British Judo’s Safeguarding Manager Keith Eldridge gives an update on the latest safeguarding and child protection news and policy changes in the sport.
Welcome everyone. Whilst this update is predominantly aimed at Club Welfare Officers and Coaches, I hope that everyone involved in the sport at any level will find something of interest in it.
I am pleased to start this update with some good news. It has been my intention to help increase the number of Welfare Officers at our judo clubs and I am delighted to announce that we have increased that number by over 100 in the last year! This is really excellent news and I just want to thank everyone for their continued commitment to the sport.
You are probably aware that, due to cuts in funding, the British Judo Association have lost a number of staff and my former assistant, Amanda Smith has moved on. Going forward Nicola Burlingham-Hall who many of you will know as the Coaching Co-ordinator, will be assisting me on safeguarding issues at British Judo Head Office as well as continuing to work on coaching queries.
All DBS matters will now be dealt with by our Membership team. But as ever, I am available anytime for any urgent advice or to discuss any safeguarding issue. This includes out of hours when you should be able to get me on my mobile or I will return your call as soon as possible if you leave a message on my mobile.
In this update I have included the latest advice for text messaging junior members and transporting children. I hope you find them useful.
Text Messaging Junior Members
It is recognised that text messaging can be a useful tool in attracting more people to sessions, improving retention rates and can be a fast and reliable way of keeping members updated with club activities and the latest news.
There are, of course, a number of risks in texting children and young people. These include gaining inappropriate access or sharing of personal data, unwanted contact, misinterpretation and possibly inappropriate contact.
To minimise any risks there are a number of steps that can be taken. These include ensuring that only those that have been DBS checked are responsible for sending out messages to children, keeping access to personal data of children to a minimum and obtaining consent to send children text messages. If they are 15 years of age or under you should also obtain consent from their parent or guardian. All messages sent to children should also be sent to another adult. This could be the Club Welfare Officer and/or a parent. It’s really important that all messages reflect the professional relationship that should exist between a player and their club and texts to young people should not stray beyond sporting activities. Young people should not be encouraged to respond to text messages.
The issue of transporting children to and from sporting activities can present a lot of challenges to a club. Sadly, in a small number of cases some adults have taken inappropriate advantage of such situations. History shows us that, it is often a person who is highly thought of that initiates the grooming process. This goes beyond young people and includes grooming of parents to obtain their trust and in doing so create justifiable reasons for getting a child alone. Coaches and volunteers should be mindful of this so they never put themselves in a position where an allegation of inappropriate behaviour can be made against them.
If children are transported, good practice suggests that you should attempt to have more than one child in the car whenever possible and to alternate the last child to be dropped off. Where possible, children should sit in the rear of the vehicle. Parents should have also given their consent to this practice and drivers should have contact numbers for the parents in case of delays or accidents.
Other practical considerations include ensuring that the vehicle is roadworthy and the driver has adequate insurance. All occupants should wear of course their seatbelt.
British Judo Safeguarding Manager
If you have any questions on safeguarding, on anything raised in this update or have a concern you wish to raise please get in touch with me on 07788 391520 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.