Ashington Shotokan Karate Club - Safeguarding Information

Sensei Jill has been the voluntary Child Protection and Welfare Officer for the KUGB for many years, and has dealt with several high profile cases. Fortunately, these are rare within the KUGB, but when they do arise, they cause an enormous amount of work. The work of the Child Protection Officer also involves protecting instructors from any false allegations. She has represented the KUGB for several years at the Child Protection in Sport Unit run by the NSPCC in London, meeting many people at their quarterly meetings - working towards improving Safeguarding in the Martial Arts.  She has yet to see another martial arts group which shows the selfless dedication of the senior instructors in the KUGB and that is why she shall always be a loyal member of our association.

Dylan Gibson serves as the Designated Safeguarding Officer for the club. He can be contacted on 07552694111 / if you have any concerns.

Our club instructors and assistant instructors are all Enhanced DBS checked. Enhanced Disclosures are the highest level of police checks available.


Karate can have a very powerful and positive influence on people, especially young people. Not only can it provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement, it can also develop valuable qualities such as self-esteem, self-confidence, leadership and teamwork. These positive effects can only take place if the instruction of Karate is in the right hands - those who place the welfare of all young people first and adopt practices that support, protect and empower them.

Instructors have a moral and legal responsibility to support and care for young people and vulnerable adults and to protect them from abuse. This responsibility applies not only while these students are on the club premises, but also if they suspect abuse is taking place elsewhere. The reality is that abuse can take place in karate as it can in other physical activities and sports. All instructors and volunteers are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help, to prevent concerns from escalating.

The impact of child abuse, neglect and exploitation should not be underestimated. Many children do recover well and go on to lead healthy, happy and productive lives, although most adult survivors agree that the emotional scars remain, however well buried. For some children, full recovery is beyond their reach, and the rest of their childhood and their adulthood may be characterised by anxiety or depression, self-harm, eating disorders, alcohol and substance misuse, unequal and destructive relationships, and long-term medical or psychiatric difficulties.

Any child, in any family, in any setting could become a victim of abuse. Instructors should always maintain an attitude of “it could happen here”.

Instructors are expected to demonstrate a duty of care towards children, equivalent to that which a reasonable and prudent parent would expect from a teacher in a school environment. The KUGB has therefore recognised the need to establish a policy to ensure the safety of children in its care and to provide guidelines to instructors and others who may be involved with the protection of these children.

It has also established guidelines which are intended to ensure that instructors create a safer training environment for all young people and vulnerable adults. They will help instructors to review their teaching practice and ensure they adopt sound procedures that protect not only the welfare of young and vulnerable people, but also the instructor against false allegations.

A vulnerable adult can be defined as a person aged 18 or over who is or may be in need of community care services because of mental or other disability, age, illness and is or may be unable to take care of him or herself or take steps to protect themselves from significant harm or exploitation. This could include people with learning disabilities, sensory impairments, mental health needs, older people and people with physical disability or impairment.

These guidelines apply to all KUGB Instructors, whether they act in a voluntary or professional capacity. They will also apply to any person who may have young karate students in their charge, such as referees and judges or examiners. The law states, in England, that anyone working with children has a right to keep them safe. This safeguarding legislation ties in with the Children Act 1989 and 2004. “The action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who encounters children and families has a role to play,” - working together to safeguard children (HM Government 2013)”.

The KUGB will additionally be responsible for managing internal investigations, and overseeing recruitment, induction, and training in the field of child protection. The KUGB has designated a National Safeguarding Officer who has the responsibility to ensure that this policy is implemented and operated effectively. This person is a well-respected KUGB member who is committed to and understands the policy, procedures, and child protection in general. Any arrest or conviction relating to an offense involving a child must be reported to the KUGB Designated Safeguarding Officer. Each Association in membership of KUGB will designate their own safeguarding officer, who will liaise with the KUGB National Safeguarding Officer.

The effect of having good working practices in place is that the organisation can work together alongside legislation, rules and guidelines to deliver the best service possible to vulnerable people who need it and need them. Integrated working works wonderfully well. It enables professionals to liaise with each other when needed to deliver the best care for the vulnerable person involved, putting them centre to all their decisions to ensure they are getting the best possible outcome.

Having integrated working as a working practice makes it so much easier to make fair choices and decisions based on everyone’s views and input. It also makes information sharing much more effective to achieve possible outcomes for the person in question. It is essential to provide a service for a vulnerable person that is efficient, effective and that work around the needs of the individual, their family and for the safeguarding and protecting the welfare of that service user. However, when sharing information, this needs to be done following legislation and guidance such as the confidentiality policy and The Data Protection Act. It is highly important that information shared is done so correctly and they understand why.

nb: The terms child and children are used throughout this document, but the policy and guidelines should apply to all young people and vulnerable adults taking part in Karate.
The law defines a child as a person under the age of 18.
These guidelines cannot cover every eventuality and Instructors should always use initiative and common sense when assessing the appropriateness of their actions and advice.

KUGB Child Policy Statement

The KUGB recognises that it has both a moral and legal obligation to ensure that when it is given responsibility for children, it provides them with the highest possible standard of care.

It recognises that:

  • Children’s welfare must always be the priority.
  • All children and vulnerable adults have a right to be protected from harm.
  • All allegations should be taken seriously and responded to quickly.
  • It needs to encourage interaction between children and the organisation and to ensure that the best principles for conduct are conveyed to them.
  • It needs to encourage continued participation of children in both training and competition.
  • It needs to define the relationships between children and the organisation and take the karate specifics into consideration, including rules and a need for the instructor to be aware of the demands that karate may place on a young developing karateka.

Guidelines for Good Teaching Practice

These Guidelines for good practice are provided to protect children and ensure that Instructors are protected from accusations of child abuse; also, to assure parents that the highest standards of teaching are being followed within the organisation.

a.General Teaching Guidelines

Instructors must:

  • Place the well-being and safety of the child above the development of performance.
  • Ensure that skills are taught in a safe, secure manner paying due regard to the physical development of young students.
  • Always be open when working with children, especially where they and an individual child are completely unobserved, although this should be avoided if possible.
  • Ensure that if groups are to be supervised in changing rooms that gender is appropriate.
  • Ensure that where mixed teams compete away from home, they are accompanied by at least one male and one female.
  • Respect the rights and dignity and worth of all and treat everyone with equality.
  • Always try to ensure that their teaching practices are well considered and safe.
  • Always try to ensure that their teaching practice reflect the high standards expected of Karateka.
  • Always try to ensure that they meet all the requirements and conditions in these guidelines.

What constitutes as good general teaching practice?

Good teaching practice can be:

  • Treating all children equally, and with respect and dignity.
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust.
  • Making training fun and enjoyable.
  • Promoting fair play.
  • Keeping up to date with teaching knowledge, skills, qualifications and insurance.
  • Taking action to prevent intimate relationships developing with students.
  • Getting to know children and their parents/carers.
  • Setting a good example by conducting behaviour appropriately - this includes not drinking alcohol or smoking in the company of children.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the children (e.g. avoiding excessive training and competition, and not pushing them against their will).
  • Encouraging positive, respectful and safe behaviour among students.
  • Being alert to changes in students’ behaviour and signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Recognising that challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse.
  • Reading and understanding the organisation’s safeguarding policy and guidance documents on wider safeguarding issues, for example bullying, behaviour, physical contact, sexual exploitation, extremism, e-safety and information sharing.
  • Maintaining appropriate standards of conversation and interaction with and between students and avoiding the use of sexualised or derogatory language.
  • Being aware that the personal and family circumstances and lifestyles of some pupils lead to an increased risk of abuse.
  • Applying the use of reasonable force only as a last resort and in compliance with the organisation’s policies.
  • Referring all concerns about a student’s safety and welfare to the Designated Safeguarding Officer, or, only if the Designated Safeguarding Officer is unavailable, directly to police or children’s social care.
  • Following the organisation’s rules regarding relationships with students and communication with students, including on social media.

Abuse of position of trust

All instructors are aware that inappropriate behaviour towards pupils is unacceptable and that their conduct towards students must be beyond reproach.

In addition, instructors should understand that, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for a person over the age of 18 to have a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18, where the person is in a position of trust, even if the relationship is consensual. This means that any sexual activity between an instructor and a student under the age of 18 may be a criminal offence, even if that pupil is over the age of consent.

Children who may be particularly vulnerable

Some children may have an increased risk of abuse. It is important to understand that this increase in risk is due more to societal attitudes and assumptions of child protection procedures that fail to acknowledge children’s diverse circumstances, rather than the individual child’s personality, impairment or circumstances.

Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and a reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse can occur.

To ensure that all our students receive equal protection, we will give special consideration to children who are:

  • Looked after.
  • Disabled or have special educational needs.
  • Young carers.
  • Affected by parental substance misuse, domestic violence or parental mental health needs.
  • Asylum seekers or refugees.
  • Living away from home.
  • Vulnerable to being bullied or engaging in bullying.
  • Living in temporary accommodation.
  • Live transient lifestyles.
  • Living in chaotic and unsupportive home situations.
  • Vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexuality.
  • At risk of sexual exploitation.
  • Do not have English as a first language.
  • At risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • At risk of forced marriage.
  • At risk of being drawn into extremism.

This list provides examples of additionally vulnerable groups and is not exhaustive.

Children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Organisations should ensure their child protection policy reflects the fact that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. These can include:

  • Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration.
  • The potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionately impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs.
  • Communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.

Looked After Children

The most common reason for children becoming looked after is because of abuse or neglect. The organisation ensures that instructors and volunteers have the necessary skills and understanding to keep looked after children safe. Appropriate instructors have information about a child’s looked after legal status and care arrangements, including the level of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after the child. The designated instructor for looked after children has details of the child’s social worker and the name and contact details of the local authority’s virtual head for children in care.

Children with Sexually Harmful Behaviour

Children may be harmed by other children or young people. Instructors and volunteers will be aware of the harm caused by bullying and will use the organisation’s anti-bullying procedures where necessary. However, there will be occasions when a student’s behaviour warrants a response under child protection rather than anti-bullying procedures.

The management of children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour is complex and the organisation will work with other relevant agencies to maintain the safety of the whole organisation community. Young people who display such behaviour may be victims of abuse themselves and the child protection procedures will be followed for both victim and perpetrator. Instructors or volunteers who become concerned about a student’s sexual behaviour, including any known online sexual behaviour, should speak to the Designated Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible.

Helping children to keep themselves safe.

We recognise that high self-esteem, confidence, supportive friends and good lines of communication with a trusted adult helps prevention. We will therefore raise awareness of child protection issues and equip children with the skills to keep themselves safe. The organisation will therefore:

  • Establish and maintain an environment and positive ethos where children feel secure, supported and are encouraged to talk, are listened to, can learn, develop and feel valued.
  • Ensure children know that there are adults in the organisation whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
  • Ensure that children know who to turn to for help.

Safeguarding Adults

Adult abuse is defined as a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate actions, occurring within any relationship or setting where there is an expectation of trust, which then causes harm or distress to a vulnerable person. 

Safeguarding adults is to protect those at risk of harm. It involves identifying abuse and acting whenever someone is being harmed. The Department of Health defines a vulnerable adult as a person aged 18 years and over, who is or may have a mental health issue or other disability, age or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. 

Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone. Anyone can raise a safeguarding concern. All allegations of abuse need to be taken seriously whether regardless of where or who the allegation has come from. Any concerns reported should be followed up appropriately and seriously.

Because of issues about identification, stigma, and institutional systems, concerns about allegations of abuse are known to be under-reported. Only a small proportion of adult abuse is currently detected.

People with health needs make up a large proportion of the referrals for adult abuse, including people with physical disabilities, substance misuse, mental health difficulties and people with, learning disabilities.

Risk factors for abuse include:

  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Social isolation
  • Increasing age
  • Lack of access to health and social services and/or high-quality information
  • Being physically dependent on others
  • Previous history of abuse
  • Negative experiences of disclosing past abuse
  • Low self-esteem

The primary aim of safeguarding is to keep an individual safe and prevent further abuse from occurring. The Department of Health for England and Wales states six principles of good safeguarding practice: 

  • Prevention: it is better to act before harm occurs. 
  • Empowerment: presumption of person-led decisions and informed consent.
  • Partnership: local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse. 
  • Proportionality: proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.
  • Accountability: accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding. 
  • Protection: support and representation for those in greatest need.

In England and Wales, the Care Act 2014 sets out a legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the health and care system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. 

b.Karate Specific Teaching Guidelines

The minimum age for a child beginning karate training is determined firstly by insurance requirements and constrictions, and also by the judgement of the instructor, as the physical and mental and maturity of individuals varies so much. However, the nature of the class can be tailored to consider these factors.

Instructors need to understand the added responsibilities of teaching children and the basic principles of growth and development through childhood to adolescence. Exercises should be appropriate to age and build and Instructors should not simply treat children as small adults, with small adult bodies.

Pre-adolescent children have a metabolism that is not naturally suited to generating anaerobic power, and therefore they exercise better aerobically, that is, at a steadily maintained rate. However, they can soon become conditioned to tolerate exercise in the short, explosive bursts that more suit Karate training.

Some children have difficulty in concentrating and Karate training has been shown to improve their ability to concentrate, which can be beneficial in other aspects of their life, such as education.

Good discipline is seen as an essential element of the Karate ethos. It helps build good character and to ensure a good and safe training environment. This discipline is for the good of all children and does not constitute abuse.

Respect for senior grades and for their instructions and decisions is also a vital element of the discipline of karate.

Physical contact is seen as a necessary and positive part of teaching karate and is acceptable practice as long as it is appropriate and done in a safe and open manner. Instructors might manually adjust a student’s technique - for example by straightening a wrist or moving a block to a more effective position. They will often test the strength of a child’s technique or their balance by applying pressure. They may need to move a child for safety, e.g. to avoid collision or prevent them falling. Physical contact may also be used to re-assure or reward - for example, a light pat on the back or shoulder.

A child taking part in a class should not be allowed to leave the dojo without the permission of the Instructor. Where practicable, supervision should be provided.

Parents or guardians should be advised when to deliver and collect children, and not to leave children at the dojo unless the instructor or a responsible person is present.

If there is no other viable option, it is acceptable for an instructor to give a child a lift in their car, but it is important to inform the parents.

Instructors should:

  • Always ensure that children are fit to train.
  • Not allow children to do assisted stretching - they generally don’t need to and there is a real risk of damage with an inconsiderate or over-enthusiastic partner.
  • Try to match children for size and weight for sparring wherever possible.
  • Take great care, especially where children train in the proximity of adults, to avoid collision injury.
  • Always consider the age, grade and ability of children involved in Karate. Care should be taken with certain exercises and equipment and consideration should be given to the potential outcome of any activity.
  • Not allow children to perform certain conditioning exercises, especially those which are heavy load-bearing, for example weight training or knuckle push-ups.
  • Not allow children to do any heavy bag or heavy impact work - rather, they should concentrate on the development of speed, mobility, skill and general fitness.

Acceptable Practice, Poor Practice or Abuse?

In some cases, it is hard to distinguish between poor teaching practice and abuse. Your responsibility is to do everything within your power to ensure your teaching practice is beyond reproach.

An Instructor must always examine their own teaching methods and practices and remember the basic principal that they must be in the best interest of the child.

a.What constitutes unacceptable practice?

Unacceptable practice is anything which might harm a child or prevent them from developing properly. Those practices which harm children are generally referred to as abuse and they fall in to the following main categories:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Radicalisation and Extremism
  • Peer on Peer Abuse

The following are more comprehensive descriptions of these categories.

Physical abuse

In general terms, this would include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocation or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

It may also be caused when a parent/carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health in a child they are looking after. This situation is called fabricated or induced illness in a child.

It would also be where drugs or alcohol (specifically with children) are advocated or tolerated.

In karate, this may include:

  • An instructor deliberately striking a child in order to inflict pain and damage.
  • An instructor encouraging another student to strike a child in order to inflict pain and damage.
  • An instructor asking a child to train in a reckless way which is likely to lead to physical harm.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment 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, unloved, inadequate or valued only in as far as they meet the needs of another person.

It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.

It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children, including interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capacity, as well as overprotection and limitations on exploration and learning, preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.

It may involve children seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another, severe bullying (including cyberbullying), causing them to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.

Some types of emotional abuse are involved in all types of ill treatment, although it may occur alone.

Instructors should also consider the potential emotional abuse from excessive pressure during training regimes or in relation to competition.


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

Once a child is born, it may involve a parent/carer failing to:

  • Provide adequate food, shelter and clothing (including exclusion from home and abandonment).
  • Protect a child from physical harm or danger.
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
  • Ensure adequate supervision (including use of inadequate caregivers).

It may also involve neglect of or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.

This may result from a failure to ensure that children are:

  • Safe.
  • Free from risk of excessive cold, heat, or injury.
  • Properly insured.

Sexual abuse

Sexual exploitation involves an individual or group of adults taking advantage of the vulnerability of an individual or groups of children or young people, and victims can be boys or girls. Children and young people are often unwittingly drawn into sexual exploitation through the offer of friendship and care, gifts, drugs and alcohol, and sometimes accommodation. Sexual exploitation is a serious crime and can have a long-lasting adverse impact on a child’s physical and emotional health. It may also be linked to child trafficking.

A common feature of sexual exploitation is that the child often does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see themselves as a victim. The child may initially resent what they perceive as interference by instructors, but instructors must act on their concerns, as they would for any other type of abuse. Showing children pornographic material is also a form of sexual abuse.

All instructors are made aware of the indicators of sexual exploitation and all concerns are reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Radicalisation and Extremism

The government defines extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Some children are at risk of being radicalised: adopting beliefs and engaging in activities which are harmful, criminal or dangerous. Nationally, Islamic extremism is the most widely publicised form however instructors should also remain alert to the risk of radicalisation into white supremacy and extreme right-wing factions.

Peer on Peer Abuse

Instructors should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves as peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender-based violence/sexual assaults and sexting.

Abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter” or part of growing up. In our organisation we believe that all children have the right to attend karate training and learn in a safe environment. Children should be free from harm from adults and other children. We recognise that some students will negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will be dealt with under the organisation’s behaviour policy.

Occasionally, allegations may be made against students by others in the organisation which are of a safeguarding nature. This could include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, and also include girls being sexually touched/assaulted or boys being subject to initiation/hazing type violence. It is likely that to be considered a safeguarding allegation, some of the following features will be found –

  • The allegation is made against an older student and refers to their behaviour towards a younger or more vulnerable student.
  • Is of a serious nature, possibly including a criminal offence.
  • Raises risk factors for other students in the organisation.
  • Indicates that other students may have been affected by this student.
  • Indicates that young people outside the organisation may have been affected by this behaviour.

To support young people in this situation we will follow our usual safeguarding procedures ensuring all information is recorded and reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

What signs might indicate abuse?

Abuse may result from various causes through the misuse of power by adults or peers in any of the above ways.

Abuse may not be apparent from physical signs. There may be behavioural indicators, particularly changes in behaviour.

Children may tell someone directly or indirectly that they are being abused. This will have taken enormous courage on their part because it is possible they will have been threatened by the abuser not to tell or will have been aware and are very frightened of the consequences. In all cases, children will tell you because they want the abuse to stop, therefore it is very important that you listen to them and take them seriously.

Abuse can go unnoticed for a long time yet have lasting and very damaging effects on children.

Physical indicators of emotional abuse include:

  • A failure to thrive or grow, particularly if the child puts on weight in other circumstances (e.g. in hospital or away from home).
  • Development delay, either in terms of physical or emotional progress.
  • There are physical and behavioural signs that might raise your concern about the welfare or safety of a child.

Some examples of signs of physical abuse are:

  • Unexplained bruising or injuries and a reluctance to talk about them.
  • A change in appearance observed over a long period of time (e.g. a student losing weight or becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt).
  • Self-harm or mutilation.
  • Covering arms and legs even when hot.

Some examples of behavioural signs of abuse are:

  • Excessive fear of making mistakes.
  • Fear of parents being contacted.
  • Aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts.
  • Running away.
  • Fear of going home (e.g. after training).
  • Flinching when approached or touched.
  • Reluctance to get changed for training.
  • Depression.
  • Neurotic behaviour (e.g. hair twisting, rocking).
  • Being unable to play, unwilling to take part.
  • Withdrawn behaviour.

These signs are indicators, not confirmation of abuse. However, if an Instructor notices any of these signs regularly or more than one sign, they should record and report their concerns.

Photography and Images

The vast majority of people who take or view photographs or videos of children do so for entirely innocent and legitimate reasons. Sadly, some people abuse children through taking or distributing images, so we must ensure that we have some safeguards in place.

To protect students, we will:

  • Seek parental consent for photographs to be taken or published (for example, on websites, social media pages, or in newspapers or publications).
  • Ensure students are appropriately dressed.
  • Encourage students to tell us if they are worried about any photographs that are taken of them.


While bullying between children is not a separate category of abuse and neglect, it is a very serious issue that can cause considerable anxiety and distress. At its most serious level, bullying can have a disastrous effect on a child’s wellbeing and in very rare cases has been a feature in the suicide of some young people.

All incidences of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying should be reported and will be managed through our tackling-bullying procedures. If the bullying is particularly serious, or the tackling bullying procedures are deemed to be ineffective, the Designated Safeguarding Officer will consider implementing child protection procedures.


Our students increasingly use electronic equipment on a daily basis to access the internet and share content and images via social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram.

Unfortunately, some adults and young people will use these technologies to harm children.

The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to grooming and enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings.

Students may also be distressed or harmed by accessing inappropriate websites that promote unhealthy lifestyles, extremist behaviour and criminal activity.

The organisation tries to keep students safe within the organisation and protect and educate pupils in the safe use of technology. Cyberbullying and sexting by students will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures. Serious incidents may be managed in line with our child protection procedures.

b.Support for those involved in a child protection issue

Child abuse is devastating for the child and can also result in distress and anxiety for instructors or volunteers who become involved.

  • We will support students, their families, and instructors by:
  • Taking all suspicions and disclosures seriously/
  • Responding sympathetically to any request from students or instructors for time out to deal with distress or anxiety.
  • Maintaining confidentiality and sharing information on a need-to-know basis only with relevant individuals and agencies.
  • Storing records securely.
  • Offering details of helplines, counselling or other avenues of external support.
  • Where an instructor is the subject of an allegation made by a student, ensure that lines of communication are maintained.
  • Following the procedures laid down in our child protection, whistleblowing, complaints and disciplinary procedures.
  • Cooperating fully with relevant statutory agencies.

Reporting Procedures

a.What to do if you suspect abuse

Although it is a sensitive and difficult issue, abuse can and does occur within institutions and within other settings other than the home. It is crucial that instructors are aware of this possibility and that all allegations are taken seriously, and appropriate action pursued. This would include anyone working with vulnerable people in a paid or voluntary capacity and there are established procedures to follow should any concerns arise.

Potential or actual abuse is not always obvious and often goes unnoticed for long periods of time. The wider context of the person's life, such as social networks, culture and family support, must be considered. 

When assessing abuse, instructors should seek to establish the circumstances surrounding the concerns. The abused person may have difficulty in reporting abuse. The person may be frightened that the abuse will become worse if it is revealed and may be worried that it may leave them even more vulnerable. 

The distress caused by abuse may cause the person to have behavioural change, such as becoming withdrawn, aggressive, irritable or emotionally labile. An abused adult may seem withdrawn, unkempt, lose weight, and have poor skin care. This may be due to illness or may be due to neglect. 


If you suspect a child is being abused by an instructor, student, parent or carer, you will have to report your concerns in order that the abuse is investigated and stopped.

If you are worried, remember it is not your responsibility to decide if abuse is taking place but it is your responsibility to act on your concerns and do something about it.

If a child tells you about someone’s behaviour (e.g. an adult or another child) which he/she finds disturbing, always:

  • Stay calm and reassure the child - ensure he/she is safe, feels safe and does not feel to blame for what has happened.
  • Listen carefully, show and tell the child that you are taking seriously what is being said.
  • Be honest, explain you will have to tell someone else to help stop the behaviour that is distressing.
  • Make a note of what was said as soon as possible after the event.
  • Maintain confidentiality - only share the information on a need to know basis and if it will help the student.
  • Gain medical attention immediately if required and if appropriate contact police or social services.

It is your responsibility to act if you are concerned about the behaviour of an adult towards a child or if you feel a young person/disabled adult is being bullied:

  • Always follow the KUGB's child protection guidelines.
  • Report your concerns with full details to the Designated Safeguarding Officer or Regional Officer. It is then the responsibility of that person to act.
  • If these persons are not available, the concerns are about them, or you do not feel appropriate action has been taken, you must contact the social services or the police. Both organisations have specialist units trained to deal with these situations and their numbers are in the phone book.

Key points for instructors to remember for taking action are:

  • In an emergency take the action necessary to help the child, if necessary call 999.
  • Report your concern as soon as possible to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
  • Do not start your own investigation.
  • Share information on a need-to-know basis only – do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family.
  • Complete a written record.
  • Seek support for yourself if you are distressed.

If you were abused in the past, you can still seek help to deal with how you feel. There are many confidential helplines and organisations in the phone book. Please find the courage to call - especially if the perpetrator is still involved in instructing and has access to other children.

There will be occasions when instructors or volunteers may suspect that a student may be at risk but have no ‘real’ evidence. The student’s behaviour may have changed, or their patterns of attendance may have altered. In these circumstances, instructors will try to give the pupil the opportunity to talk. The signs they have noticed may be due to a variety of factors, for example, a parent has moved out, a pet has died, a grandparent is very ill, or an accident has occurred. It is fine for volunteers to ask the student if they are okay or if they can help in any way.

Instructors should use the disclosure form to record these early concerns. If the student does begin to reveal that they are being harmed, instructors should follow the advice below. Following an initial conversation with the student, if the instructor remains concerned, they should discuss their concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Factors to consider when inquiring about abuse include: 

  • The vulnerability of the individual. 
  • The nature and extent of the abuse. 
  • The length of time it has been occurring. 
  • The impact on the individual. 
  • The risk of repeated or increasingly serious acts. 

Managing the conversation with an individual when abuse is suspected: 

  • Make sure the alleged abuser is not present. 
  • It may be helpful for the potentially abused person to be accompanied by a trusted person. 
  • Ensure they have appropriate support to express themselves clearly, including an interpreter if necessary. 
  • Be clear what will happen with the information that the victim discloses. 
  • Establish the facts of the allegation of abuse and acknowledge the impact of the abuse on the victim. 

Making sure the potential abuser is not present when asking about concerns should help the abused person to talk openly. Being accompanied by a trusted person may help a vulnerable adult feel supported and more confident in sharing information.

b.If a Student Discloses to You

It takes a lot of courage for a child to disclose that they are being abused. They may feel ashamed, particularly if the abuse is sexual; their abuser may have threatened what will happen if they tell; they may have lost all trust in adults; or they may believe, or have been told, that the abuse is their own fault. Sometimes they may not be aware that what is happening is abusive.

If a student talks to an instructor or volunteer about any risks to their safety or wellbeing, the instructor or volunteer will need to let the student know that they must pass the information on –instructors are not allowed to keep secrets. The point at which they tell the student this is a matter for professional judgement. If they jump in immediately the student may think that they do not want to listen, if left until the very end of the conversation, the student may feel that they have been misled into revealing more than they would have otherwise.

During their conversations with the students, instructors will:

  • Allow them to speak freely.
  • Remain calm and not overreact – the student may stop talking if they feel they are upsetting their listener.
  • Give reassuring nods or words of comfort – “I’m so sorry this has happened”, “I want to help”, “This isn’t your fault”, “You are doing the right thing in talking to me”.
  • Not be afraid of silences – instructors must remember how hard this must be for the student.
  • Under no circumstances ask investigative questions – such as how many times this has happened, whether it happens to siblings too, or what does the student’s mother think about all this.
  • At an appropriate time tell the student that in order to help them, the instructor must pass the information on and explain to whom and why.
  • Not automatically offer any physical touch as comfort. It may be anything but comforting to a child who has been abused.
  • Avoid admonishing the child for not disclosing earlier. Saying things such as “I do wish you had told me about this when it started” or “I can’t believe what I’m hearing” may be the instructor’s way of being supportive but may be interpreted by the child to mean that they have done something wrong.
  • Tell the student what will happen next. The student may agree to go to speak to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
  • Report verbally to the Designated Safeguarding Officer, even if the child has promised to do it by themselves.
  • Write up their conversation as soon as possible on the record of concern form and hand it to the designated person.
  • Seek support if they feel distressed.

The organisation will normally seek to discuss any concerns about a student with their parents. This must be handled sensitively, and the Designated Safeguarding Officer will make contact with the parent in the event of a concern, suspicion or disclosure.

However, if the organisation believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, advice will first be sought from children’s social care.

The Designated Safeguarding Officer will make a referral to children’s social care if it is believed that a student is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm. The student (subject to their age and understanding) and the parents will be told that a referral is being made, unless to do so would increase the risk to the child.

Any instructor may make a direct referral to children’s social care if they genuinely believe independent action is necessary to protect a child. The Designated Safeguarding Officer should keep relevant instructors informed about actions taken, they do not need to share all information, but instructors must be confident their concerns have been actioned.

c.The National Designated Safeguarding Officer

The Designated Safeguarding Officer, as appointed by the KUGB Executive Committee:

  • Has the status and authority within the organisation to carry out the duties of the post, including committing resources and supporting and directing other instructors and volunteers.
  • Is appropriately trained, receiving annual updates.
  • Acts as a source of support and expertise to the organisation.
  • Encourages a culture of listening to children, young people and vulnerable adults and taking account of their wishes and feelings.
  • Is alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs, and young carers.
  • Has a working knowledge of NSPCC procedures.
  • Keeps detailed written records of all concerns, ensuring that such records are stored securely, but kept separate from, the student’s general file.
  • Refers cases of suspected abuse to children’s social care or police as appropriate.
  • Represents the organisation and contributes to child protection conferences.
  • Coordinates the organisation’s contribution to child protection plans.
  • Develops effective links with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies, including the NSPCC.
  • Ensures that all instructors sign to indicate that they have read and understood the safeguarding policy.
  • Ensured that the safeguarding policy and procedures are regularly reviewed.
  • Liaises with the National Administrator as appropriate.
  • Ensures instructors and volunteers are kept up to date with key priorities within the organisation, including learning from serious case reviews.
  • Makes the child protection policy available publicly, on the organisation’s website or by other means.
  • Whilst the activities of the Designated Safeguarding Officer can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the Designated Safeguarding Officer; this lead responsibility should not be delegated.

d.Do you have any other concerns?

These guidelines provide some of the steps for safe and sound Karate instructing.

Any further questions may be addressed to the KUGB Executive Committee through the National Administrator.

The KUGB always endeavours to provide up to date information through literature and courses for its existing and its new Instructors.

e.Whistleblowing if you have concerns about another instructor

Instructors or volunteers who are concerned about the conduct of another instructor towards a student are undoubtedly placed in a very difficult situation. They may worry that they have misunderstood the situation and they will wonder whether a report could jeopardise their fellow instructor’s career. All instructors and volunteers must remember that the welfare of the child is paramount. The organisation’s whistleblowing code enables instructors to raise concerns or allegations, initially in confidence and for a sensitive enquiry to take place.

All concerns of poor practice or possible child abuse by other instructors should be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Instructors may also report their concerns directly to children’s social care or the police if they believe direct reporting is necessary to secure action.

f.Allegations Against Instructors or Volunteers

When an allegation is made against an instructor or volunteer, set procedures must be followed. It is rare for a child to make an entirely false or malicious allegation, although misunderstandings and misinterpretations of events do happen.

A child may also make an allegation against an innocent party because they are too afraid to name the real perpetrator. Even so, we must accept that some professionals do pose a serious risk to students and we must act on every allegation.

Instructors or volunteers who are the subject of an allegation have the right to have their case dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently and to be kept informed of its progress. Suspension is not the default option and alternatives to suspension will always be considered. In some cases, instructors may be suspended where this is deemed to be the best way to ensure that children are protected. In the event of suspension, the organisation will provide support and a named contact for the member of staff.

g.Protecting Instructors and Volunteers from False Allegations

To prevent the possibility of wrongful allegations about your teaching, adopt the good practice guidelines and advice advocated by the KUGB. In addition to the points made earlier, instructors should remember to follow the advice below:

  • To always work in an open environment - avoid private locations (e.g. taking children to the Instructor’s home).
  • To maintain a safe and appropriate distance with students (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a young student or to share a room with them).
  • To involve parents and/or guardians wherever possible.
  • To be aware of the KUGB's child protection policy and their responsibilities.
  • To adhere to the KUGB's code of conduct.
  • To avoid any horseplay, sexually suggestive comments or language.
  • To be aware of current child protection information and knowledge.

h.Police Checks

It is now a requirement that those working with children in particular circumstances are Police-checked to ensure that they do not have a criminal record which may preclude them from teaching children.

It is important to note that it is not necessary to gain a police check in every situation. However, there are three main circumstances in instructing children when a police check should be sought:

  • When it involves one to one contact separate from other adults and children without consent of parents or guardians.
  • When it is unsupervised and no other responsible adult is likely to be present.
  • When the situation is isolated from family surroundings, for example, going on holidays.

However, the most situations will not fall under the above three circumstances and therefore a police check is not required if the candidate has the correct qualifications and a suitable background history.

If the situation arises that a police check is required, KUGB has in place a particular procedure to follow.

i.Investigation Process

When a complaint is received, this will be dealt with within the process outlined in Appendix 1.

In the event of an allegation being proved and disciplinary action being taken, this information will be shared with the appropriate authorities.

Confidentiality and Sharing Information

All instructors will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the student and instructors involved but also to ensure that information being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.

Instructors and volunteers should only discuss concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Officer. That person will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.

Child protection information will be stored and handled in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Information sharing is guided by the following principles. The information is:

  • Necessary and proportionate
  • Relevant
  • Adequate
  • Accurate
  • Timely
  • Secure

Information sharing decisions will be recorded, whether or not the decision is taken to share.

Record of concern forms and other written information will be stored in a locked facility and any electronic information will be password protected and only made available to relevant individuals.

Every effort will be made to prevent unauthorised access, and sensitive information should not routinely be stored on laptop computers, which, by the nature of their portability, could be lost or stolen. Child protection information will be stored separately from the student’s file and the file will be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held.

The Designated Safeguarding Officer will normally obtain consent from the student and/or parents to share sensitive information within the organisation or with outside agencies. Where there is good reason to do so, the Designated Safeguarding Officer may share information without consent, and will record the reason for not obtaining consent.

Child protection records are normally exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act, which means that children and parents do not have an automatic right to see them. If any instructor receives a request from a student or parent to see child protection records, they will refer the request to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

The Data Protection Act does not prevent organisations from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child.

Where there is a safeguarding concern, the organisation and instructors should ensure the child’s wishes and feelings are considered when determining what action to take and what services to provide. Systems should be in place for children to express their views and give feedback. Ultimately, all systems and processes should operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.

Instructors should follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy. However, they may also share information directly with children’s social care, police or the NSPCC if:

  • The situation is an emergency and the Designated Safeguarding Officer is unavailable.
  • They are convinced that a direct report is the only way to ensure the student’s safety.
  • For any other reason they make a judgement that direct referral is in the best interests of the child.

Serious case reviews often identify lack of information sharing between agencies as an issue. We must therefore ensure that we share information about our concerns while respecting an individual's right to confidentiality. 

If a person retains capacity under the Mental Capacity Act (2005), we have no legal authority to make best interest decisions on their behalf. However, balancing a respect for the choices of adults who retain capacity, against the desire to promote their welfare, can present genuine dilemmas.

Equal Opportunities

The KUGB recognises that we live in a society where discrimination still operates to the disadvantage of many groups in society. The organisation believes that all persons should have equal rights to recognition of their human dignity, and to have equal opportunities to train with any club in the organisation, regardless of age, gender identity, race, sexuality, religion, disability, and mental capacity.

The organisation is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities within all clubs, and affiliated organisations, through the way we manage the organisation and provide services to the community. No person should suffer or experience less favourable treatment, discrimination or lack of opportunities on the grounds of gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, health status, HIV status, age, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, political beliefs or trade union membership, class, responsibility for dependents, physical attributes, ex-offender status as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, lack of formal qualifications where such qualifications are not formally required, or any other grounds which cannot be shown to be justifiable within the context of this policy.

This policy will influence and affect every aspect of activities carried out in the organisation. The KUGB is committed to promoting equal opportunities for everyone. Throughout its activities, the committee will treat all people equally.

Conduct and General Standards of Behaviour

All instructors and volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and considerate manner at all times. The organisation will not tolerate behaviour such as:

  • Making threats
  • Physical violence
  • Shouting
  • Swearing at others
  • Persistent rudeness
  • Isolating, ignoring or refusing to work with certain people
  • Telling offensive jokes or name calling
  • Displaying offensive material such as pornography or sexist/racist cartoons, or the distribution of such material via email/text message or any other format.
  • Any other forms of harassment or victimisation.

The items on the above list of unacceptable behaviours are considered to be disciplinary offences within the organisation and can lead to disciplinary action being taken. The organisation does, however, encourage members to resolve misunderstandings and problems informally wherever possible, depending on the circumstances. However, whether dealt with informally or formally, it is important for members who may have caused offence to understand that it is no defence to say that they did not intend to do so, or to blame individuals for being over sensitive. It is the impact of the behaviour, rather than the intent, that counts, and that should shape the solution found both to the immediate problem and to preventing further similar problems in the future.

 Complaints of Discrimination

The organisation will treat seriously all complaints of unlawful discrimination on any forbidden grounds made by instructors, students, parents or guardians and will take action where appropriate.

All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the organisation’s grievance, complaints or disciplinary procedure, as appropriate and the complainant will be informed of the outcome in line with these procedures. We will also monitor the number and outcomes of complaints of discrimination made by instructors, students, parents or guardians.

Legal Obligations

The new Equality Act came into force in October 2010 and replaces all previous equality legislation in England, Scotland and Wales – namely the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, The Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (religions and belief and sexual orientation).

The Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex and sexual orientation.

In valuing diversity, the KUGB is committed to go beyond the legal minimum regarding equality.

The Equality Act 2010 harmonises and strengthens and replaces most previous equality legislation. The following legislation is still relevant:

  • The Human Rights Act 1998.
  • The Work and Families Act 2006.
  • Employment Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000 (as amended).