Article Written By Stee Boocock, Chief Exective, Wiltshire & Swindon Sport (WASP)
The recent cases in football have increased public attention and awareness of safeguarding practices in sport and a scrutiny of current practices by government and Sport England. The overwhelming majority of reported cases within football relate to historical allegations of abuse and pre-date the significant work that has taken place within the sector, particularly since 2001. The reported cases also reflect the evidence that those young people involved in elite sport or within the unregulated sports sector can be at a greater risk of harm. We should be aware that the pending Duty of Care review undertaken by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson is likely to further highlight the risks of abuse athletes currently face and further focus attention on this issue.
The discussions at Ministerial level have given the sector the opportunity to have a dialogue with key departments. They have actively sought views about existing gaps in provision across the sector (including those relating to aspects of DBS operation, leisure and facilities, unregulated providers and aspect of legislation) and asked for suggestions for how these may be addressed.
CSPs continue to have an important role to play in this area and it is important they reflect the current level of concern in their own work and promote safeguarding across their networks. There are several actions that all CSPs and all organisations working with young people in sport should consider;
- Ensure you areproviding information on current safeguarding activity at a national and local level to your Local Safeguarding Childrens Board to ensure they are aware of the wider sports network. The information could include details of the current safeguarding training that is provided to coaches and welfare officers, the support that is provided to clubs or others, the steps taken by your CSP/ organisation to implement best practice across your programmes and contact details of your Designated Officer and the support and information you may be able to provide.
- Ensure your safeguarding policy and procedure is easily accessible on your website and that you have up to date contact information for young people, parents, clubs and coaches outlining what they can do if they have a concern.
- Consider if your policy will outline how you would respond to a concern of historical abuse.
- Consider if your current policies and procedures address the safeguarding of adults and what links you could establish with partners to promote and support this.
- Ensure all staff are aware of your safeguarding policy and understand what steps they can take both to promote best practice and how to respond to a concern.
Further support and information is available through the CPSU but if you would like to contact your CSP for more information on how they can help and support all contact details can be found on the CSP Network Website.
Steve Boocock , CEO WASP & Safeguarding Representative for CSP Network