Child Protection Policy

More than 60% of our membership is aged under 16 years and we adhere to Karate Scotland’s Child Protection Policy as reproduced below.

  • The welfare of the child is paramount.
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/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 whether paid or unpaid working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.

Policy Statement

Karate as a sport and pastime has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in Karate from harm. All children have a
right to protection and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.

Shitokai Scotland will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in our sport through adherence to this Child Protection Policy until such time as there is a Child Protection Policy model available from Karate Scotland approved by Sport Scotland. A child is defined as being under 18 years of age and as defined in the Children Act 1989.

Policy Aims

The aims of the Shitokai Scotland Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

  • Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Karate instructors affiliated to Shitokai Scotland.
  • Allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.


Promoting Good Practice With Young People


Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. Abuse can occur within many situations including in the home, school and the sporting environment. It is a fact of life that 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 of child abuse and where a young person needs protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported to the Executive Committee of Shitokai Scotland and or the relevant authorities 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.

Good Practice Guidelines

All personnel 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 the Karate environment.

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment (eg avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment ie no secrets.)
  • Treating all young people and vulnerable/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
  • Always putting the welfare of each young person first eg before winning.
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (eg it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them.)
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust, which empowers children to share in the decision making process.
  • Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
  • Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and in accordance with standard coaching guidelines provided by Sport Scotland, Sports Coach UK etc.
  • Keeping up to date with the technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport all as per the requirements laid down by the Scottish Karate Governing Body and/or Sport Scotland.
  • Involving parent/carers wherever possible/appropriate (eg for the responsibility of their children in the changing rooms). If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents/teachers/coaches/officials work in pairs.
  • Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female instructor/coach etc. where possible. (NB however it should be noted that same gender abuse can also occur).
  • Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
  • Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and vulnerable/disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
  • Securing 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.
  • Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
  • Requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.

Practice to Be Avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge 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 arrive to pick a child up at the 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.

Practice Never to be Sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned. 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 vulnerable/disabled adults that they can do for themselves.
  • Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised. NB it may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children eg if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the players. If a person is fully dependant on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting/assisting to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained. If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are told.
  • If you accidentally hurt a player.
  • If he/she seems distressed in any way.
  • If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
  • If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Guidelines for Use of Photographic Equipment at Shitokai Scotland Dojo Training Sessions and/or Events

There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sports people in vulnerable positions. It is advisable that all clubs be vigilant with any concerns to be reported to the Association Child Protection Officer.

Videoing as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent clubs and instructors/coaches from 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.

Instructor/coach Selection

Shitokai Scotland recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.

When undertaking pre-selection checks Shitokai Scotland will undertake the following:

  • All instructors/coaches will complete an application form. The application form will elect information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
  • Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau and the appropriate check will be carried out – usually an enhanced disclosure. This is a requisite prior to being granted a Karate Scotland coaching licence.
  • Two confidential references, including where possible, one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and may be confirmed through telephone contact.
  • Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).

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.

Shitokai Scotland assures all instructors/coaches that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child. Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation;

  • A criminal investigation.
  • A child protection investigation.
  • A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.

The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.

Action if there are concerns

The following action should be taken if you are concerned about the behaviour of a parent or carer.

  • Report your concerns to the Association Child Protection Officer. If the Association Child Protection Officer is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately. Social services and the person reporting concerns decide how to involve parents/carers.
  • Record what the child has said, or what has been seen. Include dates and times and if possible, send a copy to social services. The Association child protection officer should always inform the Shitokai Scotland Executive Committee on the appropriate form provided for this purpose.

Poor Practice

If following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the Association Child Protection Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.

If the allegation is about poor practice by the Association Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the SKGB Child Protection Officer who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

Suspected Abuse

Any suspicion that a child has been abused by an instructor/coach or a volunteer, should be reported to the Association 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 Association Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out of hours.
  • The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the Social Services Department.
  • The Association Child Protection Officer will also notify the relevant Karate Scotland Child Protection Officer who will advise and deal with any procedural issues and media enquiries.
  • If the Association Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made direct to the Karate Scotland Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department.


Every effort will 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 Association Child Protection Officer
  • The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
  • The person making the allegation.
  • Social Service/police
  • The SKGB Child Protection Officer

Information will be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (eg that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure.

If you do not know who to turn to for advice or are worried abourt sharing your concerns with a senior colleague, you should contact the Social Services direct (or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.)


Accuracy of Information

Information passed to the Social Services or the police must be as helpful as possible, hence the necessity for making a detailed record at the time of the disclosure/concern. Information should include the following;

  • Name of the child involved.
  • Age of the child and date of birth.
  • Home address and telephone number.
  • Is the person making the report expressing their own concerns or those of someone else?
  • What is the nature of the allegation? Include dates, times any special factors and other relevant information.
  • Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion and hearsay.
  • A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Behavioural signs/indirect signs?
  • Witnesses to the incidents.
  • The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
  • Have the parents been contacted?
  • If so what has been said?
  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details.

If it is not the child making the report, has the child concerned been spoken to? If so what was said?

Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.

The form on the following page can be used to record some of the above information. Please continue on a separate sheet of paper with the full account, including as many of the items listed above as possible.


Allegations of Previous Abuse

  • Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (eg by an adult who was abused as a child or by an instructor/coach or volunteer who is still currently working with children).
  • Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the Social Services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person.
  • Anyone who has a previous conviction for offdences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.

Internal Enquiries and Suspension

  • The Shitokai Scotland Child Protection Officer 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 Shitokai Scotland Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer 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 Shitokai Scotland Disciplinary Committee will reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability, it is more likely than not, that the allegation is true. The welfare of children should always remain paramount.

Action if Bullying is Suspected

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

Remember: In all Child Protection Issues :-

  • Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only
  • Ensure the Association Child Protection Officer follows up with Social Services.
  • The Association Child Protection Officer should also report the incident to the Karate Scotland Child Protection Officer, who will advise, support and report as necessary.