Adults in the Duty of Care in Sport Report: Recognitions and Recommendations

Baroness Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care in Sport Review has been released which includes recommendations to develop safeguarding of adults in sport and activity.

After the government’s sport strategy, “Sporting Future” was released in 2015, Baroness Grey-Thompson was asked by the Minister of Sport to review issues of “Duty of Care” that sports have to their participants. Baroness Grey-Thompson has been clear that although winning medals is really important, it should not be at the expense of the Duty of Care towards athletes, coaches and others involved in sport and activity.

With the recent impact of historical sexual abuse within football coming to light, as well as the highlighting of abuse and bullying in other sports, it is important to thoroughly investigate what’s happened in the past as well as focusing on how we can prevent abuse in the future.

The report covers a number of areas including education, equality, diversity and inclusion, mental welfare and safeguarding. ACT is supportive of the safeguarding recommendations:
• Sports should collect data about safeguarding issues in a standardised way
• A prevalence study to look at the rates of abuse of children and adults in sport to gather up to date information
• All organisations should have their safeguarding policy clearly available on their website and in other materials, and clearly lay out the steps to be taken to make a complaint

Safeguarding adults is specifically mentioned in the key recommendations of the report:

• Government to ensure that a prevalence study, looking at the rates of abuse of children and adults in sport, is conducted to gather up to date information.
• Consideration should be given to an independent “adults at risk” unit with a similar mandate to the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit.”

Adults were also specifically mentioned in the safeguarding review, where participants are discussed and it is acknowledged that safeguarding adults in sport is an area that needs development:


In sport, the balance of power lies in the hands of those who run the programmes. They have a responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants. Athletes and professional sportspeople often work under intense pressure in close relationships with their personal coaches and support teams, and safeguarding issues can arise. While, rightly, there is a reluctance to say that every adult who competes in sport is vulnerable, when someone is in a team or on a pathway vulnerability inevitably increases, as so much is taken out of their control.
For adults in sport, safeguarding support is not as well developed as in the area for young people up to the age of 18. Further work in this area is required, particularly around young people transitioning into the 18-25 year age group and for disabled participants, who tend to be more at risk. Consideration should be given to establishing an advisory body specifically aimed at adult safeguarding in sport that can support individuals, clubs and NGBs to develop their processes and educational resources.”

Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager, Nicola Dean, at the Ann Craft Trust (ACT) said:

It’s great to see safeguarding adults in sport and activity being acknowledged and included in this report. ACT made a written submission to the review and took part in a stakeholder event. Our key message is that we have a responsibility to ensure the safeguarding of both children and adults.

“ACT is proud to be working with Sport England to be the lead organisation in supporting sport and activity organisations to develop best practice in safeguarding adults.

“This is true both for elite and more community based sport and activity. As we begin to recognise the benefit of diversifying the groups of people taking part in sport, for example encouraging more older people and disabled people, developing a culture of safeguarding adults in sport and activity is crucial.”

Notes for editors

For more information on this press release please contact Nicola Dean, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager for the Ann Craft Trust
Email: Tel: 0115 951 5400

About the Ann Craft Trust

With the support of Sport England, ACT plays the lead role in helping sport and activity organisations to develop best practice in safeguarding adults.

At ACT we believe that every disabled child and every adult deserves to be treated with the same respect and dignity as everyone else in society.

We are a leading provider of safeguarding training, consultations and serious case reviews working closely with organisations and individuals across the UK to raise awareness and improve practice. Since 1992, our independent research has tackled the biggest issues facing safeguarding, disabled children and.

1. The Ann Craft Trust works with staff in the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors to protect disabled children and adults from abuse. We also provide training in all aspects of safeguarding.
2. We provide training and support the development of professionals via consultancy at both single and multi-agency levels at front line and management levels. We believe that training which is not afraid to address the complex areas within safeguarding will support the development of strong individual and multi-agency practice.
3. ACT’s Safeguarding in Sport Manager, Nicola Dean, is funded by Sport England and is the first of its kind in the UK. Key priorities are reviewing and developing services in relation to adults at risk in sport and identifying, planning and implementing new initiatives in line with current practice. In addition Nicola will be developing and delivering a training strategy, offering advice and information to sport and recreation organisations and representing the sector at key consultations nationally. See Nicola’s profile.
4. Original story can be found here:

Ann Craft Trust
Centre for Social Work
University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham