Joining up Child and Adult Safeguarding in Sport

The inception of the Sport England funded Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager post at the Ann Craft Trust (ACT) provided the impetus for developing a working relationship with the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).

The CPSU was established in 2001, also in partnership with Sport England, to support sports organisations to meet their responsibilities to safeguard children and young people. Based in Leicester, the unit provides advice, guidance and resources to sports governing bodies, county sports partnerships and others. Many child safeguarding resources are freely available on the CPSU website.

A Growing Demand for Information and Advice

CPSU staff had for some time been aware of a growing demand for information and advice from sports about safeguarding adults, and therefore welcomed moves to establish a service within ACT. CPSU staff have been keen to share their experience of developing a sports’ service over many years with ACT as relative newcomer to the sector.

The worlds of child and adult safeguarding often seem very different, and there are some fundamental factors that are unique to each. However, there are also a number of real commonalities (in underlying principles and practice), and areas where our respective responsibilities and interests overlap.

Transition into Adulthood

There is a huge advantage for individuals, clubs and organisations in seeking to ensure that, as young people transition into adulthood, they are able to benefit from seamless safeguarding arrangements – rather than abrupt changes to (or even removal of) support services that often mark this transition. Many funded sports programmes and projects frequently straddle the participant age divide – for example extending from young children to adults in their mid-twenties.

In these circumstances it is obviously much more effective for CPSU and ACT to work together to address safeguarding needs arising for sports bodies involved in commissioning and delivering such activities.

Meeting the Needs of Children

In light of their acknowledged additional vulnerability to harm, the needs of disabled children within sport have rightly been identified as a key priority for the sector. Adding to what we know about the extra risks associated with sport at the performance end of the participation spectrum, talented disabled athletes require particular consideration and care in safeguarding terms.

Here again there are opportunities for CPSU and ACT to work together, sharing experiences and knowledge, to help develop a safer environment for all competitors. We hope and anticipate that this is only the beginning of a long and fruitful working partnership.

This article was written by Nick Slinn – CPSU