Advice for clubs, parents and carers on child protection in sport

In light of recent media attention we are aware that clubs from across all sports may have increased anxiety about child protection.

If your club is affiliated to a governing body, you can contact your Sports Governing Body's Child Protection Liaison Officer or Safeguarding in Sport on 0141 419 1156 for advice, guidance and help. If your club is not affiliated to a governing body you can contact Safeguarding in Sport directly.

Our advice to clubs with junior members would be to ensure that you have:

  • A named contact for the co-ordination of child protection, with a role description, who has attended recommended training
  • A Child Protection Policy which reflects national guidelines, adopted by the Board/Executive/Management Committee.
  • A Code of Conduct for working with children and young people.
  • A variety of child protection training offered at appropriate levels for those working or volunteering with children and young people in sport.
  • A procedure for the recruitment and selection of those who work with children and young people, including access to PVG Scheme Membership checks.
  • A procedure for responding to concerns about the welfare or abuse of a child- within or outwith sport.
  • A disciplinary procedure for managing concerns and allegations of poor practice, misconduct and child abuse and includes provision for referrals to the Children’s List.
  • A procedure for reviewing the management of concerns about poor practice, misconduct and/or child abuse.

If somebody raises child protection concerns in relation to a coach and/or volunteer who is currently practicing, then you should follow your ‘Responding to Concerns’ procedure.

If it is a historical allegation then you should follow the same procedure and signpost the individual to Police Scotland on ‘101’.

If you have a concern about a child’s immediate safety then this should be passed on to Police or Social Work. 

Message for parents and carers

Sport can and does have a very powerful and positive influence on children and young people. However, in light of  recent media coverage of allegations of child abuse in football, parents and carers from across all sports may have increased anxiety about child protection. The vast majority of adults involved in youth sport are there with good intentions and are keen to promote the wellbeing and protection of children and young people. Coaches may often be the people who identify and act on concerns about a child’s wellbeing.

To-date, much of the media’s attention has centred around historic allegations. Most sports organisations now have far more robust child protection procedures in place, including systems by which they recruit coaches and volunteers. However, we would encourage all parents and carers to familiarise themselves with the child protection processes in place in the clubs their children attend. 

Some key questions to ask are:

  • Does your club have a named contact for the co-ordination of child protection, with a role description, who has attended recommended training?
  • Does the club have a Child Protection Policy which reflects national guidelines, adopted by the Board/Executive/ Management Committee?
  • Does the club have a Code of Conduct for working with children and young people?
  • Does the club offer a variety of child protection training at appropriate levels for those working or volunteering with children and young people in sport?
  • Does the club have a procedure for the recruitment and selection of those who work with children and young people, including access to PVG Scheme Membership checks?
  • Does the club have a procedure for responding to concerns about the welfare or abuse of a child within or outwith sport?
  • Is the club affiliated to a national governing body? Does this governing body have a Lead Child Protection Officer?

If parents or carers have a child protection concern about a coach and/or volunteer who is currently practicing, or a concern about a child’s immediate safety, then they should contact the club child protection officer and share their concerns with Police Scotland on 101.