Its that time of the year again, the clocks go back, half term is here, and as the leaves fall from the trees we all start looking towards Christmas. These things never change but the activities that our children attend outside of school does. The growth of Martial Arts, in particular, comes to mind as the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts ( MMA) has increased recently with live events televised regularly on our TV screens, figures such as Connor MacGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Ronda Rousey, who is described as the best female fighter on the planet feature prominently in the media and on sports networks. Martial Arts has never been more popular due to these athlete’s success and we have seen Jade Jones win Olympic gold at the London and Rio Olympics in Taekwondo as well as numerous World and European titles. These successes have led to a boom in attendance at clubs across England, according to a recent google search there are more than 170 different forms of Martial Arts but worryingly most are unregulated and not affiliated to any formal National Governing Body (NGB).
With this in mind, it has never been more important for parents to do their due diligence before they allow their children to attend a martial arts club. To help parents with their decision-making process the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts has been developed so clubs can demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding children. The Safeguarding Code has been developed through close consultation between Sport England, representatives from martial arts governing bodies and those with years of expertise in safeguarding. Support was also provided by the Child Protection in Sport Unit, the Ann Craft Trust and NWG Network.
The Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts recognises clubs or providers in England who have demonstrated that they have reached and maintained good safeguarding standards, this should be a priority for parents as there are currently so many negative reports in the media about abuses that have and can occur through sport.
Please see the link below that will take you to the website where you can search for clubs in your area that have gained the “safeguarding club mark” and also find out more information about the code
Alongside the code, parents should also be mindful of the latest guidance issued by the Government designed to help Out Of School Settings (OOSS) keep children safe whilst attending extra-curricular activities.
This non-statutory guidance covers a multitude of activities that children attend outside of school hours, it includes services such as youth clubs and centres, the sports sector as well as groups such as the Guides and Scouts associations. Although the guidance is non-statutory parents should really take heed of this document as it highlights good practice designed to help keep children and adults safe, a question that parents should ask is why would a club or provider not follow this guidance and if your child is participating in the martial arts has the club achieved the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts “mark”, similar to the guidance for out of school settings parents should ask a club why they have not achieved the mark.
This club mark and government guidance have been developed in response to children and adults at risk of being harmed in activities that take place outside of the familial home, if abuses did not occur then we would not need these protective measures to be either written or implemented, as such we are calling on all parents to look at the government guidance and then talk to their children’s activity provider and ask the right questions, the same applies to the martial arts sector, why would they not want their club to have the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts mark!
So go on parents ask the right questions.
If your club is unaware of either of the government guidance or the code then share it with them and help them start their safeguarding journey.
As always I am happy to have any conversations or answer any questions that you may have about the Safeguarding In Martial Arts Code or the Government OOSS guidance, please do contact me on the contact details below.
Kev Murphy Safeguarding in Sport Lead
NWG Exploitation Response Team
Mobile 07399 449045