Teaching Children - Guidelines for KUGB Instructors
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, and the Children and Social Work Act 2017. “The action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact children and families has a role to play,” – Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2018)”.
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 offence involving a child must be reported to the KUGB National Safeguarding Officer. Each club in membership of KUGB will designate their own safeguarding officer, to be known as a Designated Safeguarding Officer, who will liaise with the KUGB National Safeguarding Officer. These club Designated Safeguarding Officers should report any concerns directly to 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 General Data Protection Regulation. 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.