transporting a child or young person in your car
The issue of
transporting children has become very sensitive for sports leaders and parents.
Many coaches argue that their club could not operate without the goodwill
of volunteers and parents ensuring that children are returned home or
transported to events in a private car.
The CPSU and
guidance from the Sports Council for Northern Ireland encourages coaches not to
take children on journeys alone in their car.
This view has
been taken as our knowledge has grown of how those who want to harm children has
developed. The vast majority of
coaches and volunteers will help out through their genuine desire to see
children or their particular sport develop.
Unfortunately we must face the reality that a minority of others will
join a sports club to gain access to children and create an air of acceptability
about their role, justifying their close contact with children.
who want to abuse children may find it more difficult to do so in a group
setting, such as a leisure centre or sports pitch, they could use this time to
gain the trust of not only the young person but also other adults.
Developing credibility is an essential part of any abusers ‘grooming
process’. Not only grooming the
child ‘make love to their minds’ (quote from convicted paedophile) but also
grooming other coaches or parents i.e. becoming the best volunteer.
stage to enable someone to offend against a child is viewed as grooming the
environment i.e. creating a justifiable reason for getting the child alone.
There have in the past been many opportunities within the sport setting
for those who wish to abuse children to isolate a particular child.
Thankfully Sports Governing Bodies are reducing this possibility in most
coaching sessions, but the issue of transport can still leave children
is clearly to avoid transporting a child alone, but we recognise that in some
circumstances it is an essential part of a child’s participation in training
alternatives have been exhausted and an adult has to transport a child there are
a number of safety measures that should be put in place to minimise the
driver like all coaches/volunteers who have access to children in your
organisation should have agreed to a Pre-employment Consultancy Service check
being carried out on them
should be informed of the person who will be transporting their child, the
reasons why and how long the journey will take
person other than the planned driver should talk to the child about transport
arrangements to check they are comfortable about the plans
driver must ensure that they have insurance to carry others, particularly if
they are in a paid position or claiming expenses
driver should attempt to have more than one child in the car
leaving children off after a match or training session coaches/volunteers should
alternate which child is dropped off last.
Ideally two children would be left off at an agreed point ie one of their
person who leaves children home should be alternated; this would reduce the risk
of any one individual from always being alone with the child.
should have a point of contact and mobile phone should they break down.
children are aware of their rights and they have someone to turn to or report
any concerns they may have. If a
culture of safety is created within your club then the child is more likely to
talk to another person if they are feeling uncomfortable about a situation.
should wear seatbelts at all times. The
driver is legally responsible to ensure that a child under 14 wears a seatbelt (ie
the adult would have to pay any fine) but morally responsible to ensure all
passengers wear seatbelts.
collections. These can present clubs and coaches with particular difficulties.
Parents/guardians should be provided with guidelines addressing the issue and
outlining their responsibility and the consequences of late collections. Clubs
should have contact numbers for parents/guardians and if possible be provided
with an alternative contact number. Parents/guardians should have a contact
number for the club/coach to inform them of emergencies and possible late
all advice these procedures will only reduce the risk and still the best advice
is to avoid transporting children alone in a car.