Safeguarding concerns regarding children can come to light in a number of ways.
Sometimes an adult will notice something of concern in a child’s behaviour, a third party may raise a concern or information on a DBS disclosure could indicate that an individual may pose a risk of harm to the children they are working with.
In all instances where there is a safeguarding concern about a child, whether it concerns an England Boxing member or is in an England Boxing environment, the concern must be reported to an EB-recognised welfare officer as soon as possible.
Please remember – It is not the responsibility of England Boxing staff or volunteers to decide whether or not abuse has taken place, but it is their responsibility to pass on concerns to the appropriate authorities who will make this decision.
What to do in the first instance
1. If you are worried about the behaviour or anyone in boxing follow this flowchart. Download
2. If you are worried that a child is being abused outside of the boxing environment (but concern is identified through the child’s involvement in boxing) follow this flowchart. Download
Other key things to bear in mind
- Initial steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of the child. Where the child is in immediate danger or needs emergency medical treatment, the emergency services (police or ambulance, depending on the issue) should be called without delay and informed that the concern is a safeguarding issue.
- An England Boxing child protection referral form should be completed. In the first instance this will be the club welfare officer’s responsibility. Where there is any case of difficulty or doubt, refer immediately to the National Compliance Manager or regional welfare officer. Download the form here.
- Inform the parents. If it is considered in anyway detrimental to the child that the parents are informed, advice must be sought as soon as possible from the NCM or the statutory services (i.e. police or children’s social care).
- A copy of all referral forms must be sent to the National Compliance Manager. This may be via the divisional/regional welfare officer according to local practice but must be done within 24 hours and with no delay. The NCM will liaise with the regional welfare officer as appropriate.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained with information shared on a ‘need-to-know’ basis only.
Disclosures by a child
Occasionally a child may disclose abuse themselves directly to an adult they trust. Although this is the least common way in which concerns come to light, where this does happen the following should be considered:
- Take the child’s name, date of birth and address.
- If appropriate, take details of bruising or other injuries.
- Do not pre-judge what you are told and never say that you do not believe what the child or young person says.
- Tell the child or young person that telling you is the correct thing to do.
- Tell the child or young person that they are not to blame.
- Do not under any circumstance continue to question the child or young person beyond confirming what they said.
- Do not make promises to the child or young person that you cannot keep, for example – promising absolute confidentiality, as any disclosure will be referred on and other appropriate agencies may be involved.
- Do not take action against anyone mentioned in such disclosures and never against an alleged perpetrator.
Case Management Panel
On receipt of a Safeguarding concern, the National Compliance Manager will consider engaging a Child Protection Case Management Panel (CMP).
The criteria for engaging such panel are if one or more of the following apply:
- Suspected child abuse incident.
- More than trivial harm to child (including emotional).
- Preventable harm to a child
- Significant breach of EB CP policy or other relevant rule or legislation.
- Issue leading to potential change of EB CP policy.
- Likelihood or actuality of statutory agency involvement or media interest.
- Any other matter the NCM or any other senior EB member or employee regards as appropriate.
- History/pattern of similar issue with club or individual.
The CMP will comprise of members who have been approved by the England Boxing Compliance Committee. The Committee will comprise of a Chairman and at least one other person.
For more on the Case Management Panel process, click here.
It is acknowledged that feelings generated by the discovery that a coach, volunteer or other child or young person has abused, or may be, abusing a child will raise concern amongst other coaches or volunteers, particularly in relation to the difficulties inherent in reporting such matters.
It is important, however, that any concerns for the welfare of any child arising from the abuse or harassment by a coach, volunteer or child/young person should be reported immediately, in confidence if necessary. That person could be a club, divisional or regional welfare officer or the National Compliance Manager.
All information received and discussed will be treated in confidence and only shared with those individuals within England Boxing who will be able to manage and resolve the situation.
In cases where you do not feel able to disclosure your concerns to any or all of these people, you MUST contact the police, the children’s social care services or the NSPCC. If in the event that you feel only able to disclose your concerns anonymously, you are urged to contact any of the agencies named providing as much detail as possible.
Supervision and support for staff and volunteers
England Boxing assures all coaches, volunteers, helpers, staff or officials that it will fully support and protect anyone who, in good faith, reports their concerns that someone has abused, or may be, abusing a child.
We will also ensure that supervision and support is available both during and following an incident or allegation, while the club welfare officer and a supportive club committee can also offer support and expertise.
In the most serious cases, it may be possible to access counselling from the statutory agencies; particularly the children’s social care services, who will have links to other branches of social services.
If an allegation is made against you
Any concerns regarding the inappropriate behaviour or abuse by an adult towards a child or young person will be taken seriously and investigated.
If you are the person who is the centre of the allegation, the situation will be explained to you and you may be asked to stop working with children and / or young people or you may be a required to withdraw from boxing for the period of any investigation. This is to protect all parties involved.
On completion of the investigation, depending on the outcome, England Boxing will assess the appropriateness of you returning to boxing and how if applicable, this may be managed.
England Boxing will assess, on a case by case basis, any support needed for the person who has allegations made against them. England Boxing may choose to appoint an independent officer to provide support to the accused person.
Click here to read more about the process that will take place.
Support for the Child Victim
In minor incidents it may only be necessary for the club welfare officer to offer help, advice and support within the club. In more serious cases, generally the child will be supported by the family, a friend or both.
In cases where matters have been referred to police or the children’s social care services both these agencies have, and regularly call upon support agencies and groups who will help the victim through this traumatic part of their life these agencies would include the local Victim Support Scheme and contracted counselling and therapy providers.
It is important that the club welfare officer maintains links with the child victim and the child’s parents in order to best support the child when returning to the gym/club. Upon their return this support must continue and consideration should be given to discrete chaperoning without causing undue embarrassment to the child.
Support for the accused staff, coach, official or volunteer
Although generally isolated, there have and no doubt will continue to be cases where staff, coaches, officials or volunteers have been the subject of interim sanction (suspension, etc). Until an allegation has been proved, the principles of natural justice must prevail and without unwanted intrusion, the accused excluded person should be permitted a link with the sport.
Having access to activities of England Boxing whilst suspended would not be appropriate however, it is recommended that the divisional or regional welfare officer maintains a tentative link with the accused person for the purposes of a managed and supported return to the club if a matter is subsequently not proceeded with or a serious matter subsequently becomes a matter for the disciplinary process.
Read more about how to handle ‘accused person’ liaison.
Advice can be obtained by telephoning the NSPCC helpline on 0800 800500 or you can contact England Boxing on 0114 2235654.
Urgent referrals to the police/social services by club welfare officers
In normal circumstances, the referral to an outside agency will be carried out by the NCM however, in cases of emergency and in liaison with either the divisional / regional welfare officer and/or the NCM, the club welfare officer must contact the relevant agency (police/children’s social care services, etc.) This action should be treated as ‘immediate’.
For more on what to bear in mind when speaking to an agency, click here.
It should be noted that although a person is suspended, it does not indicate guilt however, the welfare of the child is paramount and initial suspension in relevant cases will / must take place.