Sports organisations have been looking closely at their safeguarding arrangements and the external spotlight on safeguarding in sport remains prominent. The publication of Anne Whyte KC’s independent review of alleged mistreatment in UK Gymnastics (the Whyte Review), exposed the alarming extent of physical and emotional abuse of young athletes in the sport. Sadly, abuse in sport, both historic and current, remains a significant issue. Derek Hodder, a former martial arts coach, was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison following 33 counts of rape over a span of 30-years, adopting a pattern of abuse not unlike that of Larry Nassar.1
We continue to see sports clubs and governing bodies of all sizes seeking to strengthen their systems and cultures against abuse and poor practice. World Athletics2 and the Football Association have been updating their safeguarding policies and practices. On the 10th anniversary of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, the International Olympic Committee reaffirmed the Safe Sports Pledge committing to “promote Safeguards through our networks [and] embed Safeguards in our work”.
Needless to say, safeguarding must remain a core priority for every sports body. To that end, here are ten essential steps sports organisations can take to keep safeguarding at the top of your agenda to ensure there is a supportive and safe environment for children to participate in sport.
Ten safeguarding steps for sports organisations: