Keeping Children Safe from Abuse


Croesyceiliog Canoe Club


Guidance, Policy and Procedures






These guidance notes, policies and procedures are of interest to all members of the club. Protecting children and young people from abusive behaviour is everybody’s business.


CanoeWales policies and guidance, including specific guidance for parents/carers and for children and young people can be found at:


Details about reporting concerns are to be found on the final page of this document.


  1. Guidance


Duty of Care


We all have a duty with respect to safeguarding and protecting children to ensure children can participate and enjoy our sport with the highest possible standards of care. These standards apply also to vulnerable groups.


A good definition of ‘duty of care’ is: “The duty which rests upon an individual or organisation to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure the safety of any person involved in any activity for which that individual or organisation is responsible” 


In an activity such as canoeing, safety and keeping people safe is all about risk assessment and minimising the risks involved at all levels of participation. Coaches and other club members involved with children as part of club activities should all take ‘reasonable’ steps to safeguard those directly taking part in activities and at any time they may be deemed responsible for those in their charge - in vehicles, during journeys to and from the activity, during events, team training events and camps etc. 




The welfare of children/ vulnerable groups is everyone’s responsibility, particularly when it comes to protecting a child/vulnerable person from abuse. Everyone in Paddlesport can help - administrator, club official, coach, parent, friend and children themselves. 


Abuse can occur wherever there are children/vulnerable groups - at home, at school, in the park, at the club. Sadly, there are some people who will seek to be where children/vulnerable groups are simply in order to abuse. Everyone in Paddlesport has a moral responsibility and therefore a part to play in looking after the children and vulnerable groups with whom we are working.    


Good Practice Guidelines


(All documents referred to in this section are available on


Following these guidelines will help to protect both the children/vulnerable groups in our sport and our coaches/helpers from wrongful allegations. 


  • Avoid situations where you are alone with one child/vulnerable person. Canoe Wales acknowledges that occasionally there may be no alternative, for example, where a child/vulnerable person falls ill and need to be taken home. We would stress, however, that one to one contact must never be allowed to occur on a regular basis.  Further guidance on this is contained in the British Canoeing Safeguarding Children Policy

  • If any form of physical support is required ask the paddler’s permission, explain what you are doing and why, to both the child/vulnerable person and their parents/carers.   

  • Parents/carers to be responsible for young children/vulnerable groups in changing rooms.

  • Always ensure that those supervising young people work in pairs. 

  • Mixed teams/groups away from home should always be accompanied by an adult male and female coach/helper. 

  • Do not allow physically rough or sexually provocative games, or inappropriate talking or touching.  If it is necessary to do things of a personal nature for a child/vulnerable adult, make sure you have another adult accompanying you.

  • Obtain the consent of the parent/carer and if possible the child/vulnerable person. Let them know what you are doing and why.  Ensure that any claim of abuse by a child/vulnerable person are taken seriously and that it is dealt with by the club welfare officer. If you are unhappy about the response the Canoe Wales National Development Manager should be contacted

  • Ensure that the nature and intensity of training does not exceed the capacity of a child’s/vulnerable person’s immature growing body and ability. 

  • Follow the recognised guidelines for photography and video. 


What if you accidentally hurt a child?  - You should report such an incident immediately to another Club Coach/official and make a written note of it. You should also inform the child’s parents/carers, preferably in person. The club safeguarding officer will complete the British Canoeing Reporting Concerns form.


Is touching acceptable?   If a coaching technique would benefit from physical contact or support then first asks the paddler’s permission (e.g. would you mind if I held your shoulders to show you what I mean?)     It is useful to take time to explain why and how this is used to the paddler and their parent or carer.  (See BCU or Home Nations Guidelines for Physical Contact). Touching can be suitable and appropriate as long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing or for the wrong reason. 


  1. Policy


Croesyceiliog Canoe Club is fully committed to safeguarding the well-being of its members. All members should show respect and understanding for the rights, safety and welfare of others, and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of the Club. We believe that taking part in Paddlesport should be a positive and enjoyable part of children’s lives and to achieve this have the following aims:


· Club coaches and helpers should follow the Canoe Wales Code of Conduct.


· All Club coaches, helpers and officials working with young people should read and adhere to the British Canoeing Child and Vulnerable Groups Protection Policy. The Club will follow the guidance of the policy in the event of any concerns or allegations.


 · The Club will ensure that anyone who meets the eligibly criteria for a Disclosure check will not be deployed until a satisfactory check has been returned.


· All Club members are made aware of the club safeguarding arrangements (see application form)


· The Club will obtain written medical details of young paddlers which will be made known to coaches, where deemed appropriate and/or necessary.


· Any paddler who coaches for the Club should be a member of Canoe Wales. The club will encourage and support helpers to gain qualifications and assist coaches to stay updated.


· The Club will identify a person whose role it is to deal with any issues concerning Safeguarding and Child Protection (Club Welfare Officer) and notify this person to all members. Anyone with concerns with respect to the welfare of a child should contact that person. If that person is unavailable they can contact the British Canoeing Safeguarding Officer.


· The Club will adopt and regularly review a Health and Safety Policy.


· The Club will review this Policy annually.


Club Activities


Club activities should be organised in accordance with Canoe Wales guidance documents:


These cover a range of issues and arrangements, including:


  • Coaches and Officials Code of Conduct

  • Guidelines for use of Photographic and Filming Equipment

  • Away Trips

  • Events

  • Physical Contact and Young People Guidelines

  • Protecting Children and Young People with Disabilities


All club activities should be the subject of a risk assessment, which includes safeguarding children and young people from harm and ensuring that the adults with responsibility can safely provide care and supervision.


 Some activities may mean children and young people are in the care of coaches and other club members who are not their parents. This might include days away and overnight stays in. Under all circumstances:


  1. the adults with primary responsibility for the conduct of the activities must be clearly identified, and parents be informed who has this responsibility;

  2. the arrangements for ensuring the children’s care and welfare must be agreed in advance of the activity;

  3. no adult involved in the activity should have unsupervised involvement with the children if they have not been approved to do so by the club; and

  4. supervision will be provided by a person or persons who are approved by the club.


              Approved persons will be:


  1. be suitably qualified to safely arrange and oversee the type and technical level of activities being undertaken by the children;

  2. the subject of a satisfactory DBS check; and

  3. in the case of coaches and persons regularly supervising activities, will have attended safeguarding training in line with Canoe Wales training and disclosure requirements: The club will expect that approved persons comply with Canoe Wales best practice and refresh their safeguarding training every three years. Coaches should also be familiar with the Canoe Wales Code of Conduct

    Parents and children who are interested in the expected standards of conduct can also refer to the Code




Use of Photographic and Filming Equipment


The club will follow the Canoe Wales guidelines


The guidelines allow parents and spectators to take photographs/ recordings but that they should be prepared to identify themselves if requested and state their purpose for photography/filming. The club requires that parents and others to assist the club and ensure the privacy of children involved in activities by adhering to the following requirements.


Activities at the pool


  1. Only parents or other family members will be permitted to photograph or film children at the pool

  2. Children should not be filmed or photographed without first obtaining the consent of a poolside coach

  3. Photographing and filming should be undertaken openly, so that club officials and other parents/carers are aware that it is taking place

  4. Photographs and films should only record the activities of a specific child, wherever possible avoiding the inclusion of others


Other Activities


The requirements for pool will apply in principle to other club activities involving children. It is recognised it might be difficult that at large gatherings involving other clubs. Parents/responsible adults should always take account of the sensitivities of other children and their families.


Parents who do not wish their children to be photographed by the club or others should advise the club coach officials in advance and, where necessary, remind coaches and others of their wishes.


  1. Child Protection Procedures


These child protection procedures stem from the following principles: 


  • The child's welfare is paramount.

  • Anyone under the age of 18 is classed as a child

  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief and sexual identity have a right to be protected from abuse. 

  • To respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of young people in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 


Some children and young people have additional vulnerabilities or are disadvantaged by their experiences such as children with disabilities or who come from minority ethnic groups.   Bearing in mind that children and young people can be and are disadvantaged by these and other experiences, it is important for all those working with children to be extra vigilant in creating a safe culture. 


What is Abuse?  


It is generally acknowledged that there are four main types of abuse –


  • Physical Abuse:  Physical abuse is just what the term implies - hurting or injuring a child/vulnerable person e.g. by hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning or biting them. In sport this might result if the nature or intensity of training is inappropriate for the capacity of the performer or where drugs are tolerated or advocated. Bullying is likely to come into this category - see below. 

  • Sexual Abuse: Where young people/ vulnerable groups are used by adults to meet their own sexual needs. It could range from sexually suggestive comments to full intercourse and includes the use of pornographic material. 

  • Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse occurs when a child/vulnerable person is not given love, help and encouragement and is constantly derided or ridiculed e.g. racial or sexual remarks. It can also occur if a child/vulnerable person is over protected. Abuse can occur where a parent or coach has unrealistic expectations over what a child/vulnerable person can achieve. 

  • Neglect:  Failing to meet children’/vulnerable groups’ basic needs such as food, warmth, adequate clothing, and medical attention or constantly leaving them alone. It could also mean failing to ensure they are safe or exposing them to harm or injury. 


Bullying: The bully in Paddlesport can be an adult - the parent/carer who pushes too hard, the coach who adopts a win-at-all-costs philosophy or adult paddlers who attempt to assert unacceptable behaviour on younger paddlers to make them unwelcome or prevent them using club equipment. Bullying can also occur between young people.  There is further guidance on bullying on the CanoeWales website:


Indications of Abuse


 There are physical and behavioural signs that might raise your concern about the welfare or safety of a child/vulnerable person. They are only indicators - not confirmation. Some examples are:  Where the child(s) /vulnerable person(s)  


  • Say that she or he is being abused, or another person says they believe (or actually know) that abuse is occurring. 

  • Has an injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent. 

  • Behaviour changes, either over time or quite suddenly, becoming aggressive, withdrawn or unhappy. 

  • Appears not to trust adults, e.g. a parent or coach with whom she/ he would be expected to have, or once had, a close relationship. 

  • Shows inappropriate sexual awareness for his/ her age and sometimes behaves in a sexually explicit way. 

  • Becomes increasingly neglected-looking in appearance, or loses or puts on weight for no apparent reason. 


Bear in mind that physically disabled children, children with learning difficulties and vulnerable groups are particularly vulnerable to abuse and may have added difficulties in communicating what is happening to them. 


Reporting a concern


If a child tells you that he or she is being abused:


  • Stay calm

  • Do not promise to keep it to your self

  • Listen to what the child says and take it seriously

  • Only ask the questions if you need to clarify what a child is telling you. Do not ask the child about specific details.

  • Make a detailed note of what the child has told you (in their own language)

  • Report the information as soon as possible.


You should follow this procedure whether a concern or allegation has been disclosed to you by someone else, something you have witnessed or something that has been worrying you.


If you or someone else needs immediate medical attention or you or someone else is at risk of immediate harm or danger, call emergency services for the police or ambulance (999 or 112) immediately.


Report your concern to the Club Welfare Officer: Martin Price, telephone: 07855443818/ 01495227483, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  




Tell someone you trust


Call (24hour helpline) ChildLine 0800 1111 or NSPCC 0808 800 5000 (keep trying if you can’t get through straight away)


Call British Canoeing Safeguarding Officer Tel: Nigel Midgely: Tel. 07971 783080


Remember: It is not your responsibility to investigate a concern or allegation, or to decide whether someone is being abused. It is your responsibility to pass the information you have on to the appropriate person or organisation.


The Club Welfare Officer who receives the concern or has a concern about someone else they will complete the British Canoeing Reporting Concerns form with as much detail as they know.


Report the concern to the Canoeing Wales Safeguarding Officer:


07971 783080 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


If there is an urgent concern and the Safeguarding Officer is unavailable refer immediately to Children’s Social Care, Adult’s Social Care or the Police.


Within 24 hours, a copy of the Reporting Concerns Form should be sent to the Safeguarding Officer at Canoe Wales, marked Confidential.


Ensure confidentiality at all times and share information only with the appropriate people and on a ‘need to know’ basis.


ENSURE YOU KEEP A RECORD OF YOUR CONCERN AND HOW YOU REPORTED IT. Try to include the date, time and place, what happened, the name of anyone who may have seen what happened and who you reported it to and when. Try to note as much detail as you remember.