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Anglo-Japanese Symposium on the Child Athlete's Welfare

Safe Landings

The contents and the subject of the Child Protection system in the British Judo Association

Dr Mike Callan

This paper was presented at the Anglo-Japanese Symposium on the Child Athlete's Welfare -Securing the Human Rights of Children in Sport, at the National Institute of Fitness and Sport, Kanoya University, Japan. It considers the aims of the British Judo Association (BJA) child protection (CP) system, it looks at the context and history of the system. The types of problems that occur in child protection are identified, and specific focus is placed on bullying. The processes in place to protect children in judo are summarised. The licencing requirements to become a judo coach in the UK are outlined. The policies involved in child protection in judo are signposted. Finally the paper considers the future reform of the wider system of child protection as recommended by the Munro Review.

The basic principle of CP in the BJA is that; “Children and young people have a right to expect us to protect them from harm. By taking care to uphold these principles we can help to assure their welfare and development”. The policy, Safe Landings (2206) goes on to state that; “British Judo recognises its responsibilities both morally and legally under current legislation (including the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 and the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2005) and will use our best efforts to promote good practice to protect children”.

There are a number of reasons why the BJA protect children and vulnerable adults which are addressed in detail in the presentation. History of children’s legislation in the UK dates back to 1889. Several relevant Acts were passed prior to 1948 when the British Judo Association was formed. For this reason it is difficult to measure the impact of CP legislation on any judo related statistics.

The BJA CP documentation recognises four distinct types of problems as; Physical abuse, Emotional abuse, Neglect, and Sexual abuse. The BJA documentation also specifically addresses the potential problem of bullying. Reference is made to the fact that the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano was bullied as a boy whilst at boarding school. This was part of the motivation from him to study jujutsu. Examples from a judo situation when coach behaviour may lead to bullying are outlined.

There are six processes to protect children that are explained. There are; Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, a complaints procedure, Whistle-blowing , Coach education, Parent education, and the appointment of Welfare officers. The five requirements to have a coach licence in the BJA are also outlined.

Finally the presentation looks at the recommendations of the Munro Review of Child Protection, and their possible impact on judo coaches. Clarity around roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are discussed.

Selected Bibliography

British Judo Association. (2006). Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Guidelines.

British Judo Association. (2006). SafeguardingToolkit.

Secretary of State for Education. (2011). The Munro Review of Child Protection: Final Report, A child-centred system. HMSO.

Slinn, N. (2006) Safeguarding and Protecting Children: A Guide for Sportspeople. SportscoachUK.

All involved were very impressed.....we highly recommend this course.
Peter Herrmann, Performance Director of the Australian Judo Federation

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