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
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
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
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
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
Your organisation/club have a responsibility
to develop a Child Protection policy and related procedures (see sample
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
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 children.
Sports organisations must insure that they
regularly monitor their child protection procedures.
information on how a club/organisation can check the suitability
of their coaches or volunteers click
For further advice and information please see