Bowls England |


Positions of Trust


As of Wednesday 28th June 2022, the law changed.  The law in England and Wales now states that those in a position of trust in sports organisations, such as a coach, cannot legally have a sexual relationship with young people they look after, under 18 years old.


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 be dependent on their coach, mentor or other adult for their sporting development, success, or position in a club, representative or national team.


Positions of trust in bowls includes but are not limited to coaches, umpires, team managers etc.


What can Bowls Clubs do?


Clubs should clearly define within their codes of conduct that abuse of positions of trust is unacceptable behaviour, which could result in prosecution. Breaches of these codes should be robustly addressed in line with the law.

  • The code of conduct should reference the organisation’s definition of roles that constitute positions of trust and reference the law stating that any sexual relationships/activity between adults in those roles and 16–17-year-olds for whom they are in a position of authority constitutes an offence.
  • Reports any breaches in this law should be reported asap to the NGB Lead Safeguarding Officer.


What can Bowls Coaches and Team Managers etc. do?


As someone in a position of trust, you have a responsibility to maintain a positive, healthy relationship with the young people under your authority.

  • Ensure that you read, understand, sign up to and comply with the code of conduct/behaviour your club, organisation or Bowls England has produced for the role you hold.
  • Maintain a relationship with all participants that is appropriate to your role and reflects positively on the club or organisation you work or volunteer for.
  • Relationships between those in positions of trust and young people in sport should be supportive, positive and aimed at improving the young person’s skills, and progress
  • Whether or not the code explicitly refers to positions of trust (and what would constitute breach) as someone in a position of authority you should not seek to or engage in sexual activity or sexualised communication or image sharing (including via social media) with 16- or 17-year-olds for whom you are responsible.

If you think that a young person’s behaviour indicated that they are seeking to develop or engage in an inappropriate relationship with you, immediately bring this to the attention of your club or organisation’s welfare officer, designated safeguarding lead or manager. Be careful not to respond to the participant in any way that could be interpreted as encouraging the young person concerned. Make a written record of your concerns and relevant details.

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