Last reviewed: November 2022
For review: November 2025
Part I: Policy Contents
- Purpose of this policy
- Policy statement
- Supporting policies, procedures and guidance
Part II: Appendices
- England and Wales legislation and guidance
- Position of Trust
1.1 The British Wheel of Yoga Limited, is a charity registered in England and Wales (no 1136674) and a Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (no 07030679). It will be referred to throughout this document as BWY.
1.2 BWY is recognised by Sport England and Sport Wales as the National Governing Body for Yoga.
1.3 Its stated objective is to advance the education of the public in yoga. Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities are a governance priority for all charities. This means that the Board of Trustees are ultimately, collectively responsible for safeguarding within BWY and answerable to the Charity Commission for their actions, lack of action and decisions they make.
1.4 BWY trains, supports and educates teachers and student teacher members and enables the purchase of insurance. Our yoga teachers and student yoga teachers may teach children (under 18s) in mixed age groups or teach groups of children. We may also impact on other children at events or through our publications and website.
1.5 BWY is committed to safeguarding and protecting children in line with national legislation and relevant national and local guidelines.
1.6 BWY believes yoga must provide a safe and positive experience for children enhancing flexibility, strength, balance and co- ordination and supporting mental health and wellbeing. Every child who practices yoga must be able to do so in a safe, positive and inclusive space whether online or in face-to-face classes.
1.7 BWY has zero tolerance to the abuse of under 18s.
1.8 Related policies, procedures, guidance and information support this Policy and will be updated regularly.
1.9 This Policy will be made available on BWY’s website.
2. Purpose of this Policy
2.1 The purpose of this policy is to affirm our commitment to safeguarding and protecting all under 18s who are affected by or involved in our activities.
3. Policy statement
BWY prioritises the safeguarding and protection of all under 18s who are involved in or affected by our work. We have zero tolerance of abuse which means we will always take action if child abuse or suspected child abuse should:
- take place during yoga sessions,
- be perpetrated by members of BWY
- be perpetrated or experienced by attendees of yoga sessions
- be reported to our members by attendees of yoga sessions
- be reported to BWY by the public about our members or attendees.
BWY will ensure that all relevant incidents of safeguarding breaches are reported to the relevant local authority and/or the police.
We are committed to upholding safeguarding best practice and minimising the risk of children being harmed both in face-to-face classrooms and online.
We recognise some children have additional vulnerabilities or may be ‘at risk’, particularly those with protected characteristics and we will take appropriate steps to safeguard their welfare.
We recognise that child abuse and poor practice can take place anywhere and so it is everybody’s responsibility to report concerns. We recognise abuse can be non-recent, ongoing, a single event or series of events, that it can take place face to face or digitally. For these reasons we will keep updated policies, procedures, training and support to prevent harm and to ensure everyone can recognise, respond, record and report in a way that ensures harm to children is addressed and stopped. This includes ensuring information is available for parents, children and employers.
All concerns about under 18s must be acted on in line with our reporting procedure. Where concerns arise whether poor practice or abuse, we will prioritise the well-being of children and act in accordance with UK legislation and guidance. Poor practice and abuse will be taken extremely seriously and viewed as a breach of our safeguarding policies and procedures.
This policy will be reviewed every three years or sooner in the event of changes to legislation, guidance, organisational structure or information arising from reviews or cases.
Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility however, we have designated safeguarding people with specific responsibilities. The safeguarding process for reporting concerns is set out in the ‘Safeguarding guidance and procedures’ document. Key members of staff who are responsible for this process are:
BWY Chair [email protected]
BWY Training Committee Chair [email protected]
4.1 A child is a person under 18. All under 18s affected by or involved in our activities are within the scope of this Policy.
4.2 Safeguarding children is everybody’s responsibility. Trustees, committee members, volunteers, staff, teacher and student members and those affiliated with the organisation must familiarise themselves with this policy , other relevant policies and associated procedures, codes of practice, guidance, know their responsibilities and comply with them.
4.3 Whilst everyone in the roles in 4.2 is required by this policy to report safeguarding concerns and/or seek appropriate advice, some yoga teachers in Wales may have an additional legal duty to report (see Appendix One).
4.4 We recognise yoga teachers may be employed or contracted to work in settings where other safeguarding policies and procedures are operational. We will give guidance for these arrangements.
4.5 We recognise self-employed yoga teachers may need their own policy and procedures and we will give guidance for this.
4.6 We recognise we cannot know when teachers (or which teachers) are working with children due to their mixed portfolios, mixed age groups, self-employment and teachers often being sole traders. We will give advice and guidance on safeguarding to maximise the safety of children and take action if a teacher breaches the Code of Practice.
4.7 We recognise other yoga bodies and yoga teachers who do not belong to BWY are not required to adhere to this policy, but we hope they will view this policy as a model of best practice when considering their own policies.
5.1 In drafting this policy the relevant legislation and guidance for England and Wales have been considered.
5.2 Supporting policies, procedures, guidance and training will also give consideration to the differences between England and Wales.
5.3 As a charity we recognise that a serious incident or adverse event that results in significant harm to a child must be reported to the Charity Commission.
We are committed to creating and maintaining a safe positive and inclusive environment for children. We follow the principles below and will apply them throughout our organisation including in strategic planning.
6.1 The welfare of the child is paramount (*).
6.2 There must be zero tolerance of abuse to under 18s.
6.3 Recognising and upholding Children’s rights as set out by UNCRC (**).
6.4 Accepting every child has the right to be safe and protected from abuse regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, race, pregnancy, marriage or civil partnership.
6.5 Taking all suspicions of harm, reports of poor practice and any other safeguarding concern seriously, respond swiftly and take action ensures the safety of the child or children concerned. This includes responding to reports of non-recent abuse of under 18s.
6.6 We accept poor practice occurs when the needs of children are not afforded the necessary priority, compromising their wellbeing. It includes behaviours that breach codes of conduct or failure to fulfil high standards of care. If poor practice is not recognised and stopped it can become abuse. Poor practice is unacceptable and must be addressed.
6.7 We understand that adults can groom children digitally and face to face and we will embed awareness of grooming in our policies, procedures and guidance.
6.8 We recognise that adults (anyone aged 18 years or above) in yoga are in a position of trust to children they teach and must not have a sexual relationship with such a child even when that child is 16 or 17 years old. Any such relationship will be seen as a breach of our code of conduct and will be reported to the statutory agencies.
6.9 We recognise the importance of safer recruitment and the importance of DBS checks where there is eligibility and will give guidance for this. Teaching, training, caring for and supervising under 18-year-olds on a regular basis (weekly or more frequently) intensively (more than 3 times in 30 days) or overnight (between the hours of 2am and 6am) is regulated activity and requires an enhanced DBS check and a barring list check (children’s workforce). The same activity which does not meet the frequency, intensity or overnight criteria but happens more than once is eligible for enhanced checks only.
6.10 We work in partnership with statutory partners agencies including the Police, Children’s Social Care and the Disclosure and Barring Service when there is a safeguarding concern. We recognise that if we remove a person from regulated activity, we have a legal duty to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Scheme for barring consideration. In managing cases we recognise we must report to the Disclosure and Barring Service a person we consider to have harmed or posed a risk of harm to a child or a person who has satisfied the harm test or received a caution of conviction for a relevant offence and that the teacher has or might in the future work in regulated activity.
6.11 We accept children have the right to have their views and opinions considered in decisions and actions concerning them and will seek and record their views.
6.12 We recognise some children have additional vulnerabilities or care and support needs above those of their peer group and/or are disadvantaged by their experiences. This will be considered in our planning, procedures, guidance and information.
6.13 Safeguarding referrals, concerns, allegations, incidents, whistle blowing and complaints will provide a learning and review opportunity.
Our Code of Conduct is aligned to these principles and, if they are contravened, we can remove membership or take other relevant actions within the scope of the Code.
We are committed to ensuring our principles and policy will be put into practice by:
7.1 Listening to and respecting children.
7.2 Appointing a safeguarding lead and a member of the trustee board to take responsibility for safeguarding at board level.
7.3 Developing a clear line of accountability within the organisation for safeguarding children.
7.4 Writing and regularly updating detailed safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures, guidance and codes of conduct ensuring that contemporary risks, legal changes and learning from cases and reviews are taken into account.
7.5 Providing regular reports to the Board of Trustees detailing risks and how these are being addressed.
7.6 Developing terms of reference for a case management group consisting of a case by case basis of three of the BWY’s designated people.
7.7 Supporting teachers through training, guidance, codes of practice, information, signposting and support to create a safe, positive and inclusive space for under 18s.
7.8 Ensuring all staff, volunteers, teachers, student teachers and others know where to find procedures and understand their responsibilities including if there is a safeguarding concern including knowing how and when to report.
7.9 Developing codes of conduct for trustees, committee members, volunteers, staff, teacher and student members.
7.10 Providing education and training relevant to the role held.
7.11 Communicating so that parents, members of the public, prospective employers and children what to expect from a BWY teacher and how to report concerns.
7.12 Building a safer culture where everyone knows how they are expected to behave and feel comfortable about sharing concerns.
8. Supporting policies, procedures and guidance
Other policies, procedures, guidance and information will support this policy and be aligned to it. These include:
- Procedures for reporting safeguarding concerns
- Procedures for managing safeguarding concerns
- Policy for storage, retention and disposal of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) information
- Policy on recruitment for ex-offenders
- Procedures and guidance for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
- Complaints process
- Code of Conduct
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
- BWY Statement on Position of Trust
In addition, BWY will publish guidance for safer practice.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
- Ensure safeguarding children is considered in strategic policy documents
- May serve on Case Management Group
- Board of Trustees
Chair of the Training Committee
- Safeguarding Lead on Board of Trustees
- Advocate for safeguarding children to be considered in all policy documents and any training considerations
- May serve on Case Management Group
- BWY Chair
- Board of Trustees
Chief Executive Officer
- May serve on Case Management Group
- BWY Chair
- Board of Trustees
- Develop policies, procedures and guidance
- Jointly with CEO decide when to refer situations to DBS for barring consideration
- Jointly with CEO identify how to manage a safeguarding concern and when to raise a safeguarding concern with a local authority
- May serve on Case Management Group
Yoga teachers and student yoga teachers
- All teachers must follow the Code of Conduct for teachers and report any concerns
- Be familiar with BWY Policy and procedures
- Use Whistle Blowing policy if necessary
- Refer to Safeguarding Managers any possible safeguarding concerns
- Consider safeguarding perspective in communications, plans, events and any other daily work
- Relevant line manager
- As briefed and trained according to role /relevant on-boarding pack
- Case by case
Authority for removing a person from membership for safeguarding reasons sits with the case management group.
Child protection system in the UK
BWY is the NGB for England and Wales. Both countries have their own child protection system and laws to help protect children from abuse at neglect.
Both England and Wales have a framework of legislation, guidance and practice to safeguard children, identify children at risk of harm, take action to protect those children and prevent further abuse from occurring. Each nation is responsible for its own policies and laws covering safeguarding and child protection.
Laws aim to prevent harm to children or require action to protect children. Guidance sets out what organisations should do to play their part to keep children safe. Despite some differences the principles behind the laws are the same.
England and Wales
The Children Act 1989 provides the legislative framework for child protection in England and Wales and includes key principles:
- The paramount nature of the child’s welfare
- Expectation and requirements around duties of care to children
This is strengthened by the Children Act 2004 which encourages partnerships between agencies and creates more accountability, by placing a duty on local authorities and their partners to co-operate in safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and young people. These partners include sport and recreation and therefore yoga.
Both of these Acts sit behind Welsh legislation.
Other relevant legislation for both England and Wales includes:
- Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- Police Act 1997
- Criminal justice and Court Act
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act
- Protection of Freedoms Act
- Every Child Matters 2003
- The Data Protection Act 1994 and 1998
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- The Equality Act 2010
Both Children Acts are amended by the Children and Social work Act 2017. Local safeguarding Boards (LSCB are replaced by local safeguarding partnerships)
The key statutory guidance for yoga in England is Working together to Safeguard Children (2018). It sets out how organisations should work together. This states that:
- Everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe
- Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play in sharing information and identifying concerns
In England staff who work in local authorities, NHS services and trusts, police, probation services and young offenders’ institutions and who do not report suspected cases of abuse or neglect maybe subject to disciplinary procedures but unlike Wales there are currently no criminal penalties.
Working Together 2018 also requires early years providers to have child protection policies and procedures so yoga teachers working in these spaces should also be aware of the local requirements.
In addition, it is mandatory for all regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England to report any ‘known cases’ of female genital mutilation in under 18s. Any yoga teachers employed in these roles should be familiar with the reporting expectations of the agency they work for as a yoga teacher.
Yoga teachers must report all safeguarding concerns and should be familiar with the reporting expectations of any agency they work for.
What to do if you are worried a child is being abused published in 2015 is a helpful guide to recognising and responding to abuse, click here to read.
The government has also published guidance on keeping children safe in out of school settings. There are versions for parents and providers, click here to read.
More information on legislation can be found here, click here to read.
Founded on the Children Acts mentioned above and the UNCRC, the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014, implemented 2016, involves all service providers in the well-being duty which includes protection from abuse and harm. Safeguarding of children (and adults) is found in Part 7 which is supported by a range of statutory guidance volumes (see links below). The Act is rights-based; all children have the right to be protected from abuse, harm and neglect. It is everybody’s responsibility:
- to take reasonable measures to prevent abuse and harm from happening,
- to follow policy and procedures,
- to learn to recognise signs and dangers and
- to report their concerns to an appropriate person if they suspect that someone is experiencing abuse, or there is a risk of abuse.
Teachers who are employed (contractually or substantively) by a relevant partner of a Welsh local authority e.g., education/health/police/probation are placed under a duty to report a “child at risk” (at risk of abuse and who has care and support needs) to the local authority where they have “reasonable cause to suspect” abuse, neglect or harm. Teachers not based in Wales but who teach in Wales or deliver to Welsh children via remote means, are expected to report their concerns in exactly the same way. Ideally this would be to the local authority where the child normally resides (where known).
A key resource is the Wales Safeguarding Procedures available by “The App” (www.safeguarding.wales). This is the practice guidance for “practitioners” (a term referring to anyone in a role with direct contact with children (and adults)) across all settings, which all teachers are encouraged to download to a digital device, for free.
Section 5 of the Wales Safeguarding Procedures provides a fair and consistent approach to a situation where a practitioner might be considered unsuitable to work directly with children (or adults), and how they must be supported throughout.
The App includes a glossary of common terms and a list of the Regional Safeguarding Boards across Wales.
The Welsh Government has also released a Code of Safeguarding Practice for organisations that aren’t subject to statutory regulation, which may include some free-lance teachers, and many of the community spaces from which they teach.
Wales has amended the law around abuse of children to remove the legal defence of “reasonable punishment/chastisement” for parents who physically punish their children. This also applies to grandparents or anyone else who could be “in loco parentis” and people who visit Wales but don’t live there, click here to read.
Where a parent’s actions are cause for concern, they should be reported in the usual way.
Further materials for policy development and means to access safeguarding training in the Welsh context can be provided through WCVA who have kindly assisted with this work.
Useful links (bi-lingual websites English/Welsh):
Abuse and poor practice can be experienced by any child, but some children have needs or experiences that means they may be more at risk than others. This includes children who are deaf or disabled who
may find it harder to report, children who are looked after and may not have continuity of care or children who are perceived as in some way ‘different’ and become the target of bullies or discrimination. Children where the parent/carer abuses substances or where there is domestic abuse in the home are also more vulnerable.
Child abuse is when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or other child. This might be physical, sexual, emotional or bullying. In Wales it might be financial. It also includes neglect which is the failure to provide appropriate levels of care and attention.
Read more here
See Supporting Information 1 Categories of abuse and signs and indicators in yoga
Child protection is the way society responds to protect children who have already experienced abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, or have otherwise been harmed.
Code of Conduct
A code of conduct sets out what behavior is expected and what will happen if the standard is breached.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions by processing and issuing DBS checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. DBS also maintains the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists and makes considered decisions as to whether an individual should be included on one or both of these lists and barred from engaging in regulated activity.
Section 31(9) of the Children Act: ‘ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development including, for
example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another
Grooming is the process where a child is engaged by an adult in a relationship that is then exploited to harm the child.
This can be sexual harm or other forms of harm. It is important to understand how grooming works. Safeguarding guidance helps teachers recognise grooming and howto set boundaries in their practice to keep children safe and keep themselves safe from people misinterpreting their actions.
Non recent abuse
Non recent abuse is sometimes called historical abuse. It is abuse that happened in childhood, but the survivor is now an adult.
Poor practice is defined at section 6.7 of the Policy. It occurs when the needs of children are not afforded the necessary priority compromising their well-being. If behavior falls below the relevant code of conduct it is poor practice.
Position of trust
See Appendix three.
These are characteristics identified by the Equality Act 2010 These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. It is illegal to discriminate against a person on these grounds.
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding means: protecting children from abuse and maltreatment, preventing harm to children’s health or development.
Safeguarding concerns may be poor practice or abuse
Welfare of the child is paramount
The child’s welfare must always be the overriding principle.
Whistleblowing is when someone raises a concern about a dangerous or illegal activity or any wrongdoing within their organisation. Raising a concern is known as “blowing the whistle” and is a vital process for identifying risks to people’s safety.
Position of Trust
Everyone mentioned in section 4.2 of our Policy must help to promote responsible relationships within yoga and prevent the manipulation and exploitation of young people.
Although young people aged 16 and 17 have reached the age of consent for sexual activity according to UK law, they could be vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in certain situations. This includes sexual activity and manipulation by adults who hold a position of trust, responsibility, or authority in relation to them, and, as a result, have a considerable amount of power and influence on their lives.
BWY acknowledges the tools provided by the Child Protection and Sport Unit/NSPCC in drafting this statement
What is a position of trust?
Someone in a position of trust is a person in a position of authority or responsibility over another person. Those in positions of trust have a considerable amount of power and influence on a young persons’ life. For example, a young person may trust their yoga teacher to develop their health and wellbeing and learn coping strategies for stressful situations. They might see the yoga teacher as a role model and someone they can trust.
All yoga teachers and student yoga teachers are considered to be in a position of trust to under 18s they teach.
In addition, Trustees, committee members, volunteers and staff are considered by BWY to be in a relationship of trust to any under 18s where they have a position of authority or responsibility over an under 18 within yoga-for example supervising a 16 year old at an event or providing work experience or an apprenticeship for a 16 or 17 year old.
Researching the nature of the problem in sport high profile cases and inquiries have revealed a culture of abuse from those in positions of trust within sport. A significant number of people in positions of trust in sport have been convicted of child sexual abuse.
Listening to people with lived experiences of abuse within sport has demonstrated how difficult many young people have found it to voice their concerns and allegations and have them believed and acted upon.
Teachers and others in authority positions in yoga can have a positive influence on the welfare of a young person, by providing role models or someone to turn to if they have a concern. But it is important to have clear boundaries in place for the safety of both the young people and the staff, to ensure exploitation cannot take place.
What does the law say?
Sexual offences legislation in the UK underlines that any sexual activity between adults and with children under 16 is illegal and constitutes abuse.
Furthermore, in defined circumstances, young people aged 16 and 17, despite reaching the age of consent for sexual activity, are vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.
Previously the Position of Trust only applied to roles like teachers and social workers, but it has now been extended to include a wider range of roles where adults hold a position of influence or power.
For the avoidance of doubt a position of trust offence is committed when an adult in a position of trust engages in sexual activity with a child in their care, even if the child is over the age of consent (aged over 16 in the UK).
BWY will consider any sexual relationship between a yoga teacher and a child under the age of 18 to be breach of the Code of Conduct and in keeping with our Policy section 6.8 will be reported to the statutory authorities.
In keeping with 6.10 of our Policy we will report to the Disclosure and Barring Service anyone removed from regulated activity or who we consider to have harmed or posed a risk of harm to a child or has satisfied the harm test or received a caution of conviction for a relevant offence and that the teacher has or might in the future work in regulated activity.
We have zero tolerance to this abuse.
In keeping with our commitment at 7.10 in our Policy we will ensure education includes awareness of the position of trust.
In keeping with 7.11 will communicate to parents, members of the public, prospective employers and children know what to expect from a BWY Teacher and that a sexual relationship between a teacher and a child under the age of 18 is always breach of the code of conduct.