Safe to Play - Safeguarding Children in Sport and Physical Activities
The Safe to Play national campaign is being piloted in Thurrock to focus attention on the vital importance of safeguarding in sports clubs and physical activity providers.
Sports and other physical activities offer great ways for children and young people to develop their skills and confidence as well as having fun, but it comes as quite a surprise to many parents and carers that some may not actually be regulated.
There have been a number of instances, nationally and locally, where inappropriate behaviour and abuse has been perpetrated by adults in a position of trust within the area of sport.
We know that there are many sports clubs and physical activity providers that do provide an excellent service to children and young people and adhere to safeguarding guidelines. We want to see all providers across the sporting spectrum making safeguarding a priority, particularly with the increasing local and national media coverage of children being exploited and abused within this field. Thurrock Local Safeguarding Childrens Partnership (LSCP) is committed to protecting children and young people from abuse and exploitation in all its forms, especially through sport and physical activity. The LSCP is launching the ‘Safe to Play’ campaign in partnership with The National Working Group (NWG). There are three main aims of the campaign:
- To help and support parents and carers in taking a proactive role in researching the sports or physical activity that they consider for their child,
- To support children in raising their awareness of safeguarding, keeping themselves safe and who they can contact of they are concerned
- To focus on the responsibilities of the sports clubs or physical activity provider and promote the importance of safeguarding as a priority of all sports clubs and physical activity provider Keeping children’s safety and wellbeing needs at the forefront of everything they do.
What should parents ask providers:
- Can I stay to observe the sessions?
- Where can I access a copy of your Safeguarding Policy?
- Do coaches / sport trainers have an up to date Police Check?
- Where can I access a copy of your Health and Safety Policy?
- What emergency procedures do you have in place? Suggestion: A bit confusing as to what emergency procedures – perhaps make clearer.
- Where can I access a copy of your Code of Conduct for Staff, Volunteers and Children?
- Are all staff and volunteers trained in Safeguarding and First Aid?
- Who do I speak to if I have any Safeguarding concerns?
- Do you have a Safeguarding page on your website, leaflet, or information sheet that I can access?
For further guidance see the Safe After School - Parents Leaflet and the Parent Questions.
What should providers do?
Providers of sport and physical activity should have the relevant safeguarding procedures in place and be able to answer parent’s questions regarding their child's safety even if they are not regulated, to help protect themselves and their business. They should be transparent in sharing this information to parents and make the information readily available to view.
High quality clubs and organisations will always welcome questions about their activities, the safety of their environment and the care of children and young people.
We will be delivering a variety of training sessions to providers and raising awareness workshops with parents and carers. We will also be asking schools to raise awareness with parents and carers in the form of information leaflets for parents to refer to when considering sending their child or young person to an activity. For further guidance see the Safe After School - provider booklet under 'Downloads'.
We would like to thank Rochdale Council LADO for sharing their materials with us in support of raising safeguarding awareness to parents, children and improving practice within the sporting industry.