Safeguarding children in sport is everyone’s responsibility

The International Safeguarding and Sport working group has published new International Safeguards for Children in Sport. Millions of children and young people take part in sporting activities every day. Everyone involved needs to take note as it’s all of our responsibility to keep children safe.

We know that participating in sport can have huge benefits for children and young people. We want everyone to have the chance to play sports, whether it’s a social or competitive experience. Clubs and organisations all over the UK are making this happen. But within this there is a risk of children and young people being abused.

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. It can happen anywhere, to any child regardless of age, gender, race or ability. A sports setting is not exempt.

There are four main types of abuse: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Within sport, children and young people can also be harmed through poor practice and bullying.

The International Safeguards are guidelines to help any organisation providing sports activities to children and young people have the right things in place. Overall, they aim to:

• help create a safe sporting environment for children wherever they participate and at whatever level

• provide guidance to sports providers so they can ensure organisations they work with know how to protect children

• promote good practice for sporting organisations to follow and challenge practice that is harmful to children

• provide clarity on safeguarding children so all those involved in sport know how to keep children safe.

The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) was part of the working group who put the Safeguards together. Anne Tiivas, Director, NSPCC CPSU said:

"These new safeguards set out the key steps that every organisation can take, right from the recruitment stage to developing policies and procedures to ensure children’s safety, well-being and protection across all sports".

If you’re involved in delivering sport to children and young people please read the International Safeguards. For more sport specific information, you can contact a lead child protection officer through
your sports governing body.

Read the International Safeguards.

Visit the CPSU website to read more about safeguarding in sport.

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