Child Safety Statement

Blackwater Martial Art’s Child Safety Statement
(Children First Act, 2015)

Blackwater Martial Arts (BWMA) club focuses on teaching & developing children from the age of 8 years old to 18 years old in the discipline of martial arts and self defence. BWMA’s training location is at St Benildus College. No staff are employed by BWMA, however there are two adult volunteers.

BWMA has identified the following as risk areas that students are exposed to, and areas that require specific instruction when availing of our service. Each student and parent is required to sign a registration form, confirming that they understand these risk & instruction areas.

Health & Wellbeing
The general health & wellbeing of the student is of paramount importance. If students feel ill or have been advised by a medical professional not to train, it is BWMAs policy to respect that and not permit the student to train. Parents or legal guardians may be contacted in such cases to collect students. Should the student appear unwell or injured (physically or emotionally) arising from training or before training, BWMA volunteers may contact the parent immediately to discuss and agree next steps. If circumstances demand it, as is required under the Children First Act, 2015, any of the BWMA volunteers will make contact with TUSLA or An Garda Síochána to report concern areas identified.

Students in the Senior Children’s group are required to purchase for themselves and wear (1) groin guards (male & female), (2) chest protection (female), (3) gloves and (4) mouth guards during sparring activities and various other activities as explained by the instructor. Students will not be permitted to participate in certain activities without the required protection.

In the unlikely event there is any blood spillage from any students during training, the BWMA Instructor must be notified immediately. Appropriate actions will be taken based on the severity of the blood spillage. Any student who has an open wound, which may reasonably result in blood spillage must present him/herself to the BWMA Instructor before the class commences or as soon as the wound is noticed. The BWMA Instructor may deem the wound to be of such severity that the student cannot train in that class. Wounds should be covered up before the class commences and throughout the class.

Bullying / Harassment / Discrimination
BWMA practices respect for all individuals and groups. Bullying, harassment or discrimination of any sort to any group or individual is not practiced nor tolerated. Any student who is deemed to be bullying, harassing or discriminating against anyone or any group, either inside or outside the class, may be asked to leave BWMA.

Alcohol / Drugs
Training at BWMA classes whilst having taken any alcohol or drugs is strictly forbidden and students may be asked to leave if there is any evidence of having taken alcohol or drugs before or during training.

Child Protection
BWMA instructors are Garda Vetted and adhere to the best-practice codes of conduct and acceptable behaviour when dealing with children. Instructors will not make direct contact with students outside of training and all communications will be made via the parents or legal guardians (e.g.: phone calls / emails). The Irish Rugby Football Union’s Child Welfare Policy has been used as a guide and both adult volunteers have completed the TUSLA “Introduction to Children First” eLearning program. Children can only enter the training hall 10 minutes or less before class starts. Parents/guardians are required to collect their child from the training hall. BWMA accepts no responsibility for children outside the training hall.

If a student is deemed to be severely ill-disciplined or disrespectful, inside or outside the class (e.g.: disrupting the class, failure to comply with reasonable instructions, bullying etc.), the following disciplinary procedure will be implemented; First Incident: student is spoken to by the instructor at the time, and a follow up conversation is held after class to ensure complete understanding of this code and the severity of the incident. Parents are notified. Second Incident: student is spoken to by the instructor at the time, and a follow up conversation is held after class. A two-week ban is applied. Fees paid are not refunded. Parents are notified. Third Incident: Student is permanently banned from BWMA. Parents are notified. Fees paid are not refunded. Exception: If an incident is so severe, BWMA may move directly to a permanent ban of the student. This decision will not be taken lightly and will be communicated to the student or parent / legal guardian within 1 week of the incident. Fees paid are not refunded.

BWMA uses a colour belt system to track students’ progress. Students do a grading test at the time the instructors deem they are ready, as such the speed of progress is entirely dependent on the individual. Grading dates are set a minimum of one week in advance. For higher belt levels, a pre-test is often (but not always) conducted. Should a student fail the test (or pre-test), a new date will be set, which could be the following week. For the children’s class, the belts are; Yellow, Orange, Purple, Blue, Green, Brown I, Brown II, Brown III, Black.

Suitable students in the children’s class that obtain the Brown belt level can be given the rank of Junior Leader (at instructors’ discretion). Junior Leaders will be trained to and required to take classes from time to time as part of their progression. Adult students who volunteer as assistants in the children’s class will be given the rank of Assistant Instructor and will also be trained to and required to take classes from time to time as part of their progression. Assistant Instructors over 18 years will be Garda vetted and will complete TUSLAs “Introduction to Children First” eLearning program.

BWMA requires that you make yourself available to be contacted while your child is training. Should your child be injured or disruptive, you may be called and might be expected to collect your child immediately. For children under 13 years old, you are required to sit in and watch the first class. All subsequent classes (and for parents of children over 13 years old), parents are most welcome to sit in and watch any/every class – this is entirely up to the parent – chairs are always available to encourage this.

Martial Arts all require varying degrees of physical contact. Qualified and experienced instructors will be at each of the BWMA classes and each student is expected to obey the instructions of the Instructors and their deputies at all times. While every precaution is taken to ensure no injuries occur, it is reasonable to expect that injuries could occur. If a potentially serious, or serious injury occurs, the instructors will inform the students’ parents. Students and parents are warned that regardless of the precautions taken by the instructors, martial arts can be a dangerous pursuit and participants are exposed to risk of injury. Participants are also advised that although BWMA is covered by third party liability insurance, this cover does not extend to participants. Any participant who considers they have a need for insurance must make their own private arrangements with an insurer. All those partaking in training with BWMA do so at their own risk and responsibility. BWMA are not responsible for any injuries incurred prior to, during or after training.

Children must go to the toilet before training, supervised by parents where appropriate/required (depending on age etc). If students need to go to the toilet during training, they are required to ask permission from the instructor, and will be directed to the individual toilet facilities (not the communal toilet facilities) that are directly outside the hall. Instructors will not facilitate this in any way other than granting permission. Should any parent have a concern with this, they are required to remain available at the BWMA training facility to support their own child’s toilet requirements.

Investigating incidents
BWMA employs no staff, however has two adult volunteers; namely:
• Ian Pettitt (Head Instructor)
• Hugh McCallum (Instructor & Mandated Person under the Children First Act, 2015)
The investigation of any incident or allegation against any of the above will be conducted by the other. Both the above-mentioned people are aware of their obligation and legal responsibility to report under the Act. It is also the responsibility of Hugh McCallum (Mandated Person) to ensure that a Mandated Person is always appointed and that all adult volunteers have completed the required training under the Act.

Legal compliance / reporting
If appropriate, as is required under the Children First Act, 2015, any of the BWMA volunteers will make contact with TUSLA or An Garda Síochána to report concern areas identified.

We recognise that implementation is an ongoing process. Our service is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our service. This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed in August 2019, or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the statement refers.

Any queries relating to this Child Safeguarding Statement should be directed to the Mandated Person for BWMA, Hugh McCallum.

Self Defence – Dublin, Ireland.