Sport and Recreation Alliance Statement: Safeguarding and protecting children

“This is a very serious issue and one that needs to be investigated properly so that lessons can be learned from what has happened in the past.

We will continue to work with our members in creating a culture of safeguarding. A lot of progress has been made in the sector and NGBs are committed to safeguarding the welfare of children in sport. For example, many work closely with the Child Protection in Sport Unit, part of the NSPCC, to develop robust policies and procedures that work to protect children.

The importance of creating a culture of safeguarding is also supported by the recent launch of UK Sports Governance Code which makes explicit reference to safeguarding and the importance of it. We also expect the Government’s Duty of Care Review led by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson to also include comments on this issue.

The emergence of allegations of historical abuse clearly warns us against any hint of complacency in the sector. It is important that organisations keep their policies and procedures under review and many of our members work with the CPSU to ensure that they are up to date and following best practice.

From the public’s perspective we would encourage parents to find out what policies are in place at their local club and if they have any concerns they should raise them with the club. If they still have concerns they should contact the relevant National Governing Body, if applicable or report any serious concerns they may have with the NSPCC, the local authority or police.

Part of this culture of safeguarding is also recognising that everyone has a role to play in keeping our children safe. A checking system or the implementation of a policy is not enough on its own, but as part of a wider culture of awareness they will make it more difficult for people who want to cause harm to be able to do so. That is why  if someone suspects something, they should report it and one of the positive benefits that we hope will come out of the reports of recent days is that it will raise awareness of the issue and give people the confidence to speak up to seek help for themselves or prevent it happening to others.

It is important though that the events of the last few weeks don’t detract from the overall advantages of getting involved in sport or erode trust in community sport. We know that there are many thousands of adults actively volunteering in sports clubs up and down the county who make sure that young people in their care are safe, having fun and enjoying all the benefits we know sport brings.”

Emma Boggis

Chief Executive