Safeguarding in martial arts

Last updated: 21 May 2019 Topics: Duty of care Safeguarding standards

Thousands of children take part in martial arts, and its popularity is expanding at an incredible rate. Safeguarding and child protection is one area that is critical to get right.

The Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts recognises clubs and martial arts providers in England who have met and maintained safeguarding standards.

It was developed in consultation with Sport England and representatives from martial arts governing bodies, and has also been supported by the Ann Craft Trust, NWG Network and the CPSU.

Safeguarding children in martial arts

Key points

  • this video introduces safeguarding for martial arts clubs or organisations with children and young people participating in their activities
  • instructors and young people talk about why safeguarding is important and how to introduce safeguarding procedures in your club

10 reasons for good safeguarding and child-protection practice

Many of these points apply to any sport or activity.

1 – It's part of your legal duty of care 

Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2018; PDF) is government guidance that explains how safeguarding and child protection should work in England.

It makes it clear that anyone delivering activities for children has a duty of care to those children. This includes having child protection policies and procedures in place.

2 – It's best for children 

Children have a right to participate in martial arts in a safe and fun environment. Adults who take their safeguarding responsibilities seriously help to create a safe and welcoming environment.

3 – To help make yours a 'fit for purpose' club or organisation

Ensure your club or activity is safe and has the relevant safeguarding measures in place, for further information see our putting safeguards in place page.

4 – To reduce the likelihood of safeguarding incidents occurring 

Effective safeguarding practices act as a preventative measure and will help to reduce the likelihood of organisations having to deal with serious child-protection concerns.

For example, robust recruitment procedures will help to prevent people who could harm children from holding responsible positions within your organisation.

5 – It promotes the growth of martial arts 

Activities where children and parents feel safe and where adults demonstrate high standards of behaviour and respect, are more likely to grow and retain their members.

6 – It's best for martial-arts instructors 

Safeguarding is primarily about protecting children from harm. But it also benefits everyone else involved in martial arts, especially those instructing children.

Instructors need to be properly trained and informed about how to work with children in a safe and appropriate way. 

7 – To reassure parents 

Parents want their children to participate in activities in a safe, fun environment and are increasingly well-informed about what safeguarding measures should be in place. 

8 – It helps you meet insurance requirements 

Insurance companies will want to ensure organisations are meeting their safeguarding responsibilities and to what extent. Organisations failing to do so may have problems in getting insurance cover in the first instance and/or being protected should a serious safeguarding incident arise.

9 – To help secure sponsorship and funding 

Where organisations have not meet their safeguarding responsibilities, this has had an impact on funding and sponsorship relationships. External funders and sponsors don't want their reputation linked to organisations that can't demonstrate how they meet their duty of care to children.

10 – It's simply the right thing to do 

Failing to implement good standards of safeguarding and child protection is not an option for anyone delivering activities to children.

When your club or organisation is responsible for other people’s children during activities, it's right that we take our duty of care to those children seriously.