What is a child?

A child (or young person) is defined by the Children’s Act 1989 as any male or female under the age of 18 years.

What is a vulnerable adult?

There are two main different criteria which the those dealing with Vulnerable Adults consider to define a person who is a Vulnerable Adult.

The Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 1986 defines a vulnerable adult as a person who is aged 18 years or over and who:

However, the Consultative document "No Secrets" from the Department of Health (published 2009), based on the Lord Chancellor’s Department Consultation Paper of 1997 gives a different persective and defines a vulnerable adult as a person:

"who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation".

Currently consultation responses based on the "No Secrets" are being processed from interested Safeguarding Boards dealing with vulnerable adults and other interested parties.

Relevant Legislation and Guidance (England and Wales)

There is much legislation and government guidance governing procedures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults in England and Wales. These include:

Rights of the individual

All individuals have the right to be safe from abuse and harm. They also have the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of race, sex or religion.

The following guide to abuse is meant to inform individuals as to what constitutes abuse and is therefore unacceptable behaviour in a modern society and the family of bowls.

What is a volunteer

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002 defines a volunteer as a person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than or in addition to a close relative.


What is Abuse?

The term abuse is used to describe ways in which an individual is harmed, usually by adults, and often by people they know and trust.

Forms of Abuse

Physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and sexual abuse, make up the four recognised main categories of abuse. In addition, bullying is now recognised as another major form of abuse in its own right.


Physical Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Sexual molestation is the most widely published form of abuse, but is not the only way in which children or vulnerable people are harmed.

Emotional Abuse

Abuse in Sport

There have been cases of people in sport being found guilty of child abuse, and equally some who have had to answer to accusations wrongly made against them. In all sport close bonds can develop between trainer and trainee, and it is important that those involved with children understand the situations which may give rise to incidences of perceived or actual child abuse. The following are examples where this can occur.

What is child abuse?

The term child abuse is used to describe ways in which children are harmed, usually by adults, and often by people they know and trust. Both boys and girls are at risk of having their physical and mental health damaged by any of the forms of abuse stated above.

Child abuse can take many forms, and may occur within and outside the family, at school, and even within a social or sports environment.

Abuse of a vulnerable adult

Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates the individual’s human and civil rights. The abuse can vary from treating someone with disrespect in a way which significantly affects the person’s quality of life, to causing actual physical or mental suffering.

Abuse can happen anywhere – in a residential or nursing home, a hospital, in the workplace, at a day centre or educational establishment, in supported housing or in the street.

Forms of abuse include:

What should be done if there is cause for concern

See Dealing with Concerns and Incidents.


Bullying is another form of abuse and can take many forms. It is repeated harassment over a period of time, and is done in a way that makes it difficult for the person being bullied to defend themselves.

Types of Bullying

There are three main types of bullying.

Verbal bullying, including:

Physical bullying, including:

Indirect bullying, including:

Remember, bullying can happen outside of a school or college or even in the street or even sports venue. If someone is consistently doing any of these things, whether it's on the street, on the bus or in the workplace, it’s still considered bullying.

Who is affected by bullying?

There are many reasons why an individual could become a victim of bullying. Perhaps they are:

Remember, it’s the person who’s doing the bullying who’s in the wrong and there is nothing wrong with THE INDIVIDUAL.

Measures to combat bullying and advice on action to help the victim and deal with the bully are given in Strategies to combat bullying.

Jargon Busters

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) [Formerly Crimininal Record Bureau (CRB)]

Ther former Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) is part of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) which is a branch of the Home Office which acts as a "one-stop shop" for organisations, checking police records and, in relevant cases, information held by the former Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

This service enables organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involve children or vulnerable adults. The CRB part of the DBS was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002.

Prior to 2002, access to police checks was mainly confined to organisations in the statutory sector for staff who had "substantial unsupervised access" to children. There were many other organisations that could not access these checks and yet had staff with similar access to vulnerable groups. The DBS enables many more organisations to access these checks as part of good recruitment practice.

Organisations wishing to use the service can ask successful job applicants to apply for one of two types of check. The type of check required will depend upon the nature of the position. These are called Enhanced and Standard Checks, both require a fee but are free of charge to volunteers. However, the "Family of Bowls" only accept Enhanced disclosures as these are the only disclosures which are acceptable for any role which brings them into contact with a child or vulnerable adult on a frequent or intensive basis.

Regulated Activity

Under the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, Bowls is considered a regulated activity.

The DBS (formerly CRB in April 2009) advised that any position eligible for a DBS Disclosure at Enhanced Level will now be referred to as a "Regulated Position" or positions where "regulated activity" occurs which can be defined by any of the following activities:

Following a review of the legislation by Roger Singleton ("Drawing the Line") further guidance was provided in December 2009 which the government has accepted. Thus the term "regulated activity" will apply when the activity is

Supervisory Roles

In addition to certain activities being regulated, certain roles are deemed to be of a 'supervisory' nature and require the individual concerned to hold a DBS at Enhanced Level , irrespective of the frequency of contact with either children or vulnerable adults. Roles which come under this category include Safeguarding Officers/ Welfare Officers and Crown Green Referees and Short Mat Umpires.

Regulated Activity Provider (RAP)

A Regulated Activity Provider is defined under current legislation as an organisation that is responsible for the management or control of regulated activities, paid or unpaid and makes arrangements for people to "work" in that activity. This will usually be an employer or a voluntary organisation.

As the Sport of Bowls is deemed to be a Regulated Activity, the club and/or association which is providing or hosting an activity involving youth or vulnerable adults is a Regulated Activity Provider.

Return to previous page