Safeguarding in Sport

Recent investigations into the Professional Footballers Association following historical allegations of child sexual abuse, has raised concerns over safeguarding of children and young people participating in sport.

In July 2016, Essex Safeguarding Children Board published guidance to parents on choosing activities, clubs or tuition.

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should be informed if you any have concerns where it is believed that a person working with children has;

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children. 
Sport Specific Resources

Sport is a terrific way for young people to develop their physical skills, team work and confidence. Thousands of people give up their time to coach and encourage youngsters, but occasionally incidents of grooming and abuse occur. Ensuring that children in sport are as safe as possible is much more rigorous than ever before.

Some schools hire out their facilities to community groups and this is an opportunity to make sure that people leading those teams have appropriate safeguarding procedures in place.  Below are links to the safeguarding pages of the governing bodies of many sports to help build awareness and learn from each other:

Safeguarding in Athletics                       Safeguarding In Cricket      

Safeguarding in Football                        Safeguarding in Gymnastics    

Safeguarding in Netball                          Safeguarding in Rugby    

Safeguarding in Swimming                  Safeguarding in Tennis

Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts


The NSPCC has launched a dedicated football hotline for victims of abuse, supported by the FA. The free helpline will be available 24 hours a day:

NSPCC Football Helpline: 0800 023 2642

Child Protection in Sport Unit

The NSPCC also has a dedicated website of resources for safeguarding children in sport. These include:

·      Information for parents and carers – what to look for in a sports club

·      Understanding grooming of children and young people in Sport - Webinar

NSPCC Safeguarding Guide for the Voluntary and Community Sector

Are They Safe? - a safeguarding guide for group leaders in the voluntary and community sector

Are They Safe? Wallchart


In July 2016, Essex Safeguarding Children Board, alongside Active Essex and Essex County Council, published guidance to parents on choosing activities, clubs or tuition. Download it here

Active Essex Anti-bullying Card - a resource for young people

This briefing by Tri.x provides a useful overview covering risk factors in sporting environments, what safeguarding arrangements organisations need to have in place and what professionals or volunteer staff working in the sporting environment need to be aware of.