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We're making sport safer

8 January 2014
Website_Camp Sweden 2013.jpg
Youth Leadership Camp Sweden 2013 participants ©Ben Taylor/UNOSDP

sportanddev.org - We are involved in an initiative to make sport safer for children. Joining the International Safeguarding Children in Sport Working group we are collaborating with more than fifty organisations around the globe to pilot a set of standards to safeguard all children participating in sport.

Millions of children and young people take part in sporting activities across the world every day. Unfortunately, sport, as with other social domains, can bring risks such as violence and abuse towards children and youth. These risks can have a negative impact on development objectives and must be guarded against if the full positive power of sport is to be realised.

Only a few organisations involved in sport and sport for development globally have the systems and structures needed to make sport safer for children, and stakeholders are increasingly recognising that without deliberate efforts on the part of clubs and organisations, federations, and policy makers, we cannot be confident that children will always have a safe experience in sport.

It is for this reason that we have partnered with a diverse group of experts including UNICEF UK, UK Sport, Keeping Children Safe, NSPCC's Child Protection in Sport Unit, Right to Play, WomenWin, Swiss Academy for Development, Commonwealth Secretariat, Beyond Sport and Comic Relief, to commit to making sport safer.

Brunel University have been commissioned by the working group to review the standards at the end of the pilot process. We are working with the this group of researchers to ensure that the final tool produced by the working group is useful and achieves the goal of making sport safer.

Liz Twyford from UNICEF UK described the standards as a set of actions that all organisations working in sport should have in place to ensure children are safe from harm and should be used as a benchmark of good practice to work towards, rather than an end in themselves.

At present there are eleven draft standards. These are to:
Write a policy on keeping children safe
Use procedures, personnel and systems that support safeguarding
Assess and minimise risks to children
Produce guidelines on behaviour towards children
Ensure equity – ALL children being safeguarded
Communicate the ‘keep children safe’ message
Provide education and training for keeping children safe
Engage with advice and support
Work with partners to meet the standards
Involve children in development, review and implementation
Monitor and evaluate compliance and effectiveness of safeguarding measures

Visit the sportanddev website to learn more about child protection and safeguarding in sport - http://www.sportanddev.org/en/learnmore/safeguarding/

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