Coaching in the UK

Further statement regarding safeguarding and protecting children

Thu, 09 Feb 2017

In response to the BBC article Scottish sports fall short in background checks for coaching children, Sports Coach UK has issued the following statement:

Sports Coach UK strongly urges clubs and sports organisations to ensure that coaches and volunteers working with children, have taken the appropriate safeguarding checks. It is especially important if a role has expanded to include working with children when initially it did not.

Parents will have questions they want answered before allowing their children to take part in sport or physical activity. If you are unsure what to ask, the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) recommends questions that include:

Does the organisation/club have a child protection policy?
Does the organisation/club have a written code of behaviour or code of conduct?
What training has been provided for staff and volunteers?

A club should welcome questions about their activities and policies. They have a responsibility to give this kind of information to anyone who leaves a child in their care.

If a parent, volunteer or anyone associated with a club witnesses anything that they feel should be reported, they are advised to speak with the club welfare officer, the governing body of sport or the NSPCC directly. The concern page on the CPSU website illustrates the processes to use when there are concerns about possible abuse of a child or young person.

For those who feel uncomfortable with contacting the above, you can call the NSPCC confidential 24 hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Child Line for children and young people on 0800 1111.

For more than 20 years, we have worked closely with the NSPCC and CPSU to set the right standards and to raise awareness among coaches of how to recognise and respond to signs of child abuse. We work with governing bodies of sport to train and educate coaches. Our safeguarding programme of workshops continues to be attended by over 20,000 coaches every year. These workshops are updated to reflect changing threats to young people.

Additionally many employers have adopted our Minimum Standards for Active Coaches, which require every coach working with children to have a DBS check or Home Country equivalent. This is implemented via Governing Bodies and employers.

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