Policy Statement
Policy Aims
Promoting Good Practice with young people
Good practice guidelines
Practices never to be sanctioned
Guidelines for Use of Photographic Filming Equipment at
SEKU and Karate Events
Responding to allegations                             
Actions if there are concerns
Allegation form


SEKU has developed a Child Protection Policy for implementation throughout it’s affiliated Dojo’s.

All sporting organisations, which make provision for children and young people, have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that:

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 staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.

The law defines a child as a person under 18years.

This Child Protection Policy has been accepted by the SEKU Technical Panel and is mandatory for all our Dojo’s.

The Shotokan of England Karate Union is committed to working in partnership with all agencies to ensure that information and training opportunities are available to ensure best practice when working with children and young people, the majority of our membership.

Adopting best practice will help to safeguard those participants from potential abuse as well as protecting coaches and other adults in positions of responsibility form any potential false allegation of abuse.

This document is binding for all our affiliated clubs and provides procedures and guidance to everyone in SEKU, whether working in a voluntary or professional capacity.

Policy Statement

Karate as a sport (Martial Art) 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.

SEKU will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in our sport through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the SEKU Technical Panel, approved by both Sport England and the Child Protection in Sport Unit.

The policy will be implemented by our entire member Dojo’s and is applicable to all club instructors, officials, officers and assistants of SEKU.

Sport can and does have a very powerful and positive influence on people, especially young people. Not only can it provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement; it helps to develop and enhance valuable qualities such as self-esteem, leadership and teamwork. We have to ensure that for these positive experiences to take place that sport in the hands of those who have the welfare of young people uppermost in their mind and that we have proper procedures and practices to support, and empower them.

Policy Aims

The aim of SEKU’s Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

• Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Karate clubs and Instructors affiliated to SEKU.

• Ensure that all incidents of poor practice or suspicions of poor practice and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

• Allow all Instructors/Officials/Club Members/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

• The Policy recognises and builds on the legal and statutory definition of a child

• The distinction between ages of consent, civil and criminal liability are recognised but in the pursuit of good practice in the delivery and management of SEKU, a young person is recognised as being under the age of 18 years [Children’s Act, 1989].

SEKU recognises that young people above the age of 18 are vulnerable to undue influence by adults in positions of responsibility, for example junior international athletes aged under 21 years and provision is made for this instance.

• Through SEKU’s implementation each of our member Dojo’s will provide a suitably experienced and qualified individual to act as their Child Protection Officer and commit to a series of awareness training seminars to help them fulfil their role.

• Confidentiality will be upheld in line with the Data Protection Act 1984 and the Human Rights Act 2000.

The Policy will be overseen by the SEKU Technical Panel’s regular meeting procedures. Periodic reviews are built into the SEKU’s implementation policy.

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 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 where a young person needs protection.

All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported to SEKU and or relevant authorities following the guidelines in this document.

When a child enters the club having experienced 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 those involved in Karate should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to safeguard children and young people and protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate within Karate:

Good practice means:

• Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations, involving parents or carers – no secrets).

• Treating all young people/disabled and vulnerable adults equally, with respect and dignity.

• Placing the welfare and safety of the child or young person above the development    of performance or competition

• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with students (e.g. 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/karate fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.

• Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the SEKU Technical Panel 

• keeping up to date with the technical skills, qualifications and insurance in Karate.

• ensuring your teaching practice reflects the high standards expected of SEKU Karate.

• Involving parents/carers wherever possible, (e.g. 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 Tour Official. (NB however, 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,  drinking alcohol or swearing 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 disabled/vulnerable adults — avoid excessive training, competition and 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.

• having up to date records of pupils, including contact numbers and information regarding medical conditions and lesson plans

• 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.

Within our SEKU coaching portfolios, particular reference is made to children and young people practising together, this guidance in now included here.

• Karate Instructors need to understand the added responsibilities of teaching children and also basic principles of growth and development through childhood to adolescence. Exercises should be appropriate to age and build. Instructors should not simply treat children as small adults, with small adult bodies.

• There is no minimum age for a child beginning Karate, as the build and maturity of individuals varies so much. However the nature of the class must be tailored to consider these factors. Although the minimum grading age for SEKU grading exams is 8 years old the clubs can follow the SEKU novice assessment scheme for 6-8year olds.

• In general, the younger the child, the shorter the attention span. One hour is generally considered sufficient training time for the average 12 year old or below. Pre-adolescent children have a metabolism that is not naturally suited to generating anaerobic power, and therefore they exercise better aerobically, that is, at a steadily maintained rate. However, they can soon become conditioned to tolerate exercise in the short explosive bursts that more suit Karate training.

• Children should not do assisted stretching – they generally don’t need to, and there is a real risk of damage with an inconsiderate or over-enthusiastic partner.

Children should be carefully matched for size and weight for sparring practice.

• Great care must be taken, especially where children train in the proximity of adults, to avoid collision and injury.

• Children should not do certain conditioning exercises; especially those, which are heavy, load bearing, for example weight training or knuckle push-ups. Children should not do any heavy or impact work but should concentrate on the development of speed, mobility, technique and general fitness.

Practices never to be sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned.

You should never:

Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay;

Spend excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others; take children to your home where they will be alone with you; 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 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, e.g. 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 dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and 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 student.

If he/she seems distressed in any manner.

If a student appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.

If a student misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Guidelines for Use of Photographic Filming Equipment at SEKU and Karate 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 sportspeople in vulnerable positions. It is advisable that all clubs be vigilant with any concerns to be reported to the Association Child Protection Officer Any parent who wishes to photograph their child must seek permission from the instructor or competition organiser. Official photographers must be registered with event organisers and wear identification.

SEKU also follows closely the guidance issued by the Child Protection in Sport Unit advising that:

• Models or illustrations are used in promotional material.

• Avoid using the first name and surname of individuals in a photograph.

• If the student is named, we do not use their photograph.

• If the photograph is used, we do not name the individual.

• Seek written parental/guardian permission to use an image of a young participant. 

• Student permission has been sought via out Athlete Charter.

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. This is the role of the child protection agencies. However, there is a responsibility for all involved in Karate to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. Advice and information is available from the local Social Services Department, the Police or the NSPCC 24 hour Helpline 0800 800 5000

SEKU assures all Instructors/Officials/volunteers 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 there are concerns:

Report your concerns to the club child protection officer/person responsible. If not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact the social services or police immediately. The social services and the person concerned will then decide on how to proceed.

You should record what the child has said or what has been seen. Details should include dates and times a copy of which could be forwarded to the social services.

The Child Protection Officer/person responsible should inform SEKU of events.

Poor Practice

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

If the allegation is about poor practice by the Association Child Protection Officer/person responsible, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the SEKU Technical Panel 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 either another student, instructor or assistant it should be reported to SEKU, 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 Club Child Protection Office/person responsible 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.

SEKU will also notify the relevant the SEKU Child Protection Officer/person responsible who will advise or and deal with any procedural issues and media enquiries.

If the SEKU Child Protection Officer/person responsible is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made direct to the SEKU Child Protection Officer/Technical Panel Member who will refer the allegation to Social Services.


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/Technical Panel Member;

The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused;

The person making the allegation;

Social services/police;

The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child). *

* Seek social services advice on who should approach alleged abuser.

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

If you do not know whom to turn for advice or are worried about 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).

What to do if there are concerns

                         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 child

• Age and date of birth of the child 

• 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 or 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 accused of being the abuser? Record details.

Allegations of Previous Abuse

Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).

Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the 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 criminal conviction for offences 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 SEKU Technical Panel 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 SEKU Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether An instructor or assistant 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, SEKU 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 that the Child Protection Officer/person responsible follows up with social services.

The Child Protection Officer/person responsible should also report the incident to the SEKU Child Protection Officer/person responsible who will advise, support and report as necessary.





Please complete the following if you have received a concern/allegation regarding behaviour/actions towards a child/young person.


of child/young person:


Actions taken on receipt of allegation/concern:

Date of receipt of allegation/concern:


External agencies contacted:

Social services  Date/Time

Yes/no       Advice received

Police       Date /time

Yes/no       Advice received

Local authority     Date/time

Yes/no       Advice received