Budo Martial Arts Centre

Child Safeguarding Statement

Budo Martial Arts Centre part of Japan Shotokan Karate Association Ireland

Child Safeguarding Statement (Articles 10-11 Children First Act 2015)

Effective Date – March 11th 2018

Review Date On or Before March 11th 2022

The Japanese Shotokan Karate Association was founded in 1999 by Keigo Abe 9th Dan and World Chief Instructor. The JSKA is a worldwide organisation presently with affiliates in approximately 40 countries worldwide. The Budo Martial Arts Centre located in Kilkenny is currently the JSKA’s only centre/dojo in Ireland which currently boasts approximately 100 members. Over two thirds of the membership are currently  children and young people under the age of eighteen years.

The Budo Centre promotes the welfare and wellbeing of all its members but none more so than its junior membership. The philosophy supporting this culture is the centres implementation of the core five tenets of Shotokan Karate.

  1. Seek perfection of character
  2. Faithfulness
  3. Endeavour
  4. Respect
  5. Refrain from Violence

The centre promotes anti bullying , inclusivity, participation and pride in achievement however small.  JSKA Ireland recognises that

  • Welfare of Children is of paramount importance above all else.
  • Children are vulnerable to abuse
  • Children have a right to be safe and protected and that is the responsibility of all
  • Reporting concerns about a child is not the same as making an accusation
  • Awareness is the single biggest component to the successful safeguarding of Children
  • Requires a culture and leadership and support of child welfare best practice in sporting organisations.

Key Roles under the Children First Legislation

Mr. Kevin Shortall  6th Dan – Chief Instructor JSKA Ireland : is deemed the relevant person (RP) carrying on a service for children and holds overall responsibility for the implementation of this statement. He is the person responsible to ensure that mandated reports of safeguarding concerns are made to the Child & Family Agency under Article 14 of the Children First Act 2015.  The Chief Instructor is responsible to uphold the credibility and reputation of JSKA Ireland. Kevin can be contacted at 0863668669.

Mr. Tom Walsh 3rd Dan – Children’s Officer and Designated Liaison Person (DLP): Has been appointed by Sensei Shorthall to act in these roles and to liaise on his behalf with the Child and Family Agency in respect of any safeguarding concerns, and to receive concerns on behalf of the Budo Martial Arts Centre.  The DLP will keep records of all child safeguarding concerns and their outcomes, including those reported and those which were not and the reasons for same. Tom can be contacted at 056 7764355.

Appointment of Instructors JSKA Ireland Policy

Sensei Shortall has agreed the following policy shall be applied to govern the appointment of Assistant Instructors within JSKA Ireland Centres.

  • Assistant Instructors (AI’s) must have attained the age of 18 years.
  • Assistant Instructors must hold a minimum grade /rank of 1st Dan Black Belt.
  • Prior to appointment AI’s will be assessed for suitability by the collection of character references, consideration of Garda Vetting through the National Vetting Bureau Ireland and any other policing authority deemed relevant, this applies where the proposed AI has spent 6 or more months consecutively in another jurisdiction. This requirement is compulsory.
  • AI’s must complete Child Safeguarding training prior to commencement in their role and participate in refresher and update courses at intervals as determined by the Chief Instructor. This training includes the online Children First Certified Training Programme.
  • AI’s are obliged to comply with and adhere to any code of practice or training as devised or requested by the Chief Instructor or JSKA Japan.

Appointment of Demonstrators

  • The Chief Instructor will set criteria for members other than Assistant Instructors requested from time to time to demonstrate various aspects of the JSKA syllabus to junior members.
  • A demonstrator can be of any grade but usually of a grade higher than those who are been shown a technique.
  • A demonstrator is not permitted to undertake any demonstration unless requested to do so by the Chief Instructor or his delegate, or an assistant instructor.
  • A demonstrator must only demonstrate aspect of the syllabus so when the Chief Instructor or an assistant instructor is present in the dojo.
  • Demonstrators will not be requested to demonstrate aspects of the syllabus that are for a grade that they themselves have not yet attained.
  • Only the Chief Instructor or an Assistant Instructor may give instruction on and or supervise the practice of kumite or sparring.
  • Demonstrators are not required to have police and or Garda Vetting at this time as they are not exclusively engaged by JSKA Ireland for the purposes of instruction or teaching.

Appointment of Designated Persons under the Children First Act 2015.

The Chief Instructor will appoint persons to designated roles using the following criteria

  • The Chief Instructor is satisfied that the proposed person or persons possess the necessary knowledge to carry out the function.
  • Has been trained to do so.
  • Has a clear understanding of the requirements of the role and is willing to undertake the requisite record keeping associated with the role.
  • Has proven experience relevant to the role.

Safeguarding Practices with Junior Members – Principles & Best Practice

  • All instruction of junior members will occur within the dojo area only and in plain sight.
  • All instruction will be issued in plain hearing, separate conversations if necessary will occur in the presence of a second adult.
  • Permission must be sought by junior members to leave the dojo during classes or workshops.
  • The handling of children for teaching and demonstration purposes will be used only as a last resort.
  • Any occurrence of discipline where an Instructor has had to reprimand a junior member for behaviour where the junior member is under 16 years will be notified to the members parent or guardian as soon as practicable after the occurrence.
  • Bullying or disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated within the Budo Martial Arts Centre or any JSKA Ireland dojo.
  • Young people who are injured and require appropriate attention during classes will receive that attention within the environs of the dojo area only. The Chief Inspector will ensure that all AI’s receive appropriate instruction in First Aid and will ensure sufficient first aid supplies are present within the dojo at all times. Where attention has been given the relevant parent or guardian will be notified as soon as is practicable by the instructor who has taken the class.
  • All instructors will be trained in Child Safeguarding Processes, and are expected to behave in a manner congruent with the expectations of good role modelling and where every reasonable step is taken to protect all our junior and vulnerable members.

Reporting of Concerns to Child & Family Agency

The Chief Inspector of JSKA Ireland is a mandated reporter of child protection concerns under the Children First Act 2015, (Article 14 Part III). As such the Chief Instructor will as soon as practicable following the introduction of this statement create an online account with the Child and Family Agency for the purposes of making mandatory reports. The Chief Instructor requires all recipients of reports within JSKA Ireland Centres to bring to his immediate attention any matter of safeguarding which has been notified to JSKA or observed.  Upon receipt the following process will be applied and followed.

  1. Where a clear bone fide concern is identified or reported the Chief Instructor will without undue delay make a report to the Child & Family Agency via the Tusla on line portal and in the format required by the agency only.
  2. Where it is not certain if a bone fide concern exist the CI may request the Designated Liaison person to engage with the Child and Family Agency to discuss the matter prior to a determination being made.
  3. The Chief Instructor or any other recipient within JSKA Ireland will not carry out any investigation of any information received that task is solely the responsibility of the Child and Family Agency.
  4. Should a bone fide concern be reported or identified whilst the Chief Instructor is not present in the country the person formally delegated the role of Chief Instructor during his absence will make the report. If a formal delegation is not possible for any reason then the

Designated Liaison person may make a report to the Child and Family Agency.  In such an instance the Chief Instructor must upon his return make the same report to the agency in order to fulfil his responsibilities under the Article 14 of the act.

The Chief Instructor will ensure that records of all reports made to the Child and Family Agency are maintained in a secure format taking cognisance of the requirements of confidentiality and data protection. Reports of concerns will not be discussed with any person or persons other those appointed with JSKA Ireland. JSKA Ireland will assist the Child and Family Agency in the assessment and analysis of any reports made if requested to do so.

Management of Complaints and or concerns regarding the behaviour of JSKA Instructors

The Chief Instructor will receive complaints and concerns from parents or members of JSKA Ireland and or members of the public regarding the behaviour of JSKA Ireland appointed instructors or officers.  The Chief Instructor will take the following steps in such an instance.

  1. Where the complaint is in respect of a clear bone fide child safeguarding concern about a JSKA Instructor or officer the Chief Inspector will as a mandatory person report the concern to the Child and Family Agency for examination. The Chief Instructor will advise the officer that the concern has been made and reported to the Child and Family Agency. The Chief Instructor will reserve the right to ask the officer or AI to step down from their instructor duties or in some instances not to attend the dojo until such a time as the agency has made a determination in respect of the complaint and its nature. In such an instance the actions of the Chief Inspector are not considered as prejudicial to the outcome of any agency investigation but as supportive to allow the individual due process and to engage fully with the process.
  2. Where it is not certain if a complaint constitutes a bone fide child protection concern the Chief Instructor may seek assistance from the DLP who may in turn liaise with and seek advice from the Child and Family Agency. Following same the Chief Instructor may make a mandated report then to the agency or alternatively where it is deemed following consultation that it is not warranted the DLP should record the rationale as to why it was not.
  3. The Chief Instructor in cases that do not constitute a bone fide reportable child safeguarding concern but does believe would reasonably be construed as inappropriate behaviour toward a junior member may seek assistance of other JSKA officers to assistant him examine the matter, and can speak to witnesses to the alleged incident if any.
  4. In all cases the instructor against whom the complaint has been made will be informed of the concern and the detail of same in a timely manner. He/she will be afforded a right of reply to same, including the naming of witnesses to the incident if any. The Chief Inspector before taking any further action will consider the representations made but at all times is obliged to consider the welfare of any junior member /s concerned as of paramount importance.
  5. Following careful consideration the Chief Instructors decision will be final. The possible determination will be based on evidence, previous incidences or behaviours and the impact upon the junior member. Determinations will be made on balance of probability. The Chief Instructor may uphold the complaint, uphold the complaint in part, or dismiss the compliant on the grounds that the evidence does not uphold the import of the complaint.
  6. Where a complaint is upheld or partially upheld the Chief Instructor taking consideration of both the tenets of Shotokan Karate and the principals of best practice in Child safeguarding will impose a response or responses designed to protect the junior members from harm or inappropriate behaviours. This can include dismissal of the AI from the dojo, stepping down an AI from instruction duties or requesting the officer or AI to undertake a specific piece of training.
  7. Where a complaint has been made by a parent or guardian of a junior member the Chief Instructor or his delegate with provide feedback of the outcome and the action plan if any to provide assurances that the member will be safeguarded into the future.
  8. Following the outcome of any complaint the Chief Instructor will revise JSKA Safeguarding Practices and policies to ensure that any appropriate changes required as a result are included in the statement going forward and that all relevant persons are provided with a copy of the amended statement and or policy.
  9. Where the Chief Inspector is advised of concerning conduct by an officer of or an AI within JSKA Ireland where the allegation concerns behaviour which has taken place outside of JSKA duties the Chief Inspector will risk assess the information received, and make a determination if safeguarding actions will need to be taken by JSKA Ireland. A similar consideration will be given should any information be provided in respect to any parent or individual, or Budo Martial Arts Centre member who attends the dojo in any capacity.
  10. Where a complaint is made in respect of the behaviour of the Chief Inspector of JSKA Ireland the designated DLP is authorised by the Chief Instructor to apply the steps outlined above to its investigation. In such an instance the Chief Instructor will comply with the process as outlined above and instruct the DLP to advise JSKA Japan of the complaint and its outcome.
  11. The Chief Instructor or DLP will ensure all complaints are examined as a matter of urgency upon receipt where possible, again consideration of the need to keep junior members safe is the primary determinant of the complaint examination process and the time taken to complete same.

Risk Assessment

JSKA Ireland is committed to ensuring that junior members are safe and protected at all times whilst engaged with its activities both within and outside the dojo. The Chief Instructor and by assignment the Assistant Instructors are responsible to ensure that any known risk to the wellbeing of children is identified and controls put in place to eliminate or mitigate against the impact of the risk. The Chief Instructor at regular intervals will carry out a risk assessment of the risks posed within the usual activities of JSKA Ireland.

The process used is the RAG system or the RED, AMBER, GREEN risk identification and management system.

Red Risks are risks that are deemed to pose a probable and likely to happen risk to the health and welfare of children where the impact to a child or young person would be reasonably likely to be long-term or potentially fatal. The mitigation actions against such risks are to be considered compulsory by JSKA Ireland.

Amber Risks are risks which are probable but where if they occurred would lead to an immediate harm to children and young people the nature of which which would be considered to cause a short to medium term impact.

Green Risks are risks which are probable but if managed effectively would likely mitigate against any harm to a children or young people.

The Chief Instructor is committed to this approach and reserves the right to seek guidance, assistance and appropriate partnerships with those that could be identified to contribute positively to the identification and elimination of risk to safeguarding of junior members of JSKA Ireland. These may include parents, professionals, and the site managers and staff where the dojo’s are located.

Risk Management and the Role of Parents and Guardians

JSKA Ireland recognises that the implementation of this statement will act as an assurance in so far as is practicable to parents and guardians that junior members who attends its dojo’s are safe and free to enjoy the experience of learning Shotokan karate. Parent s and Guardians are key to the success of JSKA Ireland and key to supporting the Chief Instructor and his team in the task of child safeguarding. JSKA Ireland will endeavour to engage with and communicate with parents and guardians at regular intervals to ensure that any concerns are addressed promptly and in the best interests of our junior members.