to Good Practice
is an every-day activity for many children and makes a significant contribution
to their well being and development. Sports
organisations have become increasingly aware that some individuals who want to
harm children will use sport as a medium to gain access to young people.
All sports have a duty to safeguard children from abuse within sport.
They also have a role in recognising and responding to concerns that a
child may be being abused within another setting, such as the family home.
Sports Council Northern Ireland, by encouraging all sporting
organisations to implement the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s
Sport (pdf document) believe
that everyone in children’s sport will benefit children,
parents/guardians and sports leaders.
Children can be subjected to
many forms of unacceptable treatment by adults or indeed by their own peers,
which we may never consider being abuse, but none the less the impact of such
ill treatment is wide-ranging and impossible to quantify. At a personal level,
such ill treatment can completely destroy a child’s sense of worth attacking
their self-confidence and self-esteem. At
its worst some children can feel that their situation, which if it goes
unchallenged, is so hopeless that suicide is their only option.
Often it is difficult to
believe, or indeed accept, that child
abuse happens in Northern Ireland and could occur in sport.
The harsh reality is - it does! and the evidence to support this has
attracted wide media attention over the years with few sports going unscathed or
perhaps undetected. It is only more
recently that sporting organisations or leisure facilities have seen the need to
address this more directly.
To assist your
organisation/club, in developing a culture where a child can feel safe and a
parent/guardian knows that your organisation/club prioritises the welfare of
their child, SCNI in partnership with the Child Protection in Sport Unit have
developed the following advice.
The first thing that any
organisation/club needs to have in place are Guidelines of Good Practice, also
know as a Code of Conduct.
This is the cornerstone of any good child protection policy.
Without a standard for sports leaders, parents/guardians and children to
adhere to you are leaving your organisation vulnerable and open to challenge
about behaviour or actions of individuals within your organisation/club.
As a manager you are also not able to challenge a person if you have your
own concerns about the standard of their practice if you have not made them
aware of the standards you expect from them.
Every organisation/club must
produce a Child Protection Statement
and this statement should be made available to sports leaders, parents/guardians
and children and if possible displayed in your organisation’s/club’s
facilities. This is a statement of intent outlining what you intend to do to
ensure the protection of children in your organisation/club.
Your organisation/club have
a responsibility to develop a Child Protection policy and related procedures
Child Protection policy). This should be developed in partnership with
parents and children where possible. To ensure this information is relayed to
sports leaders, parents/guardians and children your organisation/club should
produce information leaflets or an induction
booklet highlighting the priority your organisation gives to the issue
of child protection.
For guidelines of individual
procedures that should be in your actual Child Protection policy click
The importance of keeping
parents informed cannot be over-stated, as well as good practice think
litigation, insurance etc. Therefore
it is important that you consider obtaining members
medical details and parental
consent form, this is particularly important if going on away trips.
Further detailed guidance on organising away trips and overnights is
available through the Child Protection in Sport Unit. Photography
and the use videos is another area that must be considered when working with
Sports organisations must
insure that they regularly monitor their child protection procedures.
For information on how a
club/organisation can check the suitability of their coaches or volunteers click
For further advice and
information please see useful