Safeguarding Policy for Children and Adults

EWSA is committed to ensuring that everyone taking part in water sports activities are able to do so and are protected and kept safe from abuse or neglect while they are with coaches, volunteers and/ or staff irrespective of age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex and sexual orientation.

As with children and young people, all adults have the right to live free from abuse or neglect.

It is the responsibility of all member clubs and their national governing bodies, volunteers, coaches, members and participants to follow and support this policy and the guidelines and procedures set out within.

All members, volunteers, coaches and clubs should have a clear understanding of operating within an appropriate code of ethics, aware of their duty of care and how this relates to their position in providing activities and being responsible for others.

EWSA is committed to ensuring any concern reported about the welfare of someone taking part in a water sport is taken seriously, responded to promptly, and followed up according to the Safeguarding policies and procedures below.

Each member club of EWSA must have equivalent Safeguarding, Anti-Bullying and Complaints procedures within their own club. This policy and guidance should primarily be used for interclub activities and as a back up.


With water sport activities such as canoeing, rowing, dragon boating or diving, should be done safety and keeping people safe is all about risk assessment and minimising the risks involved at all levels of participation. While safeguarding is the responsibility of all of us, in organised activities we have a heightened duty of care and as such we should be aware that the principal risks extend to the quality of control exercised by those in charge. Coaches, referees, officials or administrators 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.

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”

The content of this document provides specific information in respect of safeguarding adults in order that everyone can appreciate their duty of care with regard to these issues, risk assess their positions and support and advise those at risk.

Further to this document you may wish to consult the following additional information.

  • Bullying and Harassment Policy
  • Safeguarding Whistle Blowing Policy
  • Dispute Resolution and Disciplinary Procedures

Recruiting and Managing Volunteers and Helpers

Having good standards of practice within your club or organisation is likely to encourage more people to join. This includes:

  • screening of helpers – through DBS checks
  • induction procedures for all helpers
  • establishing clear roles
  • regular checks or supervision of helpers
  • information about clubs rules /operating procedures
  • system for feedback and support
  • support training of helpers and coaches in safeguarding and child protection issues
  • nominate a person to take responsibility for safeguarding
  • if you are running an event – nominate a person responsible for safeguarding.

No system is foolproof – it is important that we do not rely on just one system to help create a safe environment for children.


EWSA’s constituent clubs are all required to confirm annually in writing to the EWSA Welfare Officer and Secretary that they have sufficient DBS coverage of its coaches, volunteers and members to cover their needs and activities. In addition, they must declare to EWSA if they become aware of any breaches or abuse.



Safeguarding Adults includes:

  • Protecting their rights to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
  • People and organisations working together to prevent the risk of abuse or neglect, and to stop them from happening.
  • Making sure people’s wellbeing is promoted, taking their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account. (Care Quality Commission 2015)

It relates to the need to protect those in vulnerable circumstances who may be at risk of abuse or neglect, due to the actions, or lack of action, of another person(s).

There is now a legal framework in place for safeguarding adults. The Care Act 2014, which took effect from April 2015, sets out the framework to be followed by all those with a responsibility for safeguarding adults.

As part of the Act, every Local Authority is required to set up a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) and must make enquiries, or ask others to make enquiries on their behalf, about any adult in their area, who they are concerned is, or is at risk of being abused or neglected in order to assess their care and support needs and consider if further action is required.

Where it is deemed that further action should be taken, where appropriate, this will be person-led and outcome-focused, taking account of the views, wishes, feelings and beliefs of the individual; supporting them to maintain control over their lives and in making informed choices (making Safeguarding Personal).



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

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

Whilst the welfare of children is our first consideration in establishing child protection policies and procedures, we have also taken account of the needs of coaches, particularly where falsely accused. A feature of our policy on safeguarding children is to ensure that we provide individuals with access to confidential advice, guidance and support, provided separately to that provided for those with concerns that abuse may be taking place.

These safeguarding and 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, religion or belief, marital status, pregnancy, maternity and sexual orientation 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.
  • Coaches, clubs and centres need to be provided with advice to raise awareness of best practice and guidance and support should they become involved in an abuse situation.

It is recognised that some children may have additional vulnerabilities or are disadvantaged by their experiences. It is important that all those who work with children are vigilant in creating a safe culture and are aware of those who may have additional vulnerabilities.

We know that if procedures are to help protect children, everyone involved in Paddlesport needs to see and discuss them. We are therefore asking club secretaries and welfare officers to make sure that they are widely distributed, discussed at club executive and general meetings and adopted into their own policies and procedures.



There are physical and behavioural signs that might raise your concern about the welfare or safety of a child or adult. They are only indicators – not confirmation.

Some examples are: Where the person,

  • Says that she/ 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 some children can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and may have added difficulties in communicating what is happening to them.

Further examples of Abuse can be found inthe British Canoeing Guidance and Policy documentation



If an adult indicates that they are being abused, or information is received which gives rise to concern, the person receiving the information should:

  • Stay Calm
  • Listen carefully to what is said, allowing the adult to continue at their own pace, and take it seriously.
  • Explain that it is likely the information will have to be shared with others- do not promise to keep secrets.
  • Keep questions to a minimum, only ask questions if you need to identify/ clarify what the person is telling you.
  • Reassure the person that they have done the right thing in revealing the information.
  • Ask them what they would like to happen next.
  • Explain what you would like to do next and ask if they are happy for you to share the information in order for you to help them.
  • Record in writing what was said using the adult’s own words as soon as possible (see Record Keeping page 7).

Do not:

  • Dismiss the concern.
  • Panic or allow shock or distaste to show.
  • Probe for more information than is offered.
  • Make promises that cannot be kept.
  • Conduct an investigation of the case.
  • Make negative comments about the alleged perpetrator.


Where there is a concern that a child has been abused, there is a duty of care to report that concern and for it to be followed up without the need to gain consent from the child or guardian.

When reporting a concern about an adult the following key points must be taken into account:

  • Consent from the adult must be granted before reporting any concerns (except for the exceptions listed below).
  • Must respect the decision of the adult.
  • Must assume an adult has capacity unless proven otherwise*

*The adult must be involved in any discussion and decision making process about their welfare (if they have capacity) and be given the opportunity to make their own choices, whether or not you consider these to be wise- ultimately an adult may choose not to act at all to protect themselves, and only in certain circumstances should their wish be overridden.

The exceptions that override the decision of the person are when:

  1. An adult is assessed not to have the ‘capacity’ to make their own decision
  2. When there is an overriding public duty to intervene due to others who may be at risk.
  3. Where not acting would put the person at further risk of harm.

If an adult is reluctant for you to report the concern and the above do not apply, explain the reasons why it may be in their best interests (and others) if the matter is referred. Ensure that they understand all the options available and empower them to make an informed decision.



If you have concerns about the welfare of a child please remember the golden rule –

It is not your responsibility to decide whether a child is being abused – but it is your responsibility to pass the information on to the appropriate person.

Make a detailed note of what you have seen or heard but do not delay passing on the information.

If you are a member, or the parent/carer or friend of a member of the Watersports Centre you should:

  • Tell the person appointed for safeguarding; this is normally the Club Welfare Officer, the person responsible for safeguarding at EWSA or their member club – unless, of course you suspect them of being involved
  • Contact the National Governing Body  Safeguarding Lead Officer lised on OR
  • If you need urgent advice contact the NSPCC Child Protection 24 hours Help Line 0808 800 5000
  • If you are the person responsible for safeguarding children at your organisation you can:
  • Talk to the child’s parents/carers about the concerns if you think there may be an obvious explanation such as a bereavement or pressure from their studies/exams.
  • If you need urgent advice contact the NSPCC Child Protection 24 hours Help Line. Contact your local social services department or, in an emergency, the Police.
  • If you are working with member children away from home, at a training camp, perhaps, or a national/ regional competition – tell the team manager or the designated welfare officer.

Please note, that when you have reported your concerns to the NSPCC, police or social services you are also required to contact your National Governing Body Safeguarding Officer to advise them of your concern and to whom you have reported it. A standard reporting form for this purpose is available from your NGB website.

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

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not promise to keep it to yourself.
  • Listen to what the child says and, please, take it seriously.
  • Only ask questions if you need to identify what the child is telling you – do not ask about explicit details.
  • Make a detailed note of what the child has told you but, as advised in the previous section, please do not delay passing on the information.


If, as a coach or volunteer, you have had allegations made against you and you wish to discuss the matter with an impartial adviser you could contact your National Governing Body  Safeguarding Officer who will advise you of what support may be available.


If you have been made aware of/ or have a concern, keep a record of what you have been told/ what your concerns are, in as much detail as possible in case it is needed in the future. It can also be a way of tracking a sequence of events which could suggest a pattern of abuse over time. A Reporting Concern Form is available to from our website .

  • You should make notes/ report as soon as possible after you have been told about/ become aware of a concern;
  • If you are being told about the concern by someone else, explain that you are taking notes so that you can be accurate in your recording;
  • Try to remember what the person said, using their own words and phrases where possible.
  • In your written report factual information should be clearly separated from expression of opinion;
  • Sign, date and time your report; (along with who you passed the information to and when/ details of your concern).
  • Ensure you keep a copy for yourself.
  • Be aware that your report may be required later as part of legal action; disciplinary procedure or litigation claim;
  • In all recording, proper consideration must be given to the requirements of current data protection legislation;
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