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SPORT PUTS CHILD WELFARE IN FIRST PLACE, SAYS NSPCC

7th October 2011

Tenth anniversary of NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit

The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) celebrates a landmark today (6 Oct) as it records its 10th anniversary.1

And the vast improvements in safeguarding that have been made, since the unique unit was formed in partnership with Sport England in 2001, are highlighted in new research.2

The study, by the NSPCC and the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Learning in Child Protection, reveals that while sport is a positive experience for most children, issues like bullying have in the past been treated as ‘the norm’.

It underlines how ten years ago sport was failing to make the safety and wellbeing of children a priority, with less than half of national governing bodies in sport having child protection policies.

Now the CPSU supports nearly one hundred sporting bodies in the UK, which have over five million children in their care every week. And the majority of funded sports in the UK have these vital protection policies in place.

The CPSU provides sports organisations with expert child protection advice and guidance, such as ensuring sports club staff and volunteers know what to do if they spot unexplained bruises, or have other concerns about a child.

Anne Tiivas, head of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “Today we can celebrate the huge progress made by sports organisations since the creation of the Child Protection in Sport Unit, by the NSPCC and sports councils across the UK. Everyone involved can be rightly proud of themselves.

“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. Incidents of bullying or sexual harassment still occur and everyone in sport – children and adults – must feel able to report incidents of maltreatment. Children and young people need to know they have a right to take part in sport safely and know who to turn to for help if they need it.

“Listening to deaf or disabled children is particularly important, as we know these children are more vulnerable to abuse. We need sport to be far more inclusive and to encourage all children to get involved. The more they are placed at the heart of sport, the better it will be for future generations.”

Dr Anne Stafford, director of the Centre for Learning in Child Protection, said: "Research into child maltreatment in organised sport is in its infancy. This report is a key milestone in our understanding of abuse within 40 different sports across the UK and shows how safety and well-being of children in sport needs to be in everybody's thinking.

“The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit has made great progress over the past decade in keeping safeguarding in sport high on the agenda. With the London Olympics coming up in 2012, this is an opportune moment to think about what future research needs to be carried out to ensure all children are protected.”

Highlights of the CPSU’s work over the past 10 years include:

  • Working with 95 sporting bodies across the UK - each week these organisations have over five million children in their care.
  • Helping all 49 County Sports Partnerships in England to meet the Advanced level of the Standards for Safeguarding and Protecting Children in Sport.
  • Establishing a safeguarding children in sport agenda in Wales, Northern Ireland and links with CHILDREN 1st in Scotland to develop a UK-wide approach.
  • Developing the ‘Time to Listen’ national training programme and delivering it to 540 Lead Safeguarding Officers in sport.
  • 21 National Governing Bodies and County Sports Partnerships piloting a new CPSU self-assessment toolkit this year.
  • Over one million visits to the CPSU web pages to date.

To find out more about the work of the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit go to www.nspcc.org.uk/cpsu

 

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NSPCC Media Office 020 7825 2516 Out of hours 07976 206 625

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