We all have a duty to safeguard
Safeguarding and child protection has hit the headlines again this week following historic allegations of child sex abuse by former youth football players.
“Waiving the right to anonymity to highlight this issue is extraordinarily brave – it’s also a stark reminder to anyone involved in sport that safeguarding the welfare of children and vulnerable adults must always be, without exception, our top priority,”
says Victoria Ward, General Manager of the WSA.
“When it comes to safeguarding, there is no such thing as ‘it’s not my job’. We all have a responsibility. Whether we are parents or carers, coaches or CEOs, volunteers or supporters, we all have a duty to ensure we do everything we possibly can to keep children safe.
“There are so many examples of good safeguarding practices in sport, but nevertheless we’d still urge organisations to check and challenge their prevention measures regularly to ensure they are as robust as possible.
“We’d also urge the sports community to check that staff, volunteers and clubs are regularly reminded of how to recognise signs of abuse and how to report concerns to the right people.”
Who can help sports organisations?
It has been eight weeks since the WSA launched its DBS Background Screening Service https://wsa.wales/our-services/dbs/ – set up in response to the closure of the WCVA service, previously funded by Welsh Government. And in that short time, more than 2000 volunteers and staff working with children, mainly in the context of sport and physical activity, have been checked.
The service is available to members and non-members and is accompanied by a helpline to support organisations through the DBS process.
Victoria Ward adds, “While DBS is sadly not a magic solution to safeguarding, it is an essential part of a wider safeguarding prevention strategy.
The WSA is also part of the Strategic Safeguarding in Sport Group. Its remit is to bring together statutory agencies, Welsh Government, Sport Wales, the third sector and governing bodies to deliver a cohesive strategy for safeguarding children involved in sport in Wales as well as reviewing and sharing best practice. For further information, you can contact the Chair or Secretary via the WSA on 029 2033 4974.
NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU)
The CSPU offers a safeguarding toolkit containing advice, training and support on policies and procedures https://thecpsu.org.uk/ .
There is also advice for parents https://thecpsu.org.uk/help-advice/related-information/information-for-parents-and-carers/.
NSPCC Helpline: 0800 800 5000 (for anyone who is concerned about the safety of a child)
Football Hotline: 0800 0232642 (supported by the F.A. for concerns in football)