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Under 18s Safeguarding Policy

Child Protection 

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: 

  • promote the welfare, health and full development of children and protect  them from harms of all kinds 
  • recognise that children have rights as individuals and treat them with dignity  and respect 
  • raise awareness about what children are entitled to be protected from plan coaching sessions so as to minimise opportunities for the children to  suffer harm 
  • develop effective procedures for responding to alleged or suspected incidents  of abuse 

Implementation 

Member organisations are required to provide evidence of the following: 

  • Child protection arrangements including DBS (or PVG in Scotland) checks for  all coaches, planning, organisation, control, monitoring, review and  reporting; 
  • Ensure, so far as reasonably practical, co-operation, co-ordination and  exchange of information between parents and other parties involved in  projects under its control; 
  • Establish emergency and other procedures for incidents; 
  • Provide and display Child Protection Policy and such written instructions as  are necessary to assist in the regulation of child protection practices and  operations; 
  • Encourage and promote personal responsibility and effort on the part of all  employees; 
  • Review this policy at 12 month intervals 
  • Ensure suitable child protection procedures are in place at all competitions  including DBS or PVG checks for all officials working with children.

 

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) 

  1. Physical Abuse 

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or  scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer 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. 

  1. 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 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. 

  1. Sexual Abuse 

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. 

  1. Neglect 

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or  psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s  health or development. 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: 

  • the rights of children and young people; 
  • the statutory operation of the Named Person and Childs Plan; 

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: 

  • spend excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others; take children alone on a car journey, however short; 
  • take children to their home. 

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: 

  • Leave a child alone with someone else. 
  • Be alone with a child in the changing room. 
  • Treat a child for an injury alone and away from others. 
  • Allow children to use inappropriate language or behaviour unchallenged. Let allegations a child makes go unchallenged or unrecorded. 

Organised Trips 

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: 

  • Parents/guardians must be given full information about a trip. Parents/guardians written permission must be given for a child to be  included on the trip. 
  • The coach/team manager/helper must be aware of any special medical  problems a child has and must be satisfied that they can be dealt with. Written permission must be given by the parent/guardian that in extreme  circumstances, medical attention can be given to a child. 
  • Coaches, team managers and helpers are responsible for the welfare and  safety of the children whilst they are on the trip. 
  • The children must be adequately supervised at all times. 
  • Parents should be informed of actions requiring discipline in writing. A report  must be made and given to the child protection officer. 
  • There should be a minimum of two adults accompanying the children on a  coach trip. If the group consists of both sexes then male and female  supervision should be provided. Where possible a ratio of 1 adult to 12  children should be maintained at a bare minimum. 
  • If a coach/team manager/helper is providing a lift in a car to a coaching  session or race meeting, permission must be obtained from the  parent/guardian and any necessary insurance cover provided.

 

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: 

  • Is the person making the report expressing their own concerns or passing on  those of someone else.? 
  • What has prompted the concerns? Give dates and times of specific incidents.  Any physical signs? Behavioural signs? Indirect signs? 
  • Has anybody been alleged to be the abuser? If so record details. Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details 

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: 

  • Introduction and implementation of the Child Protection Policy within the  Club. 
  • Undertake any training that may be needed, keep up to date with any new  guidelines that may be issued by Cambridge MMA, NCF or Social Services.
  • Ensure that all club coaches, helpers, officials complete a volunteer reference  form and agreement to adhere to the club’s Child Protection Policy and keep  these up to date. 
  • Keep up to date records of all qualifications of coaches, helpers and officials. Receive and advise on reports from coaches, helpers, and any other club  member. 
  • Ensure that parents, children and young people know the Child Protection  Officer/s are available to discuss any concerns. 
  • Initiate action where appropriate. Once identified, concerns must be reported  to the appropriate services, i.e. Social Services, Police. 
  • Keep confidential any matter or information referred to them. Keep and record all information. 

 

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 

 

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