Response to developments at Hearts FC
Tuesday 28 June 2011
CHILDREN 1ST response to developments at Hearts FC.
Anne Houston, Chief Executive of CHILDREN 1ST, commented: "Throughout this situation, CHILDREN 1ST's concern - as it always is - has been for the welfare of children and ensuring that we are all taking responsibility to protect them. The specific reason why Hearts have suspended Craig Thomson is unclear and it is therefore inappropriate to comment directly on the suspension.
The reason we got involved in this issue was because of our longstanding commitment to protecting children and ensuring they are safe and secure. We would maintain that there is no place in our society for public role models who have been convicted of sexual offences against children, no matter what other talents they might have.
It is important that we do not lose sight of the bigger issue this particular case has highlighted, that of protecting children from the risk of sexual harm. In recent years, CHILDREN 1ST has worked closely with sports governing bodies, including the SFA, to help them train volunteer coaches on keeping children safe and allowing them to have fun in sport. Attitudes have shifted hugely and we know that child protection is now taken much more seriously and practice has improved considerably.
But professional sports organisations also have responsibilities in this area. Everyone at a football club who has contact with children and young people should be trained on child protection procedures and our Safeguarding in Sport initiative would be happy to talk to the SPL and individual clubs about what we can do to help them in that regard."
You can find out more about Safeguarding in Sport here.
Last updated: Tuesday 28 June 2011