The majority who are involved in Judo are children. You can apply this to sport as a whole. As a result, child protection is a big deal. While it seems child abuse is more prevalent nowadays, that aspect is due more to the media and greater public awareness.
It’s a requirement for coaches in Judo to go on the sports coach UK Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop. I went on one of these courses, hosted by a combination of the British Judo Association and the British Army.
It was a good course, and essentially goes through everything from the definitions of abuse, the signs, through to the actions to take. The key is to do something if there is suspicion. It is not down to us as coaches (or others involved in the sport) to decide whether abuse has occured, but ignoring the signs is wrong.
The other side of the coin is to protect ourselves! For example, not being in the position where you would be alone with a child: Avoiding one-to-one coaching, or giving a child a lift home. THankfully, Judo is very open as a sport: Clubs are typically run by quite a few people, and parents always made welcome to view sessions in their entirety.
A lot of this stuff is naturally common sense. Good practice would be having at least two coaches on the mat. Dubious practice might be inviting Gary Glitter to coach a session on his own. But it was good to go through it all and get the materials, so if a situation ever arises, I know who to talk to next. Note that clubs should have a dedicated Welfare Officer who have more advanced training (“A Time To Listen”, via the NSPCC).
There is some crossover here with Long Term Player Development (LTPD). As athletes are at different ages different types and levels of training are more appropriate than others. It is important to avoid pushing too hard, as this in itself could be abuse (Think ‘pushy parent syndrome’, berating their child for crying, or losing at a competition). Not to mention ‘helping’ a child meet their weight category with the likes of saunas and wearing bin liners when training!
Very early days for me on the learning about coaching front. I am already thirsty for more.