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Unique Fitness Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

The University of Bradford Unique Fitness Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy outlines it's commitment to the welfare and safety of children, parents, external agencies, and the community.

This page serves as appendix I of the University Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. Explore further by visiting our Safeguarding section of our website or visit the Unique Fitness pages.

All sporting organisations that make provision for children and adults at risk must ensure that:

  • The welfare of the child/adult at risk is paramount.
  • All children or adults at risk, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • All staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the University DSL. 


Your Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Statement

Unique Fitness has a duty of care to safeguard all children/adults at risk involved in any activity at Unique Fitness from harm. All children/adults at risk have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children/adults at risk and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.

The University of Bradford will ensure the safety and protection of all children/adults at risk through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the University of Bradford sports centre, a child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).

Policy aims

The aim of the Unique Fitness Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

  • Providing children/adults at risk with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Unique Fitness.
  • Allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection and safeguarding issues.

Promoting good practice

Abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people or adults at risk in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people or adults at risk and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.

When a child or adult at risk enters Unique Fitness having been subjected to abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the child/adults self-esteem. In such instances the club must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child or adult at risk receives the required support.

Good practice guidelines

All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.

Good practice means:

  • Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
  • Treating all young people/adults at risk equally with respect and dignity.
  • Always putting the welfare of each young person / adult first.
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or adult at risk or to share a room with them).
  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children and adults to share in decision making.
  • Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
  • Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the Coach Education Programme. If it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child or adult is constantly moving, young people or adults at risk should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents/carers are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered.
  • Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
  • Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children or adult at risk in the changing rooms. If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents, teachers, coaches or officials work in pairs.
  • Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away for the day or night, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
  • Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children or adults at risk into their rooms.
  • Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people or adults at risk.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and adults at risk – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
  • Securing parental/carer consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
  • Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
  • Requesting written parental/carer consent if club officials are required to transport young people or adults at risk in their cars.

Practices to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (e.g. the child or adult at risk sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent/carer fails to arrive to pick a child or adult at risk up at the end of a session), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge at Unique Fitness or the child’s or adult at risks parents/carer.

Otherwise, avoid:

  • Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children or adults at risk from others.
  • Taking or dropping off a child or adult at risk to an event.

Practices never to be sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

  • Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
  • Share a room with a child or adult at risk.
  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
  • Allow children or adults at risk to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Make sexually suggestive comments to a child or adult at risk, even in fun.
  • Reduce a child or adult at risk to tears as a form of control.
  • Allow allegations made by a child or adult at risk to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Do things of a personal nature for children or adults at risk that they can do for themselves.
  • Invite or allow children or adults at risk to stay with you at your home unsupervised.

NB: It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children or adults at risk, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents/carer and the players involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child or adult at risk to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents/carer of the child or adult at risk are informed:

  • If you accidentally hurt a player.
  • If the child/adult at risk seems distressed in any manner.
  • If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

Use of photographic/filming equipment at sporting events

There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and at risk sports people in vulnerable positions. All clubs should be vigilant and any concerns should to be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Video as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent club coaches and teachers using video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, performers and their parents/carers should be made aware that this is part of the coaching programme and such films should be stored safely.

Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers

Unique Fitness recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children or adults at risk in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children or adults at risk.

Pre-selection checks must include the following:

  • All volunteers/staff should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant's past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
  • Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Disclosure and Barring Service, DBS checks will be carried out on any staff working with children or adults at risk.
  • Evidence of identity should be provided (eg passport or driving licence with photo).

Interview and induction

All employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction, during which:

  • A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
  • Their qualifications should be substantiated.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
  • They should sign up to the University’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.
  • Child protection and safeguarding procedures are explained and training needs are identified.


In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:

  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or adult at risk.
  • Work safely and effectively with children or adults at risk.
  • Relevant personnel to receive advisory information outlining good practice and informing them about what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person or adult at risk.
  • Relevant personnel to undergo national first aid training (where necessary).
  • Attendance of update training when necessary. Information about meeting training needs can be obtained from sports coach UK, the NSPCC and Sport England.

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working at Unique Fitness in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether child/adult abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.

Unique Fitness will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports their concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child or adult at risk.

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:

  • a criminal investigation
  • a child protection and safeguarding investigation
  • a disciplinary or misconduct investigation

The results of the police and child protection and safeguarding investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.


Concerns about poor practice

If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will deal with it as a misconduct issue.

If the allegation is about poor practice by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the University DSL who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

Concerns about suspected abuse

Any suspicion that a child or adult at risk has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child or adult at risk in question and any other child or adult who may be at risk.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead will refer the allegation to the social services department which may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.

This would then be reported to the University DSL.

The parents or carers of the child or adult at risk will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.

If the Designated Safeguarding Lead is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the University DSL who will refer the allegation to Social Services.


Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.

This includes the following people:

  • the Designated Safeguarding Lead
  • the parents / carer of the person who is alleged to have been abused
    the person making the allegation
  • social services/police
  • the alleged abuser (and parents/carer if the alleged abuser is a child).
  • Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser

Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).

Internal enquiries and suspension

Unique Fitness Facilities Manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and Social Services inquiries.

Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse

Consideration should be given to the kind of support that adults at risk, children, parents, carers and members of staff may need. Use of help lines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Directory is available from:

Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator.

Allegations of previous abuse

Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children).

Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person.

Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.

Action if bullying is suspected

If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in 'Responding to suspicions or allegations' above.

Action to help the victim and prevent bullying in sport

  • Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
  • Encourage all children or adults at risk to speak and share their concerns (It is believed that up to 12 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately). Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority.
  • Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
  • Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
  • Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
  • Report any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or the sports centre manager (wherever the bullying is occurring).

Action towards the bully(ies)

  • Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
  • Inform the bully(ies)’s parents/carer.
  • Insist on the return of 'borrowed' items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
  • Provide support for the victim's coach.
  • Impose sanctions as necessary.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.
  • Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
  • Inform all organisation members of action taken.
  • Keep a written record of action taken.

Concerns outside the immediate sporting environment (e.g: a parent or carer)

  • Report your concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, who should contact social services or the police as soon as possible.
  • See below for the information social services or the police will need.
  • If the Designated Safeguarding Lead is not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately.
  • Social services and the Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide how to involve the parents/carers.
  • Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
  • See below regarding information needed for social services.

Information for social services or the police about suspected abuse

To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which should include the following:

  • The child's/adults name, age and date of birth of the child or adult at risk.
  • The child's/adults home address and telephone number.
  • Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
  • The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
  • Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
  • A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
  • Details of witnesses to the incidents.
  • The child’s or adults account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
  • Have the parents/carers been contacted?
  • If so, what has been said?
  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details.
  • If the child or adult at risk was not the person who reported the incident, has the child or adult at risk been spoken to? If so, what was said?
  • Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
  • Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.

If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or:

A list of related external partner agencies is also available.