Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding: – Fight! Nation Wrestling (FNW) is fully committed to the safety of our athletes, personnel paid or voluntary and fan or all age groups, our approach to safeguarding is based on the principles recognized within UK and International legislation and Government guidance. The company hold a zero tolerance to any forms of abuse such as racism, sexual abuse, homophobic behaviors, grooming or any other abuse which is deemed inappropriate or unwanted from athletes, personnel paid or voluntary and fan or all age groups

Directors overall responsibility for the implementation of this Safeguarding Policy Billy Wood, Paul Hopkins & Steve Bennett


The management team will ensure the safety of it’s athletes, personnel paid or voluntary and fan or all age groups at all times during its shows.

FNW will provide support to anyone who has been subject to any unwanted abuse from any environment, full confidentiality will be in place at all time and information will be passed to the relevant authorities.


Billy Wood, Paul Hopkins & Steve Bennett


All members, Have the responsibility to respect, follow and promote the spirit and intentions of
FNW’s Safeguarding Policy
All Members



The policy will be reviewed annually or in the following circumstances:

  • Changes in legislation and/or government guidance as required by the Local Safeguarding Children Board
  • As a result of any other significant change or event.

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) (Referral Point)

Tel: 0300 500 80 80

If you require an urgent response outside of working hours (08:30-17:00), contact the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0300 456 4546

Below is further information.

Fight! Nation Wrestling’s approach to safeguarding is based on the principles recognised within UK and International legislation and Government guidance. The following has been taken into consideration:

  • The Children Act 1989[1]
  • United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Children Act 2004
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Working together to Safeguard Children and Young People 2013[2]


1.1  Responsibilities

All Fight! Nation wrestling Management, Committee, Staff and Volunteers will seek to keep children, young people, and fans safe.

They will:

  • accept the moral and legal responsibility to implement procedures to provide a duty of care for people, safeguard their well-being and protect them from abuse;
  • respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of young people;
  • provide effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training;
  • require staff and volunteers to adopt and abide by the Safeguarding Policy and Implementation Procedures which incorporate the Fight! Nation Wrestling Terms and Condtions and existing addendums.
  • respond to all allegations and concerns appropriately.

1.2  Principles

The guidance given in the procedures is based on the following principles:

  • this policy recognises and builds on the legal and statutory definitions of a child;
  • the distinction between ages of consent, civil and criminal liability are recognized but in the pursuit of good practice in the delivery and management of Fight! Nation Wrestling, a young person is recognized as being under the age of 18 years (Children’s Act 1989 definition);
  • an adult has a moral and statutory duty for the care, custody and control of any child under the age of 18 under their supervision;
  • the child’s welfare is paramount as enshrined in the Children Act 1989;
  • all young people, regardless of age, culture, any disability they may have, gender, language, racial heritage, religious belief and sexual orientation or identity have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse;
  • some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
  • all young people have a right to practice or watch wrestling in an enjoyable and safe environment;
  • young performers have a right to expect appropriate management, support, personal and social development with regard to their involvement in the sport of wrestling.
  • all incidents of poor practice or suspicions of poor practice and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • it is the responsibility of the child protection experts and agencies to determine whether or not abuse has taken place, but it is everyone’s responsibility to report any concerns.
  • it is the responsibility of Fight! Nation Wrestling to provide a safe environment for fans to enjoy the show, we hold a zero-tolerance policy towards any abuse of gender, language, racial heritage, religious belief and sexual orientation or any other acts that might be seen as harmful or abusive.
  • confidentiality should be upheld in line with the Data Protection Act 1984 and the Human Rights Act 2000.

Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

1.3 Incorporation

The Fight! Nation Wrestling Safeguarding Policy and Implementation Procedures shall be adopted in accordance with the following:

  • Fight! Nation Wrestling and its Members;
  • all other bodies affiliated to Fight! Nation Wrestling in the sport of wrestling in the United Kingdom which provide the opportunity to work with children and young people up to the age of eighteen. 


2.1 Good practice guidelines

All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behavior in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate within Fight! Nation Wrestling:

2.2.1 Good practice means:

  • always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations (e.g. not coaching in isolation)
  • treating all young people including fans equally, and with respect and dignity;
  • always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals;
  • maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with athletes (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a young person or to share a room with them);
  • building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers young people to share in the decision-making process;
  • being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people;
  • giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism;
  • recognizing the developmental needs and capacity of young people – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will;

 2.2.2 Changing rooms

Athletes should be supervised at all times in the changing rooms by two (2) members of staff. Adult staff should not change or shower at the same time using the same facilities as athletes. If you are involved in mixed gender separate facilities should be made available. If a young person is uncomfortable changing or showering in public, no pressure should be placed on them to do so. Encourage them to do this at home.

Any staff, medical or otherwise, for example, a female physio working with a male athlete, must not be present in the changing rooms whilst athletes are getting showered or changed.

No photographic equipment should be used in the changing room.

2.2.3 Treatment of young people

  • No young person should be treated in any way in a situation where the young person is on his/her own in a treatment room with the door closed.
  • All treatment procedures should be ‘open’ i.e. the door remains open, parents are invited to observe treatment procedures. Where strict medical confidentiality is to be observed then this should be discussed with the parents and the young person in advance;
  • it is important to maintain medical confidentiality and patient dignity at all times;
  • it is recommended that all treatment procedures are explained fully to the young person and verbal consent is given before they are carried out.

2.2.4 Practice never to be sanctioned

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

  • engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horse-play;
  • share a room with a young person;
  • allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching;
  • allow young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged;
  • make sexually suggestive comments to a young person, even in fun;
  • reduce a young person to tears as a form of control;
  • allow allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon;
  • do things of a personal nature for young people that they can do for themselves;
  • invite or allow young people to stay with you at home unsupervised.
  • never take young people to your home where they will be alone with you.

 If you are required to have physical contact with a young person talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible.

This is particularly so if you are involved in any matches which is between an adult and those under the age of 18.

If any of the following incidents should occur, you should report them immediately to another colleague and make a written note of the event. Parents should also be informed of the incident:

  • if you accidentally hurt a performer;
  • if he/she seems distressed in any manner;
  • if an athlete misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.

2.3 Relationships of trust

The inequality at the heart of a relationship of trust should be ended before any sexual relationship begins.” Caring for Young People and the Vulnerable? Guidance for preventing abuse of trust (Home Office 1999).

This statement recognizes that genuine relationships do occur between the different levels of volunteers and participants in a group but that no intimate relationship should begin whilst the member of staff or volunteer is in a ‘position of trust’ over them. The power and influence that an older member of staff has over someone attending a group or activity cannot be under-estimated.

If you engage in an intimate or inappropriate relationship with a young person, it is a breach of the terms and conditions for the engagement of performance agreement and as such will result in disciplinary action.

2.4 Guidelines for use of photographic filming equipment at sporting events

Parents/fans often want to be able to celebrate the achievements of their children/ favorite performers when taking part in our live events through taking photographs or films. Fight Nation Wrestling also want to promote our activities to encourage increased viewing. We do not advocate the banning of photography and the use of images and videos of young adults but recommend that appropriate and proportionate safeguards should be in place to ensure a safe sporting environment for fans and young people. There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sports people in vulnerable positions.

It is advisable that all members adhere to the appropriate guidelines and report immediately anything they deem to be inappropriate to management.


3.1 Introduction

Abuse can and does occur outside the family setting. Even for those experienced in working with child abuse it is not always easy to recognize a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place. The staff and volunteers in Fight! Nation Wrestling, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity, are not experts at such recognition. However, they do have a responsibility to act if they have any concerns about the behavior of someone (an adult or another young person) towards a young person, fan or athletes and to follow the procedures in this document.

3.2 Poor practice

Allegations may relate to poor practice where an adult’s or another young person’s behavior is inappropriate and may be causing concern to a young person. In the application of this Policy, poor practice includes any behavior of a child protection nature which contravenes the Fight! Nation Wrestling Code of Ethics and Conduct infringes an individuals’ rights and/or is a failure to fulfil the highest standards of care. Poor practice is unacceptable in Fight! Nation Wrestling and will be treated seriously and appropriate actions taken.

3.3 Abuse

Abuse can happen wherever there are people of any age. The effects of abuse can be so damaging and if untreated, they may follow a person into adulthood. For example, a person who has been abused as a young person may find it difficult or impossible to maintain stable, trusting relationships, become involved with drugs or prostitution, attempt suicide or even abuse a young person in the future.

3.3.1 Disabled People

There have been a number of studies, which suggest young people (or adults) with disabilities, are at increased risk of abuse. Various factors contribute to this, such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse has occurred.

3.3.2 Race and Racism

Persons from ethnic minority groups (and their parents) are likely to have experienced harassment, racial discrimination and institutional racism. Although racism causes significant harm it is not, in itself, a category of abuse. All organizations working with young people, including those operating where ethnic minority communities are numerically small, should address institutional racism, defined in the Macpherson Inquiry Report on the death of Stephen Lawrence as ‘the collective failure by an organization to provide appropriate and professional service to people on account of their race, culture and/or religion’.

3.3.3 Abuse and Neglect

Somebody may abuse or neglect a person by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.

Neglect – where adults fail to meet a young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the young person’s health or development (e.g. failure to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a young person from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.) It may also include refusal to give young people love, affection and attention.

Physical abuse – where adults physically hurt or injure young people by hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting or scalding, suffocating, drowning or otherwise causing physical harm to a young person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a young person whom they are looking after e.g. factitious illness by proxy or Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. Examples of physical abuse in wrestling may be when the nature and intensity of training and competition exceeds the capacity of the young person’s immature and growing body; where drugs are used to enhance performance or delay puberty.

Sexual abuse – where girls and boys are abused (both male and female) who use all aged groups to meet their own sexual needs. This could include full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling. Showing young people pornographic material (books, videos, pictures) or talking to young people in a sexually explicit manner is also a form of sexual abuse. In sport, coaching techniques, which involve physical contact with young people, could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed. The power of the coach/athlete over young performers and fans, if misused, may also lead to abusive situations developing. This is entrapment but commonly known as ‘Grooming’. This is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example a family member, friend or professional. Those who manipulate children for their own sexual gratification may be male or female. They could be any age. Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been groomed, or that what has happened is abuse.

Emotional abuse – is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the young person’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to people that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally in-appropriate expectations being imposed on young people. It may involve causing young people to feel frightened or in danger of constantly being shouted at, threatened or taunted which may make the young person very nervous and withdrawn. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a young person. Emotional abuse in wrestling may occur if young people are subjected to constant criticism, name-calling, and sarcasm, bullying or unrealistic pressure to perform to high expectations consistently.

The above definitions are adapted from the Department of Health (2013) Working Together to Safeguard Children – A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Online Abuse

Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social media platforms whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones.

Children can be at risk of online abuse or cyberbullying from people they know as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (e.g. grooming) or it may be that bullying only happens online (e.g. persuading children to take part in sexual activity online)

3.3.4 Reasonable Grounds for Concern

A concern should be passed to Management if any of the following criteria are in place:

  • Specific indication from a child that s/he is being abused;
  • Specific indication from a performer that s/he is being abused;
  • Specific indication from a fan that s/he is being abused;
  • An account by a person who saw the abuse;
  • Consistent indication, over a period of time, that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect;
  • Evidence, such as an injury or behavior that is consistent with abuse and unlikely to be caused any other way, e.g. cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries;
  • Corroborative indicators supporting a concern e.g. pattern of injuries, an implausible explanation, other indicators of abuse, dysfunctional behavior;

3.3.5 When to seek advice

The Owner should see advice from the authorities if they are made aware of the following circumstances;

  • someone else (a young person or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another young person;
  • unexplainable changes in behavior (e.g. becoming very quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper);
  • inappropriate sexual awareness
  • engaging in sexually explicit behavior;
  • distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected;
  • has difficulty in making friends;
  • is prevented from socializing with other young people;
  • display variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite;
  • loses weight for no apparent reason;
  • becomes increasingly dirty or un-kempt.

It should be recognized that this list is not exhaustive and the presence of one or more of the indicators is not proof that abuse is actually taking place. A good working relationship with parents will help to identify any concerns that a young

person may be experiencing e.g. family bereavement.

It is not the responsibility of those working in wrestling to decide that child abuse is occurring, but it is their responsibility to act on any concerns. (See Section 6).


4.1 How to respond to a disclosure from a young person

If a person informs you directly that he/she, or another young person, is concerned about someone’s behavior towards them (this is termed a ‘disclosure’), the person receiving information should:

  • react calmly so as not to frighten or deter the young person;
  • tell the person he/she is not to blame and that he/she was right to tell;
  • take what the person says seriously, recognizing the difficulties inherent in interpreting what is said by a young person who has a speech disability and/or differences in language;
  • keep any questions to an absolute minimum to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said;
  • reassure the young person but do not make promises of confidentiality which might not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments;
  • seek advice immediately from the local Children’s Social Care or Police who will advise on the action to taken, including advice on contacting parents. Expert advice can also be provided by the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Childline on 0800 1111.

4.1.1 Actions to be avoided

The person receiving the disclosure should not:

  • panic;
  • allow their shock or distaste to show;
  • do not ask questions other than to clarify that you have enough information to act;
  • speculate or make assumptions;
  • make negative comments about the alleged abuser;
  • approach the alleged abuser;
  • make promises or agree to keep secrets.

N.B. It may not be that all young athletes are able to express themselves verbally. Communication difficulties may mean that it is hard for them to complain or be understood. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the signs of abuse from the symptoms of some disabilities or conditions, in relation to the nature of an individual’s impairment. However, where there are concerns about the safety of a young athlete, record what has been observed in detail and follow the procedures to report these concerns, as detailed in 6.2 and 6.3.

4.2 Action to take regarding allegations within Fight Nation Wrestling

If a young person informs you directly that he/she is being abused within the Fight! Nation Wrestling environment OR through your own observations or through a third party you become aware of possible abuse or poor practice within the Fight! Nation Wrestling environment, you must REACT IMMEDIATELY.

4.2.1 Poor Practice

  • Contact the management team. If, following consideration, the allegation is about poor practice then management will report it to the authorities.

There is no time limit to the submission of allegations or incidents of a Child Protection nature.

Possible Outcomes of the Child Safeguarding Disciplinary Panel Hearing

  • No case to answer.
  • Warrants advice/warning as to future conduct/sanctions.
  • Further training and support needed.

4.2.2 Possible Abuse Situation

If a person says or indicates that he/she is being abused, or information is obtained or observations are made which gives concern that a young person is being abused, you must

Reporting Procedures

  • seek advice immediately from the local Children’s Social Care or Police who will advise on the action to be taken, including advice on contacting parents.

 Possible Outcomes

Where there is a complaint of abuse against a member of staff or volunteer, investigations may include:

  • Police enquiry;
  • Criminal proceedings;
  • Civil proceedings;

The results of the Police and/or Social Services investigation may help to inform Fight! Nation Wrestling on its next form of action.  Anyone found guilty by admittance or though a police enquiry will be removed from all events under the Fight! Nation Wrestling banner and his/her name passed to associated promotions.

4.4 Confidentiality

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 FNW Welfare Officer and/or Management Team.
  • the person making the allegation
  • Social Services /Police
  • the alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a young person) only following advice Children’s Social Care.
  • Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.  

5.5 Reinstatement and Aftermath

5.1.1 Reinstatement

Irrespective of the findings of the Children’s Social Care or Police enquiries, the company will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the Police. In such cases the company must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of young people including fans and other athletes should always remain paramount.

5.1.2 Support to deal with the Aftermath

  • Consideration should be given about what support1 may be appropriate to young people, parents and members of staff. Use of Helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help with the healing process.
  • Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to the alleged perpetrator of the abuse

 5.1.3 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 young person or by a member of staff who is currently working with children). Where such an allegation is made, the company should follow the procedures as detailed previously. 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