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Parents urged to seek out safeguarding information from grassroots clubs

Parents have been encouraged to check safeguarding procedures at their children’s sports clubs when lockdown restrictions lift
(Image credit: Catherine Ivill)

Parents have been encouraged to seek out safeguarding information from grassroots clubs ahead of lockdown restrictions on outdoor sports lifting next week.

Child protection in sport is in the spotlight following the publication of Clive Sheldon QC’s independent review of historical abuse in football last week and of the interim findings of the Whyte Review in gymnastics.

Parents looking to enrol or return their children to a sports club when restrictions on outdoor sports for under-18s ease on March 29 are being reminded that every club should make safeguarding information available to them.

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This should include letting parents see their policies and procedures on how they deal with any concerns raised about poor practice or abuse, giving them the name of a welfare or child protection officer in case of any concerns, showing them the club’s written standards for good practice and sharing information on the work they do to ensure their staff are safe to work with children.

Michelle North, head of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “The events of the last week are a watershed moment. For the survivors of abuse, for football and for all children who should be able to enjoy sport safely.

“The incredible courage of survivors speaking out after they were let down by a sport and a society that was ill-equipped to protect children from abusers has helped make football a very different place.

“But we can’t be complacent. We need a culture of protection where governing bodies, clubs, coaches, administrators and parents all share the responsibility for ensuring children can enjoy playing sport in a safe and secure environment.

“A National Day for Safeguarding in Sport can help achieve this by embedding child protection into the psyche of everyone involved.”

The NSPCC has a dedicated team dealing with reports of non-recent football abuse, which can be reached on 0800 023 2642.

Helpline head, Louise Exton, who featured in the BBC’s ‘Football’s Darkest Secret’ documentary series, said the helpline received over 50 calls in its first few hours of opening in 2016.