Participation in sport and leisure activities is a positive goal for all children and success outside the home is associated with the promotion of resilience; that quality which better helps us withstand life’s adversities.
Sportanddev.org remark that ‘Many clubs, organisations and funding bodies have paid too little attention to safeguarding children in sport. Many people respond to the suggestion that their staff need training in this area with the assertion that ‘that sort of thing doesn’t happen here’ or ‘it’s not my responsibility to deal with this’ -well it does and it is!”
Safeguarding expectations on voluntary sector staff
Leisure, sport and cultural services designed for children and families such as libraries, play schemes and play facilities, parks and gardens, sport and leisure centres, events and attractions, museums and arts centres services must particularly ensure casual and temporary staff also receive child protection training as part of their induction and then ongoing training.
Staff, volunteers and contractors who provide these services will have various degrees of contact with children who use them, and appropriate arrangements to safeguard children will need to be in place. These should include appropriate codes of practice for staff, particularly sports coaches, such as those issued by national governing bodies of sport, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the local authority. Working practices should be adopted which minimise unobserved contact with children.
Sports agencies can also seek advice on child protection issues from the Child Protection in Sport Unit, which has been established as a partnership between the NSPCC and Sport England.
Through the facility for homework helpers and holiday groups, some library staff have direct unsupervised contact with children and all must be competent to comply with internal child protection policies and procedures and these London Child Protection Procedures. Because libraries provide opportunities for anonymous access to the internet, staff must be aware and take reasonable precautions to prevent access to pornography and chat rooms in in which children may be drawn into risky relationships. See Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based Forms of Abuse Procedure.
Working Together 2015
As with other professional groups Sports and Leisure staff need to be vigilant about the behaviours of their colleagues. This task is even more complex when part of your role involves physical contact with children, along with monitoring compliance with rigorous training regimes, while at the same time guarding against raising unrealistic expectations in demanding parents.
More information here
Below are a couple of examples of children being abused by sports or leisure professionals.
”A disciplinary hearing earlier this year found one of British judo’s leading coaches was involved in abusing five athletes over 33 years. Until now the details of the hearing have not been made public”
BBC News on line July 2012
”Enquiries relating to child sex abuse involving the former Bury St Edmunds dance teacher are now under way….. He had left Britain under a cloud in December 1995 following a warning of a religious cult-like atmosphere at the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts which he founded in 1983. Suffolk police have said since his death they have received allegations about Mr R*”
Ipswich Star September 2014
‘Grooming young cyclists to take drugs is “nothing short of child abuse”, says International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson’
BBC News on line March 2015
Safeguarding children has both a preventive and reactive component; ensuring effective policies, practices and procedures are in place to limit harm occurring, as well as having measures in place to identify, report, and deal with suspicions and incidents.
Safeguarding training for sports and leisure professional will provide opportunities to discuss issues relevant to participants role and is tailored to provide relevant examples. It can be arranged at times to suit the participants commitments.