ASKO Code of Ethics
It is the policy of the Amateur Sports Karate Organization (herein referred to as ASKO), to ensure that every child or young person who takes part in any of the Association’s activities should be able to do so in a fun and safe environment and be protected from neglect, bullying and any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
This document is based to a large degree on the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sports in Ireland, published by the Irish Sports Council. A full copy of this Report is available from the Board on request.
The purpose of this booklet is to set out in broad terms ASKO’s position on issues such as allegations of child abuse, bullying and codes of conduct for instructors and students.
It is our intention to update and expand this booklet on an ongoing basis and we would appreciate any suggestions as to whatever amendments you feel may be of benefit for the future.
Children Learn What They Live
If children live with criticism
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance
They learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement
They learn confidence.
If children live with praise
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness
They learn justice.
If children live with security
They learn faith.
If children live with approval
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship
They learn to find love in the world.
Child Protection Policy
ASKO is fully committed to safeguarding the well being of all its Members, particularly children. Every Member of the Association should, at all times, show respect and understanding for the rights, welfare and safety of others and should conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of the Association and the guidelines contained in the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport in Ireland.
The key principles underlying this policy are:
- Every person under the age of 18 years should be considered as a child for the purpose of this document.
- While recognising that the protection of the good name of all members of the Association is important, the safety and welfare of the child is paramount.
- All children, whatever their ability, age, gender, race, religious belief or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
- All suspicions and allegations will be taken seriously and will be acted on promptly.
The term “child abuse” is used to describe ways in which children are harmed, usually by adults and often by those they know and trust.
There are four main types of child abuse. A child may suffer from more than one form of abuse at any one time in his or her life.
Child Neglect : Neglect is normally defined in terms of an omission, where a child suffers harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, supervision, affection or medical care. It would also include occasions where an adult leaves a child alone without proper supervision.
Emotional Abuse : Emotional abuse is normally to be found in the ongoing relationship between an adult and a child. It occurs when a child’s need for affection, approval, consistency and security is not met. For children with disabilities it may include over-protection or conversely failure to acknowledge or understand a child’s disability.
Examples of emotional abuse include:
- Persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility or blaming.
- Unresponsiveness, inconsistent or realistic expectations of a child.
- Use of unrealistic or over-harsh disciplinary measures.
Physical Abuse : This occurs when parents, adults or other children deliberately inflict injuries on a child or knowingly do not act to prevent such injuries. It includes injury caused by biting, shaking, squeezing, burning, hitting, or use of excessive force or giving children alcohol, drugs or poisons. Physical abuse may also be deemed to occur if the nature or intensity of a training session disregards the ability of a child, the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body or puts the child in danger of injury as a result of fatigue or overuse.
Sexual Abuse : Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her sexual gratification or arousal, or for that of others. This form of abuse can range from inappropriate suggestions to sexual intercourse. It includes intentional touching or molesting. Encouraging children to look at pornographic material or to behave in sexually inappropriate ways also constitutes sexual abuse.
Dealing with child abuse is rarely straightforward. In some cases a child’s disturbed behaviour or an injury may suggest that a child has been abused. In many situations however, the signs will not be clear-cut and decisions as to what action to take can also be difficult.
The following indicators of abuse should be noted. The presence of one or more indicators is not proof that abuse is actually taking place. The list is not exhaustive.
- Unexplained changes in behaviour.
- Becoming withdrawn or aggressive.
- Regressive behaviour.
- Difficulties in making friends.
- Distrustful of adults.
- Excessive attachment to adults.
- Sudden drop in sporting performance.
- Changes in attendance pattern.
- Inappropriate sexual awareness, behaviour or language.
- Unusual reluctance to remove clothing.
- Unusual reluctance to go home.
- Bruises or injuries untypical of the sport.
- Injuries for which the explanation seems inconsistent.
- Signs of discomfort or pain.
- Torn of bloodstained clothing.
- Bullying may include several forms of abuse. It is the firm policy of the Association that bullying, in any form or circumstances, will not be tolerated and a prompt and decisive response will be made to any indication that it is taking place.
- Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression (verbal, psychological or physical) conducted by an individual or group against others. It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating. It includes behaviours such as teasing, taunting, threatening, physical violence or extortion by one or more against the victim.
- Bullying can occur child-to-child, adult-to-child or indeed child-to-adult.
- It is the responsibility of all Members of ASKO to deal with bullying that may take place or to refer the situation to members of the Board for action. Incidents of bullying will be dealt with immediately and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
- Many children are reluctant to tell adults that they are being bullied, for fear of ridicule, inaction or further intimidation if the circumstances are made public. It is important to remember that bullying also takes place in older age groups. Older children are even more reluctant to report the fact that they are being bullied. This underlines the need for constant vigilance and encouragement to report.
- If an allegation of bullying is reported to the Board, and if the problem cannot be resolved informally, immediate steps will be taken to convene the
Associations Trustees. All relevant parties will be interviewed and an independent decision will be made. The Trustees will then report to the Board and make recommendations. The board will be the final arbitrator as whatever action it considers appropriate in the circumstances.
Code for Instructors and Coaches
- You are a role model, always lead by example.
- Be on time.
- The extent of your duty of care is greatly increased as an instructor of an under-age class.
- Be generous with your praise when it is deserved.
- Encourage a sense of team spirit amongst all participants.
- Watch out for bullying.
- Watch your language.
- Never ridicule a student for making mistakes.
- Screaming abuse or unrealistic instructions never improved a student’s performance.
- Be reasonable in your demands on your student’s time. Remember that they have other interests that should also be encouraged.
- Winning is important but not the only objective. Competition is an integral part for those training Karate. A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to student’s development while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction. Through such competitions students learn respect for opponents, officials and rules of the sport.
- Develop respect for the ability of opponents.
- Insist on disciplined and fair play.
- Set realistic goals.
Code for Students
- Be on time.
- Train for your own enjoyment, not to please parents, instructors or coaches.
- Learn the rules of the sport and abide by them.
- Respect your opponents. Treat them, as you would like to be treated.
- Co-operate with your instructors and coaches.
- Do not use foul language before, during or after the games.
- Always compete to win but recognize that it is not the only aim.
Coaching Young People
Coaching young children involves presenting them with simple activities that they can cope with as they mature and develop.
Research with young children involved in sport shows that their main needs are:
- To be with friends
- To play
- To belong to a team
- To learn skills
Note that children rarely mention winning competitions or medals as a reason for their involvement in sport.
Your method of conducting training session will depend on several factors such as numbers, range of ability, ages, venues and equipment. However the following general points should be kept in mind;
- Always be on time. If possible arrive before the students to prepare the training hall.
- Provide the greatest possible participation for all students.
- Emphasise the value of skill as well as competition.
- Fitness training should be incorporated into skills training as far as possible. Beware of introducing adult physical training routines to young children.
- Include warm-up and cool-down exercises as part of every session.
- Group students according to their physical development.
- Be prepared to listen to the students. Discuss the training routines with them and listen to any suggestions they may have to make the sessions more enjoyable.
- Children forget 90% of all they hear and 50% of all they see. However they will remember 90% of all they do. While there is a place for talking and demonstrating, you must involve the children in how they are to perform.
The following list is by no means an answer to every problem that you will encounter when dealing with underage students. It does, however cover a range of the most successful, tried and tested means used by experienced coaches to reduce and eliminate discipline problems.
- To maintain interest among young students, instructors and coaches must vary the training routine and environment.
- Recognise and praise players for their achievements.
- Set targets for students.
- Give some students more responsibility during training sessions.
- Insist on input from senior students.
A disruptive student may still cause problems, no matter what is tried. Very often he or she will be one of the better students. If their behaviour is affecting others and undermining your authority the answer is simple…get rid of them until they change their ways.
Keep your distance as an instructor and coach. Never be drawn into being "one of the lads". Young students will take advantage and you will loose authority.
Good students need to be challenged and given the opportunity to improve.
Do not be afraid to take tough decisions. Tackle problems early on; don’t allow them fester.
Some Ways to Protect Yourself
To try to prevent the possibility of a wrongful allegation being made against any instructors or coach and to ensure that all forms of abuse are avoided, the following guidelines should be adhered to wherever possible.
- Avoid taking training session on your own (where possible).
- Avoid spending a disproportionate amount of time with any one individual.
- Avoid taking children to your home or in alone in your car. If you do give children lifts home after training/competitions vary your routine so that the same child is not always left home last.
- Never use any form or corporal punishment or physical force on a child.
- Involve parents/guardians whenever possible. Parents/guardians play a key role in the promotion of an ethical approach to Karate. Parents/guardians therefore need to be aware, informed and involved in promoting the safest possible environment. Instructors need the support of parents/guardians in conveying the association’s policies and code of ethics.
- Realise that certain situations or friendly actions can be misinterpreted, not only by the player but also by others.
- An instructor/coach should never be alone in a room with a student. If attending to an injured student in the bathroom always bring another student with you.
- Any doubts of a medical nature should be passed onto a suitably qualified medical person.
- The use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco should be actively discouraged. Special care is needed on away trips, particularly those involving an overnight stay.
- Never let any allegation from a child go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted on.
Article compiled and written by Ciara Reid
All information on this ASKO website is ©2000-2004 Blackrock Karate Club.
Last updated on Friday, August 13th, 2004.