Significant change in law relating to Position of Trust

Following many years of campaigning, the law surrounding positions of trust is to be changed to extend to those involved in coaching, leading, teaching, training, supervising or instructing in sport. As of 28 June 2022, it will be a criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for those in a position of trust in sports organisations, such as coaches, to have a sexual relationship with participants under 18 years of age.

Paddle UK’s Position

Paddle UK’s Code of Conduct for the Coaching Workforce has, for many years, recognised the position of trust and power that the coaching workforce holds and has prohibited sexual relationships between a coach and paddler. Instructors, Coaches and Leaders must develop a relationship with their participants (and others) based on openness, honesty, mutual trust and respect. Specifically, the Code of Conduct states:

“Do not engage in any form of sexually related contact or activity with any Paddler for whom you have responsibility. This extends to sexual innuendo, flirting or inappropriate gestures and terms.”

This applies to all those who help others achieve their goals through paddlesport.

So what’s new?

The change in law means that any sexual relationship between a coach and participant under 18 is a criminal offence, and therefore would not only be a breach of our Code of Conduct and subject to Paddle UK safeguarding and disciplinary procedures, but may also result in a criminal prosecution.

The law applies to any adult (over 18) involved in coaching, teaching, training, supervising or instructing in a sport.

As with any other safeguarding concern, everyone has a duty to report any concerns relating to this law in line with Paddle UK’s safeguarding policies.

I have more questions!

The Paddle UK Safeguarding Team is working closely with the Child Protection in Sport Unit of the NSPCC and other sports and we will be providing more guidance to the paddlesport community as we receive more guidance from the Government.

In the meantime, we would urge all those involved in coaching, leading, teaching, training, supervising or instructing to revisit the Code of Conduct and/or the free eLearning that supports this document.

If you have any questions about positions of trust in our Code of Conduct or the change in the law, please contact the Paddle UK Safeguarding team.


Positions of Trust: Understanding recent law changes Webinar

Friday 1 July 12-1,

Delivered by subject matter experts, UK Coaching is pleased to share free monthly Time2Learn webinars on vital coaching topics are jam-packed with practical advice, invaluable tips, and ideas you can use right away in your coaching

Presented by Senior Consultant at the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit Laura Whapham, this session covers the implications of recent changes to legislation which will mean that certain positions in sport and physical activity are positions of trust. You will learn what the recent changes in the law are, how they will impact on sports coaches, and what you can do to support these changes and the people you coach.

Book your FREE place HERE.