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TFNZ Action Following Conviction

November 2020

International Taekwon-Do New Zealand places the utmost priority on the safety and wellbeing of our students, particularly our students who are children or are vulnerable.

As a martial Art we are guided by and operate within a values system that is taught to every student from the beginning of their Taekwon-Do journey. Our morals and values, instilled in our Oath, our Tenets, and at every level of our grading syllabus, embody our purpose

We are proud of the structures and processes we have in place to uphold these morals and values. Our Standards and Discipline Committee sits at the heart of these processes. The role of this Committee, made up of senior and well-regarded members of our organisation, is to monitor the behaviour of our members against our moral and legal obligations. The Committee acts quickly to assess and respond to situations that come to its attention.

Fortunately, it is rare for the Standards and Discipline Committee to take action. This is because we have several robust processes in place that emphasis a continual raising of the bar in relation to the way our members behave, as they journey from white to black belt. These processes filter out those not able to meet our standards. By the time an experienced member steps up to take on an instructor role, they are well known within the organisation and have been through the rigours of our grading system. All members are required to do an instructor induction course, and instructors and assistant instructors are required to be police vetted, to identify any convictions that would make that instructor unsuitable for the role.

It is therefore with much regret that a long-serving member of our community was recently convicted of indecent assault. Our hearts and aroha go out to the victim and whanau and others impacted by this event.

We acted swiftly and in the best interests of our students when we were made aware of the circumstances. We were alerted that a serious complaint had been laid with the Police, just prior to arrest. As soon as Andrew Salton was arrested and charged, he was immediately suspended from our organisation. Andrew Salton is no longer a member of International Taekwon-Do. We also want to reassure our members that this appears to be an isolated event. We have not heard from any other members about a similar situation occurring under the instruction of Andrew Salton, or any other instructor.

We do want to take this opportunity to say if someone else has been put into a similar situation, not just within Taekwon-Do, but in any other sport or environment, that they make a complaint with the Police. It is clear in this situation, given the seriousness of the charge, the family of the victim did the right thing in laying a complaint with the Police. In addition, we encourage members to contact our Standards and Discipline Team, or any senior member of our organisation, if they have a concern or complaint about the conduct of another member.

As a result of this event, we have undertaken a review of our policies, including our Health & Safety Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy. In addition, after both internal and external consultation, we have developed a Child Protection Policy. Although not required by the Vulnerable Children Act to have this policy, we consider this a good next step in continuing to enhance our organisational practices around protecting children.

To support the implementation of this policy we are in the process of developing education modules to be rolled out to all of our instructors, assistant instructors and persons of power and/or influence within the organisation, in the coming months.

We want all of our instructors, assistant instructors and senior members to have the wellbeing and protection of children top of mind as they go about instructing in, and practicing the art of, Taekwon-Do

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact:
- Lena Walton - Head of Standards & Discipline - standards@itkd.co.nz
- Nick Lourantos - Board Chair - boardchair@itkd.co.nz


A statement from the New Zealand Masters

To the entire membership of ITFNZ,

“We write in full support of the Boards release in regards to Andrew Salton.

As the New Zealand Masters, we collectively condemn what has occurred and continue to be profoundly disappointed and saddened that this has happened within our organisation. We too feel betrayed and hurt.

Our deepest sympathies are with the family and we offer the sincerest of apologies that something of this magnitude has transpired on our watch. It is heartbreaking to have a lost a talented student and a loyal family due to these circumstances, and we also recognize the trauma and pain that has been caused and whose effects will continue to be felt.

Moving forward, we must reflect, plan and ensure all appropriate steps are in place to guard our youngest and most vulnerable members. The safety of the child is paramount and we are left feeling empty and shocked that something of this nature has happened, when we, by example and action, try daily to create a more peaceful world.

The New Zealand Masters give their complete backing in regards to any new policy, training or initiatives, that helps to ensure adequate protection is provided to all our membership, but especially our children and young people.

The New Zealand Masters have zero tolerance towards any form of abuse or exploitation.”

International Taekwon-Do Federation
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