ABRS+ working with BE on Safeguarding

Posted on 18th March 2022

George Baber, Director of Operations for the ABRS+, attended the British Equestrian (BE) Safeguarding Action Team (SAT) Meeting on Weds 16 Mar.  The SAT is responsible for co-ordinating safeguarding measures across the Member Bodies of BE. 

Safeguarding remains a critical issue across BE, with 37 cases reported Nov 20 to Oct 21.  While this is lower than the preceding year (66 cases), the reduction is probably due to reduced activity from COVID-19. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 is in its final stages of approval, awaiting Royal Assent.  This Bill brings major changes to Safeguarding in Sport, which all riding establishment should understand. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 created the concept of a ‘position of trust’.  A ‘position of trust’ refers to certain roles (for example teachers, doctors and social workers) working in statutory settings (such as schools), where an adult has regular and direct contact with children.

It’s against the law for someone in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a child in their care, even if that child is over the age of consent (16 or over).  A new section will be created in the Sexual Offences Act that will extend the concept of a ‘position of trust’ to non-statutory settings such as Sports and will cover those that coach, teach, train, supervise or instruct in a sport.  For an individual to fall within the new section of the act, they must:

– Carry out the activity ‘on a regular basis’, to avoid an approach that is too broad and capture someone who only helps with a coaching session, say, on one occasion or infrequently.
– The individuals must know that an arrangement exists (ie the coach and student know each other).

It should be noted that the extension of the ‘position of trust’ applies not just to the coaching of clients but applies to other teaching or supervision setting, including where a riding establishment has an apprentice or a member of staff under the age of 18.

The ABRS+ will publish further advice in due course but riding establishments should ensure that they have Safeguarding Policy and Procedures in place, including ensuring coaches and adults that have unsupervised access to children, young people under 18 and adults at risk clearly know that that they are in a ‘position of trust’ and have been appropriately Criminal Record checked.

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