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Keeping my Child Safe in Sport

In the following section we provide some information that we hope will help you, as a parent, to identify clubs and coaches who appropriately value your child’s safety and personal development.

For many children, participation in sport is a positive, fun, and valuable experience. Sport provides opportunities to develop physical skills, gain lifelong friends, and grow as a person. Throughout their sporting experiences, children have a chance to learn lots about themselves and hopefully develop a range of positive memories that will stay with them for a life time. Unfortunately, however, not all children have positive experiences in sport and in some cases children and young people can find themselves being exposed to very negative or abusive relationships and situations.

We believe that when children and young people participate in sport, they all have the right to enjoy their experience and to be physically, psychologically, and emotionally safe. As a parent, you play a vital role in encouraging and supporting your child’s participation in sport and have a right to take steps to help ensure your child is safe while participating. Such steps can include checking how well your child’s sports club is run, asking questions about your child’s coaches qualifications, and raising concerns about poor practice within the club.


Questions about how to keep children safe in sport

What is safeguarding and why is it important in sport?

Safeguarding is the promotion of wellbeing of a child and protection of them against all forms of treats. It is simply doing everything possible to minimise the risk of harm to children and young people. It is important in sport to  ensure that all children are able to access safe and enjoyable experiences.

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What are the potential risks I should be aware of?

Although sport can provide numerous benefits for children it can also lead to potential risks and being aware of these is important. Such risks include physical, psychological, and sexual harm.

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How can I keep my child safe in sport?

Ask about the policies your child’s club has in place to keep children safe and spend time in the environment to learn about the culture of the club. Also, take time to talk to your child about key safe messages.

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What policies and procedures should a club have in place to keep children safe?

The exact policies and procedures may vary between clubs and organisations. However, best practice indicates that clubs should have policies regarding safe recruitment procedures, reporting procedures parental consent requirements, codes of conduct, and named welfare or safeguarding officers.

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What should parents expect from their child’s coach?

Coaches should want your child to enjoy their sporting experience. They  should work with you as a parent to ensure your child stays safe and participates in sport for as long as possible.

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Who should I contact if I have a concern for my child’s safety?

Again this will vary across clubs and countries. But the best people to contact are your child’s coach, the club welfare officer, the welfare officer in your child’s sports federation or organisation, professional helplines, or in the most serious cases the police.

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Resources for Download

Visit the resources area to search and download our series of helpful documents.

Visit our resources section

Other useful resources are also available, we've provided a few links here

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