there is a complaint against an Instructor /Coach or helper there may be three types of investigation
    - A criminal investigation
    - A child protection investigation
    -A disciplinary or misconduct investigation
  • The result of the police and child investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily

Poor Practice Concerns


  • If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; The Club Child Protection Officer will deal with the misconduct issue
  • If the allegation is about poor practice or the Club Child Protection Officer has handled the matter inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the relevant Association Officer, who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings with this Association's Disciplinary Council, after consultation with the Executive

Suspected Abuse

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either an Instructor/Coach or helper should be reported to the Club 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 Club Child Protection Officer will refer the allegations to the NSPCC in the first instance for guidance
  • If The Club Child Protection Officer has been advised by the NSPCC he/she will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out of hours. In this instance the parent or carers of the child would be contacted by the social services
  • The Club Child Protection Officer should also notify the relevant Association Officer who will in turn notify the Governing Body Child Protection Officer who will deal with any media enquiries or delegate as deemed applicable
  • If the Club Child Protection Officer is subject to the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate Instructor/Coach or in or her absence the Association Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to the NSPCC for guidance


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 Club Child Protection Officer
  • The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
  • The person making the allegation
  • NSPCC – Social Services – Police
  • The Governing Body Child Protection Officer – The Association Child Protection Officer
  • The alleged abuser (and the parents if the alleged abuser is a child)
  • Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection law (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure)

Internal Enquiries and Suspension


  • The Association Child Protection Officer (Selina Moore) 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 Association Disciplinary Council will assess all individual cases to decide whether an Instructor/Coach or helper 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 Association Disciplinary Council must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on balance of probability; it is more likely than not that the allegation is true
  • The welfare of children should always remain paramount

Allegations of Previous Abuse

Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event, as proved in recent court cases (e.g. by an Adult who was abused as a child or by an Instructor/Coach or helper 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 in the first instance to the NSPCC for guidance. 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.

Action if Bullying is Suspected

The same procedure should be followed as set in the sections relating to responding to suspicions or allegations, if bullying is suspected. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living from home should have rigorously enforced antibullying strategies in place.

Action to Help the Victim and Prevent Bullying in Karate/Sport

  • Take all signs of bullying seriously
  • Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns – NOTE; Children do commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately
  • 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 you said. (What happened, by whom, when)
  • Report any concerns to the Club Child Protection Officer or the school (wherever the bullying is occurring)


  • Talk to the bully/bullies, explain the situation, and try to get the bully/bullies to understand the consequences of the behaviour. Seek apology to the victim(s)
  • Inform the bully's parents
  • Keep a written record of action taken
  • Impose sanctions as necessary
  • Speak to the NSPCC, bullying is child abuse they can advise you on the action to take

This Child Protection Policy has been set up to help Instructors, Coaches and Helpers, it is not meant to frighten and put Club officials off dealing with children. It is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our students to train; ignorance is not acceptable in the eyes of the law. The Child Protection Policy should be used in conjunction with all best practices within the coaching guidelines. However, you should make provision that some training methods have to be adapted or even disregarded for teaching children. If in doubt find out.

This policy will run in line with the Governing Bodies Guidelines and will be updated when applicable.

WKF English Karate Federation