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10 Jul 2020 71

UK Coaching statement regarding abuse

All participants in sport and physical activity should be able to take part free from the risk of any type of abuse. Sport and physical activity, given the right environment, is a wonderful medium for people to grow and develop.

Coaches play a key role in setting the environment at all levels of participation, from fun recreational sessions to elite performance. They are a vital resource for the community and help increase the physical and mental well-being of millions of people across the nation.

The UK Coaching Code of Practice for Sports Coaches outlines what constitutes as good coaching practice. In the code, under the principle of ‘Relationships’, it states that: ‘Coaches must develop a relationship with their participants (and others) based on openness, honesty, mutual trust and respect'. Part a coach’s responsibility is not to engage in behaviour that constitutes any form of abuse; whether that is physical, sexual, neglect, emotional, bullying.  

Nothing is more important than the protection of children and young people. It is simply the most important duty for any of us who are involved in sport and physical activity. Coaches are guardians of welfare for the people they have in their charge and have a responsibility to put the welfare of their participants above all else.

We are here to work with coaches and those who employ and deploy coaches to help them put the right training, policies and systems in place to minimise the risk of abuse.

Continued professional development and coach learning opportunities are available via our platform – ukcoaching.org – so coaches can access the right knowledge, training and skills to deliver great experiences through sport and physical activity.

We will continue to support all sports and coaches going forward to make the necessary changes to their coach education or coaching system to minimise the risk of abuse.   

For the vast majority of the nine million people who regularly receive coaching, across the UK, their experience is extremely positive, highly valued and vital for their physical and mental well-being.

Coaches play a crucial role in our communities and, therefore, society. They are fundamental in building healthier and happier communities – and will be key as we exit COVID-19 – but we must ensure they are well equipped to deliver their sessions with the participant’s well-being at the heart of it.