Cobblers' backs NSPCC campaign over sports safeguarding concerns
Over 30 per cent of parents with children active in sport would not know who to turn to if they had safeguarding concerns, an NSPCC and YouGov survery has revealed.
The charity is encouraging parents to become more informed about their children’s sports during Parents in Sport Week 2019 - an event which celebrates positive parental involvement in youth sport.
As part of this year’s Parents in Sports Week (7 – 13 October), the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) is urging parents to sign the Sports Parents Promise to help them choose a safe club for their children and ensure they have a positive influence when participating from the sidelines.
And this year League Two club, Northampton Town, are backing the campaign to keep young people safe when taking part in sport.
A Northampton Town Football Club spokesman said: “We have detailed and robust safeguarding policies and right from a child’s very first induction evening at the club, we ensure that parents, guardians and children are fully aware of the channels open to them to discuss and report any concerns they may have.”
Every sports club and activity provider should have a welfare or safeguarding officer as well as a safeguarding policy, and the NSPCC is encouraging every parent to find out who to contact in their children’s sport if they have any questions or concerns.
Nick Slinn, director of the Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “Sport forms a huge part of childhood for many young people, and at the NSPCC we believe that children should be free to enjoy their time at clubs and activities in a safe environment where they can achieve to the best of their ability.
“It is clear from our research that parents do not always know how to address any concerns they have.
“We introduced the Sports Parents Promise because it is essential for everyone to play their part in protecting children, and making every sporting experience a positive one. We want to make it easier for parents to know how they can support a safer sports environment and give them confidence to act when needed.”
The Sports Parents Promise offers parents helpful guidance on what makes a safe sports club, how to respond if they have any worries or concerns, and how to show positive sideline behaviour when attending games and tournaments.
The NSPCC’s CPSU website also has detailed guidance on what to look for in a sports club, and questions to ask, including:
Are the club’s policies and procedures available for parents to read, including how they deal with concerns over poor practice and abuse?
Does the club have a welfare or safeguarding officer as a contact for any concerns?
Do they have written standards for good practice, such as a code of conduct?
Has the club asked for essential medical and emergency contact information?
Has the club asked for parental consent for a child to participate?
What has the club done to ensure their staff are safe to work with children?