Playing safe in sports
A video by NSPCC for parents/carers about safeguarding in sports.
Parents/carers play an important role in their child’s sporting life, both when things are going well and by supporting them if something’s wrong.
Parents/carers should make sure that any sports team or activity their children participates in puts their safety first. Even if the club appears to be professional, there are some things you should still ask to make sure that all necessary safety precautions are in place.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good and professional organsiation will already have procedures in place and will welcome the chance to demonstrate that they are providing a safe environment for your child.
Do you have a safeguarding policy?
A reputable organisation should have up-to-date policies and procedures in place. In case your child has any worries, they should be able to tell you what to do. There should be a code of conduct with guidelines outlining appropriate behaviour for coaches, volunteers as well as children/young people.
Do you have a Welfare Officer?
There should be a Welfare Officer assigned to the club or organisation who will be available to answer any queries you may have. This person will be in charge of policies and handling any issues.
Do you follow safer recruitment procedures?
Every organisation that offers sports programmes/activities must make sure that their hiring procedures, which include references checks, interviews, and the proper police checks for volunteers and employees, are in place.
How do you promote the welfare of children and young people?
Ask the organisation how it supports the welfare of children and young people. This will include things like offering first aid, keeping track of attendance at the start and end of sessions, staff-to-youth ratios, making the proper transportation arrangements if necessary, and listening to and acting upon the opinions of children and young people.
There should be policies in place for how to use social media, text messaging, and appropriate language, for all of their employees and volunteers to abide by.
- Activities where parents or carers are discouraged from watching the sessions or becoming involved.
- Behaviour or activities that encourage rough play, sexual innuendo or humiliating punishments.
- Individuals who take charge and operate independently to organisational guidelines.
- Individuals who show favouritism or personally reward speciﬁc young people.
- Encouragement of inappropriate physical contact.
- Poor communication and negative responses to questions about safeguards for your child.
- A ‘win at all costs’ attitude towards the sport or activity.
- Children who drop out or stop going for no apparent reason.
- Invitations for children to spend time alone with staff or volunteers (or even visit their home).
- Text messages or internet communication direct to young people and does not include parents or carers.
This video shows children and young people talking about the support they’ve had from their parents/carers in sport, how this has made sport more enjoyable for them and helped them achieve their goals.
This video shows several children involved in different sports describing how the behaviour of parents/carers or spectators deteriorates when they wear their ‘magic sports kit’ — i.e. when they compete. They talk about a range of bad adult behaviours and how these negatively impact on them. They then describe and promote positive behaviour.
The Children Protection in Sport Unit has a free 10 minute e-learning course for parents/carers designed to help them understand their role in keeping children safe in sport and who to turn if they have any worries. To access please click here.
StopCE has information, resources and videos specifically for the sports sector to help raise awareness of how abuse can occur through sport. Their campaign is aimed at parents, coaches and children in order to help them understand what to look out for and how to respond to concerns. To view please click here.