Cambridge MMA takes Child Protection seriously.
Our dedicated Child Protection Officer Ellie Cook can be contacted at welfare@cambridgeMMA.co.uk
Child Protection Policy Statement
Cambridge MMA will endeavour at all times to:
Member organisations are required to provide evidence of the following:
Monitoring and Evaluation
Cambridge MMA will regularly monitor and evaluate the policy, practices and procedures on an on-going basis and will inform member/employees of their impact.
The Officer for Equity, Health and Safety and Child Protection is responsible for ensuring that Child Protection Policy is followed and for dealing with any actual or potential breaches.
What is child abuse?
A child is defined as anyone who is under the age of 18 years. It is generally accepted that there are four main forms of abuse. The following definitions are based on those from Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department of Health, Home Office, Department of Education and Employment 1999)
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to, a child whom they are looking after. A person might do this because they enjoy or need the attention they get through having a sick child.
Physical abuse, as well as being a result of an act of commission can also be caused through omission or the failure to act to protect.
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 making a child feel or believe that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of, or consents to, what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative acts such as rape, buggery or oral sex or non-penetrative acts such as fondling. Sexual abuse may also include non-contract activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Boys and girls can be sexually abused by males and/or females, by adults and by other young people. This includes people from different walks of life.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failure to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Legislation and Guidance
There is a considerable body of legislation, government guidance and standards, which are designed to ensure that children are protected from harm.
The Children Act 1989
This Act legislates for children in England & Wales.
The intention of the Children Act 1989 is to ensure that the welfare and developmental needs of children are met, including their need to be protected from harm.
Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
Part II of this Act relates to ‘public bodies’ responsibilities within child protection and is integral to child protection systems in the UK designed to prevent unsuitable people from working with children.
It links to other laws including Protection of Children Act 1999 and The Police Act 1997 that together build a system that makes it a criminal offence if an employer does not take sufficient steps to check an employee working with children and/or knowingly gives someone a job who is inappropriate to work with children.
Protection of Children Act 1999 and The Police Act 1997
These Acts change the routes by which employers can check whether a potential or actual employee has criminal offences against children or whether there has been any reason for that person to be considered inappropriate to work with children.
The Police Act 1997 contains the provision to set up the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for England and Wales to improve access to criminal record checks for employment-related purposes. It is aimed at providing protection for children and other vulnerable people against those who might wish to do them harm.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (NI Order) 1974 (UK wide)
People who are involved in situations where they have prolonged or sustained access to children are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders legislation.
Sexual Offenders Amendments Act 2000
This Act reduces the age at which, or certain circumstances in which, sexual acts are lawful. It introduces a new offence of abuse of trust, which covers ostensibly consensual behaviour within certain relationships of trust. It is an offence for a person aged 18 or over to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual activity with someone under that age where they are in a ‘position of trust’ in relation to the younger person.
Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007
This legislation introduced the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme to replace the former system of Disclosure for people working with vulnerable groups. It identifies categories of employment or contact (regulated work) where there is the expectation that a PVG check will be required and also provides direction on responsibilities of employers. This also applies to those working with vulnerable groups such as children on a voluntary basis.
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
Not all of the provisions in this legislation have been implemented at the time of writing; however it is a significant piece of legislation about children’s rights and services and those working with children in Scotland should be aware of its existence. The Act contains may provisions but those that will be of interest to those running clubs or events in Scotland will be:
Criminal Records Bureau
This will give employers and voluntary organisations access to information about criminal records and other relevant information about people they intend to appoint in paid or unpaid posts working with children and young people under 18. It will provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ service across England & Wales.
Protecting Children, Coaches, and Helpers
To reduce the likely situations for abuse of children and to help protect the coaches and helpers from false accusations of abuse, everyone should be aware of the following guidelines. Coaches should ensure that a minimum of 2 adult coaches are present at each class. This ensures that the main coach has someone to demonstrate techniques on (demonstrating on a child should be avoided) plus if dealing with a particular group someone else is still supervising the class. There should also be no photography or filming of children for promotional purposes unless written consent is given by the parents of the affected children. Parents should not be taking photographs during classes under any circumstances.
As a general rule it is not sensible to:
Where occasions arise when the above is unavoidable, such instances should occur with the full knowledge and consent of the child’s parent/guardian.
Coaches and Helpers should:
Be registered with the Criminal Records Bureaux (or PVG scheme in Scotland)
This will give employers and voluntary organisations access to information about criminal records and other relevant information about people they intend to appoint in paid or unpaid posts working with children and young people under 18, It will provide a one stop shop service across England, Wales and in the case of the PVG scheme, Scotland.
Always ensure that the parent/guardian collects the child.
For the older child who may wish to travel to the club written permission from the parent/guardian must be obtained.
Coaches and Helpers should not:
For trips such as a weekend competition, where a child will be travelling without a parent, additional steps should be taken to ensure the welfare and protection of the child. The following guidelines for the trip should be observed:
Recording allegations of suspicion of abuse
In all cases where an allegation of abuse is made, or someone has concerns about the wellbeing of a child, a record of the incident must be made, using the Child Protection Report form. Once completed it should be given to the club’s Child Protection Officer/s who will record it in the Incident Record Book. The Child Protection Officer should then consult with the appropriate agencies (Child Protection section of Social Work or Police). They will decide if further action is required. Under no circumstance should a CPO interrogate a child or parent/carer of a child regarding a suspicion unless they are the ones making the allegation. In which case ensure the information is recorded is exactly what was said. If you need to ask questions make sure they are open and not leading e.g. “Can you tell me what happened next?” would be appropriate whereas “Did the person do this?” would not. It is also important to stress to anyone making a disclosure that you must pass the information on and can’t keep it secret.
This report contains:
Name of the child
The age of the child
The parent’s name
Home address and telephone number
Nature of the concern:
Upon receipt of any concern, the Child Protection Officer should seek to consult with the relevant agencies.
If it is a concern by a coach, team manager or helper as to the possible abuse of a child then they will report the concerns to the Child Protection Officer/s, on the Child Protection Report form. The CPO will consult with Social Services and
other agencies who will decide what further action should be taken given the information provided.
Full documentation will be kept. All information will be treated as confidential and held securely by the Child Protection Officer/s.
Child Protection Officers
The Child Protection Officer/s for clubs should be responsible for:
Further info on proper Safeguarding Standards in Martial Arts available here: https://bmaba.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/BMABA-Association-National-Safeguarding-Policy-2021-2022.pdf