We try to teach our children never to go off with strangers, but we sometimes leave them with strangers. We might assume that sports coaches and play activity staff have been appropriately vetted and their conduct is routinely observed by the provider. Due diligence about safeguarding starts with parents and carers. We need to do our homework before we feel satisfied leaving our children with a sports coach/staff in extra-curricular activities. They are a stranger to us and our children. We urge parents and carers to ask the right questions first, these include asking and seeing evidence of the provider having suitable safeguarding policies, DBS checks and safeguarding training for their staff, first aid training and promoting exploitation awareness amongst staff and parents so any signs can be spotted and acted on early on. This will ensure you are confident your child will be looked after properly.
Parents and carers need to also remain vigilant about the safety of their children attending clubs. Recognise when something is not right, know who to approach to discuss these issues with and have the confidence to complain if needed.
The advice below is taken from the ‘Safe to Play’ NWG campaign funded by Sport England.
These are just a few points that you need to consider, however your first point of call should be to ask direct questions of the staff running these clubs, please do not be afraid to ask challenging questions, a good club will welcome such questioning and provide you with the answers that you require. If a coach or club owner are defensive about safeguarding questions ask yourself why, we have seen so many media stories recently about children being abused by coaches that we should expect more transparency from within the industry regarding the safeguarding of children. Safeguarding children is everyone’s business and it starts with parents so please do your homework with sports activity clubs.