Safeguarding & Reporting Policy

Designated Safeguarding Offcier :
Head Coach :
To make a safeguarding query, complaint or report, contact both of the above addresses immediately, unless the issue concerns the DSO or Head Coach, in which case only the relevant contact should be approached.

We firmly believe that martial arts are for everyone; all who visit should be safe in their training and should be able to work in an inclusive, supportive and friendly environment. Every participant is entitled to train under the guidance of leaders who have their best interest at heart and are suitably qualified and trained to deliver on this core mission. Accordingly, everyone involved in the delivery of martial arts has a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that, when given responsibility for young persons or adults at risk, the highest standards of professionalism and care are exercised at all times. This same principle applies more broadly to all participants, including adults outside of the definition of ‘at risk’.

Key Considerations

  • A child/young person is defined as a person under the age of 18 (Children’s Act 1989).
  • Whilst the ultimate responsibility for safeguarding at club level must rest with the club’s lead instructor / safeguarding lead, safeguarding is not specific to just coaches. Volunteers, staff, assistants, and other adults within the club should be aware of their safeguarding obligations without question, and should know how to report concerns they may have.
  • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s a matter that must be addressed with the gravity and seriousness it deserves.
  • If there is any uncertainty interpreting our Safeguarding & Reporting Policy the lead instructor can be contacted at and the designated Safeguarding Officer at

Policy Statement

  • The welfare of all students, especially children and adults at risk is paramount.
  • All children and adults at risk, regardless of age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial original, religious belief, sexual identify and/or discipline being practiced should be able to participate in martial arts in a fun, safe, inclusive environment.
  • All members must take all reasonable steps to protect vulnerable groups and persons from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment. Furthermore, they must treat them with respect, dignity and care at all times.
  • Any suspicions or allegations of poor practice and/or abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately, with proper records being kept.
  • All instructors, supervisors, assistant coaches and volunteers at the York School of Defence are briefed on proper safeguarding policy and procedure.
  • The uptake of and refresher of suitable safeguarding qualifications is essential for all persons coming into unsupervised contact with vulnerable groups.

Best Practice

All members shall adhere to the below principles and action in relation to best practice with regards to safeguarding children and / or Adults at risk;

  • Treat all young persons aged under 18 years of age, and all adults at risk, with respect, dignity and courtesy as would be expected to all other club members.
  • Treat all children and / or Adults at risk equally.
  • Always put the welfare of children and / or Adults at risk first.
  • Always work in an open environment avoiding any isolation, unobserved situation, encouraging an open and transparent club community.
  • Keep physical contact to an absolute minimum.
  • Never be alone with a child and / or Adults at risk.
  • Where physical contact is essential as part of the safe and structured learning process of the art, discipline or sport being practiced, the instructor and/or teaching person must only do so with the consent of the child and/or Adult at risk, remaining appropriate, non-intrusive and ensuring that where physical contact is essential (for example, when assisting in an essential physical process for the purposes of safety, such as breakfalls) ensuring there is always two fully vetted and suitable adults present at all times.
  • The involvement of parents / guardians is encouraged wherever possible, provided safeguarding of children and / or Adults at risk remains the top priority and that any adult may not be given the opportunity to cause harm, distress or abuse to any children and / or Adult at risk present.
  • Not take photographs, videos or create any other forms of media featuring any children and / or Adults at risk without consent from the carer, guardian or parent in advance.
  • Ensure that if the club embarks on any extra-curricular activities, safeguarding of children and / or Adults at risk shall remain a top priority.
  • Remain an excellent role model both in and out of the training space. This includes not smoking, drinking alcohol or using any foul language in front of any children and / or Adults at risk.
  • Ensure that any contact via social media or other digital formats are recorded and minimised. No instructor and/or club official should have any communication with children and / or Adults at risk via any forms of social media.
  • Recognise the development needs and capacity of the children and / or Adults at risk in the class and not risk sacrificing welfare or safety for the club or instructor’s personal gain.
  • In relation to the above this also means avoiding excessive training and / or competitions and not pushing the student if they are not fully confident.
  • Keep thorough records of any injuries or near misses that have occurred, along with details of any treatment given and further communication had with parents / guardians and/or children and / or Adults at risk.

Principles & Actions

The York School of Defence engages the following best practice principles and actions with regards to children and / or Adults at risk safeguarding measures;

  • As best as possible, screening of all members prior to membership being granted to ensure people with relevant criminal backgrounds who are denied by law or those with extremist and violent views are denied membership for the safety and protection of all.
  • Keep records that, in the event of any complaint or criminal proceedings in relation to the safeguarding of children and / or Adults at risk, shall allow the relevant authorities to identify the member concerned. Furthermore, the York School of Defence shall do all possible to ensure that in such a circumstance the original declarations, sign up forms or disclosure of any information relating the member’s competenc may be produced on request.
  • The club will endeavour to ensure that the welfare, safety and safeguarding of children and / or Adults at risk shall remain one of it’s highest priorities and that such an objective shall be placed ahead of commercial or financial reward without question.
  • The club shall do all possible to ensure that assitanct coaches, staff, volunteers and instructors have relevant safeguarding training and qualifications.
  • The club shall do all possible to ensure that assitanct coaches, staff, volunteers and instructors have relevant DBS checks/enhanced disclosures in place.
  • The club shall do all possible to ensure that assitanct coaches, staff, volunteers and instructors have relevant first aid qualifications in place.

Poor Practice

The following (which is not exhaustive) shall be considered poor practice in relation to the safeguarding of children and / or Adults at risk, and any registered member must avoid without exception;

  • Spending un-necessarily excessive amounts of time alone with a child and / or Adults at risk away from others.
  • Making un-necessary or excessive amounts of physical contact at any point.
  • Transporting or accompanying any children and / or Adults at risk home and/or to any other port of call via any mode of transport alone.
  • Engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay either during class or before / after.
  • Allowing or engaging in any inappropriate touching of any form, or permitting any such activity from any other member of teaching staff, volunteers, visitors, guardians parents or other students.
  • Allowing any children and / or Adults at risk to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Making any sexually suggestive comment to children and / or Adults at risk – even ‘for fun’ or ‘in gest’.
  • Reducing children and / or Adults at risk to tears as a form of control.
  • Allowing any allegations made by a child and / or Adults at risk to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Do things of a personal nature that any children and / or Adults at risk may be able to do for themselves.
  • Not referring all concerns relating to safeguarding procedure to the club’s designated Safeguarding Officer.

If during the care of the club anyone should accidentally hurt a child or Adults at risk or / and the child or Adults at risk seems distressed in any manner and /or appears to be sexually aroused by the instructor or adults actions and/or if the child or Adult at risk misunderstands or misinterprets something done by the instructor or associated staff member in a manner relevant to safeguarding, the incident must be reported without delay and written copies kept. Parents and / or guardians (as appropriate) must also be informed without delay.


All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately and without delay to the designated Safeguarding Officer, in writing, via email, to, and the head coach at If the allegation concerns the designated Safeguarding Officer, contact should ONLY be made to the head coach. Likewise, if the allegation concerns the head coach, contact should only be made to the designated Safeguarding Officer.

Where an allegation is made appropriate action will be taken allowing the matter to be fully investigated and further action to be taken if required. This is action can include but is not limited to suspension of activities, permanent removal from the club, a disciplinary hearing within the club, further reporting outwith the club in order to ensure that a member guilty of a safeguarding offence is not allowed to train elsewhere, and involvement of the police and other agencies.

Information is only ever discussed or shared on a need-to-know basis. The club has a duty to ensure confidentiality. Information will only be shared where absolutely required, or under the guidance of the police or other relevant authority.

Where a disclosure is made to the club, even if this is only a request for information or guidance, there are certain circumstances in which the association will be legally bound to report this onto a relevant authority.