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Stay Safe In Sport - Safeguarding in Sport & Physical Activity

Sport can and does have a very powerful and positive influence on people – especially children & young people. Not only can it provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement, it can also develop valuable qualities such as self-esteem, leadership and teamwork. These positive effects can only take place if sport is in the right hands – in the hands of those who place the welfare of all children first and adopt practices that support, protect and empower them.

The reality is that abuse does take place in sport and in some cases coaches and other trusted adults in sport have been convicted.

Dudley Metropolitan Council Sport & Physical Activity Service are committed to ensuring all our services are as safe as possible and are committed to working in partnership with all agencies to ensure that information and training opportunities are available for sports coaches and physical activity providers to guide them in best practice when working with all children, young people and disabled adults. Adopting best practice will help to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults from potential abuse as well as protecting coaches and other adults in positions of responsibility from potential allegations. Dudley Council Sport and Physical Activity service and other providers of sport & physical activity also has a positive role to play in identifying and reporting suspicions occurring outside the sporting area.

Sport plays a positive role in the lives of many children and young people. As well as the obvious health benefits, they also gain important social and life skills. That is why it is important that everyone who provides sport does as much as possible to create and maintain an enjoyable and safe environment.

As a parent or carer you play an important role in protecting your child and helping them get the best from sport. The information you give them and the example you set can provide them with the knowledge and confidence needed to deal with potentially threatening or abusive situations. It is also important for you to check how a sports club or activity is run. This is your responsibility. Even though the organisation may seem professional, you should not make any assumptions about the way the club or activity is run until you have checked it yourself.

The Helping Keep your child safe in sport : Child protection leaflet for parents gives advice to help you ask the right questions that sports providers should have in place. Dudley safeguarding in sport standard seal acts as a quality assurance mechanism and it is advisable that you ask providers in Dudley if they are a member.

Parents have a responsibility to ensure they act as a role model on and off the sports field. The Parents Charter gives practical advice for parents to ensure that sport is fun for everyone.

Parents can ensure sport is fun for everyone by considering this charter:

  • Teach your child to treat everyone equally and sensitively regardless of their gender, ethnic origin or cultural background

  • Do not force an unwilling child to take part

  • Always encourage your child to play by the rules and to respect the match officials

  • Young people are involved in organised sport for their enjoyment – not yours

  • Never ridicule, punish or shout at your child for making a mistake or losing a game

  • Teach your child that effort and teamwork are as important as victory, so the result of each game is accepted without undue disappointment

  • Support all efforts to remove verbal, physical and racist abuse from sport

  • Turn defeat into victory by helping young people towards skill improvement and good sportsmanship

  • Remember that young people learn best from example Do not question publicly the judgement of match officials and never their honesty

  • Recognise the value and importance of volunteer coaches and administrators – they give their time, energy and resources to provide recreational activities for your child

  • Insist on fair and disciplined play – do not tolerate foul play, cheating, foul, sexist or racist language

  • As a spectator you must never enter the field of play

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your child is collected promptly from the venue at the end of all sessions/matches

Children and Young People

Sport is fun – it gives you an opportunity to make new friends and try out new activities. From time to time, an adult may spoil the fun by doing or saying something during sporting activities that cause you to feel frightened or sometimes hurt.

If you don’t feel safe in sport or just want more information see the ‘Don’t let anyone spoil the fun leaflet’ which gives advice on what to do if you are being bullied or hurt in sport.

Players Charter

All children and young people taking part in sport across the Black Country can ensure they enjoy themselves and everyone else has fun by following the ‘Players Charter’.

Safeguarding in Sport toolkit

Through Dudley Safeguarding Children Board, generic Safeguarding in Sport training is offered throughout the year free of charge. Sports specific safeguarding courses can also be delivered on request.

Change in safeguarding legislation for sports coaches

Law to change on position of trust to include sports coaches

Sports minister Tracey Crouch, speaking at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary questions session, announced that agreement had been reached with the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office to change laws on the position of trust to include sports coaches.

Source: UK Parliament Date: 16 November 2017

UK Coaching Statement: Position of Trust

UK Coaching welcomes Sports Minister Tracey Crouch’s announcement that safeguarding legislation will be updated to include coaching as a ‘Position of Trust’.

These measures are vital to ensure we are doing all we can to protect children and young people from potential harm.

However, what must be remembered is that the duty of care of a coach goes much wider than just this age group. Those who are coaching have a responsibility for their participants. It is of the utmost importance to create a safe environment for those taking part in sport and physical activity and for all people involved to be treated with respect.

We work in partnership with the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) to promote and advocate the highest of standards of safeguarding.

It is important that anyone can recognise any form of abuse and that they take the necessary steps to report it. This should be with a sport’s governing body or a club’s welfare officer. For any activity not affiliated to a governing body, these reports should be made to a county sports partnership or local children’s social care. If there is no one else to report an instance to, or if a child is in immediate danger, contact the police.

The vast majority of coaches provide great coaching and support to millions of people across the UK to reach their own goals and motivations. There are many wider holistic benefits that coaching offers, not only in sport but in society in general.

Making coaching sessions as safe as possible is essential to a lifetime habit of participation in, and enjoyment of, sport and physical activity.

Published: Friday 17 November 2017