Coaching in the UK

Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse

Mon, 13 Jul 2015

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – a response from sports coach UK

sports coach UK supports the Inquiry into historical cases of child sexual abuse, together with all initiatives which raise awareness of this important issue. Based on current evidence, we believe that cases of child sexual abuse within sport are rare, but even one case is too many.

Responding to news of the Inquiry, sports coach UK Chair Chris Baillieu MBE said:
“It is right that those responsible for historic crimes are pursued with the full rigour of the law, but it should be remembered that cases of abuse in sport represent a tiny minority of coaches. There is still a long way to go, but we have made significant progress in recent years to ensure that all coaches are fully aware of their responsibilities.

“The vast majority of coaches play a critical role in introducing children to sport and physical activity, resulting in healthy lifestyles for millions. They can also act as sentinel reporters, identifying potential cases of abuse and alerting the authorities. Over the past 20 years, we have worked closely with the NSPCC to raise awareness amongst sports coaches of how to recognise and respond to signs of child abuse.

“Our safeguarding programme of workshops has been attended by more than 400,000 coaches. More than 80% of Sport England funded Governing Bodies now meet the full standards of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, whilst the remainder are working towards them. Many employers have also adopted Minimum Standards for Active Coaches, which include a DBS criminal record check.

Both sports coach UK and the CPSU recommend that coaches undertake Safeguarding and Protecting Children training at three-yearly intervals. In addition, many sports, employers and clubs have created Codes of Conduct for sports coaches in the interests of both coaches and athletes.

Governing Bodies, employers, clubs and other sports organisations all have a responsibility for ensuring the safety and well-being of children enjoying sport. The official opening of the Inquiry prompts us to ask the following four key questions of all delivery agencies:

  • Do you have a code of conduct for coaches?
  • Do you require safeguarding training for coaches working with young people?
  • Do you ensure that coaches update this training every three years in line with NSPCC recommendations?
  • Do you have a mechanism for withdrawal of a coaching qualification / licence?

Commenting further on the Inquiry, Coaching Committee Chair Bev Smith said:
“Although the Inquiry is related to historical cases of sexual abuse, we cannot assume that today’s young people are free from risk. We know that the nature of the risk has changed, with young athletes subject to emotional abuse via internet and social media, whilst body image is a major issue for many. That’s why it’s important for coaches to remain up-to-date with their safeguarding training, which covers these new risks.”

Posted: 14 July 2015    

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